TRANS­FORM­ING PANA­SONIC BRICK BY BRICK

SARTHAK SETH, HEAD, BRAND & MAR­KET­ING COM­MU­NI­CA­TIONS, PANA­SONIC IN­DIA

Impact - - CONTENTS - BY NEETA NAIR

Q] This time Pana­sonic has come up with a very glam­orous cam­paign in ‘so much to do’ ad, what was the in­sight?

I have been us­ing a smart phone for many years, yet there is so much more to ex­plore. Through this cam­paign we are high­light­ing the var­i­ous as­pects of a Pana­sonic phone. Every tar­get group has got a dif­fer­ent need when it comes to a phone and a Pana­sonic hand­set fits into all of that. Also if you see the look and feel of the ad, we have tried to trans­form the im­agery of Pana­sonic it­self with the help of a bold ap­proach as well as glam­our with Taapsee Pannu and Varun Dhawan in it.

Q] What is the mar­ket­ing mix for this cam­paign?

It’s a 360 de­gree cam­paign. For us it’s a TG which is spread across the met­ros, Tier I and Tier II mar­kets, so tele­vi­sion be­comes one of the big­ger driv­ers for us. Then we have Print to get into those Tier II mar­kets with a big fo­cus on re­gional pub­li­ca­tions. On Digital, we are us­ing our own so­cial as­sets and are plan­ning ac­tiv­i­ties on In­sta­gram, Face­book, Twit­ter and of course Youtube. Lastly there is ra­dio, which is some­thing we are in the process of ex­plor­ing. The com­mer­cial is jin­gle based and thus per­fect for the ra­dio au­di­ence. An­other in­ter­est­ing as­pect is our tie-up with Judwa 2, one of the most an­tic­i­pated movies for this year. It works well for us be­cause both our brand am­bas­sadors Varun and Taapsee are star­ring in it.

Q] What kind of spends are you look­ing at for this cam­paign?

For mo­bile per se as a cat­e­gory this year we are look­ing at spend­ing any­thing be­tween Rs 150 to 180 crore. On this cam­paign in the next three odd months we will be spend­ing close to Rs 100 crores which will in­clude the BTL ac­ti­va­tions.

Q] You are plan­ning to launch around 28 new de­vices in this one year.

We want to be more ag­gres­sive in the smart­phone mar­ket to show the con­sumer that we have a wider range. The big­ger propo­si­tion for us is in terms of get­ting a flag­ship de­vice. Cur­rently we play in price range of Rs 8,000 to Rs 13,000. So, it’s like can we up the ante and re­ally look onto some­thing in the range of Rs 18,000 to 22,000. That would also help the brand in terms of driv­ing a cer­tain premium.

Q] You said you are go­ing to launch it in the price range of Rs 8,000-22,000. Why not in the en­try level seg­ment?

We are not keen on sell­ing cheaper de­vices, what’s the value propo­si­tion I will be able to give to the end con­sumer through it. To give them value I re­ally have to have cer­tain fea­tures which are be­yond the ba­sic. So, ob­vi­ously we will not be play­ing into that sort of pric­ing and pre­fer to go up the lad­der. Some­thing we re­al­ized we need to do as a brand over the last 2-3 years.

Q] Two years ago Man­ish Sharma, Pana­sonic CEO said that phones will start con­tribut­ing to more than 35% of your

con­sumer busi­ness in In­dia by 2017. Where does it stand to­day?

It will be in that range of be­tween 25%-30% as of now.

That is be­cause we reshuf­fled our busi­ness model. Also, our growth as far as tele­vi­sions and air con­di­tion­ers are con­cerned, has been phe­nom­e­nal. So, that is adding up to the com­pany’s turnover re­duc­ing the share of phone busi­ness in the pie. But we are get­ting there.

Q] You also re­cently scaled down your growth fig­ures from dou­ble dig­its to 5% in the hand­set cat­e­gory. Why was that?

It is be­cause of our re­align­ment strat­egy. We de­cided to come out of the Rs 7000 and be­low seg­ment- en­try level one. We are also re­align­ing our dis­tri­bu­tion strate­gies. So now we are fo­cus­ing on the next year. We scaled down the fig­ures be­cause we thought it bet­ter to re­vise than to re­pent.

Q] So what is the growth you are tar­get­ing for the next year?

For mo­biles, we are tar­get­ing a good 30% growth. Mo­biles will play a very im­por­tant role for us in our en­tire gamut of prod­ucts.

Q] Some smart­phone mak­ers high­light one spe­cific fea­ture like Oppo and cam­era phones. How about Pana­sonic, is there a USP?

When I say ‘so much to do’, I in­tend to con­vey that our phones are all-rounders. Not just one, we have got the best of every­thing. But yes, there are cer­tain spec­i­fi­ca­tions we are look­ing at fo­cus­ing, espe­cially in the flag­ship de­vice which we hope to launch in Novem­ber.

Q] You also de­cided to end the dis­tri­bu­tion tie-up with Jaina Group. How big a chal­lenge is dis­tri­bu­tion right now?

It’s not a chal­lenge, every­thing is al­ready in place and that is why you have been see­ing the new cam­paigns and so many new prod­uct launches.

Q] How much are you go­ing to spend over­all on the fes­tive sea­son?

With all the cat­e­gories put to­gether—we have ads run­ning for wash­ing ma­chines, tele­vi­sions and mo­biles---it’s go­ing to be about 85-90 crore. This is pure ATL costs i.e. Print, TV, Digital.

Q] How much does In­dia con­trib­ute to your global growth rev­enues?

The con­sumer busi­ness in In­dia con­trib­utes to al­most 2.5%-3% of our global rev­enues.

Q] For a phone brand, the new trend is to take the sports spon­sor­ship route for in­creas­ing vis­i­bil­ity, any such plans?

Yes, we will be fo­cus­ing on the spon­sor­ship model, in fact 2018 is go­ing to be one of those ac­tion years for us be­cause Pana­sonic will com­plete 100 years. We want to go closer to the con­sumer by be­com­ing part of the big­ger leagues, some of which is in the pipeline al­ready. One of them is def­i­nitely cricket and we had part­nered Delhi Dare­dev­ils for four years in the past. Also we are global spon­sors for the 2020 Olympics to be held in Ja­pan, and as a Ja­panese com­pany it is one of our global fo­cuses.

Q] In the 90s, Ja­panese brands were rul­ing the mar­ket be­fore Kore­ans took over. Where did Pana­sonic go wrong?

Pana­sonic had been ac­tive in In­dia since 1992, but again, we were more of a sales com­pany out here. Every­thing, you see to­day was de­vel­oped over the last 7-8 years. I still re­mem­ber when I joined this com­pany in Oc­to­ber, 2008 we were a mi­nus­cule brand. And that was al­most like a sec­ond en­try for the brand be­cause we had to shut down our fac­to­ries for air con­di­tion­ers and re­vamp every­thing. In tele­vi­sion we didn’t even have 0.5% mar­ket share, in air con­di­tion­ers not more than 1% and mo­biles never ex­isted for us then. To­day we have 7.8% mar­ket share in Tele­vi­sions, ap­prox­i­mately 10% in air con­di­tion­ers and 2.5-3% in mo­biles. The mo­bile mar­ket espe­cially has been very com­pet­i­tive with so many brands present. So I believe we have done well over the years but over­all the Kore­ans have been a bit more ag­gres­sive com­pared to the Ja­panese. But peo­ple even to­day love and trust the Ja­panese brands. One thing peo­ple as­so­ciate with Pana­sonic is trust. Com­pared to our peers, Pana­sonic has moved up faster in terms of build­ing brand aware­ness and prod­uct port­fo­lio. But I must say the big­gest chal­lenge for us was in trans­form­ing the im­agery of the brand from one my grand­fa­ther used to one that speaks in the lan­guage of the young­sters to­day.

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