Audio-Technica is a worldwide group of companies devoted to the design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of problem-solving audio equipment. Established in 1962 in Japan’s Tokyo, it was initially known for state-of-the-art phonograph cartridges. A-T now creates high-performance microphones, headphones, wireless systems, mixers and electronic products for home and professional use. Robin Ghose, Business Development Manager (Professional and Consumer) at Audio-Technica India, speaks more about the company and its specialities, in a conversation with Ramesh Kumar Raja. Ghose also talked about the Audio-Technica’s growing focus on the India market. Excerpts:
How has the brand Audio-Technica positioned itself in a hyper-competitive market like India?
With over 50 years of experience in providing Japanese quality and innovation in audio products around the world, Audio-Technica offerings are today synonymous with quality.
The key in India has been putting together a strong distribution network and a customer-oriented after-sales service support network. This has ensured that we can get the products to customers and also provide them with the right support post-sales. We have launched products in market designed in line with the needs of the Indian customers, bringing us closer to them and helping us reach and address new demographics and channels.
Since you offer a wide range of wired/wireless consumer and professional products, which among them is a dominant vertical for Audio-Technica?
Currently, our professional headphones, microphones and audio electronics product segments are the more dominant vertical, but the consumer headphone vertical is catching up quickly and I see this as becoming a dominant segment in the coming years.
How are your products gaining traction in the market? Which are the areas from where maximum demand is coming for the Audio-Technica products in India?
In our professional segment, a lot of our products are used in the entertainment industry and fixed installation market. We also see a lot of our professional products such as studio headphones and microphones being used in a “pro-summer” fashion. We also have good traction with our Bluetooth products in the consumer headphone segment.
Since working from home/ studying at home has become the new normal post Covid-19 lockdown, what are the solutions you offer understanding the current challenges?
Keeping in touch, open and regular communication is the key to productivity while working remotely. Voice is the most critical component of any communication system because it creates a personal connection between people and the ability to enhance voice clarity and ensure every nuance is heard and understood, both ways, this can make the difference between a successful meeting or a frustrating exchange that ends in misunderstanding. Since much of our communication is now conducted from home over computers and other electronic devices, audio quality has become a more pressing an issue. The spotty quality of a device’s built-in microphone and speakers over extended period causes a lot of annoyance and disruption. At Audio-Technica, we offer a comprehensive set of headphones, microphones and other audio electronics that enables a very high-quality experience.
How is India market different from other countries where you operate in?
India is a very different market from any other country where we operate in. There are many differences that make it distinct from other markets, but I think the biggest difference is the sheer size and complexity of the market coupled with the massive cultural diversity across the regions.
Which platform yields maximum revenue for Audio-Technica – online or offline?
While typically we have quite an equally-balanced number between brick and mortar and online, over the past year we have seen our online revenues exceed the offline business. Now with the Covid-19 crisis, needless to say, online is taking the lead.
|“The failure rate of our products is far below the industry average which is a testament to the manufacturing quality of Audio-Technica. However, when they do go wrong, we ensure good after-sales support, with our network of service centers under our distributors spanned across the length and breadth of the country”|
What is your approach to the “after-sales service” which remains an issue for majority of electronics brands?
One of the things that I take pleasure in is reading our monthly service reports in India. The failure rate of our products is far below the industry average which is a testament to the manufacturing quality of Audio-Technica. However, when they do go wrong, we ensure good after-sales support, with our network of service centers under our distributors spanned across the length and breadth of the country.
What are your outreach and investment plans for India?
India is a large and important part of our global strategy. The company is committed to making the required investments in people, marketing and all other efforts needed to grow and further our business here.
Please tell us something about R&D and innovation at Audio-Technica?
Audio-Technica has been synonymous with innovation across segments. The core of the company is our engineering team that works across the globe to ensure that we bring innovative, high-quality products that address customer needs to market. Over the years, we have had many firsts including ultra-compact install microphones, Dante network microphones, 2.4Ghz wireless microphones, dual-phase push-pull headphone drivers, pure digital drive headphones and so on. While our core competency has always been audio and transducers, the company has also diversified to providing solutions in the Japanese domestic market such as visible-laser collimator units, print-related cleaners and even robotic sushi machines.