Sunday, December 6, 2015

Brand Story - Micromax || Sumit Bedi || IIM Shillong || November 2015 edition

Micromax - Nothing Like Anything

- Sumit Bedi
IIM Shillong

Micromax, a well-known brand in the Indian smartphone market has been a big game changer in India. Micromax started as an IT software company in the year 2000 pivoted its business and entered the mobile phone market in early 2008.

It came up with its first offering named X1i, a mobile handset that had a month long battery life. The first handset was not very successful but it set the ball rolling for Micromax to ride the smartphone wave that started across the globe.

Micromax innovated a new way to capture the Indian market. They focused on the rural India rather than urban India in the early years of their operations. They became the third largest company in the mobile phone industry by offering affordable phones with great features.

In early 2011, Micromax shifted its focus to the urban areas. They made their presence felt to the urban consumer by making Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna its brand ambassadors. They made unique TV commercials that featured Akshay Kumar’s stupid laughter and Twinkle Khanna’s twinkle.

These initial ad campaigns were a success. The mobile phone sales started to increase but all was not rosy for Micromax. The increased sales brought an additional challenge of after sales service. Micromax was criticized for having poor after sales service but the sales remained high because of the unique proposition that is great product features at affordable pricing. Also, Micromax was perceived as a cheap brand in the eyes of the urban consumer.

Micromax slowly built on its after sales capability and also focused sharply on its product offerings. It challenged the big brands like Samsung and Apple by bringing in the new canvas series in market. The canvas provided all the similar features as any high-end smartphone but at fraction of the price.

Micromax again stunned the world by bringing in Hugh Jackman as its brand ambassador in the mid-2013. The new canvas series and Hugh Jackman stunt brought great gains for Micromax. It became the number 2-smartphone seller in India in August 2013.

Micromax did not stop there and continued to capture greater share in the Indian market. It went on to become the largest smartphone seller in India in Q2, 2014 replacing Samsung. Along with the innovative ad campaigns and great product launches Micromax has been bold enough to take on Apple and Samsung for their high prices. “I can afford this phone 4 sure” advertisement makes it quite clear.

Micromax also took on Samsung with its “Why Y?” ad campaign where it ridiculed the Samsung Galaxy Y for smaller screen and high price. Micromax still has the winning mindset. It has no intention of stopping. The Roobaroo: Micromax Unit Anthem was intended to make people emotionally connect to the brand on the occasion of Independence Day. 

Micromax wants to penetrate deeper in the Indian market and that to at affordable prices. It teamed up with Google to launch the Android One in India. Android One enabled Micromax to provide affordable android devices to even larger number of Indian consumers.

Micromax wants to have even better pricing for its product and hence it has set up its own manufacturing plant in Uttarakhand, India. It used to source its products from Chinese manufactures till date.
Micromax is a great success story in India. It has become the market leader in smartphones from being an underdog in just 4 years but it has no time to relax. The entry of Chinese smartphone manufactures like Gionee and Xiaomi in India has marked a beginning of new era in the Indian smartphone markets. The market will be more competitive and also more dynamic. Micromax will have to come up with great new initiative and product line to maintain its lead.


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