In a bid to consolidate its foothold in the smartphone market, Panasonic India has unveiled two new products, Eluga A3 which costs Rs 11,290 and Eluga A3 Pro, available for Rs 12,790. The brand, which plans to spend Rs 150 crore on publicity, has announced Bollywood celebrity Taapsee Pannu as its new face along with its existing brand ambassador Varun Dhawan.
The brand has rolled out a campaign, ‘So Much To Do’, for its new range of products. The entire tagline ‘So Much To Do’ is all about the concept that with the smartphones you can explore so many things.
Panasonic, a Japanese multinational electronics corporation – almost a century-old brand –entered the smartphone category in India in 2014. In order to go ahead, the brand reaffirmed its commitment towards introducing new technology and fuelling innovation in this category in India. The brand with less than 2% market share at present, aims for a better future.
Speaking about the smartphones division in India, Manish Sharma, President & CEO, Panasonic India & South Asia, Vice-President, Appliances Company and Executive Officer, Panasonic Corporation, said, “We believe our in-house developed artificial intelligence (AI)-based virtual assistant ‘Arbo’ will be a differentiator. Today, software comprising applications and user-interface (UI) have become the deciding factor to upgrade yourself to the next level of technology. The evolution of technology software has opened endless opportunities. Customers will continue to look for technology which will shape the product interface and the way we interact with our smartphones.”
Pankaj Rana, Business Head, Mobility Division, Panasonic India, added, “Further to the positive response of Eluga Ray series, we are happy to introduce two more powerful smartphones in the Eluga portfolio – Eluga A3 and A3 Pro. With the new improved features and enhanced quality, the user will be able to do so much more. The smartphones come in three stunning colours – mocha gold, gold and grey, which define and complement consumer’s style quotient. Also, our AI Assistant ‘Arbo’ will track and understand all your activities and help you make a schedule so that you don’t miss out on anything from your daily routine.”
In order to strengthen the brand appeal and presence in India, Panasonic has plans to invest Rs 150 crore in marketing with special focus on online.
Sarthak Seth, Head, Brand & Marketing Communications, Panasonic India, said, “Rs 150 crore is not specifically for mobile phones but the kitty is actually much larger because of our huge range of products. You will be seeing us on GEC, news and other channels. Apart from that, we are targeting print, digital and outdoor as well. TV being a bigger medium would be taking a bigger pie, like around 50% from the entire chunk. 20% of the total marketing amount would be dedicated towards print and outdoor and 10% of the remaining would be towards digital and some of the disruptive things which you actually want to do.
Not just in tier 1 cities, the brand has plans to come up and take over the tier 2 and tier 3 cities as well. Will it be necessary for the brand to come up with low cost smartphones?
“We are already there in the segment as we offer smartphones from Rs 8,000 and it goes up to Rs 12,000-Rs13,000. We are already having lot of offerings and think there is no necessity of scaling ourselves downwards. It’s always to look ahead and look into what all flagship services we can get into. Instead of coming up with something which is priced at Rs 4,000 I think it’s more important as to what value I am giving the consumers,” Seth shared.
Also, Panasonic smartphones is all set for a fresh start with a shift in its distribution strategy to increase its reach in the tier II and III markets. The company has plans to expand its distribution and is planning to grow more aggressively. Present at e-commerce giants Flipkart and Amazon, Panasonic has plans to rejig its strategy so that its partners are able to thrive with them. Though it is yet to make a mark in the smartphone category, its share in the television and air conditioners categories is 7.8% and 9%-10%, respectively.
Speaking about the smartphone market, Seth said, “The mobile market is huge and we are late entrants. We have to really capitalise on whatever investments we have done over the last three to four years so that we are really more visible in this space.”
Next year, the brand will celebrate 100 years and is planning big. Ranbir Kapoor being the brand ambassador earlier has now been replaced by Pannu and Dhawan. The brand has done a couple of campaigns with Kapoor as well. Speaking about the new endorsement, Seth explained, “Varun is like a part of the family now and he has been with us for the last three years. This time, we wanted a female face as well as the audience is much larger and we have been talking to the youth. I think Taapsee fits into the bracket of youth and gives us the cutting towards the edge both in terms of north and south markets as she has been active in both the markets today. She is the role model for the youth who really look forward to Taapsee as an individual.”
Sharing future targets, Seth, said, “Basic target in terms of brand perspective is better life and better world for the consumers who are actually using our products. From the business side, it is to gain more numbers of market share in terms of smartphones, television etc. There are exciting things which are there and all we need to do is to bring in new technology.”
Talking about competitors, Seth said, “Everybody who is operating in this area is a competitor to us and there is no point in just naming one. One needs to really be smarter and anticipate much ahead of the competition.”