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| Updated on September 06, 2019 Published on September 06, 2019

Anuj Sharma, Chief Marketing Officer at Xiaomi India

In today’s spotlight, we have Anuj Sharma, Chief Marketing Officer at Xiaomi India. An industry veteran with experience of over 15 years, Anuj boasts of having delivered many innovative marketing campaigns, and a series of successful product launches in a brief span of one year.

The future of consumerism seems to be centered around life-changing experiences. How do you keep up with such expectations?

Xiaomi is a customer focussed brand and our Mi Fan centric approach has enabled us to attain the position of No.1 smartphone brand in India. We are driven by the core philosophy of offering innovation to everyone. We actively engage with our consumers and Mi Fans through social media and various meets to gather frequent feedback on their needs and Xiaomi product experience. This helps us better understand our consumers’ preferences and further enhance user experiences by incorporating the relevant feedback into the product discourse. We also offer Mi Home experience centres across India, where we not only sell products but also give Mi Fans and customers an opportunity to explore our diverse portfolio of products sold globally, thereby creating an invaluable consumer experience.

We’re also able to achieve this through our products which come with great quality, the best specs and truly honest pricing. In addition to a great product, creating a robust after sales -customer support system also helps create a higher brand recall. We have built a dedicated customer service network with 6,000+ members to ensure utmost customer satisfaction.

Do celebrity endorsements still sway the millennials and GenZ generation? Or has social media taken over completely?

Xiaomi recently teamed up with Ranveer Singh, one of the most successful Bollywood stars, to become our smartphone brand endorser. We came up with an entertaining, quirky and fun-spirited webfilm showcasing our collaboration with Ranveer Singh, not just with a TVC but by also using both Ranveer’s and our social media and digital platforms, which worked very effectively with the millennials. It helped us gain greater visibility and build a stronger sense of consumer loyalty. This generation requires brands to be straightforward and not use any complex approaches to market. They are tech savvy and social media friendly and are always online and connected. Hence, it is very important to target them across all the digital and online mediums. We, at Xiaomi have often introduced simple yet innovative campaigns that have strongly connected with this audience, wherein we applied a blend of both unconventional and traditional marketing methods.

In a diverse market like India, should brands think local or believe in a one-size-fits-all approach?

Localisation is an extremely important parameter to devise a marketing campaign for any region. Brands should think globally but act locally. Therefore, a campaign that best suits the interests of the local population is more likely to be successful than a one-size-fits-all. Take, for instance, our ‘Kiska Bajaa’ and ‘Naya Note’ campaigns, both of which were conceptualised based on local insights.

Anuj says…
  • One strategic change we plan to execute by 2020

We already have millions of Mi Fans on board. Expanding this community immensely is our vision for 2020.

  • My top three marketing mantras

Micro-segmentation, Return on Impact and Customer Engagement are some of the popular marketing mantras we hear often lately.

  • Three concepts I believe define a hot brand

Newsworthy: It is extremely important to be relevant to your users

Interesting: For the consumer to have a high recall

Connected: Every action is futile if the brand is not well-connected

  • A powerful ad campaign I liked

As a brand that barely ventured into traditional advertising, it was great to see Xiaomi’s own ‘Kiska Bajaa’ campaign create a lasting impact amongst the audience. The Tide campaign from Superbowl and Amazon’s ‘Alexa loses her voice’ also did a great job.

How does your brand approach the Southern market when it comes to branding and consumer engagement? Do you see any difference in consumer behaviour from the North in your category?

For southern cities, our focus lies more on local festivities and events. For example, specific marketing campaigns and initiatives are devised for Southern markets during popular celebrations like Onam and Pongal.

Different regions and cities may display a few differences in buying patterns and consumer needs. However, the core parameter for any consumer’s purchase would be based heavily on factors such as innovative product features, great product quality and competitive price points.

Which plays a bigger role to dominate the marketplace - better technology or better ideas? What are the specific technologies that have reformed the industry?

The increase in internet penetration across India, rate of growth in smartphone market and mobile internet have changed the way the marketplace functions. Internet has also reached the lower tier cities/towns, and with this, we are seeing a rise in newer sections of population gaining online access, along with the increase of internet use on mobile phones. An optimum balance of both, technology and ideas, helps a brand win the marketplace. It is necessary for a creative idea or campaign to also be supported by a good product/technology.

What are the three secrets to successful branding?

We believe that the key factors for successful branding are - a good quality product, a great customer experience and marketing campaigns that are innovative yet simple.

This article is part of a brand initiative by The Hindu BusinessLine to profile marketing professionals from across India.

Published on September 06, 2019
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