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Updated: March 25, 2010 03:11 IST

Philips on a brand refresh mode

K. T. Jagannathan
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Murali Sivaraman, Managing Director and Chief Executive, Philips.
The Hindu Murali Sivaraman, Managing Director and Chief Executive, Philips.

As part of this exercise, it has gone in for a unified marketing control. The move follows a conscious effort to position the heritage brand Philips as the one that makes life easier for everybody.

In an interaction with The Hindu during the annual conference in Goa last week to launch a series of products across segments, Vivek Sharma, Chief Marketing Officer, said Philips had become more an Indian brand representing trust and quality. Philips had to transcend these and move forward to include the aspirations of the youth and emotions of the Indians. “I don't want Philips to be identified with any product category. We want this to be an aspirational brand for all,” Mr. Sharma said.

He said efforts were on to focus on products of tomorrow. He was confident that this would shift the perception of the people about the Philips' brand that was linked to the past. Like the gold that required dusting to get the shine back, Philips too required a ‘refresh' to get rejuvenated. The shift in the brand image was all the more important in the current context with ‘young India' coming into the consumption fold. “We need to give them right products,” he added.

In this context, he said the game plan of the company would revolve around providing `sense and simplicity' solutions around its chosen domains such as lighting, consumer lifestyle and healthcare. All the communications would focus on making Philips a leading name in health and well-being space.

In his interaction with presspersons, Murali Sivaraman, Managing Director and Chief Executive, said Philips saw huge potential in healthcare business. The company also showcased its indigenously developed cardiovascular X-ray system.

Philips, it may be recalled, had, over the past couple of years, acquired firms such as Meditronics and Alpha X-ray Technologies in India and beefed up its presence in the healthcare space. Also, it had acquired VMI Sistemas Medicos in Brazil and Goldway in China. Anjan Bose, Vice-President (Healthcare), said Allura FC, a multi-purpose locally developed catherisation lab, was a significant addition to the emerging markets' healthcare product portfolio. The product would be manufactured in India and exported to other parts of the globe. The first such lab would be installed at Adarsha Hospital in Udipi in Karnataka.

Mr. Sivaraman said Philips would focus on consumer lifestyle and lighting businesses along with healthcare. He said the company wanted to bring about a major change in the way people light up their homes and offices by moving forward from compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) to light emitting diodes (LEDs).

Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, are going to be the future, said Rajeev Chopra, head of the lighting business. Philips had seen a 10 per cent growth in its lighting business in 2009. In the forefront of research in making LEDs commercially viable, Philips launched ‘Kids Place', a newest range in the lighting category.

He also announced the company's foray into new businesses such as modular switches and Heritage lighting. Philips, he said, had helped to illuminate heritage sites such as Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara in Punjab, Guru Teg Bahadur Memorial in New Delhi, Ajmer Sharif Durgah, Jagmandir in Kota, St. Andrew's Church in Kolkata and the Clock Tower in Ludhiana.

Mr. Sivaraman said the company would aim at growing at twice the rate of GDP (gross domestic product) in India. According to Mahesh Krishnan, head of consumer lifestyle business, the future of India is young. He said, Philips would dip deeper into the entertainment space and launch such products that centred round mobility. The launch of an array of notebook accessories and others at the annual conference fitted into this strategy.

Ajith Joshi, Head of the Tata venture Croma, said he would look forward to Philips providing ``attachment solutions'' for the PCs and laptops. Philips has roped in Croma, a leader in IT retailing, as a trade partner to launch these notebook accessories.

The conference saw a number of launches, including home theatres, lighting and MP3 products.

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