With the launch of the latest Micromax Canvas Turbo and the announcement with regard to Wolverine star Hugh Jackman as the brand ambassador, Indian mobile hand set maker Micromax has signaled a big leap in strategy. Micromax stands at number two with 22 per cent market share, just behind Korean handset maker Samsung, which is four per cent ahead of Micromax. So are we going to witness an Indian handset maker at the number one spot anytime soon? Micromaxâ€™s Chief Marketing Officer Shubhodip Palâ€™s confident reply says it all, â€œYes, we are looking at that spot in the coming months backed by our strong product portfolio and the numbers we have in the smaller cities. With the launch of Canvas Turbo and association with Huge Jackman we are moving ahead towards the number one spot in India.â€
Micromax started its journey when the likes of Nokia had ruled the Indian mobile market for almost a decade and Samsung was aggressively expanding its product base. At that time Micromax catered to the tier-2 and tier-3 markets with its modest price offerings. The brand was compared with Karbonn and Spice and was known for its economical yet performance based products. After making a mark in this category, Micromax is now ready for the next leap.
With the launch of the Canvas series and the campaign around the tagline â€œCan life be endlessâ€ the brand had already captured viewer attention especially due to the highly stylized TVC. Sticking to their plan and associating with Huge Jackman was just the step expected from Micromax. Speaking about their strategy Pal said, â€œWe aim to lure the A+ segment in the domestic market and also to build an international brand as we plan to explore the overseas market.â€ Abraham Koshy, Professor, IIM Ahmedabad, commented on the same saying, â€œBig money is needed to join the big league and they have rightly done that. The key to this shift will be a sustained effort on the product development side. Only if they are able to match the image they are building with product innovations, the brand can build its presence in the overseas markets as well.â€
For an Indian in a metropolitan city, a phone is more than just a gadget, it represents the ownerâ€™s personality. Speaking about it Pal said, â€œMircromax Canvas has been developed to suit the personality of this clientele. Our focus was to make our phones gel well with the â€˜attitudeâ€™ of people.â€
The decision about roping in a Hollywood superstar was not made public even within the organization. Micromax was in touch with several agencies including William Morris and names like Ashton Kutcher and Bradley Cooper were also considered before sealing the deal with Huge Jackman. Pal says there are more surprises in the offing.
For a brand born and brought up in India, it is not easy to tap into the foreign market. Micromax is all set to do that. Pal said, â€œVery soon we will be launching in Russia, thereafter we also plan to expand in the other markets. If TCS and Infosys have done that successfully, why canâ€™t we?â€ Speaking about the challenges an Indian brand faces, Pal added, â€œI do not see any challenge. If we are confident about our products, we are confident to succeed in the new markets as well.â€
Koshy reacted to the expansion plans of the brand, â€œMicromax needs to build an image which boasts about the brand being an international brand. Indian and Chinese brands are not very well accepted in other markets. Roping in Huge Jackman can prove to be an effective move for them.â€ He also commented on their move to target markets like Russia where competition is relatively much easier to beat compared to European and American markets.
The history of Samsung in India is an ideal example for Micromax to follow. Having started with value for money propositions, Samsung went on to build an image which allowed it to surpass Nokia. Micromax, today finds itself on a similar trajectory. The question is, will it be able to follow the Samsung success story?
By Ankur Gaurav