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Wednesday, April 07, 2010


IIPM: An intriguing story of growth and envy

By repositioning itself once again, Titan has only strengthened its proactive approach to appeal to the younger audience…

“The reason for repositioning Titan did not come from the current crisis or other usual reasons like slipping market shares, declining volumes, et al,” clarifies Suparna Mitra, Global Marketing Head, Titan. Being the market leader with over 55% share in the watch category, Titan clearly defied slowdown by registering 17% growth in the watch segment in FY2007-08. So, if slowdown was not a cause of concern, why did Titan undergo a repositioning exercise?

The origin of repositioning came from a certain restlessness of the brand. “Titan, over the years had become a larger than life brand catering to a wide range of consumers. The entire exercise was an initiative to understand what Titan really stood for,” avers Santosh Desai, CEO, Future Brands (brand consultants for Titan). Certainly, launched in 1987, Titan successfully ended HMT’s monopoly in the Indian market and gave an altogether new dimension to the entire watch-shopping experience.

However, of late, Titan was apprehensive about how the up-coming generation will look at it. “We wanted to connect with a new consumer and a new India. Therefore, we decided to re-look at the brand idea to appeal to the young generation,” explains Mitra. In fact, the new brand idea came from a multi-disciplinary exercise, which encompassed consumer research, retail analysis, product-line research, internal company culture introspection, et al. The key consumer insights analysed from the research were: ‘My watch is an expression of who all I want to be’ and ‘My watch is a compass of my imagination.’ All these threads when weaved together created the brand idea of ‘Be more.’

“Inspired by these insights, we decided that besides having great style and functions, each Titan watch must have a story to tell,” says Mitra. For instance, the Titan Aviator series is inspired by the World War II fighter aircraft. “The series appeals to those consumers who once aspired to become pilots but somehow could not succeed in their endeavour,” explains Desai. Similarly, Titan’s other collections like Titan Octane, Titan Heritage, et al, too come from the idea of looking into the consumer and their yearnings so that they could follow the idea of ‘Be More.’

Titan’s proactive approach to appeal to the younger audience may have been a forward-looking approach, but it seems that the idea has not gone too well with the financials of the company. For FY 2008-09, Titan recorded just 3.6% growth in the watch segment. “Growth was never a problem for us. It was not the reason behind repositioning. The main idea was to connect with a whole new generation of consumers,” counters Mitra. They may shout it from the rooftops that the slowdown has left them untouched, but there’s no denying that Titan’s growth has indeed been sluggish not just in the last year, but last few years. Who knows ‘Be more’ may yet add more to Titan’s kitty.

Savreen Gadhoke

For more articles, Click on IIPM Article.

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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