Ayushi Anand
Jan 22, 2014

‘The customer is technically our brand ambassador’

Q&A with Ravi Bharadwaj, executive director – marketing, Dell India

‘The customer is technically our brand ambassador’

Dell India launched its new tablet series ‘Venue’ on 20 January 2014. The series comprises four ultrathin models, two meant for personal use and the other two for professionals. Campaign India caught up with Ravi Bharadwaj, executive director – marketing, Dell India, on the sidelines of the launch in Delhi, to talk about brand’s image, market share, focus on tablets, and the reason for never signing on a brand ambassador. Edited excerpts:

In the PC segment, according to IDC, price decrease on many of Dell's products in Jan-Mar 2013, has helped it claw back to the second position, along with Acer (HP has the lead). What will be Dell's move to further climb up the ladder?

We will strengthen the brand in terms of what we have created across consumers and commercially. It is a pretty strong brand and more so in the PC category. When we look at the awards we have received over last one year, it reinstates Dell’s position in India. It re-emphasises the brand’s connect with the consumer. When we talk about end-user computing, it is a critical strategy for Dell in terms of focus areas and we are looking at the four imperatives – transform, connect, inform and protect. If you take connect, which is primarily about users looking at connecting, accessing and sharing information, device becomes a big play. What we move in from here is not just technology but also flexibility and choice. That is what is going to add to our connect with the customers or the youth of today.

If you see our last year’s journey, we were very much visible from the brand perspective. Our ‘personal achievement’ campaign celebrated the achievements of users. These were real life stories. Then we went on to build another television campaign, ‘The Festival’, which was ‘Dell se’. This was about gifting and connecting with the youth on an emotive level where we said if you amplify this to the next level, ‘hint a gift’ becomes the key theme. All this got a lot of visibility. Beyond this, we did ‘Dell Youth Connect’, which was a school outreach program in 20 cities.

We have just launched ‘My Dell rewards’ on Facebook. You get points when you join in and can accumulate points through various connects and then you can use it to buy a Dell system. Incidentally, Dell India in the Dell world leads in terms of Facebook followers. All this adds to the ‘connect’ and builds the brand and amplifies people to buy Dell systems.

To gain market share, is Dell aiming to spruce up its product mix?

If you look at the entire range of products that we have recently launched, there has always been an ongoing focus on refreshing and launching products in various focused categories. If you look within the consumer stuff, we have Inspiron for the youth - the achievers. We have thin, light XPS for the upper, urban audience. We have Alienware, which is primarily high-end gaming as well as high-end computing.

We are now adding tablets. Our whole objective is getting the user to experience the next level. If you step back and look at what the user wants, he wants a smaller device in terms of form factor, high performance, connect, access, and share from anywhere. What we have done with the Dell tablets is we have built a clear companion. If you look at users today, tablet has become a part of them. Dell focuses very clearly on how we can enhance the user experience.

We have branded our tablet as ‘Venue’. It has a versatile range of tablets. What we are essentially talking is not just technology but flexibility in terms of choice and availability. At the next level we are talking about security. Our in-built software in terms of security features live up to what the expectations are.

Which product category would we see more action in?

Tablets will be a thrust area along with PCs. Venue will be very visible this year.

How is the SMB business growing for Dell?

SMB is one of the fastest growth businesses for Dell at this point of time.

From 'Power to do more' to ‘Achieve more' to the recent 'Do Kuch Bhi' campaign, how has Dell transformed its core marketing message?

‘Power to do more’ is clearly the brand promise and our purpose remains the same. Our purpose is to deliver technology solutions that enable people to grow and thrive and reach their full potential – that hasn’t changed. ‘I can do kuch bhi’ or the other campaigns of Dell such as ‘hinting a gift’ are all campaigns. What you will also see this year is ‘Meet your match’ campaign, which is primarily to drive the tablet brand. ‘Meet your match’ is a device, a form factor of your choice, your flexibility with all the features. Our purpose does not change.

According to you, do the campaigns highlight the transformation and the technology shifts?

Yes, if you look at each of the campaigns, it either talks about a specific feature, which is unique and very clearly about what the customer told us or shared with us in terms of experiences - including the tablet.

Have the campaigns led to increased sales for your products?

It is a combination of product, pricing, placement and the brand. All-in-all it has worked pretty well for Dell. You would have seen a huge visibility. We have two TVCs, we have the product placement in Nach Baliye and then we did a whole amplification of micro-site on the Dell Achievers platform. Over the year, we have constantly been in touch with the consumers.

Unlike Acer and Lenovo, Dell has never used a brand ambassador. Why? Would it not have ensured a higher brand recall?

We still strongly believe in our brands and our brand is our hero. We strongly believe in our portfolio. Everything that we do at Dell is keeping the customer at the centre. The customer is technically our brand ambassador.

Campaign India