Gionee to spend around Rs. 400 crore on BTL activities in 2018

Chinese smartphone maker Gionee is preparing to take on competition in the smartphone category

e4m by Venkata Susmita Biswas
Updated: Dec 7, 2017 8:55 AM

All set with a bigger marketing budget, Chinese smartphone maker Gionee is preparing to take on competition in the smartphone category. Gionee, one of the first Chinese brands to enter the Indian market five years ago, now plans to reinforce the brand by focusing on BTL activities. 

“This time we are looking at the market very differently. BTL is going to be the most important part of the marketing budget. 50 per cent of the Rs. 750 crore marketing budget will be absolutely concentrated on BTL promotions,” said Deepika Singh, Director – Communications, Gionee India. Singh reasoned that the spends will be skewed towards BTL activities because while the brand is well-known, Gionee now needs to drive conversions. Over the last five years, Gionee has roped in stars like Alia Bhatt and Virat Kohli to promote the brand in India. For now, Gionee may not invest in huge ATL marketing initiatives. “This time we are not looking at doing big marketing deals and spending too much on celebrities, etc,” she said. She added that the company invested in building the brand by taking on big marketing activities but now the company will focus on consolidating the brand.

Gionee’s sprint to become one the top five smartphone brands in India will begin with an expansion of their retail footprint. “We will go from 42,000 retail counters to 75,000 retail counters by September 2018,” said Singh. Gionee will also increase the workforce at retail counters from 15,000 people to 50,000.

Gionee’s idea is to make sure that the brand is invested in building infrastructure, people and ensuring customer loyalty. Despite having a low market share, “Gionee’s brand loyalty is 33 per cent. This is a good figure and we plan to grow this brand loyalty further,” she said. To increase brand loyalty, Gionee plans to focus on customer service. “We want to make sure our customers are looked after. We are making sure that our service centres are well-equipped. We are revamping the entire process and making the necessary investments to improve customer service,” she added.

Going by Gionee’s sales figures, the smartphone brand is more popular in Tier II cities compared to Metro cities. “We’ll be spending on promotions in metros and Tier II cities. Trends are formulated in metros and then they trickle down to other cities. That’s the reason we will be putting in some monies to build our brand in the metros as well,” Singh explained.

Product differentiation is key for Gionee as it does not want to be lost in the clutter of selfie phones. “The two important features that Gionee will be concentrating on are full-view display and high battery life,” said Singh. The full-view display will not only improve the experience of viewing photographs but also make mobile gaming more immersive.

Gionee, which is primarily an offline brand with 3-4 per cent of its sales coming from online, will not focus on its online presence for a couple more years. “In fact, if you look at other smartphone brands, they are opening up offline stores. So, till the time more people start buying goods without feel-and-touch, we will continue to be an offline brand,” Singh said.

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