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Sunil Tandon

VP- Marketing | 01 Nov 2003

“The consumer really is not price sensitive today. If you are giving quality products and the latest technology, they want it. Then they won’t compromise. As for our prices, in every product category be it colour televisions, refrigerators, or washing machines, we have feature packed products at every price point. With the trend of 29”CTV, projection TV and plasma TV catching on, Videocon offers an entire premium range at competitive pricing.”

Being an Indian multinational, Videocon has seen its share of downs with the Indian consumer. Especially in the period post-1999, consumer’s faith in the brand had weakened. However, the brand has come a long way since then. Today it is aggressively making its place in the market, expanding the brand to new product categories.

Sunil Tandon has been an integral part of Videocon in this journey. As VP-Marketing, he plays a very crucial role in bringing the brand where it stands today. He looks after functions like marketing, advertising and media planning for Videocon’s consumer electronics and home appliances.

Speaking to Noor Fathima Warsia, in this session of Brand Speak, he highlights the positioning of Videocon and the various promotional activities undertaken for the brand.

Q. What is the positioning of Videocon? It is generally considered as a mass market product. Does it dilute the brand’s equity to some extent?

Videocon is positioned on the platform of technology that aims at supplying convenient solutions to its customers. Our consistent R&D and a strong manufacturing base help us to outpace the market with innovative product offerings. As far as the question of a mass market is concerned, we are available at all price points. If you compare feature to feature, everything balances out. In some categories, we are costlier than MNCs. So our equity, on count of pricing, is not diluted in any way.

Q. How important a role does pricing play when it comes to consumer durable? How would you compare your prices vis-à-vis competition?

The consumer really is not price sensitive today. That is today, if you are giving quality products and the latest technology, they want it. Then they won’t compromise. As for our prices, in every product category be it colour televisions, refrigerators, or washing machines, we have feature packed products at every price point. With the trend of 29”CTV, projection TV and plasma TV catching on, Videocon offers an entire premium range at competitive pricing.

Q. Do you believe that people are lured towards global brands, and it makes the job of Indian brands a little harder in this category?

In recent times, consumers have become much more quality conscious and whether the brand is Indian or International becomes secondary. Being an Indian multinational, our presence is felt across the globe. The company manufactures and markets its products in the Middle East, Europe, Indonesia, South Africa and the South East Asia.

Q. Videocon, the mother brand is spread in various categories – to what extent is it helping you?

Our wide product portfolio complements each other giving us an edge in terms of marketing, logistics, manufacturing, distribution etc. It is because of this bigness (‘Bada Hai Toh Behtar Hai’) that we are India’s largest consumer electronics and home appliances company.

Q. How is the strategy of combining consumer electronics, information technology and communications working for Videocon? Is there any other segment that Videocon is looking at including in its services?

Because our infrastructure is inherently strong, we enjoy the luxury of being able to diversify hence re-invent ourselves. We have no doubt in our minds that our latest tie- up with Alcatel also shall be a successful one.

Q. Talking of Videocon, in the period post 1999, there was consumer dissatisfaction in the market. However, Videocon has risen above this phase. What is the strategy you employed to gain recognition again?

We drew from design and development. We launched new products with upgraded technologies which incorporated global trends. In fact as many as 42 new models were launched in August 2002 (prior to festive season), and in 2003 we have already introduced 34 new models till September end. We recognised the emerging market trends and redefined our marketing strategies. Shah Rukh Khan was signed to endorse our products. We took market dynamics to another realm by taking major initiatives in the field of after sales service. We introduced, for the first time in India, a fleet of service vans and took initiatives to provide 24 hours customer service during key events like the World Cup football and cricket.

Q. With activities like sponsoring awards, cricket and recently the Hungama tie–up, promotion appears to getting a more prominent place in your marketing mix. Is this because above-the-line advertising is not really paying off?

Videocon has always been active in above- the- line advertising and we have achieved phenomenal results.

As far as other avenues of advertising go, we recognise the hold both Bollywood and cricket have on our nation. We are the only ones to have simultaneously and successfully capitalized both. We have the privilege of having run some of the most popular and memorable campaigns – the memoirs of which continue to endure.

Q. A recent advertising campaign featuring Shah Rukh Khan had what may be called as ‘intelligent’ ads? How well did the campaign work for Videocon?

Our technology for Health and Pleasure campaign with Shah Rukh Khan has received a great deal of attention as well as appreciation. This has reflected itself in our growth in terms of sales. Our percentage growth in 2003 has exceeded the overall market growth.

Our promotional line “Match On Toh Videocon” was catchy and caught on in a big way. The advertisements were in sync with the cricket mood and generated a huge recall value. We subtly managed to synergize Bollywood and cricket.

Q. What steps had Videocon taken this year to make the most of the festive season?

The festival season commenced with Videocon’s “Suvarna Onam” for our customers in Kerala. It was a golden opportunity for all people to splurge on with many attractive offers from Videocon. In West Bengal, we clocked the sales with “Pujor Bodhon”. On the occasion of Diwali, we have the Mega Offer of “Diwali Phataka – Ek Mein Char Ka Dhamaka”. This entitles the customer to double scratches, on the first scratch the customer stands to win prizes like projection TV, upto 5 Kgs of gold, 0.8 ton AC, DVD Players, a washing machine, 16 piece glassware dinner set, Mobile Phones and many more prizes. The second scratch gives up to 50% off on the next purchase. Attractive exchange prices, extended warranty and zero percent finance are the other three ‘dhamakas’ that the customer avails on this scheme. All these endeavours have paid off and this is obvious by the kind of responses we generated.

Q. How important a role does push play in consumer durable and electronic categories?

The customer has become extremely quality conscious. Channel partners play an important role in influencing the decision of the customer. A pull strategy as exhibited by many of our competitors does work but only for a short period of time. The faith and confidence of the channel partners in quality products so that none of his customers go disappointed, goes a long way in making an impact. We have been in the industry for fifteen years and it is this faith of our customers and dealers, which have helped us consolidate our position in the industry.

Q. While most Videocon products are priced competitive, refrigerators are high end. Does it to not create dissonance of sorts?

While our high – end refrigerators are a matter of pride, we also have a wide array of refrigerators at every price point offering a wide variety of latest features.

Q. Videocon, in spite of being present in almost consumer electronics and durable categories is basically still associated with washing machines and TV. How are you correcting this perception?

Videocon was the first company to introduce washing machines in the country. We have gained expertise in all wash technologies. In colour televisions, we have introduced India’s first 21” DVDTV and created the Super Flat category. In refrigerators too, India’s first no-frost and first Direct Cool refrigerator with water dispenser was introduced in the country by our company. Even in microwaves our newest offering of Microwave with FM has caught the market attention. We also have a very strong presence in the AC segment. In a recently conducted survey published in Business World, Videocon ACs ranked as No.1 in terms of customer satisfaction.

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