With India emerging as one of the most important markets for Intel, it has also become one of the most frequented stops for Makiko Eda, director of marketing and consumer sales for Intel in Asia Pacific, who looks after all Asian markets except China and Japan.
Campaign India’s Gunjan Prasad and Supreeth Sudhakaran met up with Eda on one of her recent visits, to find out more about how the market has evolved, and with it, Intel’s marketing approach.
CI: In one line, what is Intel’s India strategy?
Makiko Eda (ME): To make India the growth engine for global business and make the brand ‘Intel’ relevant to a large cross-section of consumers in India.
CI: How has the Intel’s marketing strategy evolved over the years?
ME: We are essentially a chip or a semiconductor company, and our core business is to provide best and most innovative technology that sits in many of the systems. The business has not changed but how we express it has undergone a major transformation.
The most important shift has been to redesign our communication focus to evolve from a chip manufacturer to a computing solution provider. We just celebrated the 20th anniversary of the ‘Intel Inside’ campaign, which was launched at a time when computers were not a mainstream thing - we needed to educate consumers to check for evidence that they were indeed buying an Intel-inspired product.
While it remains one of our most successful campaigns, our communication has changed over the years as the user behavior has changed. As computers become more integrated and essential part of consumers’ lives, we have to talk about our brand in a more experiential manner—not just at point of sale but also how it enables consumers to change their lives.
Our recent global campaigns such as ‘Sponsors for tomorrow’ and ‘’New era in computing’ are focusing on highlighting the experience and the end-user benefits that our products deliver, thus strengthening our master brand. As one cannot see, touch and feel the product, it is very important for us to create an emotional connect with our consumers through our marketing campaigns.
CI: Ultrabook is the new feather in Intel’s cap. What is the objective behind the launch and how are you marketing it?
ME: Ultrabooks are high-end subnotebooks that must meet certain criteria to fit into the category. They are designed to be smaller in size and weight, compared to traditional notebooks, while possessing exceptional battery life - all without compromising performance. They use low power Intel processors with integrated graphics, leverage solid-state drives and have an extremely thin profile. With the kind of response notebooks have received in the last couple of years, an
Ultrabook was a product waiting to be unveiled.
Ultrabook is an interesting journey for us. We have always promoted our latest and brightest chips, and Ultrabook will completely vitalize the computer industry. It is interesting to give consumers something that will enthral them with its performance.
Keeping that in focus, in April we launched three new campaigns for Ultrabook globally (to be aired in India soon). Based on the creative concept ‘New era in computing’, the latest campaign, created by San Francisco-based Venables Bell & Partners, gives a cinematic and epic feel to how Intel-inspired Ultrabook systems are ushering in a new era of computing and making everything else seem like ancient history. Television spots set in the American Old West, ancient China and medieval Europe humorously position PCs as old-fashioned and Ultrabooks as the ‘new’ thing.
CI: AMD gives stiff competition to Intel in cases where work or play requires a powerful graphics card. Does that worry Intel?
ME: AMD is a good competitor, and we feel healthy competition is really important for growth of the segment. There were perceptions earlier that Intel chipsets are not graphically rich. However, with Ivy Bridge, there has been a huge advancement. Instead of having separate solutions, we have integrated the rich graphics rendering ability right into the device. The gamer community has high demands when it comes to 3D gaming, and we do have a stack of other products for them. In fact, they help and motivate us to develop products that meet varied expectations of the consumer.
CI: How has the role of retailers evolved over the years?
ME: For us, retailers are the last point of contact with the consumer. Therefore, they have always been extremely important for us. We work with retailers to ensure that it is easier for them to sell the product, and over and above that, explain the features of the products to the consumer better in less intimidating language. We give them tools and training to let them understand and explain the products through demos. In fact, they tell us what the market needs. Today, product-sale is an emotional activity. Nowadays, consumers do not prefer to hear about the configuration of gadgets. They prefer to know what the configuration would offer them in terms of performance.