Vivo recently announced a new face for its brand, Aamir Khan. We talk to Nipun Marya, Director, Brand Strategy, Vivo India, about why Aamir is a good fit for the brand and what the brand is doing to ensure long-term growth in the Indian market
BY SAMARPITA BANERJEE
Q] You have recently roped in Aamir Khan as the brand’s face. Why is he such a good fit for Vivo?
India as a market presents us with long-term opportunities. Brands have their own journeys and the first four years have been very successful for us, in terms of where we have reached so far. We stand by a few values - innovation, trustworthiness, reliability and quality. We believe that Aamir espouses and lives by these values perfectly and this makes him the perfect fit for us.
Q] Does it also have to do with the immense popularity he enjoys in China?
Aamir is probably one of the biggest stars in the world. He is doing well in China and we are very happy for it. However, our association is primarily because of all the brilliant work he has done and achieved in India, and also worldwide.
Q] Ranveer Singh had a very youth centric appeal whereas Aamir has a much wider appeal. Is your TG also evolving from targeting youth to a wider audience?
Our offerings appeal to audiences across all age groups. Even from a price segment point of view, our entry level price is Rs 10,000. Aamir cuts across all age groups, therefore there is no question of changing our TG.
Q] Indian markets are flooded with smartphones at different price points. Does being on the higher side of the price spectrum limit your reach?
For us, consumer experience is paramount because building long-term relationships is important. I may sell my product to consumers today, but if they are not happy with the experience and quality, they will not buy it again. A good customer experience guarantees long term success. This experience can only be given at a certain price point and that’s primarily the reason for our slightly higher pricing.
Q] After sales service is an important determiner while selecting a particular product. What are you doing to make your customer experience more seamless?
There is a complete paradigm shift in our after sales services, which is different from what the industry offers. The benefit we offer is that everything that happens in the service center is under our control, as the customer service centers are owned by us, and not other third parties. An important factor that determines a customer’s experience is same day delivery of your product. In most cases, consumers are asked to come back after two to three days to collect their phones because the centers might not have the required spare parts. In our case, since the center is owned by the company, we know where the required spare part is, at a store or service center. Even if you were to look at the kind of experience, infrastructure, entertainment facilities, people training, this is directly controlled and owned by the company. After-sales is important to grow long-term. While we do not speak much about our after-sales offerings, we have made significant investments in that direction.
Q] How have your advertising spends increased over the years? Which are the mediums that you are investing on more?
When it comes to advertising, we look at where our consumer is. What are they looking at? Their interests and the content that interests them. Our spends are allocated based on these observations. Cricket is India’s biggest passion and that’s why we have partnered with the Indian Premier League - one of India’s biggest sporting properties. Football is another big sport and we have associated with the FIFA World Cup. That’s our investment strategy, go wherever our consumers go. In terms of mediums, we invest more on Television, Digital and Outdoor.
Q] How has your IPL experience been so far? What are your expectations from the association this year?
We were associated with the last two IPL editions and will continue our association for the next five seasons. Our IPL experience has delivered good results. For my TG, cricket is a passion. Everybody seeks entertainment and IPL is a good blend of world class cricket delivered in an entertainment package. Having said that, I l believe brand building is a longterm process, and there are many more elements to it than just an IPL. Brand building depends on various elements - the right product, offering the right after sales service, etc.
Q] Are there more sporting properties that you are thinking of associating with in the near future?
We will associate with more properties if we think our consumers will like and watch it.
Q] What percentage of your sales comes from e-commerce vis-à-vis your retail stores?
Our consumers are present at both touchpoints, online and offline. Therefore we try to be present on as many channels as possible and provide them a good experience. We have just opened a Vivo E-Store which will deliver our products to more than 10,000 pincodes. There are many other such services we offer. We are focusing on both online and offline as we firmly believe that we should be present at all touch points where our consumer is present.
Q] What’s your reach in terms of dealership?
We are widely present across the country and have identified how we can give differentiated experiences to our customers in terms of touchpoints. We are certainly looking at adding more outlets now.
Q] Is Vivo’s presence concentrated more in the metros, or are you going into Tier II, Tier III cities as well?
The smartphone industry at the higher price point is slightly skewed towards metros. Having said that, Tier II, Tier III, wherever there is a market and a demand, our intention is to be present there.
Q] What kind of growth has the brand witnessed in India over the past four years? How important is the Indian market for the brand?
The India market is very important for Vivo. India is the second largest smartphone market in the world and we are not looking at only short-term gains here. We have a clear vision of where we see Vivo and India, be in the medium-term or for the long-term. Four years ago we had a negligible presence. Today, as per GfK, we are the second largest brand in the country. That speaks volumes of our journey. However, we believe there is still more we can do and achieve.
Q] What differentiates Vivo from all the other players?
We are very clear about a few things. One, we have a very clear vision of where we want to be. Do we have a strategy in place to achieve that? Yes, we do, which we believe, if executed well in the medium and long-term, will give us great results. Our customer centricity and customer focus differentiates us, whether it is about coming up with new products, marketing, advertising, after-sales service, we keep the consumer first at every stage. We create, strategize and design our products from the customer’s view-point and what their pain-points are. Recently, we launched an under display fingerprint scanning solution at the Mobile World Congress and are the first company in the world to do this. We understand that’s the need of the consumer. Similarly, we have also focused on a lot of innovations. We came out with the 24 megapixel selfie camera, which was again a world’s first based on the insight that selfies are the need of the consumer. With our consumerfirst approach, we will continue to deliver reliable, good quality, trustworthy products, because that is what is going to make us stand out.