CMO In­ter­view





Strate­gi­cally shift­ing its fo­cus to gam­ing and pre­mium prod­ucts, Hewlett-Packard In­dia has now strength­ened its lead­er­ship po­si­tion across all seg­ments in the PC cat­e­gory. Nee­l­ima Burra, Coun­try Mar­ket­ing Di­rec­tor, HP In­dia talks about how the com­pany is bring­ing in an emo­tional con­nect with the brand phi­los­o­phy in or­der to be more re­lat­able to In­dian au­di­ences Q] What is the over­all brand phi­los­o­phy of HP in In­dia and how are you po­si­tion­ing it across cat­e­gories?

The HP brand is po­si­tioned around the phi­los­o­phy ‘Keep Rein­vent­ing’ in In­dia, as we want our tech­nol­ogy to in­spire peo­ple to rein­vent their lives, sto­ries, suc­cess and pro­duc­tiv­ity ev­ery day. Our nu­mer­ous ac­tiv­i­ties in brand­ing, mar­ket­ing, busi­ness and prod­uct in­no­va­tion ac­tu­ally take this phi­los­o­phy for­ward to cre­ate amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ences. Be it the new Spec­tre launch or the Omen X launch, it is all about how we are rein­vent­ing the game, lux­ury or per­for­mance. We also take for­ward the rein­vent­ing thought process in our CSR ac­tiv­i­ties. So, this is one phi­los­o­phy that binds us as a com­pany, right from in­sight and prod­uct in­no­va­tion to busi­ness and brand in­no­va­tion.

Q] We saw the brand phi­los­o­phy of ‘Rein­vent my story’ in the last HP TVC, how do you plan to take this brand propo­si­tion for­ward?

If you look at In­dia, it’s a huge mar­ket with dif­fer­ent con­sumer seg­ments right from ur­ban to ru­ral, and from first-time buy­ers to re­place­ment buy­ers. For ev­ery­one it’s a dif­fer­ent story through which you can use tech­nol­ogy and rein­vent your life. ‘Rein­vent My Story’ was a se­ries of sto­ries which we cre­ated around the newer trends which are emerg­ing in the mil­len­nial seg­ment for ex­am­ple en­trepreneur­ship. Go­ing for­ward, we will have many such ‘slice of life’ sto­ries in dif­fer­ent seg­ments.

Q] More than 100 brands as­so­ci­ated them­selves with IPL 2018. Did you feel that your brand was get­ting lost in the crowd of so many other brands?

There are mil­lions of brands in the coun­try, but the one that ac­tu­ally gets no­ticed and has a last­ing im­pres­sion on the minds of con­sumers is the one that cre­ates a rel­e­vant con­nect with them over a pe­riod of time. HP is one of the most pow­er­ful brands from the point of view of topof-the-mind con­sumer re­call. This as­so­ci­a­tion with IPL has helped us to build a good emo­tional cus­tomer con­nect and very good sales ex­cite­ment.

Q] HP has been the leader in the PC cat­e­gory in In­dia for quite some time. How do you plan to main­tain this po­si­tion

go­ing for­ward?

That’s the power of a strong sales team and cus­tomers who are the back­bone of our mar­ket share and lead­er­ship po­si­tion. The big­gest fac­tor of suc­cess is the in­no­va­tion which we have driven in the last two years. Prod­uct launches right from Spec­tre and Omen to Pav­il­ion have not just en­abled us to re­tain mar­ket share, but grow quar­ter on quar­ter, as well.

Q] HP re­cently shifted its fo­cus to the gam­ing seg­ment. How­ever, it is sec­ond to Dell in this area. What is your ap­proach for tar­get­ing con­sumers in this par­tic­u­lar seg­ment? How are you talk­ing to them?

While Dell has been in the gam­ing seg­ment for quite a while, in just one year’s time we have taken the mar­ket by storm. We have not only gained mar­ket share but also grabbed a sig­nif­i­cant slice of the pie from our com­peti­tors. Be­ing a mil­len­nial brand, we be­lieve in talk­ing to ex­pert gamers or per­form­ers and cre­at­ing affin­ity for the as­so­ci­a­tion of ‘Omen by HP’. More­over, we call it ‘Omen by HP’ be­cause we want to cre­ate a brand culture, con­nect and as­pi­ra­tion in terms of dom­i­nat­ing the game. There are lots of ac­tiv­i­ties which we do to drive our brand’s as­pi­ra­tional value among gamers. Go­ing for­ward, there are ag­gres­sive plans which will fur­ther help us take the lead in this seg­ment. We also have a strate­gic part­ner­ship with ESM (global plat­form for e-sports) which ac­tu­ally helps us plan our an­nual cal­en­dars, ac­tiv­i­ties and gamer brand am­bas­sadors there. Even glob­ally we are very strong in this area, as we have lot of

gam­ing brand am­bas­sadors in mul­ti­ple mar­kets who help us bring very strong in­sights; not only with re­spect to gam­ing en­gage­ment, but also for prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and fu­tur­is­tic ideas and in­no­va­tions.

Q] HP has had prod­ucts in the pre­mium cat­e­gory for many year, but never tar­geted con­sumers in this cat­e­gory. What is your game plan to tap this con­sumer seg­ment go­ing for­ward?

We have three prod­uct cat­e­gories cater­ing to dif­fer­ent con­sumer seg­ments. Pav­il­ion is for the en­try cat­e­gory and Spec­tre, which we launched in 2016, is for the lifestyle cat­e­gory and most re­cently we launched Omen by HP cater­ing to the gam­ing cat­e­gory. Th­ese are some of the strate­gic moves to drive the pre­mium port­fo­lio of our busi­ness. In 2016, we launched a mega cam­paign and even dur­ing IPL 2018 we had a cam­paign run­ning for Spec­tre. We are al­ready a leader in this seg­ment. With the Omen launch we are the num­ber two player in the pre­mium cat­e­gory.

Q] What is the key in­sight for the In­dian con­sumer in the PC cat­e­gory? Do they look for af­ter-sales ser­vice or pric­ing?

Con­sumers look for sim­ple things. They do not look at just a prod­uct or its price tag; they look for value, as in how will a par­tic­u­lar prod­uct add value to them. In this age of hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence and emo­tional con­nect, the pur­chase ex­pe­ri­ence of a con­sumer is im­per­a­tive. If you look at the way re­tail, pre­mi­u­miza­tion or ur­ban­iza­tion is emerg­ing, it will work only if brands are able to con­nect back to the culture and the con­text in which those brands are used, thus pro­vid­ing a seam­less brand ex­pe­ri­ence right from the time they see the prod­uct in the store or on­line, to the time they make the pur­chase. More­over, to­day con­sumers are will­ing to pay a pre­mium for the ser­vice they get by the brand. They are also will­ing to pay a pre­mium for the touch and feel, as well as the ex­pe­ri­ence and en­gage­ment which they get and the affin­ity which the brand drives. In this tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try, what mat­ters is the way we can hu­man­ize, per­son­al­ize and cus­tom­ize the brand and pro­vide an ex­pe­ri­ence that will make a con­sumer’s life bet­ter.

Q] Are con­sumers in ru­ral ar­eas also as dis­cern­ing; do they also ask for a par­tic­u­lar brand over the other? What is your ap­proach for ru­ral ar­eas?

Yes, our brand sells re­ally well in ru­ral ar­eas. I have per­son­ally seen the kind of crowd that our ‘HP world on wheels’ pulls in the ru­ral mar­ket. Those 48 ve­hi­cles that we run across the coun­try touch al­most 6,000 In­dian vil­lages. And peo­ple def­i­nitely come back ask­ing how they can go about pur­chas­ing a par­tic­u­lar prod­uct. Even if this tech­nol­ogy is ex­pen­sive and pre­mium, if we are able to show con­sumers the us­age of the prod­uct and how it is likely to add value to their life, it cre­ates a last­ing im­pres­sion for them. The key is reach­ing out them in their own lan­guage and in their own ways of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, which can be eas­ier for them to un­der­stand.

Q] Is it a chal­lenge for you to tar­get both, the pre­mium seg­ment and the mass mar­ket, at the same time?

The key is to have the right con­sumer in­sight, be­cause if you go with a one-size-fits-all com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­egy, it may not work. What HP does re­ally well glob­ally is track­ing rel­e­vant con­sumer in­sights, cre­at­ing prod­uct in­no­va­tions, driv­ing brand com­mu­ni­ca­tion around them and then touch­ing and im­pact­ing the lives of con­sumers to bring in strong brand affin­ity.

Q] What’s the next big in­sights in the con­text of the In­dian mar­ket?

Per­son­al­iza­tion and cus­tomiza­tion is one ma­jor in­sight wherein we see the po­ten­tial of dig­i­tal and so­cial me­dia. The sec­ond big in­sight which we are also look­ing at is global brand­ing with a lo­cal soul. This is be­cause peo­ple don’t just buy brands, they buy emo­tions. They don’t just look at price points, but emo­tional con­nect with the brand. This is where hu­man­iza­tion of the brand comes in. The third big in­sight which we are al­ready ex­plor­ing is pas­sion mar­ket­ing. It is about how we can re­ally cre­ate a pow­er­ful brand which con­sumers are pas­sion­ate about by show­cas­ing prod­uct per­for­mance and the way in which they can im­prove the life of con­sumers.

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