/Nipun Marya, Director-Brand Strategy, vivo India

Nipun Marya, Director-Brand Strategy, vivo India

Nipun Marya
“Our growth in India has been a combination of strong product portfolio across price segments, extensive distribution network, reliable after-sales service and substantial marketing inputs”

As vivo now completes five years, how Indianised has the brand become?

vivo has been deeply invested in the Indian market and has established its footprint as an internationally Indian brand in the country. We entered the Indian market with long-term plans and a clear strategy to keep the consumers at the center of all operations. We always tried to provide the most innovative and variegated product offerings catering to all customer segments in India.

When we started operations in the Indian market in 2014, we had multiple challenges. We had to begin our journey by building strong brand recall and also gain the trust of the consumers. Over the years, we have surprised the tech lovers continuously by coming-up with innovations that add value to our consumer’s daily life and ensure a delightful experience.

As part of vivo’s absolute commitment to the Indian market and in line with the much-lauded ‘Make in India’ initiative, we are also making substantial investments and generating employment opportunities in the country through our manufacturing facility. We have announced the investment of over 7,500 crores so far and have produced over 10 thousand jobs in the country. All the devices that are manufactured in India are entirely consumed in India. Hence, vivo is as Indian as any company can be.

According to the latest GFK report, vivo recorded 48 per cent growth in terms of volume and 33 per cent growth in terms of value, at a time when the industry grew by 11 per cent and 9 per cent respectively. vivo also registered its highest ever market share of 22.5 per cent by value in India, as per GFk. More than the numbers, it is heartening to see the warmth we have received by the Indian consumer. This warmth has indeed catapulted us as one of the top smartphone makers in the country.

What have you learnt out of these five years in India? Do you regret anything doing or not doing here?

vivo love

Indeed, the journey has been thrilling so far, and we believe there is a long way for us to be successful. In this ultra-competitive, dynamic and challenging mobile handset market, we have come to realize that disruption is the name of the game. If a smartphone company is not disruptive or innovating, it becomes challenging to survive. We take a lot of pride in saying that vivo, as a brand has elevated its focus from just music & camera to an ‘innovation’ led brand. Today, Customer-centric innovation is at the heart of everything we do. For the next few years, vivo will continue to pursue the innovation streak by launching unique products with stylish design, latest technology and powerful performance to match the fast-paced lifestyle of consumers.

As we march ahead, we understand that the way our products make a difference in the consumers’ lives will eventually define our success and growth going forward. Hence, we shall continue to draw learnings through our well-designed research program to understand our consumer psyche to bring suitable products.

vivo did many firsts in the smartphone segment. Where does it come from? Is it the buyers that drive innovations or the competition to stay ahead of the rests?

vivo stands strong to its core belief that is truly innovating for the consumer. We believe that success should be the result not a goal. Adhering to this belief, we have created ground-breaking innovations with the consumers’ needs as our guiding star. We have always tried to ensure that we understand our consumer’s needs the best and continue to deliver stylish and innovative products. vivo’s performance in the market so far is the result of great effort to understand consumer behaviors and we believe that we are on the right trajectory in sustaining our position as one of the top smartphone players in the smartphone markets.

vivo loves to associate with Bollywood and Cricket. Are they your mantra for success?

As a brand, vivo believes in promoting and celebrating the spirit of sports and love for Bollywood in India. We market ourselves through any platform that we think would excite our audience. This approach also helps us understand our customers better and build a high recall in their minds.

We have collaborated with the biggest celebrities in the industry along with associations with India’s most significant sporting extravaganza – the Indian Premier League, Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), Big Boss, Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC ) etc. For any brand looking at reaching out to an already enthused and passionate audience on their terms, these collaboration and partnerships provide an effective channel.

We at vivo, through our messaging, try to establish that we share the same perspective, values and ambition as our partner and offer a similar experience through the product or service. Right from creating brand recall to reaching out to audience pan-India, these associations have been instrumental in building our brand value and product awareness.

vivo continues to grow steadily in terms of market share in India. Do offline channel and after sales service play an important catalyst for this brand acceptance?

For a market as diverse and vast as India, all smartphone players must leverage the vast potential of both the online and offline channels to reach the corners of this great nation. vivo entered the Indian market in 2014 with a clear focus on the offline channel. Our unremitting focus has been on creating hassle-free seamless experience consumers, not only at the time of purchase but also in terms of reliable after sale service. Our growth so far has been a result of multiple factors, and the offline channel has been our core focus area for sales and distribution strategy. Our presence with 250 company-owned retail stores, around 30 thousand VBAs, approximately 70 thousand General Trade Stores, 3882 Modern Trade Outlets and over 600 service centres have strengthened our foothold across the length and breadth of the country.

Furthermore, at vivo, we believe that the real value for handling any aftersale customer query does not just end at offering a quick turnaround, but to provide a superior end-to-end brand experience. For us, it is not just limited to selling our smartphones but also about the post-purchase consumer experience. vivo is the only smartphone company to have a ‘Company Owned and Company Operated’ model of service centers which ensures a hassle-free experience.

We have received a tremendous response for our extensive portfolio of offline smartphones over the years, which have helped vivo capture significant market share in India. According to the latest GFK report, vivo has recorded 22.5% market share, which has been its highest ever in India.

vivo has recently expanded its Phase 1 manufacturing with new workforce and additional smartphones output per month. What does vivo aspires out of this?

It is a testament to our unremitting focus and commitment to the Indian market. vivo was one of the first smartphone companies to set up its manufacturing facility in India. With the roll-out of phase 1 of vivo’s new manufacturing facility in Uttar Pradesh, vivo will now be able to produce more than 33 million devices annually. This expansion aims to meet the surge in domestic demands for vivo smartphones. With the additional manufacturing facility, we have also increased our workforce to 10000 at the factory by additionally adding 2000 employees.

vivo India aspires to embark upon a long term plan to boost the economic growth for Indian smartphone sector and further demonstrate its commitment to the “Make in India” initiative. As a key player in the fastest-growing smartphone segment, vivo recognizes the potential of this market and its contribution to the overall GDP of the nation.

How does your future look like in India?

If you look at our journey so far, we have worked towards creating a superior end-to-end experience for our consumers. Our growth in India has been a combination of multiple factors – strong product portfolio across price segments, extensive distribution network (both offline and online), reliable after-sales service and substantial marketing inputs to build a strong brand.

Going forward, we look to build a stable platform to do long-term business in India. We believe that if we continue to offer the right products to our consumers, we shall automatically command the respect of everyone. We also plan to put more resources into numerous areas including product development and research, strategic partnerships and customer experience. With all these measures in place, we are confident that our growth will continue in the Indian market. We shall remain committed to providing an extraordinary experience to our consumers through our products and aim to offer the best of technology to cater to the vast audience in the Indian market.

Any message for our readers

This year we would be completing five glorious years in the country. We have been successful in creating a successful brand and achieve substantial market share, but this is just the beginning of our journey. In the time to come and will continue to build a strong foundation to create a successful long-term brand in India and continuously bring innovative products backed by an aggressive marketing strategy.

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Haider is an avid writer on technology who loves to explore new innovations. He holds a degree in English Journalism from the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi. Besides that he likes to travel and explore new places.

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