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Brand Journey: How Onida is charting a comeback in India's consumer electronics market

The 38-year-old brand, known for TVs, has been able to turn profitable on the back of the air-conditioner category and hopes to grow its revenue by 20% in the current fiscal. Though the brand wants to appeal to millennials, it will largely focus on TV and print as advertising platforms with hardly any budget for digital. BestMediaInfo.com explores Onida's brand journey and finds out what the future holds for it

If there's any most-prominent comeback story in India's electronics market, it has to be Onida's.

The brand, that ruled the Indian TV market for a little less than two decades before losing the ground to Japanese and Korean companies, has charted the path of its solid comeback by turning profitable this fiscal.

Established in 1981, Onida soon became the market leader in the electronics industry. But with the coming of MNCs after liberalisation, the competition became stiff for the former. Till the ’90s, the brand remained the market leader. In the 2000s the company lost the ground to competitors.

Remember the ‘devil’ mascot of the ’80s, with the tagline ‘neighbour’s envy, owner’s pride’, which made Onida an aspirational TV brand? The same devil has again brought Onida back to the forefront. Though not as much an aspirational brand, but an affordable one.

Surprisingly, the growth hasn't come on the back of the TV category but it has been driven by air-conditioners and washing machines though TV has still played a vital part.

The e-commerce boom in the country and the fall of local brands such as Videocon also helped Onida, which is owned by Mirc Electronics, fill the gap.

In the next fiscal, the company is hoping to grow around 20%. And a major portion of this growth will come from tier two towns, which are turning into mini-metros.

In an interaction with BestMediaInfo.com, Pratyush Chinmoy, CMO, Onida, shared the 38-year journey of the brand, which has grown from a small company with a single manufacturing unit of TV to multiple manufacturing units of mobile phones, microwave, washing machine and air-conditioners.

“We have been a experimental kind of a company and tried different experimental innovative products. We are a young consumer-focused company where we think of creating thoughtful products that engage and delight our consumers. We have been funky, very different from other sophisticated brands that only cater to standard class of crowd companies. We believe all consumer type is ours.”

Innovative product line helping the brand

The brand has only been concentrating on TVs, ACs and washing machines.

Through its elaborate category and product mix, Onida is trying to appeal to tier two-three towns and also millennials, who look for ‘value for money’ products.

While majority of domestic firms believe in importing few/all parts for assembling to compete with international standards, the brand manufactures all of its products in India. The brand believes Onida is a purely made-in-India brand. Chinmoy said being an Indian brand, we know the Indian customers best.

Apart from sound and picture, the brand is also betting upon its picture quality as its USP.

The brand majorly deals in TV, washing machines, ACs and microwaves. In the AC category, it grew fastest in the industry and doubled its base. The brand generates 90% of its sales in the retail sector and believes in approaching its TG via traditional mediums.

In the current fiscal, the brand has witnessed the growth in revenue and volumes of washing machines, and is of a belief that their category in washing machine would grow.  The company reduced its debt and has been able to post improvement in margins and profitability in the same year. For the current year the brand would be focusing largely on its challenger product washing machine and two major products ACs and TV which it believes are the cashcows.

Commenting on the same, Chinmoy said, “AC and TV together form 78% of the revenue. They would be driving our cart. Then washing machine is a growth category. We are not investing much on microwaves as the return is not great.” 

The brand has also strategically revamped its operations and strengthened its marketing sales team. Different organised, non-organised players have been increasing their budget spends. On the technological side, there have been more innovative products.

“We try to retain the best of our talents in our sales team. We recruited people who actually can go down on field. We are trying to maintain our position aggressively. Since our turnover isn’t big as other companies, we can’t really increase the marketing sales budget. But for a limited spend that we have, we are doing the maximum we can,” said Chinmoy.

Ad strategy helped gain consumer attention

Onida has managed to stand relevant in the minds of the consumers for these many years and credits its impactful and experimental advertising formats for it. For example, its Devil mascot is largely recognised and associated with the brand.

“Throughout these years, advertising has become one of the main focus and strength of the brand. We had spent crores in developing our ad campaigns. Till 2009, we used to come up with different ads in the market. We are also very much focused in the sales team and don’t believe in changing team and team holders too often. We maintain stability with the promoters also,” said Chinmoy.

Advertising has been strong for electronics brands. It is a high-spend product category and requires a lot of research before hitting the market. Brands try doing multiple things around their products.

Onida largely has been focusing on print and BTL activities. While all other competitors in the market are heavily investing in the digital space, the brand has relied on the traditional and contemporary space since its TG largely connects via print or TV. Going slow in the digital space, Chinmoy said a sudden 180-degree transition to digital would make the company’s position unstable. The brand is excluding radio as a medium because of its reach. Print and TVC would remain its first two primaries for advertising.

He added, “If digital turns out big for us, we will invest there. We have been creative in our print space and TVC. We would slightly increase digital. 60% of the budget would be for TVC and print and the rest for others.”

The company had earlier tied up with the Indian Premier League for advertising and spent Rs 20 crore alone on IPL. It is currently open for new associations.

On whether the brand plans to enter the content marketing space anytime soon, Chinmoy said, “We would plan for the future. But not right now. We have a limited budget. We have to look for something path-breaking and check whether it would work out for us or not in the content front. Not every day, we come up something like this.”

Chinmoy said TV as a medium and category cuts across all groups and geographies. It gives maximum reach and will stay as the primary medium for the brand.  “Digital space and OTT platforms are growing fast but are restricted to a certain type of TG and profile of consumers,” he said.

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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