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We Will Continue To Invest In India

Will Yang, Brand Director, Oppo India, shares the brand’s growth strategy and its journey in India so far

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Chinese smartphone maker Oppo, which has made headlines for its big marketing spends, is keen to multiply its market share in the world’s third biggest smartphone market, India. Present in 28 countries, India still remains the most important market for Oppo. It has received the go-ahead from the Indian government to open its own single-brand retail stores making it the first pure play smartphone brand to win such a clearance in the country. Will Yang, Brand Director, Oppo India, shares with Ruhail Amin the brand’s growth strategy and its journey in India so far 

How would you describe Oppo’s journey in India? Why is India such an important market for Oppo? 
There is no doubt that India’s economic growth is like a rising star. Also, this is a very youth-centric country compared to any other country in the world. As a young brand, Oppo wants to position itself among its target audience starting from 18 years, and India has a huge population in that bracket. We are looking at new sectors to reach out to our target audience. Apart from associating with cricket and entertainment, this year we have also focused on fashion. That is particularly because the younger population is showing great interest in this industry. This is also the idea behind our new product range. I think, India is the most important market in the overseas business for Oppo growth and this will be our long-term plan.

How is Oppo performing in other global markets, especially China?
I don’t have the detailed numbers from the Chinese market, but I think, if we are talking about brand awareness or brand preference, we (the Indian market) almost catch up with the Chinese market. Despite Oppo being in the Chinese market for almost seven or eight years, we have caught up with the Chinese market in almost just three years. So I think, it is quite an achievement for India and I hope we will continue to invest in the country. Also, we believe that if we focus on the product, sales will not be a problem eventually.  

You use a lot of traditional media in your brand building efforts in India. Is it helping you reach your target audience — the youth? 
Traditional media is still very relevant and effective. Traditional media such as GECs (general entertainment channels)are very important in India. And as the Internet audience is rising rapidly that is also becoming a big channel. At Oppo, we will continue to do regular advertising including OOH (out-of-home), etc. I would say, platforms might change, but what would not change is our target audience. Our association with Bigg Boss is a classic case of ‘cross-over cooperation’ and has immensely helped the brand. So far, the performance and the association has been great. This year we have tried to integrate our brand in a smarter way as we have clearly avoided some annoying displays.

How do you plan to deal with the rising competition in the smartphone space, especially with the entry of several Chinese manufacturers in India?
In the last couple of years the growth of smartphone brands in India has peaked, and a lot of new players are looking for a bigger share of the market. It’s a fact that the industry is facing fierce competition. When it comes to Oppo, we focus on the product and not sales alone. Moreover, our target audience is very clear compared to our competitors. This has helped us stay relevant. Having recently entered new markets such as the US, Japan and Russia, Oppo is now present in almost 28 markets globally. Amidst all this growth and expansion, India continues to remain the most preferred market for us. I would say that though we are growing globally, India will continue to remain our number one overseas market for sure.

Why has Oppo decided on a new brand positioning?
We first launched the Selfie Expert F1 initiative campaign and till now, in all the products since then, we have found that users love the service; Nielsen can support our claim of being the leading selfie expert. Based on the feedback from customers, the first brand that comes to their mind for a selfie camera is Oppo. I think, since we have been claiming ourselves as selfie experts for two years, now is the right time to give an uplift to Oppo.

Has the tagline “Selfie Expert” helped you make a mark in the minds of the audience?

Of course, yes! We had internal discussions and I think this brand position is quite different and distinguished. We set up this market in India with this concept in consumers’ mind, and we want to maintain this position and maybe even upgrade it a little bit based on the status we have.

Of late non-cricketing leagues such as the Pro-Kabaddi League have grown in popularity. Are you looking at associating with non-cricket platforms in near future?
As you know, most of the people in India are inclined towards cricket and partnering with cricket is a great opportunity to connect with our audiences. There is no doubt that over the last few years other sporting leagues have gained popularity, but we at Oppo are totally focused on cricket at the moment.

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Will Yang oppo india marketing magazine 11 November 2017