Catering to the selfie craze seems to be paying off for Oppo, the smartphones brand which is climbing up the ranks while engaging consumers offline.
Catering to the selfie craze seems to be paying off for Oppo, the smartphones brand which is climbing up the ranks while engaging consumers offline. Oppo’s Sky Li has a word with BrandWagon’s Shinmin Bali about the scope of growth in India, expanding the PoS footprint, the focus on design and more. Excerpts:
With the festive season kicking off, how will OPPO engage the Indian market?
Building a lifestyle around OPPO’s product or OPPO as a brand is a pivotal part of our growth. Over the last couple of years since our launch in India, we have noticed that the country is very sentimental about festivities like other countries and we look forward to participating in the Diwali celebrations and add a bit of OPPO flavour to the festival. This year we are going a step ahead. Our Diwali campaign is themed around young consumers. We plan to celebrate and share our love of selfies with the younger generation and also plan to offer them something special keeping in mind the Diwali tradition of extending gifts to your loved ones.
How does OPPO view the Indian market in terms of making inroads given that the smartphone category is cluttered?
Customers are the very foundation for OPPO’s passion in the industry. Thus, we are constantly developing products based on customer feedback in both hardware and software user experiences.
We are also planning to come up with more smartphones which deliver the best-in-class experience to our customers. Apart from this, our strategic positioning and messaging on photography technology especially selfies has also helped us attain consumer acceptance in a crowded smartphone market.
How would you describe OPPO’s growth in the Indian and Asian market?
As per the IDC report, OPPO now ranks at number four globally in the top five smartphone vendors list. In 2015, OPPO sold over 50 million smartphones with 67.7% y-o-y growth globally. In 2016 according to another recent IDC report OPPO is now at number two in the Southeast Asian market.
OPPO’s success can be attributed to our fast expansion of the offline channel and after-sales service centres along with a focus on product differentiation.
In the Indian market, we have been constantly expanding our offline presence by targeting 35,000 Point of Sale (PoS) touchpoints and 180 after-sales service centres. We have three different kinds of stores: ordinary shops, special zones and experience stores. Furthermore, a strategic positioning and messaging on photography technology, especially selfies, has also helped us attain consumer acceptance.
OPPO has placed importance on fashioning a selfie-expert phone instead of participating in a best deal war. What is in store for the Indian market beyond this feature?
Our products received great acceptance from the consumers particularly Selfie Expert OPPO F1. The response has been overwhelming. The OPPO F1s is OPPO’s latest offering from the camera focussed F series. It is an upgraded selfie expert that helps you take the ‘Perfect Selfie’.
OPPO always tries to provide consumers products with the best photo-taking experience. As a camera phone brand, we will continue to make progress in this direction. OPPO’s product strategy is based around three key pillars: design, photography and fast charge technology or VOOC Flash Charge. OPPO has many technical reserves beyond selfies.
We also conduct surveys about Indian consumers constantly.
Is a feature-peg (a selfie expert phone) enough to sustain/build a brand on?
Selfie is not an unknown trend. This love of selfie snapping is an increasing global trend and the rage has taken over millions, uploading their selfies all over their social media accounts. Our selfie-centric products F1 series, have received great acceptance from consumers.
For several years, OPPO has been investing a lot to ensure that we give consumers an unforgettable camera experience. Through our careful designing of both software and hardware, we are constantly working to ensure that every photo taken with an OPPO phone is clear, colourful and bright, to give users photos that record their lives, and to surprise them with how much a smartphone camera is capable of.
Samsung still leads in terms of market share in India but the ‘smaller’ players have thrown up many surprises.
Keeping this in context, which brands do you think are your competitors?
While we would not like to comment on competition, at OPPO, we believe the most important thing is to do our best.
OPPO is working with its fans to develop and deliver the best camera phone products. We are aiming to be one of the top premium mobile brands here in India.
OPPO’s strategy is ‘simple and focussed’. We don’t focus on competition but do our best to invest in constructing premium products. We have based our marketing strategy under two umbrellas.
Firstly, offline PoS and after-sales service centres for consumers to experience the phone anywhere across India. Alongside, we are also focussed on a long-term association with our TV programming partners such as 24, Big Boss (Season 10), Comedy Nights Bachao, ICC WT20, Taarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashmah and Dance Plus (Season Two). Our associations are keenly mapped keeping in mind what is popular amongst Indian consumers, that is, entertainment, sports and lifestyle events like Fresh Face which engage with the youth.
In terms of localisation, we have built our own factory in Noida and have invested R100 crore. It began production in July. We are hiring 6,000 employees in India and 99% are Indians. Products are also localised. For example, phones that will be produced in India will have 13 vernacular dialects apart from English.
What does the communications spend look like for the Indian market?
The festive season is about to begin in India and Diwali is one festival when most brands launch promotions and various marketing activities and we too are looking forward to the festival of lights.
As of now all we can say is, we will invest more on communications, more than last year.