MUMBAI: From being an enterprise brand to a brand for the masses was a transition well-managed by BlackBerry and the future looks equally exciting says Sunil Dutt, MD, RIM India. ET caught up with him for a tete-a-tete. Excerpts
Q. How much autonomy does RIM India have to take decisions on local operations?
A. For any brand all critical decisions, be it mobile device or any other category which are global brands are taken globally. This is because decisions will not just impact one market but a whole lot of similar markets across the globe.
Secondly if it's a localized decision related to product development that needs significant investment, it may not a feasible. So a global perspective is important to a brand while keeping in mind local nuances.
Q. How has BlackBerry innovated on the retail front?
A. Apart from 200 exclusive outlets, we have called BlackBerry experience zones which are shop-in-shops. Such shops attract a great deal of customers are they are located in busy malls and showcase all our product range. Youngsters especially are happy to come to retail stores to browse through the accessories.
Q. How do you deal with the problem of copy cats? We see a lot of phones that look like BB in the market under different brand names?
A. I agree there is a lot of Indian brands that are lookalikes, but again from what market information I have there is a plateauing a growth for these brands in the market. The fact is in our country consumers are very brand-conscious and need the right value for the investments for they make.
It's not necessarily a cheap product, because if that was the case, then likes of Colgate, P&G, HUL would have not grown in this country as there are enough Indian brands competing in the market place.
Foreign brands are able to do well because people have a desire to own a brand and the key thing for brands is how do you make that ownership possible. What has triggered a lot of growth is the smaller ticket sizes - sachets for shampoos, Coca-cola in 500 ml bottle. What you need to have is relevant solution, that people can find affordable.
It is the job of us people to figure out alongwith different institutions how to make that possible. People find it difficult to own two-wheeler, cars, TV, but companies have found ways to make it affordable. We are not one of those iron-clad, tightly fisted organization, so we do changes to be relevant to the markets that we operate in.
Q. BlackBerry has not been very active in advertising, whereas other mobile brands in India are quite aggressive. Is that going to change?
A. We are relooking at our marketing strategy and going forward we will focus equally on TV & print media. Digital has always been our strength. Our social community in India comprises of over a million fans and followers across cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai.
On a weekly basis over 250,000 fans from these cities engage with our social content. Going forward we shall be increasing our spends on digital and on the retail front as well.
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