WINNING MARKETS THROUGH WORD-OF-MOUTH

Submitted by admin on Mon, 07/03/2017 - 13:32

OnePlus launched its latest flagship product OnePlus 5 with a lot of fanfare in India recently. Kyle Kiang, Global Head, Marketing, OnePlus spoke about how word-of-mouth has worked wonders for the brand and helped it build a loyal following in India and across the world

 

BY SAMARPITA BANERJEE
 

Q] With the launch of the new OnePlus 5, you plan to up the after-sales service game with the ‘promise of 5’, offering more transparency. How are you going to do that?

For us at OnePlus, one of the major themes is continuous improvement and that applies to our user experience too. We are offering conveniences like one-hour repair, home pick-ups and drop-offs in 10 Indian cities. We want to be transparent with our customers. OnePlus owners can check the price points of all spare parts on our website. We also have exclusive service centers that provide offline touchpoints for support. We also provide online multi-channel support to help customers get in touch with us. We aim to offer a seamless ownership experience and are already making great strides in that area.
 

Q] OnePlus phones almost have a cult following in India as well as across the world. How are you taking your offerings a step ahead with the latest product?

What we offer is simply an extension of our philosophy and we don’t need to do anything different. We have made a lot of improvement in the theme of the company and in the products as well. We are really satisfied with the devices we have made in the past and we are very proud of our latest offering as well.
 

Q] When you launched in India, back in 2014, you didn’t really had any elaborate advertising campaign. What was your strategy then? Was it primarily word-ofmouth?

When we started off, we were a very small company. We still are small, with about 600 people in the organization globally. For us, most of our marketing from the very start has indeed happened through word-of-mouth. And this stands true even today. Our research says that most people come to know about our products through someone who has used OnePlus. Our entire focus is on the product. I wish I could take some credit for the marketing but I can’t. We make great products and firmly believe that if we continue to do just that, people will help spread the word. And even when we do marketing, a lot of it is not traditional. We have built a good relationship with our users where they appreciate our brand voice but word-of-mouth has been consistent for us and has helped us spread the word about our products.

Q] India is a price-sensitive market with a lot of players already present in the smartphone space. How do you convince customers to go for OnePlus?

When I think of India, we are driven by our product-first philosophy and it’s not a business strategy. Since we believe in making great products, we put all our resources into that. We are not a big company and don’t spend a lot on marketing across the world. The cost that goes into making the device represents the price. We are proud of the approach we have taken and users have responded pretty well to that in India.
 

Q] You recently ran a teaser campaign during the recently concluded ICC Champions Trophy where you collaborated with a lot of celebrities. Was the campaign able to generate the kind of interest that you had hoped for?

Yes, the teaser campaign worked really well for us and we did get a lot of positive response. We roped in a lot of well-known faces and it worked in our favor. We are glad to have more such individuals join the OnePlus community who appreciate the device.
 

Q] You roped in Amitabh Bachchan as your brand ambassador earlier this year? How did he fit in with the brand?

People don’t really think of Amitabh Bachchan as being good with technology but when I met him, I realized he is actually very savvy. I was quite impressed by his interest in technology. Through that campaign, we wanted to talk about best rated smartphones. Our intention was to establish OnePlus 3T as the best rated smartphone in India.
 

Q] You recently opened your first experience store in Bangalore. Are there plans of increasing the number of such stores in the near future?

Yes, there are plans for that.
 

Q] Are you also considering opening brick-and-mortar stores across India soon?

Yes, we are considering that too. Our experience centre has been a success and currently, we are trying to find ways of engaging with consumers and probably experience service centers are another way of providing offline touchpoints and services to users.
 

Q] What will be your marketing strategy for India?

It’s funny but the strategy for India is not different than anywhere else. It’s word-of-mouth again. I am very impressed with Indian users because much like Americans, Indians are very technology savvy. We are an e-commerce, digital brand and for Indian users, e-commerce is a natural purchase model. Certain other parts of the world are behind India in terms of buying their devices online.
 

Q] Considering OnePlus phones are on the higher side of the price spectrum, are you considering producing lowprice models?

We are solely focused on making premium flagship devices.
 

Q] While belonging to the same parent company, Oppo and Vivo have taken a very different route when it comes to marketing in India. They are spending a lot of money on marketing and involved with major sporting events. Is that a route OnePlus might take in the future?

They are probably very different from us. We are completely focused on making premium flagships phones and it’s very different for us.
 

Q] In terms of units sold, how much does India contribute to OnePlus?

While we don’t talk about public sales figures, India is definitely one of our most important markets. We are not present in every country in the world right now and only go to countries where we know people will appreciate the kind of offerings we have.
 

Q] In India, the Tier II and Tier III cities are big markets but are relatively untapped by you. Are you thinking of reaching out to those cities?

They do present a lot of opportunities and I think for us, being a digital brand, there is nothing that should restrict us from growing into those markets.
 

@ FEEDBACK samarpita.banerjee@exchange4media.com

Category: 
Volume No: 
14
Issue No: 
4