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Updated: March 22, 2010 20:18 IST

Re-branding Philips as product of tomorrow

K. T. Jagannathan
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Murali Sivaraman, CEO, Philips Electronics India Limited. File Photo: Rajeev Bhatt.
Murali Sivaraman, CEO, Philips Electronics India Limited. File Photo: Rajeev Bhatt.

Philips Electronics India Ltd. is on a brand refresh mode. 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, he added.

“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.

Asserting that Philips “is a highly owned brand,” 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, he said. 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 Philips 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, he added.

Focussing on healthcare sector

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. “We are focusing on healthcare in a big way,'' he said. “Home healthcare is an untouched virgin place,” he added.

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, he added. The first such lab would be installed at Adarsha Hospital in Udipi in Karnataka.

Illuminating business

Mr. Sivaraman said Philips would focus on consumer lifestyle and lighting businesses along with healthcare. “It not only dispels darkness, light brings about a huge change in people's life,” he said. Asserting that “lighting is a fascinating space,” Mr. Sivaraman said Philips 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. `Kids Place' is designed to provide right lighting ambience and experience for the kids at home.

“With the Philips Ledino range, we are providing consumers at home a pure, refreshing light, which creates a natural ambience in appealing designs,” he said.

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

Mr. Sivaraman said Philips 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. The forty is the new 20.'' As such, 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, he added.

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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