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  1. Blue Star to unleash its ‘cool’ strategy

Blue Star to unleash its ‘cool’ strategy

To mark the occasion, Blue Star will also roll out a new corporate campaign around the thought, Change your World.

By: | Updated: April 17, 2018 5:17 PM
blue star, cool strategy, AC blue star Celebrating its 75 th year, the company has adopted a new logo and game plan as summers approach. (Website)

Celebrating its 75 th year, the company has adopted a new logo and game plan as summers approach

Meghna.Sharma

@expressindia.com

Summers are here and AC manufacturers are upping their game for the season, with new products and offers to lure consumers. Take Blue Star, which celebrates its platinum jubilee this year, and has launched a range of 40 new air products as the market gets ready to offer solutions for the scorching heat. To mark the occasion, Blue Star will also roll out a new corporate campaign around the thought, Change your World.

B Thiagarajan, joint MD, Blue Star, says, “Keeping up with changing times is important. We have reinvented our taglines and logos time and again, and as we complete 75 years, we now have a new logo too.” The new logo provides the brand with a refreshing and modern personality that projects continuity, reliability and strength, while providing solidity and stability, according to the company. The arrowhead stands for the company’s forward and upward thinking, and its desire to dream big. With features like customisation of ACs with wifi to setting a cap on the bill amount one wants their AC to run up till, Blue Star believes that with time, it has reinvented itself according to customer needs in line with India’s changing economy.

“Post the 1991 liberalisation, many Indian companies faced the dilemma of either merging with an international brand or to shut shops. We faced it too, but decided to fight it out,” recalls Suneel M Advani, chairman of the company. Known for its commercial air conditioning, it was only in 2011 that Blue Star forayed into the residential segment. From a handful of AC models a couple of years ago, today the company has around 100 models available. Blue Star, with innovation at its core, wants to ensure that its products are equipped with the latest technologies. In line with its predecessors, the current campaign on air, Nobody Cools Better, also carries a quirky undertone to break away from the clutter. Unlike competitors though, Blue Star doesn’t have a brand ambassador. “We have acquired the trust of our consumers and therefore, we don’t need a popular face for our brand name,” explains Advani.

The game plan

According to the India Air Conditioner Market Outlook, 2022 report by Research And Markets, air conditioner sales are expected to grow with a CAGR of more than 10% over the next four years. Blue Star, which invests heavily on R&D, sees the average age of an AC buyer decreasing from 40-50 years-olds to over 35 years. More than 80% of these are first-time buyers. What is interesting here is that unlike a refrigerator or a washing machine, chances of repeat buying for an AC are higher, as people prefer to have an AC in every room. “It is the middle-class which is driving this growth,” points out Thiagarajan. But with this come a number of challenges, the first one being how to remain relevant to younger and middle-class consumers with the changing times and preferences, as they become more aspirational.

Secondly, one has to figure out how to expand business in tier III, IV and V cities which are seeing an upward trajectory when it comes to consumption of consumer durables. With ACs being a product where men make the purchase decision most of the times, the company is investing in advertising on IPL. Apart from this, TVCs will be aired across news channels and GECs. “Digital is important today and hence, 15% of our budget will be spent on the medium apart from the traditional mediums,” says Thiagarajan. The company plans to spend Rs 55 crore on advertising this season for its AC segment. It is also interesting that different regions in India prefer different price points as well models.

For instance, red-coloured ACs sell more in Andhra Pradesh. Priced between Rs 22,000-60,000, Blue Star has a separate AC range for online and offline mediums. When it comes to distribution, the company has special programmes for its dealers in tier III, IV and V cities where it has exclusive showrooms. In metros and other cities where retail chains of electronics and durables are popular, the company believes in ‘counter’ productivity, that is, to nurture those retail counters that sell their products more effectively. Currently, Blue Star has 150 exclusive stores in the country and plans to increase them to 200 by the end of FY19.

Road ahead

After building its name in the AC market, Blue Star has diversified into related offerings, recently venturing into the air purifiers and water purifiers market. A timely move, going by the rising pollution level and awareness among consumers. “The water purifier market is at Rs 3,000 crore and growing at a CAGR of 15%. So it made sense to enter the market with differentiated products,” says Thiagarajan. The company is looking at markets in the North and West, and will be investing Rs 20 crore on advertising these products.

For water purifiers, where it wants customers to Choose Purity (the company’s tagline for this range), the company has got on board Ogilvy & Mather as its advertising agency. For ACs, Madison and FCB Interface have been trusted partners for years now. Using data analytics, Blue Star wants to enhance consumer experiences and is also investing heavily in after-sales services to create stickiness.

@meghna0101

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