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‘In times of distress, customers can hide but responsible brands cannot’

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Rajesh Uttamchandani, Director, Syska Group, shares insights on the rationale behind venturing into a new segment, marketing strategy, distribution plans, expectations for 2021, and more

Leading FMEG brand, Syska Group recently entered the fans segment. The brand has launched a wide variety of fans including decorative, ceiling, wall, pedestal, portable, exhaust, and table fans. The company has been diversifying its product line into newer categories with the aim of reaching every household. Rajesh Uttamchandani, Director, Syska Group says that it is an opportune time for the group to expand into newer portfolios. He says “Syska group has adopted the strategy of lateral expansion from the very beginning of its inception in order to increase its share per household. We have been extensively studying the market and analyzing the constantly evolving consumer patterns. There has been a spike in demand for products such as fans especially from small towns and rural markets. Hence, it was a gradual move for us to enter into this category to address the huge demand from the existing and new customers through a huge portfolio.”

Marketing the new offering

Over the years, Syska has positioned itself as an environmentally conscious brand that saves energy. The positioning of the new range of Syska fans is also around sustainability, energy-efficiency and money-saving. Uttamchandani says, “As an environment-conscious brand, we have always been at the forefront of energy-saving by introducing LED products in the country which save up to 70% power. Our vision has always been around manufacturing energy-efficient products that also meet the consumer’s necessities. We have been continuously supporting the National Smart Cities Mission initiated by the government of India and have been launching products that not only play a part in building a green, sustainable, and safe environment but also have the most advanced technology infused.”

The new face of Syska

The Syska Group for a very long time was associated with actor Irrfan Khan. Post his untimely demise last year, Syska has roped in actor Rajkummar Rao as the brand ambassador.  Uttamchandani says “The brand has taken Rajkummar Rao as the new face of Syska and launched its campaign for the fan category on leading news and GEC TV channels followed by an engaging presence in digital and social media platforms. Syska has always had a strong presence on digital platforms. We have been leveraging social media by being highly active with our customers and engaging with them through posts. Retail branding exercise will be also done shortly to complete the communication loop.”

Elaborating on how the brand has leveraged its association with Rao, Uttamchandani says “Rajkummar Rao has an influential connect with urban audiences, as well as with those from Tier II and III markets, which also represent Syska’s target groups. We believe that both ours and Rajkummar Rao’s journeys are alike as we always strive strenuously and deliver our hundred per cent to remain light years ahead in the race.” The brand had launched a TVC a few months ago with Rao to target audiences across metros, Tier II, and Tier III cities. “Rao exemplifies the confidence that comes from within; beyond the traditional role of a man. We are confident that with this association, we will continue to reach out to our right audience,” adds Uttamchandani.

Marketing strategy

Since the range of fans is a new offering from Syska, the brand is allocating a larger share of its marketing budget to this segment. He explains, “Since it is a new segment brand, we have allocated more of our marketing budgets towards Syska Fans so that we can establish ourselves as a leading brand over a period of time. The marketing strategy is propelled by buying the media inventories in TV, OOH and Digital space at the Group level which is utilised as per the brand requirement within Syska to ensure an optimal ROI. Our focus will be to achieve better ROIs on the marketing spends in the coming financial year.”

Shedding light on the marketing budget for the Syska Group, Uttamchandani says “We fundamentally operate with 3-4% as our marketing budgets which are optimally used to achieve the functional objectives across different segments like LED, Personal Care Appliances, Wires and Cables, mobile accessories and more, where the brand is catering to pan India consumers. We will continue to closely monitor the performance of the campaigns in each medium basis our overall marketing objectives of reach and conversion, leading to agile steps for normalizing the budget used for our various brand segments.”

Distribution across markets

Syska Group has an extensive distribution network across the country to cater to both retail and modern trade. Uttamchandani says, “Introduction of new products in the FMEG category not only provides an easy option to reach out to existing customers but also gives an added opportunity to engage with the existing distribution partner. Our brand always aims to empower our customers and provide them ease of purchase by ensuring that all the newly launched products including our latest launch of fans are available with leading e-tailers to provide them with the comfort and convenience of buying across different geographies.” According to Uttamchandani, the brand is also making new endeavours to provide a seamless consumer experience. He adds “We are constantly working to achieve optimal personalisation in the marketing function to target specific customers, deliver better customer experience and create a stronger bond based on their need and behaviour. The brand is creating enough and more digital footprints on the basis of its online presence, warranty registration programmes, neuro-tagging, etc., to draw and map the customer journey and enhance the lifetime value for all the categories.”

Expansion plans going ahead

Elaborating on the expansion plans, Uttamchandani adds “Syska is committed to offering transformational products based on the shifting consumer buying patterns. We have been constantly developing technology-led products across categories and will continue to offer consumers products that add value to their lives. As a promise to deliver the best in the category, we will continue to offer innovative products for our consumers across various categories, geographies and channels to optimise the brand performance. ”

Moving ahead by taking the learnings from 2020 into account, Syska as a brand plans to be more sustainable. The brand is also looking forward to venturing into IoT technology-enabled smart home products. Uttamchandani says “2020 ended with multiple learnings, right from entering new categories to meeting the amplified demand of smart LED solutions and personal care products. In 2021, we will continue to move towards sustainable growth and becoming more vigilant towards the creation of environment-friendly products and solutions that will benefit the current and future generations. Another trend that we foresee is the ever-increasing demand technology such as IoT enabled smart home products that offer convenience and luxury with a focus on sustainability. Additionally, Tier II and Tier III markets are showing tremendous growth. We expect the electrical industry to perform better in FY’22 owing to growing demand across categories. From Syska’s business perspective, we expect growth at a healthy pace in the next year.”

Marketing mantra for 2021

According to Uttamchandani, a brand has to keep creating relevant and effective communications with the consumers even in times of crisis. He explains “Irrespective of anticipating what is the new normal or not so normal, a marketer needs to continue creating a market for the brand. In times of distress, customers can hide but a responsible brand cannot. It needs to still connect with its audience and all other stakeholders. Syska, as a brand cannot either mortgage long term performance or aid customer distancing because of momentary slow-down. An honest brand purpose and agile marketing will eventually separate men from boys in 2021 and onwards.”

Taking key learnings from the challenges faced in 2020, Uttamchandani also emphasises the need to stay relevant to the consumer. “Syska’s focus on innovation has helped it stay relevant in the Indian market. The brand is witnessing lots of changes in consumer behaviour and is working towards adapting to these changes while coming up with products that will help them stay relevant in these changing ecosystems.

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