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Chandramouli: Onida’s relaunch strategy brought in rich dividends

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Chandramouli: Onida’s relaunch strategy brought in rich dividends

A quick search through the encyclopaedia and the thesaurus to find a synonym for Onida comes to naught. The word, nonetheless, conjure up the image of ‘may cause envy’ — thanks to consistent communication in that direction.

Smiles V Chandramouli, Vice President, Marketing & sales, Mirc Electronics, “DNA of the brand is envy and hence the revival of the theme in communication. We conducted a research in mid 2003 to find out what envy meant in 1980s and what it means now. In the 80s it was fine to show off, but now it has become subtler. Then, just a brand name could cause envy but now it is product driven. We derived the insight that envy has to be now rooted in product, it can’t be just the brand message. Consumers don’t want to be seen as seeking envy, but if they cause it, they don't have an issue. Hence the tagline is far more subtle now – ‘May cause envy’, and a slightly stronger one in Hindi 'Duniya jale to jale'.”

Looking back, the second half of 90s was not too great for Onida. Hence, the decision to relaunch the brand and control the brand dip was taken. Chandramouli defines the time from 1998 to 2004 “as the years of brand relaunch.” Product, communication and consumer contact points were the three focus areas.

Special focus was on high end products. Onida launched KY Thunder (in 2000), Black (2001), KY Home Theatre (2002) and the DVD player (2003). Secondly, instead of just talking about the technological superiority of the brand, technology demonstrators were brought to the fore. For instance, DVMC (in Black) and 5.1 theatre surround technology in home theatre — which is independent of input, were introduced.

The third focus area, as far as products are concerned, has been usage innovation. For instance, picture and sound quality can be chosen very easily depending on the genre one is watching. Remotes with LCD screens have been introduced. A user can log in and choose 1 to 10 channels on the remote. An alarm can be set on the remote itself as a reminder.

The communication programme was also put in place. Spread over six years, it took place in three phases. States Chandramouli, “1998 to 2000, the brand needed salience. There was need to bring back top of mind awareness for Onida. Hence, the tilting aeroplane and Kargil ads which spoke just of Onida and not of product attributes.”

Around 2000, as per Chandramouli, salience was back but there were issues on technology perception. Hence, the communication focus now was on product design etc. From 2000 to 2003 attention was on tech drivers – led by sub brands and product attributes.

In June 2003, a brand track was conducted, which showed that sub brands were not contributing to a strong Onida – though Onida as a brand was now considered pretty cutting edge. It was time to bring back envy in the communication.

Consumer connect points have been pivotal. States Chandramouli, "There has been enormous focus on this area in the last three years. Our in-shop advertising is a class apart." The brand has been reaching out through exhibitions, where “demonstrating product attributes is perhaps more important than generating sales at the venue." The website, which is snazzy and user friendly, serves as another connect point along with contact through POS. "In this area, we would perhaps be the largest spenders among consumer durable companies," states Chandramouli.

These steps have delivered results. The distinction, he explains, is not in terms of Indian brand and foreign brand now. It is in terms of good and bad quality. "We have overcome the handicap of being an Indian brand – and we are comparable to the best brands internationally. The brand is acquiring scale and we have become a multi-product durable company," he says.

In terms of percentage growth, CTVs, grew by 15 to 20% in 2003 - 2004. He states that there has been healthy growth in DVDs and washing machines too. As for 2004-2005, he states, "In this fiscal, CTV industry should grow at 15%. For us, there is more opportunity, as we are quite stable now. We have the opportunity to acquire more market share. Last fiscal we had a market share of 11.5%. In this fiscal, we are expecting it to be 14%."

Though there are many milestones to cover, the continuing revamp strategy seems to have paid off. Chandramouli elucidates, "We had conviction – we believed in the right thing and we were patient. We achieved what we had set out to, but it does not mean we have not set new objectives for ourselves."


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