Head - Brand Marketing
Xiaomi India is slowly but surely taking over the tech landscape in our country. The Chinese smartphone maker has already ousted the previously unchallenged Samsung as the number one phone-maker in India and is now looking to make in-roads with smart home gadgets and other electronics. Xiaomi has also etched indelible impressions in the Indian outdoor domain with some of the most spectacular campaigns. Karan Shroff, Head - Brand Marketing, Xiaomi India in an interview with allaboutoutdoor.com talks about the company's outdoor marketing and advertising; where the OOH industry is headed and the need of the hour. He feels that the industry needs to get out of its individual silo and start standing on its own, which will be a big game changer in the entire medium.
Excerpts from the interview are as follows:
What role does OOH play in Xiaomi's marketing initiatives?
Xiaomi's marketing objectives are focused on 360-degree communication for all campaigns. The 360-degree marketing approach has its roots in the holistic marketing philosophies including multiple platforms which helps us reach out to the desired target audience. Amongst the multiple platforms, OOH is a critical one that we utilize to support our marketing campaigns. It is one of the most engaging medium and gives us an opportunity to reach out to a much wider audience. For Xiaomi, it helps us to capitalize on consumer mindshare and visibility with ease, even when they're on the move. Additionally, OOH can be used for repeated and specific targeting as well, depending on the requirement. Mi A2 outdoor campaign has won an award for its performance; and when Xiaomi did it's first sale of Redmi Note 6 Pro - the extensive outdoor campaign significantly added momentum.
What are the most popular trends in OOH at the moment? What are the opportunities you envision in the years to come?
The outdoor ad industry has transformed and evolved tremendously over the past few years. From static billboards by the side of the road, the whole OOH industry has fundamentally changed. The new trends like Kinetic, In-lit, LED, experiential, AI-enabled displays with minimal copy and clear messaging are taking the usual static experience are setting new benchmarks. In India, we are also setting benchmarks with interesting formats. We did an innovative format with a live sales digital ticket running across tech parks in Bangalore for the first sale of Redmi Note 6 Pro. Our installation of the Xiaomi logo at the Bangalore airport is one of the most iconic spots; and is known as a Mi Zone by a lot of audience.
How do you think brand custodians can become more creative in leveraging OOH and making their brands stand out among the clutter?
Every brand's marketing objectives focus on how to create top of mind awareness and brand recall. Being creative and thinking beyond traditional is essential for every marketing campaign to be a success today. For example, you will find that in our recent Mi A2 campaign, the images used were in fact, clicked from our very own Mi A2 smartphone, hence highlighting the camera capabilities of the phone - which became the National campaign for November 2018 by www.allaboutoutdoor.com
Moreover, by making the best of the trends in technology, data and experiential marketing; any brand can stand out among the clutter.
Does it bother you that there is no common audience measurement system yet in the Indian outdoor space? What benchmarks do you consider when planning for this medium?
Measuring the success of any campaign is directly proportional to the conversations it has been able to drive for us. it helps a brand analyze whether a particular campaign has created the desired impact or not. However, measurement for OOH is an issue which is evident across the industry.
It is the one concern the industry has historically struggled with, but in recent years there have been innovative solutions introduced to successfully measure the ROI of any campaign. We believe in taking calculated steps keeping in mind various factors such as target clusters, visibility/reach, captive potential, etc.
Which markets is driving growth for you? Are you also targeting rural and Tier II and III markets?
Currently, Xiaomi focuses on maximizing advertisements in Metros and tier one cities. We are also optimistic to look into setting foot in lower SEC tiers as well.
From an industry perspective, which sectors do you see driving growth for the OOH segment over the coming years? How much of a role will the telecom sector play?
FMCG is one of the biggest contributors for OOH industry in India followed by real estate, telecom and automobile. The Telecom industry is seeing a huge growth spurt and there will be heavy competition to pique consumer consideration. OOH will be an invaluable medium here to fight for consumer attention across the industry.
From a marketing point of view, what's next for Xiaomi?
At Xiaomi, we're still exploring various avenues and are taking baby steps in terms of marketing. Innovation will remain the center of every campaign and will play a key role in devising all our campaigns, but our efforts would always be focused on spending smartly and wisely.
Interview by: Aarti Pahwa
Business Head, English Cluster,
Sony Pictures Networks India
Director - Brand and Consumer Marketing, APAC and China
Jaguar Land Rover India
Vice President Marketing
Havells India Ltd.
BMW Group India
General Manager - Marketing
Kansai Nerolac Paints Ltd.
Chief Marketing Officer
Kotak Mahindra Group
Marketing Head - Youth, Music & English Entertainment