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OnePlus dials into the mass market with Bachchan as brand ambassador

Chinese phone maker moves away from its digital-only ad strategy

Urvi Malvania  |  Mumbai 

Amitabh Bachchan, OnePlus
OnePlus hopes Amitabh Bachchan will build brand awareness and recall across income groups

When signed as brand ambassador, there was little doubt that the Chinese phone maker would  jog down the beaten track with high pitched television and hoardings-led campaigns, just like other smartphone brands. The first ads are out and has played to the script so far, swinging sharply away from its early days of a digital-only promotional strategy and referrral purchases. While the company says that this is the best way to tap into the potential of the 25-million-plus smartphone market in India (IDC, Q4 2016), experts ask whether this will help make the transition from an exclusive and experential purchase to a mass-market brand.
 
believes it can, by spreading awareness about the phone and its features. Vikas Agarwal, general manager of India says that the brand is using Bachchan to do just that. As a mass market label, wants to reach out to  new target groups and geographies that have been left out of the brand’s digital net. Bachchan is popular across income and age groups and the brand hopes to ride on his appeal. However, Agarwal adds, while the company has a new advertising strategy and budget, it is sticking with its online-only sales strategy.


 
had created quite a stir with an ‘invite only’ promotional campaign at the time of its launch. The current campaign, Agarwal says, is essentially a scaled up version of the same referral marketing. Bachchan and stand-up comedian Rohan Joshi of AIB  have come together to launch a series of unique activations including a quiz show where Bachchan plays the role of contestant and declares to be the best brand through an audience poll.
 
Agarwal says that is the third biggest brand in premium segment ($400 or above) in India and  the company wanted to leverage the positive feedback shared by actual end users for the campaign. “The Best Smartphone Contest communicates this core message and recognises the contribution of the community with rewards that include a grand prize of Rs 1 crore along with numerous other offers and a chance to meet Bachchan in person,”he adds.
 
is owned by a subsidiary of the Chinese phone maker BBK which also owns the and labels. Many believe that the strategy to go big with ad campaigns could also be an extension of a larger corporate strategy as both and are big advertisers.
 
Agarwal looks at it differently. He explains that the referral strategy during the launch was a strategic one as is the current decision to shift into a mass market advertising plan. The company was unsure about the sales volumes when it was launching its phones  and the invite system helped  manage its supply chain. That it lured customers in with a unique purchase experience was a bonus. “As a new brand, we weren’t sure how well received our products would be. We used the referral system to  match supply with fluctuating demand. Fortunately, the system worked well as it helped in keeping our inventory in check while creating a positive recommendation chain that quickly went viral. The invite system made our products exclusive and generated a lot of buzz,” says Agarwal.
 
It is now time to scale up and improve brand awareness. Agarwal says that he wants the new campaign to educate users about the brand and the community. “We have expanded the scope to penetrate new user groups and experiment with new marketing channels to check their effectiveness.  We have roped in as he is one of the most consistent performers and is also tech savvy.”
 
The new ads indicate that the brand is also hoping to walk the thin line between premium and mass market categories. Bachchan as anchor appeals to the masses. But the ads pitch against Apple, Google and Samsung, thereby positioning it within the premium category. Bachchan walks the same line as a superstar with mass appeal and “his personality resonates well with our brand mantra. With him on board, we are looking to expand our community,” adds Agarwal.
 
 The company has invested in improving its supply chain and production capacity and has recently started making its phones in India. It adopted a similar strategy in other markets too, in Europe it partnered with carriers like O2 (UK) and Elisa (Finland) to make demand more predictable and stable. And now after three years with operations in over 30 countries, the company has dropped the invite-led sales strategy with the launch of the 3 model late last year. However plans to continue selling online, the only change being that it will now offer smartphones on its own e-commerce website.
 
Can move away from being an experiential purchase and a novelty for first time buyers  to the conscious choice of feature-hungry smartphone users? Agarwal believes it can by keeping an unwavering eye on the product. “With a product first philosophy and one premium flagship smartphone a year strategy, our products are synonymous with our brand. Our constant endeavour is to offer the best device experience and improve engagement with our users. Since inception, our fans have been instrumental in refining products through constant feedback and driving word-of-mouth awareness,” says Agarwal. He is confident that the community-based brand philosophy will continue to drive sales, but then loyalty is a fickle friend in the mass market.

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OnePlus dials into the mass market with Bachchan as brand ambassador

Chinese phone maker moves away from its digital-only ad strategy

Chinese phone maker moves away from its digital-only ad strategy When signed as brand ambassador, there was little doubt that the Chinese phone maker would  jog down the beaten track with high pitched television and hoardings-led campaigns, just like other smartphone brands. The first ads are out and has played to the script so far, swinging sharply away from its early days of a digital-only promotional strategy and referrral purchases. While the company says that this is the best way to tap into the potential of the 25-million-plus smartphone market in India (IDC, Q4 2016), experts ask whether this will help make the transition from an exclusive and experential purchase to a mass-market brand.
 
believes it can, by spreading awareness about the phone and its features. Vikas Agarwal, general manager of India says that the brand is using Bachchan to do just that. As a mass market label, wants to reach out to  new target groups and geographies that have been left out of the brand’s digital net. Bachchan is popular across income and age groups and the brand hopes to ride on his appeal. However, Agarwal adds, while the company has a new advertising strategy and budget, it is sticking with its online-only sales strategy.
 
had created quite a stir with an ‘invite only’ promotional campaign at the time of its launch. The current campaign, Agarwal says, is essentially a scaled up version of the same referral marketing. Bachchan and stand-up comedian Rohan Joshi of AIB  have come together to launch a series of unique activations including a quiz show where Bachchan plays the role of contestant and declares to be the best brand through an audience poll.
 
Agarwal says that is the third biggest brand in premium segment ($400 or above) in India and  the company wanted to leverage the positive feedback shared by actual end users for the campaign. “The Best Smartphone Contest communicates this core message and recognises the contribution of the community with rewards that include a grand prize of Rs 1 crore along with numerous other offers and a chance to meet Bachchan in person,”he adds.
 
is owned by a subsidiary of the Chinese phone maker BBK which also owns the and labels. Many believe that the strategy to go big with ad campaigns could also be an extension of a larger corporate strategy as both and are big advertisers.
 
Agarwal looks at it differently. He explains that the referral strategy during the launch was a strategic one as is the current decision to shift into a mass market advertising plan. The company was unsure about the sales volumes when it was launching its phones  and the invite system helped  manage its supply chain. That it lured customers in with a unique purchase experience was a bonus. “As a new brand, we weren’t sure how well received our products would be. We used the referral system to  match supply with fluctuating demand. Fortunately, the system worked well as it helped in keeping our inventory in check while creating a positive recommendation chain that quickly went viral. The invite system made our products exclusive and generated a lot of buzz,” says Agarwal.
 
It is now time to scale up and improve brand awareness. Agarwal says that he wants the new campaign to educate users about the brand and the community. “We have expanded the scope to penetrate new user groups and experiment with new marketing channels to check their effectiveness.  We have roped in as he is one of the most consistent performers and is also tech savvy.”
 
The new ads indicate that the brand is also hoping to walk the thin line between premium and mass market categories. Bachchan as anchor appeals to the masses. But the ads pitch against Apple, Google and Samsung, thereby positioning it within the premium category. Bachchan walks the same line as a superstar with mass appeal and “his personality resonates well with our brand mantra. With him on board, we are looking to expand our community,” adds Agarwal.
 
 The company has invested in improving its supply chain and production capacity and has recently started making its phones in India. It adopted a similar strategy in other markets too, in Europe it partnered with carriers like O2 (UK) and Elisa (Finland) to make demand more predictable and stable. And now after three years with operations in over 30 countries, the company has dropped the invite-led sales strategy with the launch of the 3 model late last year. However plans to continue selling online, the only change being that it will now offer smartphones on its own e-commerce website.
 
Can move away from being an experiential purchase and a novelty for first time buyers  to the conscious choice of feature-hungry smartphone users? Agarwal believes it can by keeping an unwavering eye on the product. “With a product first philosophy and one premium flagship smartphone a year strategy, our products are synonymous with our brand. Our constant endeavour is to offer the best device experience and improve engagement with our users. Since inception, our fans have been instrumental in refining products through constant feedback and driving word-of-mouth awareness,” says Agarwal. He is confident that the community-based brand philosophy will continue to drive sales, but then loyalty is a fickle friend in the mass market.
image
Business Standard
177 22

OnePlus dials into the mass market with Bachchan as brand ambassador

Chinese phone maker moves away from its digital-only ad strategy

When signed as brand ambassador, there was little doubt that the Chinese phone maker would  jog down the beaten track with high pitched television and hoardings-led campaigns, just like other smartphone brands. The first ads are out and has played to the script so far, swinging sharply away from its early days of a digital-only promotional strategy and referrral purchases. While the company says that this is the best way to tap into the potential of the 25-million-plus smartphone market in India (IDC, Q4 2016), experts ask whether this will help make the transition from an exclusive and experential purchase to a mass-market brand.
 
believes it can, by spreading awareness about the phone and its features. Vikas Agarwal, general manager of India says that the brand is using Bachchan to do just that. As a mass market label, wants to reach out to  new target groups and geographies that have been left out of the brand’s digital net. Bachchan is popular across income and age groups and the brand hopes to ride on his appeal. However, Agarwal adds, while the company has a new advertising strategy and budget, it is sticking with its online-only sales strategy.
 
had created quite a stir with an ‘invite only’ promotional campaign at the time of its launch. The current campaign, Agarwal says, is essentially a scaled up version of the same referral marketing. Bachchan and stand-up comedian Rohan Joshi of AIB  have come together to launch a series of unique activations including a quiz show where Bachchan plays the role of contestant and declares to be the best brand through an audience poll.
 
Agarwal says that is the third biggest brand in premium segment ($400 or above) in India and  the company wanted to leverage the positive feedback shared by actual end users for the campaign. “The Best Smartphone Contest communicates this core message and recognises the contribution of the community with rewards that include a grand prize of Rs 1 crore along with numerous other offers and a chance to meet Bachchan in person,”he adds.
 
is owned by a subsidiary of the Chinese phone maker BBK which also owns the and labels. Many believe that the strategy to go big with ad campaigns could also be an extension of a larger corporate strategy as both and are big advertisers.
 
Agarwal looks at it differently. He explains that the referral strategy during the launch was a strategic one as is the current decision to shift into a mass market advertising plan. The company was unsure about the sales volumes when it was launching its phones  and the invite system helped  manage its supply chain. That it lured customers in with a unique purchase experience was a bonus. “As a new brand, we weren’t sure how well received our products would be. We used the referral system to  match supply with fluctuating demand. Fortunately, the system worked well as it helped in keeping our inventory in check while creating a positive recommendation chain that quickly went viral. The invite system made our products exclusive and generated a lot of buzz,” says Agarwal.
 
It is now time to scale up and improve brand awareness. Agarwal says that he wants the new campaign to educate users about the brand and the community. “We have expanded the scope to penetrate new user groups and experiment with new marketing channels to check their effectiveness.  We have roped in as he is one of the most consistent performers and is also tech savvy.”
 
The new ads indicate that the brand is also hoping to walk the thin line between premium and mass market categories. Bachchan as anchor appeals to the masses. But the ads pitch against Apple, Google and Samsung, thereby positioning it within the premium category. Bachchan walks the same line as a superstar with mass appeal and “his personality resonates well with our brand mantra. With him on board, we are looking to expand our community,” adds Agarwal.
 
 The company has invested in improving its supply chain and production capacity and has recently started making its phones in India. It adopted a similar strategy in other markets too, in Europe it partnered with carriers like O2 (UK) and Elisa (Finland) to make demand more predictable and stable. And now after three years with operations in over 30 countries, the company has dropped the invite-led sales strategy with the launch of the 3 model late last year. However plans to continue selling online, the only change being that it will now offer smartphones on its own e-commerce website.
 
Can move away from being an experiential purchase and a novelty for first time buyers  to the conscious choice of feature-hungry smartphone users? Agarwal believes it can by keeping an unwavering eye on the product. “With a product first philosophy and one premium flagship smartphone a year strategy, our products are synonymous with our brand. Our constant endeavour is to offer the best device experience and improve engagement with our users. Since inception, our fans have been instrumental in refining products through constant feedback and driving word-of-mouth awareness,” says Agarwal. He is confident that the community-based brand philosophy will continue to drive sales, but then loyalty is a fickle friend in the mass market.

image
Business Standard
177 22