Don't think celeb-featured TV ads get customers to buy products: OnePlus' Vikas Agarwal

The general manager of India's number one premium phone reveals its marketing strategy

MUMBAI: India is the world’s second-largest smartphone market, a key battleground for a number of brands. As per a Counterpoint report, the premium smartphone market in the country saw a growth of 8 per cent in 2018 and leading the roost was a relatively younger brand OnePlus, holding 30 per cent of the market share.

Launched in December 2014 in India, OnePlus has been a mass favourite since day one. It has managed to leave behind its two key competitors, Samsung and Apple with a clear margin in just four years of its entry into the Indian market. Despite minimal advertising, it has managed to get all the eyeballs in its direction. recently interacted with the brand's general manager for India, Vikas Agarwal to seek the recipe behind this delight of success and the way ahead.

Attributing this feat to the user-focussed approach the brand uses, Agarwal shared, “If we talk about premium segment smartphones in India, there were not many good options for users [before OnePlus launched]. It had been an under-served market. In fact, there were only two brands holding the market, Apple and Samsung. Other brands were not really focussing on this segment because they found it too difficult to penetrate. It is not easy to give products that the consumers would find good in all aspects and that is where OnePlus has done really well.”

He continued, “Our product doesn’t stand for one or two features. We offer an overall experience; be it design or build quality, or software, OnePlus is really good and that becomes our key differentiating factor.”

Agarwal also noted that India had always been the focus market for the brand. On being asked if there was a deliberate attempt to keep the pricing lower than its competitors in the country, he replied, “Pricing is not very relevant to us. We were sure from the beginning that we wanted to create a premium brand and offer the best possible products in that range. As I said, we are a user-focussed brand and we would never have wanted to take advantage of the user. So, we have been very honest and transparent depending on the product. We never have had a differential pricing strategy or product strategy for our phones in the Indian market. The same product is launched everywhere almost around the same date and almost at the same price.”

On being prodded about its marketing strategy and the budgets Agarwal shared that OnePlus doesn’t spend a lot on marketing and all the activities are looked after by an in-house team. Apart from that, its e-commerce partner looks after most of the digital campaigns. Its massive presence on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter also helps.

He shared, “The core of our marketing strategy is word-of-mouth, irrespective of what we do on TV or on digital. We do not invest much in our marketing budgets. As we are a digital brand, we do not really spend in the open market offline or on any other omnichannel. We, in fact, do not do a lot of digital advertising as well. The ads are not really in focus for us. Thereby, we spend lesser than the rest of the industry. A large part of marketing happens on the Amazon platform that is a part of the channel. There, we help in contributing on to the ATL channels. And then there is social media, which is not a very expensive platform. The focus remains on emerging social media platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn or Quora.”

Elaborating more on the marketing strategies Agarwal commented, “For us, the marketing strategies are also a function of timing. So, when there is a launch we go a little heavy on marketing because then we have to maximise brand visibility. When there are seasonal sales like Diwali, Amazon does its own promotion as it is our sole e-commerce partner. Other than that it is just the community that we have earned with our products, which adds to the territory.”

He continued, “We are not big on TV because we don’t really think a customer requires a product because some celebrity is endorsing it. We did the Amitabh Bachchan campaign because we wanted to educate users that OnePlus is really the best at its mark in the country. The second and the third campaigns were done around the product launches when it was necessary to create national awareness about the new models.”

Agarwal concluded the discussion by sharing that 2019 is a big year because it is starting as number one in the market. He reckons that user expectations with the product have also increased. Agarwal said, “This year, we will be launching our first new product in the last 5 years, our smart TV. Second, we will be setting our biggest R&D centre globally in India. From a sales perspective, we will continue to strengthen our offline channels.”

He also shared that the brand will be investing in opening up new retail stores in the metro cities and increasing the count of its exclusive service centres. On the product front, OnePlus is looking towards contributing to the 5G boom that he sees as the future of telecom.

Latest Reads
Motilal Oswal launches new campaign ‘If you keep looking backwards, you can't move forward’

MUMBAI: Motilal Oswal Asset Management Company (MOAMC) has come out with a new digital campaign, further strengthening its position as an equity investing expert. The underlying theme of the campaign is based on observed behavior wherein investors keep analysing past performance to decide on future...

MAM Marketing MAM
Myntra accelerates digital transformation journey with Microsoft Cloud

MUMBAI: Myntra, one of the leading destinations for fashion and lifestyle, has partnered with Microsoft to accelerate its digital transformation and offer an unmatched experience to its customers. Leveraging Microsoft Azure, Myntra is focused on innovation, speed, and agility to strengthen its...

MAM Marketing Brands
The Next station for One Take Media Co. is Marathi Kids

MUMBAI: India is a land of diversity. We are diverse in our cultures, traditions and languages and yet we believe in Unity in Diversity. We are perhaps the richest country in the world, in terms of spoken languages. Exhibiting a baffling range of linguistic diversity, India is a home to many. The...

MAM Marketing MAM
Sula Vineyards Launches India’s first wine in a can Dia Sparkler

MUMBAI: Sula Vineyards, India’s largest and most awarded winery, is taking its brand ethos of innovation one step further with the launch of India’s first Wine-In-A-Can – Dia Sparkler, in an attractive can design and in two variants of red and white wine.  

MAM Marketing Brands
McDowell’s No1 Soda all set to enable yaars to celebrate and create music at No1 Yaari Jam Pads

MUMBAI: Over the years, McDowell’s No1 Soda has always brought alive the essence of friendship & Yaari through its unique experiences that were expressed through music as a form of expression. Through its No1 Yaari Jam Originals, the brand brought together celebrity musicians to bond,...

MAM Marketing MAM
Beluga Signature bartender program 2020: It is all about balance

MUMBAI: For the fifth year running, a luxury Russian vodka brand – Beluga - announces long-awaited launch of their annual international bartending program Beluga Signature. This multistage on-trade initiative encompasses an exclusive pop-up Bartending School and creative competition across seven...

MAM Marketing MAM
InsuranceDekho appoints insurance stalwart Deepak Sood as a Non – Executive Director

MUMBAI: InsuranceDekho announces appointment of Mr. Deepak Sood as a Non-Executive Director in the board of directors of the Company. With Deepak’s vast experience in the insurance space, he adds to InsuranceDekho’s ability to grow at a much faster pace. At InsuranceDekho, Deepak will be involved...

MAM Media and Advertising People
Publicis India to manage integrated communications mandate of UPES

MUMBAI: Publicis India has won the integrated communications mandate of UPES, a multi-disciplinary and specialisation-focused university. The agency would be providing full-service responsibilities including advertising, strategy, experiential, and other suitable offerings. The account will be...

MAM Media and Advertising Account
Himalaya Baby Care launches Gentle Baby Laundry Wash-A Liquid laundry wash for baby clothes

MUMBAI: The Himalaya Drug Company, India’s leading homegrown wellness brand, launches ‘Gentle Baby Laundry Wash’ specially formulated for baby clothes. Infused with naturally derived cleansing agents and herbs with antibacterial properties, it effectively helps kill up to 99.9%* of germs. Parents...

MAM Marketing MAM

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories