LG Electronics recently launched an emotionally-charged digital campaign #CelebratingTheNew to highlight its innovative range of products. The launch of the video coincides with LG’s 21st anniversary in India and focusses on the company’s innovative offerings in the consumer durables space. “Our ranges of product lines are focussed on innovation whether it is a water purifier or an AC. The focus is on the health and hygiene of consumers,” says Amit Gujral, head — corporate marketing, LG Electronics India.
According to experts, Korean chaebols have been performing extremely well in India due to their very good adaptation to this market. “South Korean companies are among the most professionally managed ones, but what makes them special in India is their genuine intent to localise and make their consumers feel as if the brand belongs to them,” says Saurabh Uboweja, CEO, Brands of Desire.
LG has been consistently featuring in the top five trusted brands in India since the past eight Brand Trust reports by TRA Research. “Of the Korean chaebols, LG has shown consistent performance as a brand, and even though it went through a flat topline for three years, last year and this year have both seen robust growth even as the industry is de-growing by 4-5%,” informs N Chandramouli, CEO, TRA Research.
Banking on trust
Trust is driven from products and services, according to Gujral. “We are innovating on the after sales services front too and have introduced same-day installation and a two hour-guaranteed service for all our products,” he says. LG’s after sales department has a staff strength of 8,000. The company is also partnering with ITIs to train people on new technologies and get them on board.
While it may not seem that way to the urban consumer, but LG sees its biggest growth coming from beyond metros. It currently has 40,000 outlets, which includes 2,000 standalone stores. “The biggest growth is coming from tier II and III towns. Currently, 40% of sales come from beyond metros. The next growth engine is there,” says Gujral.
Thanks to the penetration of smartphones and internet, awareness and aspiration levels of metro and non-metro consumers are similar. TV and ACs are the highest selling categories in these areas for the company. Even as LG has been responsible for ‘premiumisation’ of the durables market, experts says it is facing tough competition from fellow Korean player Samsung, in the consumer durables space. When it comes to smartphones, LG is struggling and is nowhere near the leadership position.
“LG, at the moment, appears to be struggling to connect with the new consumers of India — a problem which is compounded by its intent to further play on its legacy and trust in India as compared to newness and freshness to appeal to a totally new set of consumers who don’t care as much about past success,” notes Uboweja.
In tech circles, LG seems to be losing relevance with millennials who seek intelligent, smart and more affordable electronics and durables — a mental space in which LG doesn’t seem to be operating in at the moment. “LG’s buying propensity — the keenness to buy that a consumer displays — is not sharply defined. Also, it is important for the brand custodians to realise that the age of selling is dead, and we live in a world where we can only help the consumer buy,” says Chandramouli.
This requires a close focus on consumers and the brand needs to change from its usual tried-and-tested methods, and start observing consumers with the new lens of a buying propensity, he concludes.