Matthias Breschan, Brand President & CEO, Rado Watch Co
I think marketing needs to be meaningful. We are spending a very important and considerable amount here in India, but it needs to be meaningful, which means it needs to be in line with what you want to achieve with your marketing strategy, because you can also spend a lot of dollars and yet that could be useless... The driving factor for Rado in the past 55 years and in the coming 55 years was and will be innovation. The day we stop innovating, we will probably kill the brand.
I think marketing needs to be meaningful. We are spending a very important and considerable amount here in India, but it needs to be meaningful, which means it needs to be in line with what you want to achieve with your marketing strategy, because you can also spend a lot of dollars and yet that could be useless... The driving factor for Rado in the past 55 years and in the coming 55 years was and will be innovation. The day we stop innovating, we will probably kill the brand.Matthias Breschan has been a member of the Extended Group Management Board since 2005 and is responsible for Rado, Hamilton, for Swatch Group Mexico and Swatch Group Austria. Breschan has been managing Rado since January 1, 2011. Before that, he managed Hamilton for seven years and worked as Area Sales Manager for three years at Swatch Telecom. Between his activity for Hamilton and Swatch Telecom, he was Managing Director of Aldi in France (Aldi Marché Est). Before joining Swatch Group, Breschan worked for Texas Instruments and Alcatel Mobile Phones in the product marketing, international marketing and sales areas.
In conversation with exchange4media’s Simran Sabherwal, Breschan speaks about the luxury watch segment in India, the importance of innovation, expanding the consumer base and more... Q. How would you define a typical Rado consumer in India? I think we have two types of consumers in India – the first is the loyal, traditional consumer, and we do everything to retain this consumer. On the other hand, we are addressing a younger clientele with products such as Rado True Thinline, Rado HyperChrome and the Rado Esenza Ceramic Touch that we are launching next year. I would not define a younger clientele with an age group, but also those who are young at heart; it is very often a question of mindset. We also need to address this younger clientele in order to maintain the super strong position that we have in the market today.
Q. So, what are you looking to achieve? We are at a leading position with Rado in India today, and a clear marketing strategy is to maintain this position in the coming years. Rado is not here in India just because it is a booming market for the last few years; we have been here since the time when several of the traditional watch brands were still concentrating on Europe and the US. This certainly gives us a huge advantage because there is a huge brand awareness about and a strong position of the Rado brand, and we will do everything we can to ensure that it stays like this in the future. In fact, today we launch a watch worldwide at the same time.
Q. What is the USP of the newly-launched Rado HyperChrome watch? What’s special about the whole HyperChrome family is the ‘monobloc construction’. The traditional way of constructing ceramic watches has been to have a centre and then build the holding structure around it. Now, what we are doing is that we are integrating the entire holding structure directly with the outer case. This makes the watch a lot more resistant, and the big advantage is that we can achieve the geometries that were not possible to obtain with the traditional way of constructing watches. An example is the Rado True Thinline, a ceramic watch that is less then 5mm thick or the shape of the Rado HyperChrome, which would have been unable to manufacture in the traditional way. So, this is really a revolution in the manufacture of ceramic watches.
Q. Does your communication vary for India and other global markets? No, today it is the same, so we are using the same visuals, movies and other marketing material on an international base.
Q. What has been your growth this year and what are you looking at going ahead? All, I can tell you is that 2012 was for us a historical record year and there is no reason this will not be the case in 2013.
Q. The luxury watch segment has seen a lot of entrants in the last decade, particularly from your home country Switzerland, who have been aggressive in marketing space. What is your strategy to counter them? I think marketing needs to be meaningful. We are spending a very important and considerable amount here in India, but it needs to be meaningful, which means it needs to be in line with what you want to achieve with your marketing strategy, because you can also spend a lot of dollars and yet that could be useless. But to spend the dollar wisely is the big challenge and we try to spend it as wisely as we can.
Q. Would you be looking at variable price points to attract the younger clientele and the huge middle class? No, the price points will not change. We have been very consistent and we will continue to be consistent. Our core price range is from 1,000 to 4,000 Swiss Franc and that too will not change in the future.
The fantastic thing about India is that there are still lots of things to do – the strong middle class will grow in the coming years. So for us, it is a great potential to expand our business here.
Q. What are your future plans? The driving factor for Rado in the past 55 years and in the coming 55 years was and will be innovation. The day we stop innovating, we will probably kill the brand. So, we need to make sure that we permanently innovate, particularly in the field of premium innovative materials and the science of watch making. We will be launching a very unique watch next year for ladies, called Rado Esenza Ceramic Touch, which uses tactile technology that is integrated in a ceramic case, so you don’t have a crown anymore. By simply sliding on the right side of the case, you change the minute hands and by sliding on the left side of the case, you change the hour hand. This is another revolution in the watch industry.
Q. What is your fundamental media strategy for India? Actor Hrithik Roshan is our brand ambassador here in India and we do a lot of communication with him. I think the most important point whenever you co-operate with an ambassador is, of course, the person has to be famous, but more importantly, the fit should be authentic, credible and understandable for the consumer. I think that since we have a lot of shared values with Hrithik, this partnership is really credible. As Bollywood gains importance in other countries, we are not limiting our effort and cooperation with him to India, but using him outside the country as well.
Q. On the retail front, what are your expansion plans? I think the most important point in retailing is that you never go for the fast dollar or a quick expansion at a disadvantage in any point in sales. The most important point is to keep the distribution under control. You can expand, but you need to do it in a very qualitative, controlled way.
Since the watch market is growing rapidly, retailers and particularly the quality of retailers will continuously increase, especially in Tier 2 and 3 cities in the coming years.
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