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Comio looking at tier II and tier III markets for growth

To make a mark in the cluttered Indian mobile phone market, Comio has earmarked Rs 250 crore for marketing alone and intends to capture 5 per cent of the total market in three years

China-based smartphone manufacturer Comio, which entered the already overcrowded Indian market in August, is eyeing to grab around 5 per cent share in the next three years.

The brand has earmarked an annual market spend of Rs 250 crore, almost one-third of the marketing expenditure that other Chinese brands such as Vivo and Oppo have marked for the Indian market.

But unlike other smartphone brands vying for attention in the country, Comio intends to use its marketing monies judiciously and with the end goal of turning profitable.

Sumit Sehgal

“We are in the market for the long run. We want to be a profitable business. We don’t want to put in money more than what we need to reach consumers that we intend to reach. Our segment is very sharp and therefore whatever money we need to reach our segment, we will invest only that much money, which we feel is Rs 250 crore till December 2018. All our investments will be wisely and smartly used,” said Sumit Sehgal, Chief Marketing Officer, Comio.

Sehgal believes that their sharply defined TG and brand thought will not only help them differentiate themselves from the competition but will also prevent them from stretching themselves thin when it comes to marketing.

“Being a very mature market we felt that we should focus on a certain segment and so 17-25 is the identified market for us. We are looking at tier II and tier III audience and our product range is Rs 6,000- 12,000. Our brand thought is embedded in the thought of the youth, which we see is a trend likely to grow in the future,” said Sehgal.

The marketing strategy for the brand will include the brand’s first campaign ‘Don’t Listen Kar Daal’ and associations with YouTube stars Shraddha Sharma, Darshan Rawal, and Anisha Dixit (aka Rickshawali) to complement the core of the campaign. They will act as brand ambassadors embodying the youthful ‘Kar Daal’ spirit.

The campaign will be further strengthened by outdoor along with a host of consumer activations, including association with the music festival Enchanted Valley Carnival and creating a buzz around the event with series of engagements with colleges all over India. The brand is also looking at creating an ecosystem and a community, ‘Comionity’, that will engage with their target group on a one-to-one level.

Sehgal feels this is the generation that has adopted the digital age and is tech-savvy, making it the perfect influencer for his brand.

Despite its big digital marketing push, the brand is not solely relying on its e-commerce network to reach the consumer but is also heavily investing in setting up a robust offline retail chain. 

“In terms of retail outlets, currently we are 15,000 in North and West. By the time we go pan-India, we should be 25,000,” said Sehgal.

The smartphone manufacturer that has launched two products – Comio C1 and S1 – has already invested Rs 150 crore in setting up infrastructure in India and has commenced local assembly of their smartphones in the country with partners V-Sun and Hipad Technology. The company has announced that they will start India R&D operations from next quarter.

Speaking about their decision to commence local assembly of their phones, Sehgal said it proves they are serious about the Indian market and intend to be here for the long haul.

“We feel that having a production unit in India brings us closer to the market, it makes our reaction time smaller and makes us meet our supply dynamics very fast. The other reason for this decision is Make in India. It has obvious benefits for companies who make in India,” said Sehgal.

Sehgal considers brands like Samsung and Micromax, who have been in the field for quite some time, as competition for Comio. He also feels that brand loyalty is on a steep decline and therefore engaging with consumers beyond the product is essential for any brand.

“Today, brand loyalty is on a steep decline. The moment someone else comes up with a promotional offer or a new feature, consumers will shift. So, in order to create a sustainable brand, one needs to start looking outside the product as well. A brand needs to engage with the audience outside their products and that is what we intend to do,” added Sehgal.

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