HG Raghunath, CEO, Watches & Accessories and Ronnie Talati, Senior VP and CMO, Watches & Accessories, Titan Company Limited, talk about their marketing plans in North India during this festive season and their ever increasing presence in Tier II and Tier III (middle India) cities
The Titan Company (formerly Titan Watches Limited), established in 1984 as a joint venture between the Tata Group and the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation, manufactures a wide range of personal accessories — watches, jewellery, sunglasses and prescription eyewear - and is also into precision engineering. The company changed its name to Titan Company Ltd in August 2013 to more closely reflect the range of lifestyle products it sells and plans to sell. Talking about the rebranding, HG Raghunath, CEO, Watches & Accessories, Titan Company Ltd, says, “It was an important decision to change the name to Titan Company. We started as Titan Watches Limited and then as we added businesses, we became Titan Industries Ltd. Now as we have grown and each of the businesses have established themselves as category leaders, be it watches, jewellery or spectacles and eye lenses, we felt that they connect various cultures within the organization and therefore, Titan Company Ltd.”
Ronnie Talati, Senior VP and CMO, Watches & Accessories, Titan Company Ltd, adds, “Well, nothing else has changed except the name. The company continues to do well, and all our brands are as strong as ever.”
How the Media Mix is decided
Talking about the preferred media mix, Raghunath lists Television, Print and Digital in order of spending as the mediums they use majorly. According to Talati, each of the brands function independently with their own strategy. “In the Watch division, the brand’s values are brought out via Television, which is a mass medium and reaches out to a number of people, and Digital, while the product itself is emphasized a lot in newsprint and outdoor media,” he says, with Raghunath emphasising that Print plays an important role for the company’s communication.
The company’s presence in India is divided into four key markets, North, South, West and East, and North is an important market, according to Talati. “Our campaigns are normally 360-degree campaigns to create a surround sound. North is a very important market, especially at a time like this. Diwali is celebrated at a very different level in the North and therefore we put a lot of emphasis on the North.”
‘Finding Space in Print is a Challenge’
Raghunath feels that it is a challenge to get prime space in Print during the festive season as all brands are vying to get premium position. “How much advance planning can you do to secure space in Print? It is a challenge for consumer marketing companies. Eight months back, you don’t know what you want, whereas if you plan and decide to do something even two months before the festival, space is simply not available,” he adds.
Talati says, “Print is important in the northern belt, because in places like Delhi which is a large market of North, outdoor hoardings are not allowed, so we put a lot of money into Print over there. Hindustan Times is the larger newspaper in the North, so we invest in Hindustan Times more than we would in the Times of India.”
Raghunath emphasizes on the need for innovations in Print. “Advertising in magazines and newspapers is currently becoming very expensive and therefore the creativity and innovation that we need to bring in while being present in the Print medium is very important in the current context. There is no end to innovation; collaboration between the advertising and spending companies and the media is very important,” he adds.
Titan being a consumer-centric company, with a 150 million consumer base, the brand custodians feel it is their prime responsibility to be in touch with consumers at all times. “At the ground level, connecting with our existing consumer base is one of the very key things that we do. About 40% of our watches sold are repeat purchases,” says Raghunath.
“We have a finite amount of money to spend, so how deep we go into the market really is dependent on how much we are ready to spend. It is also dependent on what you are promoting. For example, a brand like Titan, that aims to premiumize, would put more money in the front end towns. Fastrack, which has relevance of a certain kind, will spend differently, while Sonata, which goes very deep into smaller towns, will spend a lot in these markets and therefore our budget for newsprint - the local, vernacular publications - would be much higher,” explains Talati.
Penetrating Tier I and Tier II Markets
With Tier II and Tier III markets promising the next leap of growth for the company, Titan is focussing its marketing efforts in these places. Terming efforts in these markets as “ever-increasing”, Raghunath says, “Our focus on Tier II and Tier III cities is much more than on Tier I cities, definitely much stronger. The middle India focus - the 400 towns in this country where there is growth, desire and aspiration - is the focus of many consumer marketing companies. Middle India focus is key for Titan. In the last two years, we have started this journey, setting up world class showrooms in these places where the middle India consumers get a brilliant shopping experience. We have high store level activity, and Print and Internet are very high in these markets.”
Raghunath adds that the media strategy in a ‘media traffic-jammed’ Tier I city would be entirely different from what the company does in Tier II and Tier III cities. “We have 8,000 dealer outlets across the country, 350 department store outlets, 600 showrooms... a large spread across the length and breadth of the country. We can ill afford not to do media and communication in Tier II and Tier III cities; our strategic plan includes this, whatever the challenge.”
JOY OF GIFTING: FESTIVE CHEER AHEAD
Going ahead, Talati says that the company is putting a lot of money in the market across all brands anticipating the upcoming festive season. Their recent campaign talks about the ‘Joy of Gifting’ in a world where people are constantly busy, and spend less and less quality time with near and dear ones. Technology has given us gadgets to communicate, but have pushed us away from actual time with people - to Titan, this deeply significant insight inspired an idea, the Gift of Time. “Gifting forms a very important part of the watch business, more than 40% of our sales come from gifting,” says Talati. “The campaign is based on two insights: one is that, when you think of giving someone a gift, the first thing that comes to mind is a watch. And the second part is that a watch is always an emotional purchase for anyone, be it for gifting or buying for oneself.”
Commenting on the other campaigns, he adds, “We have so many brand campaigns running now, leading up to Diwali - the Titan gifting campaign, Xylys campaign with Farhan Akhtar, the Raga campaign, the Garden of Eden collection, Fastrack, etc...We are hoping that it turns out to be a very good season.”