Philips India gets some bounce off the wicket

| Updated on: Mar 30, 2011
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The brand behind the ‘Cricket Extra' show during the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup is grateful to the game. It has been associated with cricket in India for the last three years, with events featuring the Indian team, T20 matches, and pre- and post-match events.

It didn't come as a surprise then that the backdrop at Philips' annual media offsite event in Goa last weekend was a giant screen showing the WC quarter final. Cricket is just one of the vehicles where Philips India has been buzzing of late.

Quoting third-party estimates, Vivek Sharma, Head - Marketing and VP -Indian Subcontinent, Philips Electronics India, explains that the company's share of expenditure on mass media in 2010 was 3.2 times that in 2009.

On cricket, he says, “Cricket has helped us a lot. We have been associated with cricket in a consistent and long-term fashion for the last three years. It has really helped our engagement with the male decision-maker target group in multiple categories. It has given us good visibility and RoI. We intend to continue our association with cricket as a key vehicle for marketing.”

Retail Experience

The investment behind Philips' retail presence also increased substantially in 2010. Added to the brand's visibility and experience are 42 Light Lounges, exclusive outlets showcasing home decorative lighting from the group, and 400 shop-in-shops called Light Shoppes. The number of Light Lounges and Light Shoppes is set to double this calendar year.

This retail presence stretches across 20 cities, says Nirupam Sahay, Senior Director — Marketing, Philips Lighting. He says, “What we will be doing is getting more width of retail presence in the metros. There is a large, untapped potential and cities being large, there is a need for multiple stores.”

In Mumbai, where Philips has three Light Lounges, it will set up one more this year. In the NCR, there will be five Light Lounges from the current three. More stores will also come up in Bangalore and Chennai. After ramping up its presence across the metros and mini-metros, the brand will consider venturing into the tier-2 towns.

The Light Lounges showcase and sell only home decorative lighting solutions. One wonders if a Philips store selling home decorative lighting could also be used to promote some of its consumer appliances, if not all.

Sahay explains, “We are doing an experiment with a recently launched store in Noida which is a Philips store that sells multiple products across categories. It is an ongoing learning process, but what we have learnt is that the consumer mindset when visiting a home decor store is slightly different. When they want a TV, they go to a store that sells TVs.”

The company's Blu Zones, where it sells it Blu Ray range of products, number 60 to 70. A cosmetic channel for personal care, Salon Shine, also made its debut in 2010, and is present in 10 cities.

Moving the market to LEDs

LED-based lighting, with the promise of substantial energy saving, fits in with Philips global vision on sustainability. It was launched in India in October 2010. Admittedly, the B2B and institutional space is likely to usher in its adoption, ahead of the consumer segment.

“We are already seeing a lot of takers for LED-based luminaries and lamps in the institutional space. There is huge potential in the consumer space. At this point of time, the prices may be a deterrent,” noted Sahay.

The 5W LED bulb is priced at Rs 640 (MRP), and its competition is the CFL in the Rs 100 to Rs 120 price band. Of course, the mass market is still in the Rs 10 incandescent bulb.

“Even with a standard usage of three to four hours a day, the user will realise Rs 700 in energy savings annually while using LED, as it uses up to 80 per cent less energy. So the payback is within a year. Add to that the fact that it will have a life of about 15 years. However, the initial cost in India will always be a factor,” explained Sahay.

With technology continuously improving, costs are expected to come down, allowing for the faster adoption of LED-based lighting solutions. The spokesperson points out that the same happened with CFL as a category.

“It took about 10 to 15 years for CFL prices to come down from over Rs 600 per lamp to Rs 120. We expect that LED prices will come down much faster. Ten years down the line, LED will definitely be a very big part of the pie,” Sahay observes.

Since 2009, all the marketing communication from Philips Lighting has been on energy-efficient lighting solutions.

Published on March 30, 2011

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