Samsung India banks big on digital; price hike in the anvil: Rahul Saighal 

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Rahul Saighal, CMO, Samsung India

Rahul Saighal, CMO, Samsung India

Samsung India recently bagged three awards Pitch Brands 50 Awards – For Excellence in Marketing, the only company to have achieved this feat. The consumer durables company won in the categories of Buzzy Brands, Marketing Innovators, and Impactful Launches.

In an interview with Pitch, Rahul Saighal, CMO, Samsung India talks about the company’s marketing strategy and the way forward. Samsung has plans to not just introduce contemporary technology products, but also customise them as per the needs of Indian consumers. Excerpts:

What is your marketing strategy for 2013?
At Samsung, it is our endeavour to introduce innovative products that make the lives of our consumers richer, simpler and more enjoyable. As a marketer, my effort is to communicate the consumer benefits of our products through communication and messaging that is simple and relevant. 

Of course, we try and make the message delivery platforms innovative and we reach out to our consumers by leveraging the optimum mix of above-the-line (ATL) and below-the-line (BTL), including in-shop point-of-purchase or sale POP/ POS as well as digital.
We also try to give our consumers an enhanced retail experience, be it through product display, in-shop demonstrations or the overall easy and interactive environment in our Smartphone Cafes or Digital Plazas.

What is the current size of the consumer durables industry and what is the share of your company? How much increase in revenues and growth do you expect this year as compared to last year?

India has an estimated Rs 40,000-crore consumer electronics industry. We are expecting the industry to grow by 8-10 per cent this year.

What is the market share of your products? How much do these products contribute to the company’s overall revenues?
Samsung is the largest electronics company in India and we are leading the market in categories such as panel TVs, frost-free, refrigerators, mobiles, smartphones and tablets, among others.

How are you planning to strengthen your presence in the country?
We plan to lead the convergence era with our smart technology products, be it in the rapidly converging mobile and IT areas or the consumer electronics domain.

As we look at further strengthening our presence in the country, we will continue to build and strengthen our R&D and manufacturing operations in the country. We will continue to grow our R&D manpower across our Bangalore and Noida R&D Centres, while our manufacturing operations across our Chennai and Noida facilities will help us respond faster to the needs of the Indian market. In terms of products, we will continue to introduce innovative products across our businesses that will drive our business growth.
How are you positioning yourself differently from your competitors? How are you planning to increase your brand value?
Innovation is one of the key pillars of the Samsung brand and we have been launching innovative products that make the lives of our consumers simpler and richer. We are looking at leading the convergence era with our smart devices, be it smartphones, tablets or smart televisions, to name a few. We will support our innovative products with inspiring marketing programmes to enhance the brand appeal for consumers. In addition, we will continue to strengthen our presence in the country through our investments in manufacturing and R&D, apart from our Social Responsibility programmes.

Could you tell us about some of your future product launches and product campaigns?
At Samsung, our endeavour is to reach out to consumers across various points with our innovative products. Recently, Samsung introduced a ‘Made for India’ LED television series, keeping in mind the feedback received from Indian consumers. This LED TV series has the ConnectShare Transfer feature, which allows consumers to share content between devices via two USB ports on the side of the TV to plug in pen drives, smartphones or other storage devices, eliminating the need for a computer.
How much do print, electronic, digital, and radio constitute in your marketing spend. Which medium is better in terms of brand reach and recall?
By and large, we use a 360 degree communication approach for our products, and the spends vary for different product groups. But, I can say that the spends on digital have increased dramatically.

Is there any price rise on the cards?
We are considering that, but have not taken a final decision regarding the same.

What is the main focus of Samsung India for this year? How are you focusing on the Tier II and III markets? 
At Samsung, we have a product portfolio that is relevant to urban as well as other markets. While new technology introduction in premium top-end products such as smartphones, smart LED TVs, side by side refrigerators and front loading fully automatic washing machines is driving demand in urban markets, Tier II and III cities are seeing good consumption for these products through replacement and upgradation as well. However, our smaller screen LED TVs and semi-automatic washing machines, direct cool refrigerators, and feature phones continue to sell more in Tier II and III markets.
We don’t have plans to introduce our contemporary technology products in the Indian market, but to customise them as per the needs of the Indian consumers. 

With a wide distribution network, including Plazas, Smartphone Cafes, and large format retail chains, Samsung is already present across the length and breadth of the country. We, however, plan to continue expanding our distribution network to reach out to more and more Indian consumers.

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