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Onida's resurrection ahead of festive season

Pratyush Chinmoy’s immediate focus will be the upcoming festive season.

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MUMBAI: Onida, a brand that was once seen in every Indian household, seems to have lost its sheen in today’s competitive market. This was primarily due to the entry of new players. With liberalisation in 1991, Samsung, LG and other multinational consumer goods companies launched in India with much fanfare and Indians were hooked on to them. Soon, Indian homegrown companies started seeing a dip in sales and most of them exited the business sooner or later.

Just when Onida was on the brink of getting hazed out from consumer’s mind, the company decided to relaunch in June 2018. The brand made a comeback with its much loved/hated devil. Though Onida spent a magnanimous budget of Rs 20-30 crore on advertising across television, print, outdoor and digital, it failed to convert those audiences into customers.

Earlier this month, Onida appointed Pratyush Chinmoy as head of marketing with key responsibilities intended towards planning and execution of marketing strategies, brand and category management, marketing communication and working on building a strong brand presence.

Chinmoy has been appointed while the business is trying to rebuild itself after having lost a fair share of customers over the years. In order to tap in new customers and allure them with products and offers, Chinmoy’s immediate focus will be the upcoming festive season, a time when people loosen their purse strings.

In order to start afresh in the eyes of the consumer, Chinmoy has appointed new faces in the marketing department, has new ideas about product lineups and a new media mix to connect with Gen Z.

Before joining Onida, Chinmoy has been a part of bigger brands like Asian Paints and Reliance Industries. While he has experienced being a big fish in a small tank, in his second innings, he is a small fish in a much larger tank. The task to resurrect Onida will be challenging for him as he has to push these products to new consumers.

Speaking about the challenges of scale and capital, he says, “The challenge for me will be to connect with Gen Z who haven’t seen our (Onida’s) previous ads. Another challenge will be to communicate with this generation with the limited budget that we have as we can’t spend on every media out there and only have to do select targeting.”

India has over 330 million middle class consumers who can only afford mid range products and this is the perfect target audience for the brand.

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All these years, the company resorted to print media for better ROI at low investment. But with the advent of digital and social media, Chinmoy doesn’t want the company to be left out. In its second innings, the company will use a mix of media to segment its reach. While Chinmoy now wants to use digital to target youth, he says that going forward it will be a mix of all media channels so that the exposure is on all income ranges. Traditional media like print, radio and TV will help the brand in reaching a mass audience.

The consumer durables market in India was valued at $14 billion in 2017 whereas the TV industry was valued at $9.2 billion. For the company, TV will be its focus area as the growth trajectory in the TV segment is around 15-18 per cent.

Onida holds a mere 8-9 per cent of the total market share in air conditioner space and the penetration for air conditions in India is as low as 5 per cent which comes majorly from urban areas and metros. The segment contributes to 45 per cent of the company’s turnover, i.e., Rs 370 crore. Mirc Electronics MD Vijay Mansukhani expects it to double this year at Rs 700 crore and reach Rs 1500 crore by 2020

It's a test for Indian brands to show their worth in this foreign cluttered market. Chinmoy said, “Personally, I believe that it’s a general perception that international companies have better products, which is not true. Indian brands have great R&D spends and they understand the nuances of Indian audiences and their needs. Patanjali crossed Rs 5000 crore mark and soon after, Hindustan Unilever Ltd launched Ayush. However, the good news is that the consumer mind is changing and shifting towards homegrown brands.”

It was only last month when Onida launched India’s first TV certified by Google that competes with international brands including Samsung and TCL in the same category. Onida launched its first Google Android 4K UHD Smart TV exclusively on Flipkart with a starting price of Rs 52,000. This was the first time that the brand launched a product exclusively online and the results, according to the company were overwhelming.

Now with a new face and a new team, it will be interesting to see whether Onida will be able to recreate its old magic.

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