Sixty years after it was established, the country’s largest manufacturer of fans Orient Electricals has decided to rebrand its operation as it aims to become a provider of smart home solutions.

The CK Birla group firm has changed its name to Orient Electric, as part of plans to consolidate business verticals — fans, lighting products and home appliances — under one umbrella brand.

Explaining the logic behind the move, CEO of Orient Electric Manoj Verma told The Hindu, “We started our business 60 years ago with fans… We entered lighting segment in 2008 and home appliances in 2011… These three were individual verticals. So fans had a different persona in the market, so did the other two businesses. We realised that we were not leveraging on our strengths and letting it give a positive rub off to the other segments.”

He added that since fans was the oldest as well as its strongest brand and as a brand “has an equity in consumers’ mind we decided to leverage that along with the huge channel footprint that we have created of 3,500 dealers and distributors, who serve to 1.5 lakh retails points”.

The journey of transformation started eight months ago, he stated, adding, “Interestingly, until a year ago, we used to do our lighting and home appliances under banner orient fans… so if you need an appliance you need to go to the website of Orient Fans... Hence, we changed the website to Orient Electricals. That was the first step,” Mr. Verma said.

However, he added, the visibility, design and packing of the three verticals was still different. “Our portfolios on the shelf were not talking to each other, so we decided we need to transform,” Mr. Verma said.

Mr. Verma expects this transformation to be complete by July 1, after which all products in the market will reflect the new branding.

Talking about investments, he said, “We have embarked on a journey after 60 years, changing our facing and our persona. From my side I have not put any numbers to be honest. I have support from the promoters in terms of doing what needs to be done…Our agreement is spend what needs to be but the message has to communicated in full, the journey has to be traversed in totality.”

Further, he said, May onwards the company would launch new portfolio of products every month, for the next 6-9 months, in the market. These will include smart mixer grinders, new portfolio of toaster and hand blender designed for Indian cuisines.

As part of the company’s repositioning strategy, Orient Electric has launched a new company logo and has planned a 360 degree brand campaign. As part of the campaign they will release four TV campaigns starring company’s brand ambassador and Indian Cricket team captain M.S. Dhoni.

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