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Lava has increased marketing budgets by 100% over last year: Tarun Verma

Lava has increased marketing budgets by 100% over last year: Tarun Verma

Author | Twishy | Wednesday, Aug 21,2013 8:09 AM

Lava has increased marketing budgets by 100% over last year: Tarun Verma

You have a camera to click the best photos, a music player to listen to your favourite songs, adventurous games to get yourself hooked and a GPS to even navigate through the roads less travelled. This is the power of a feature-packed budget smartphone model. One doesn’t necessarily have to pay handsome amounts to get hold of this magical wand because there are budget handset makers such as Micromax, Lava and Karbonn to grab a share of this rapidly growing smartphone market.

Over the last one year, Lava has aggressively invested in advertising and marketing of its products and undertaken a lot of ATL and BTL activities, in addition to involvement in various brand building initiatives. The brand went through a rebranding exercise based on extensive market research and feedback from customers and partners and also unveiled its new logo.

In conversation with exchange4media, Tarun Verma, DGM Marketing, Lava International shares insights on these marketing campaigns, budget for the current financial year, upcoming products for the Indian market and much more…

On the total market share and the contribution from tier II and tier III markets…
As per the import data for the month of Jan’13 to June’13, Lava has a 12 per cent market share overall and seven per cent in smartphones amongst the Indian mobile handset players. We expect our smartphone market share to grow at a rapid pace given the strong portfolio of products that are planned in future. Currently, about 73 per cent of our volumes come from tier II and tier III markets.

On the current imagery of Lava and the rebranding exercise…
Lava was born out of the vision of becoming one of the first global consumer brands from India. Our focus now is to also acquire a larger pie of the premium smartphones market in India and that requires us to position ourselves differently and take off from the platform established over the last four years of our journey. We are soon going to launch IRIS Pro – a premium series of smartphones. Hence, all our marketing efforts are directed to create a premium imagery of the brand.

In the initial part of its journey, Lava had grown and flourished in multiple product segments, hence, it was important to ensure that a unified consistent message reaches to all the stakeholders involved in the value chain. With this, a need for a unique recognisable brand identity was identified. This led to rebranding of Lava. Our rebranding is not just about cosmetics; it is about re-engineering the soul of brand Lava. Our new tagline ‘Create possibilities’ represents a paradigm, a philosophy. The thought simply means that nothing is impossible to accomplish if one has the conviction and self-belief. It is ultimately passion and belief that separate the impossible from the possible and creates possibilities out of impossibilities.

On the upcoming products for the Indian market…
Lava has a wide product portfolio that encompasses tablets, feature phones and smartphones, with various models in bar and touch form factor at multiple price points to suit all categories of consumers. Lava’s gamut of products includes ETAB series of tablets, IRIS series of Android-based smartphones and IRIS Pro series. We have also recently launched entry level 3G Android smartphones.

On the idea behind partnering with events such as IIFA and KBC…
Lava is augmenting its brand recognition by sponsoring two of the most important events of the year in the media and entertainment sphere. Our aggressive marketing strategy has been designed to create targeted visibility for Lava as a brand and for our upcoming premium series of mobile handsets. Partnering with IIFA and KBC Season 7 are strategic marketing initiatives, which we have taken to showcase Lava as a premium consumer brand and connect with the right set of audience.

On the total marketing budget earmarked for this financial year…
Lava has a total marketing budget in excess of Rs 60 cr planned for FY 13-14, which is an increase of 100 per cent over last year. We will be spending approximately 50 per cent of this on TV advertising, since that will give us maximum reach. We are also looking at BTL and digital as key strategic channels that will require extensive focus and investments in the current year. For IRIS Pro, we already have plans of spending close to Rs 20 cr across all marketing media.

On the digital marketing initiatives to increase visibility like Micromax…
Digital medium is of strategic focus for Lava given that it acts as a very strong influencer for our target audience. However, our journey into the digital space is very young. We have started by focusing on revamping our corporate website, social media marketing, SEM, SEO to connect with the TG directly. We have also started engaging through display campaigns on popular general interest websites such as Navbharat Times, TOI and Yahoo and tech websites such as and, to name a few. We have also developed and launched contests/ applications around key product launches to keep the users engaged. We shall continue to invest in digital and hopefully that will reflect in increasing engagement with our customers and consumers.

On differentiation of products in comparison to competition…
As such every player in the industry is a competitor and the market size is large enough for every player to find its own space. MNC players such as Samsung, HTC and Nokia are the key competitors. Over the last four years, Lava has invested strongly in three most important factors for long term success – people, processes and values.

To give you a few examples of how Lava does things differently – Lava has a complete in-house R&D set-up in India and China. This has enabled Lava to become the only Indian mobile handset brand in the country to control the quality of products end-to-end. Lava teams in China and India collaborate seamlessly to exchange technical and qualitative inputs and create quality products, along with testing at several stages to deliver the ultimate customer experience in its category. Lava also has a single-layer distribution model, one not chosen very often by competitors as it is tougher to implement, wherein distributors are exclusive and directly managed and controlled by Lava.

On the expansion plans in future…
Lava aspires to be the first Indian brand to be amongst the top global consumer brands. Our focus remains very strong on the Indian market, which we believe has an extremely huge potential. Currently we are selling about 1 million handsets per month. We are targeting to sell 1.5 million handsets monthly post Diwali.

To accomplish the above, we are working hard on ramping up the focus on R&D with the objective of enhancing the overall product experience and creating excellence in service.

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