Our purpose is to bring value, not kill competition: Bhaskar Bhat, MD, Titan

At the launch of Taneira’s first flagship store, Bhaskar Bhat, Managing Director, Titan Company Limited, spoke about Titan’s new offering and the changing retail landscape in the country.

by Ruhail Amin
Published - Dec 12, 2018 8:29 AM Updated: Dec 12, 2018 8:29 AM
BhaskarBhat

Titan Company Ltd, which has successfully launched many lifestyle brands over the years-- Titan, Tanishq, Fastrack, Xylys, Raga, Skinn (fragrances), has now entered the textile category with its new offering Taneira.

The company might be a late entrant in the category, but it plans to draw on its strong brand appeal to build its presence across the country.

At the launch of Taneira’s first flagship store, Bhaskar Bhat, Managing Director, Titan Company Limited, spoke about Titan’s new offering and the changing retail landscape in the country.

Excerpts:

What was the thought behind launching this new category?

See where I sit, which is as the head of the company, it has to be a combination of inspiration and business sense. We have what is known as a sandbox, it's called the Titan hexagon, which we apply to look at the future. One of the important sides of this hexagon is the under-served and underpenetrated and under-organized. Any category which has two out of three of these, we would like to explore.

So in that process, we found this (Taneira) as one, and we have several others. And as we explored more and more, we realized that it has a significant proportion of unorganized. We also realized that this is a category where we can bring more value, and it is a very big category.  

Looking at the size of this category and given our ability to transform the category combined with our strong retail play is a big strength that we have. Also, branding in this category has not happened so often in the past, and branding is something we bring to the table apart from retail expertise. 

In a world which is betting big on digital and considers mobile as the future, how would you contextualize this big investment in offline retail?

I don't think offline will ever go away for categories where standardization is not the driver of the demand. Anything which has touched and feel has a very strong offline component.  But the marriage of the two is what we do, which is called Omni, and we are doing that very well, for example in the eyewear category.

Would you call yourself a late entrant in this category? How do you plan to take on players who have been in this business for a long time?

Our impulse is never to compete, our impulse is to serve. I'm not saying this in any philosophical manner. We have found great value and inspiration in being totally driven by the consumers. So consumer insight is a very important function in the company.

In every store, we listen to our customers and we are driven by the customers. That is what has brought us size and scale, and what happens to the competitors in a way is not our problem. Our purpose is not to kill the competition; our purpose is to bring value. I believe we will create so much value that people would want to come to us. 

You have helmed the success of Titan across categories, what would you call the enablers of this success story?

Fundamentally, customer-centricity; we are driven by the customers; fantastic people orientation in the company. We have a theory about people-- which is unconditional positive regard. It means people first before any other stakeholder. So we are totally people focused. The other factor is design. 

How do you see the future of retail panning out in India over the next few years?

I think it will be Omni and the relevance of brick and mortar stores will continue. As I said, for standard products and technology led products, it will become less and less relevant but there will be flagship stores, which will be less for sales and more for showcasing.

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