Serving the customer

Over the years Titan has overcome competition in the market and has displayed aggression and an adventurous streak to become the market leader in its segment. Product innovation, investments in brand building and retailing have contributed to Titan dominating the domestic market. The strategy adopted by Titan has revolved around three basic components:

1) Offering a wide basket of offerings to the customers.
2) Focusing on brand building
3) Stringent control on the supply chain

Initially Titan had largely followed a uni-brand strategy. Titan faced turbulent times between 1999 and 2002, when the imports of finished watches were liberalized and a large number of new players entered the Indian market, offering a wide choice to the Indian consumer. The brands offered by Titan include:

1) Titan Edge – the world’s slimmest watch
2) Nebula – in solid gold and precious stones
3) Raga – for women
4) Flip – India’s first and only reversible watch with two movements and dial forces
5) Fastrack – in the sporty casual category
6) Sonata – for the budget conscious buyer.

After the exit of Timex from the Titan portfolio of brands the company felt the need to launch a brand to address the economy segment as the Titan brand had acquired an aura of sophisticated and had no appeal for the economy segment. Titan created Sonata to fill this gap in the market Since its launch, Titan has strived to position Sonata as the compromise watch offering the five benefits of affordability durability, great looks a year’s guarantee and water resistance (30m). The combination of competitive prices and attractive designs is enabling Titan push their brand into the rural heartland in India.

The brand has since captured 10 percent of this overwhelmingly large market, but the number of watches sold in the rural segment is exceptional . At present the brand is available in all towns with a population of more than 10,000 Creating awareness about the brand is a mammoth task. Unlike urban areas, rural areas do not have the concept of exclusive outlets. Sonata watches vie for attention with competing products including those from the unbranded sector. These unbranded products are formidable competition and are studiously pushed by dealers. So, Sonata finds itself in competition not only with brands like Timex and Maxima but also with names like Lamex etc. creating top of the mind awareness in such a scenario is a daunting task, where dealer margins are a key factor in determining the sale of the product.

To create familiarity with the target audience, Titan organizes mobile vans. This is done on a sustained basis so that every village gets covered regularly. Credibility is also built when villagers learn that this is a Tata brand. Once potential customers experience the watches first hand they are more likely to ask for Sonata forcing the dealer to stock up. Events such as haats and melas are also exploited fro the opportunities they offer for interacting with large numbers of the target audience.

The market’s is rather volatile and has its own compulsions. The brand will be rewarded only if it earns consumers’ trust. The team is working to convince the rural audience that if they own a watch they will be seen as more progressive. Titan has already studied the metrics that make the rural market tick. Word of mouth is a huge motivator and peer pressure can determine a lot of choices. One satisfied and influential customers can be a better brand ambassador than a host of celebrities.

Titan will be build the rural market only in the proportion in which help develop rural India. This belief is central to Titan’s rural business strategy. The company is looking at forming partnership with the rural people for creating a network of evangelists for the brand. It believes that this move will not only generate revenue for them but also translate into something positive for the company and general prosperity for the village community.