The ’sachet’ of mobile phones questions the concept of brand stature

Whoever thought Micromax would become the No.3 player after Nokia & Samsung!!! Please make way for a slew of upcoming brands that have redefined expectations in the mobile phone market. For years growth in this market was observed through increased penetration and more importantly upgradation by users up the value chain. Better features at premium prices & brand stature that ensured covert admiration from others, was the way to go. In short higher price meant a better model in every way. Of course the queues continue to inundate with every rumor from the Apple stable. And these days the Android version is creating excitement, with customers showing no concern for the premium pricing.

But there is new wave in India, where enterprising businesses have started to twist the multinational muscle to create a new paradigm in mobile phone marketing. The magic Reliance created as a network provider, that permeated down the pop strata (with virtually no value-added service drop) is now being witnessed in this segment too. It started more than a year back and today there are 20 or more models of very good looking/good performing phones (brands!!) at surprisingly affordable prices.

I took real interest in it when I stepped down from my high horse, after my iPhone got stolen. On a plea for phone numbers as a status update on facebook, a quip from one of my friends caught my attention.  She said, “Now I know why thieves don’t steal from me. They all have better phones than me!! But I conned them too.” Between the lines, she meant to say that she had a kick-ass phone herself, but wasn’t stupid to fall for all the brand brouhaha and >Rs. 15000 hype. Smart or Stupid???!!!

So who is the target customer? Maybe the belly of the Nokia/Sony/Motorola/Samsung market in urban India! Maybe youth!!! Maybe 2nd phone buyers!  Maybe it’s an expansion of the market in rural India where mobile brands are finally speaking their language…good product & a comfortable price!! (mobile phone brands/image parameters here are ceteris paribus anyway) And maybe it’s also a matter of time before when these brands hike up their prices, slowly & steadily and find takers up the value chain too!!!

Surely in retrospect one would say it’s more than just the ’sachet’ (entry price trial pack) of mobile phones. It’s the creation of a smart ‘MONEY FOR VALUE’ mind state. Pedigree can wait.

Here’s some of the advertising for starters:

INQ

blah

Karbonn

blah

Spice

blah

Micromax

blah
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1 Comment

  1. I agree with the sachet reference. Except that the cheaper mobile launches have features comparable to top notch brands. So they are inherently good. I see a funny link with 2 big companies in this market war. HLL of yesteryear & Cavinkare. Ck was waiting to happen. Like Micromax was.

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