“Our products are our heroes,” says P Krishnakumar, Executive Director, Marketing of Dell India, as he talks about Dell’s focus on empowering consumers with the ‘power to do more’ and treating them as the best brand ambassadors.
Q] Though Dell was a brand well known in the overseas market, it had to establish itself in India. Today, it has become a trusted brand. Please share with us some key marketing insights on the brand-building journey.
Globally, Dell has undertaken a significant transformation – to become an end-to-end IT solutions player by leveraging its leadership position in the hardware business. One of the most important things for Dell is customer-centricity - listening to what customers are saying. Dell has a deep, unique customer insight, which is the result of over two billion customer interactions each year. It has an unwavering focus on providing customers the tools and capabilities they need to succeed, the ‘The Power to Do More’.
We have followed the same customer-centric focus in India. Delivering enhanced consumer experience, designing SMB-catered products and services or solutions for the large enterprise.
Q] What are the challenges faced by the brand?
Over the last few years, Dell has been focused on three strategic areas of change in an effort to ensure that the brand remains relevant to customers, employees and stakeholders long into the future: 1. Ensuring that the world sees one, consistent Dell brand; 2. Putting customers and their “outcomes” from technology at the core of the Dell promise and 3. Leveraging Dell’s unique differences.
Today, Dell is at an inflection point that is being driven by a convergence of macro-economic, business and technology trends that we call the Virtual Era. In the Virtual Era, consumerization is fundamentally altering how people use technology at work and at home and how social/ digital marketing is blurring and redefining lines of personal, social and work behaviour. Virtualization and cloud computing are redefining the economics of enterprise computing and the demand for secure anytime/anywhere access to data is changing how we treat our information. Dell’s core strategy is to help its customers capitalize on the Virtual Era by offering end-toend solutions that provide them with the power to do more.
Q] Dell is a brand well known for service as its USP, with competitors like Lenovo and Sony Vaio aggressive in the marketing space and using Bollywood stars as brand ambassadors. What are your marketing plans?
We at Dell believe that our products are our heroes. It is with this insight that even when we launched one of our most powerful brand campaigns ever – Take your own path – we made our customers our ambassadors, to showcase the way they used technology to scale their business. We believe that the emotional connect with our customers is established by staying true to our solutions promise.
Q] How are you using digital media to build your brand and connect with the youth?
Using the power of the Internet to deliver products and services and connecting with customers in the most direct way possible is a key part of Dell’s heritage. Using social or digital media at Dell is rooted in listening and crafting an engagement with customers first and foremost. Social brings new dynamics to continue to grow the intersection between business value and customer value, to create a connect between Dell and its valued customers. It is a tool that has been leveraged across the fabric of the company employing different functions, uses and values; from impacting the course of product development to sales & marketing communications, all in order to understand the customer and be able to deliver customer service and value to them.
Dell has been actively engaged in embracing social media since 2006. We do this by leveraging platforms like Facebook and Twitter, our Direct2Dell blog, our product ratings and reviews written by customers and embedded within the purchase experience across www.dell. com, and our Social Media Listening Programme where we directly correspond with individuals who may be reaching out for help or offering advice. There is a human element that social media brings to conversations, which makes the relationship between customer and the company stronger. It is a culture, based right from the beginning on an unwavering drive to provide practical solutions that solve real problems, a promise fulfilled by listening and applying our team’s knowledge, creativity and winning spirit to develop innovative solutions that help customers succeed. We rely on millions of daily interactions with customers around the world to develop deep, insightful relationships that lead to innovative technology, rewarding customer experiences and superior long-term value.
Digital media has helped Dell to have focused conversations with the appropriate target audience. We at Dell understand that consumers are looking to change or upgrade their laptops to match the latest in style as well as performance. That’s why Dell’s product portfolio is evolving to address changing consumer preferences. We are scaling our social media capabilities across the business. Just as the telephone became an integral part of connecting with people, social media is quickly becoming the key tool to reach a much larger audience while still keeping the conversation personal and relevant. We have a single purpose in mind – to enable our customers to grow and thrive in everything they do.
Q] How does Dell as a brand position itself?
Our purpose is to enable people to grow and thrive using technology. At Dell, we believe that we’re in the business of productivity and hence we build technology that will equip people with the ‘Power to do more’. The last few years have seen Dell undergo a serious transformation, from a pure hardware company to a technology solutions provider. From a customer point of view, we’re now able to provide end-to-end technology solutions and that is how we’re positioning ourselves.
Q] How do you think the Indian consumer has evolved over the years?
In India, as in the rest of the world, there is a growing pool of tech-savvy consumers, which was not the case earlier. They are looking at the convenience of using devices that allow for easy convergence of their digital lives with better portability, connectivity and entertainment features.
Today, the market dynamics are changing. In India, the demand for high end technology that meets the needs of customers is growing, with factors like greater exposure to the latest technology and a higher purchase power among the young mobile professionals and GenY segments. In short, consumers no longer accept a compromise between design and performance. Features are a must-have, but in a beautiful design and stunning form. They also look at the value of the technology being offered for the price paid, and do not always prefer the cheapest products. Many of them choose branded products over others, for the assurance of service and reputation, even when they are priced a little higher, as they want nothing but the best experience.
At Dell, we are committed to creating, combining and enhancing technology that delivers the best value to our customers over a long term. We believe that mobility will dictate the form factor of computing devices in the years to follow and we are committed to being at the forefront of this new consumer technology wave.
The most important thing for us at Dell is to stay close to our customers and never stop listening and adapting based on what we hear. One of the things we’ve done at Dell is to form distinct customer business units to get us closer to our customers and their unique needs. At Dell, our promise has been to provide a refreshingly different experience to our fast-growing customer base to help them match their lifestyle with the latest technology.
Q] What is the one tip you have for upcoming marketing managers?
It is imperative that you listen to your customers. There is no better way to get customer insights than talking and listening. This will help a marketer understand customer pain points and help better position the company’s products and solutions.