Sonata is India’s largest selling watch brand, from Titan Company Ltd., a TATA group company. It has established itself as a brand of great quality and unbeatable value for the customer. The brand has an annual sales volume of over 5.5 million watches and is sold through a strong retail network of over 8,000 dealers across the country. Every watch purchased comes with the TATA guarantee
Sonata, recently announced the launch of its new sub-brand ‘Epic by Sonata’, a value-fashion range of watches, in partnership with Flipkart. Through this partnership, Sonata will connect with Flipkart’s registered and burgeoning customer base of over 350 million, with a diverse and well-penetrated geographic spread across India. With middle India poised to overtake metros in driving consumption, the association with Flipkart intends to drive category ownership across markets.
In a world of growing digital influence, ‘Epic by Sonata’ reflects the ethos of the new generation of modern consumers. They extensively ‘wishlist’ items are tech-savvy and rely on social networks to inform their brand choices. With a growing cohort of modern, digitally savvy consumers who are just as interested in fashion as they are in getting a value deal, ‘Epic by Sonata’, in partnership with Flipkart, is prepared to gain momentum in the next leg of consumption growth from metros and middle cities.
Subish Sudhakaran -Marketing Head, Sonata, talks exclusively to us on the launch of Epic, marketing initiatives, and way forward in the new normal…
The pandemic and the lockdown due to the second wave affected most businesses. How effectively have you used the crisis?
We have been witnessing an unprecedented situation, and its impact has been felt by all stakeholders. Recognizing this, the company has extended support to various partners, including our vast dealer network. Measures have been taken to enable our strong retail network of over 6,000 dealers across the country to make contact-free sales and support them with financing, extensions of credit periods, and insurances. During this period, Sonata has continued to be the brand of choice for the trend-conscious, value-seeking consumer. This has been so on the back of the launch of stylish products at compelling prices and also via campaigns like Hum Na Rukhenge that have struck a chord with the audience.
What are some of the post-business strategies that you will use to bring the business back on track and create a demand for the brand? Are people buying watches now?
Fortunately, the Watches category has not witnessed a drastic decline in demand. Gifting has been one of the major reasons for robust sale recoveries. The pandemic has also made people value special occasions such as weddings, festivals, and birthdays. In most cases even if it is a virtual or smaller celebration, people are making the effort to choose personalized and memorable gifts. Among these gifts, Watches are on top of the pecking order. Sonata has launched a range of products that are both stylish and compellingly priced, that has catered to this gifting demand.
Today online shopping is the in thing, how have you used the e-commerce platforms during this pandemic?
Watches have undergone a transformative change. More than being a timekeeping device or status symbol, it now borrows strong codes from the fashion accessory space. Identifying the white space in the value-fashion play online, Sonata recently launched its latest sub-brand ‘Epic by Sonata’ in partnership with Flipkart. Epic by Sonata offers fashionable watches at very attractive price points for modern, fashion-driven audiences across the country. Our partnership with Flipkart is the beginning of a journey that will cater to a growing value-fashion segment. With an increasing number of shoppers today seeking a convenient shopping experience and affordability in fashion, the collaboration between the two brands will bring value to millions of consumers.
Sonata is a mass brand, what are the marketing initiatives to be connected to your consumers?
As people adopted virtual modes to celebrate personal milestones, achievements and festivities, the same is reflected in our communications over the last year as well, including the campaigns like ‘Hum Na Rukenge’. With ‘Hum Na Rukenge’, the brand has continued to evolve its narrative of progress against all odds, underscoring the message of taking setbacks in one’s stride and never giving up. The film sought to inspire others to act similarly as we collectively emerge from current challenges. ‘Hum Na Rukenge’ is a simple message that, come what may, we will keep moving forward. Going forward, we are in the process of crafting out festive messaging and a media mix of Outdoor, Cable, and Digital is what we are looking at to engage with the consumers.
Regional conversations are gaining importance, how have you used this, and also how are you connecting with your consumers in the hyperlocal segment?
Most of our communications are now regional or hyper-local in approach. We create customized campaigns keeping the region’s sensibilities in mind. In our last campaign, ‘Hum Na Rukenge’ we launched in9 regional languages. A focused and regional approach has reaped ample dividends for the brand. Going forward, the thrust on regionalization will be far higher and we are ramping up for the same.
What are the expansion plans and what is the present market share for you?
Reaching out to newer audience segments and continually engaging with our core loyal audiences across regions is one of our key goals. On market share, we are the leaders by volume and will continue focusing on building a strong portfolio of products to grow the share. Our new collections such as Cassata and Sleek, are both stylish and compellingly priced and very relevant for current times.
Would your Ad spends now be more towards digital?
Our digital spends have been in the ramp-up phase for the last few years, last year the share was relatively higher due to the unprecedented scenario. This year although we have spent across mediums, digital remains a significant portion of the spending. As a mass brand, we seek a balanced approach to media and are looking at steady investments across Digital, Outdoor, Cable – the mediums that are very relevant for the customer segments that we target.