Bobby Johnson is the senior consumer marketing manager, export, Asia Pacific for Philips consumer lifestyle. He was in town for the Philips Consumer Lifestyle Distributors Seminar and spoke with Terence Lee of THT Perspectives about the plans of the company and scope for increasing market share in Asia and Nepal. Excerpts:
Why was the seminar held in Nepal and what is its outcome?
First of all, I would like to thank all those who have contributed to make this seminar a success here in Nepal. This is a seminar that we do every year for all our export countries. Philips export office is in Singapore and covers the Asia markets, excluding China and India. Because of the size of those markets, they have their own set up. The countries we cover for export are developing markets in Asia like Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and others. We rotate the hosting of this seminar every year in different countries and this time we decided on Nepal. It was a perfect choice because of the beauty of Nepal and we wanted our distributors to enjoy this beautiful country of mountains and diverse culture. We are also very indebted to our local distributor Syakar Company in Nepal who helped make this event a huge success.In terms of proposition for business, I think we are very excited about the future. This seminar was to showcase the strength of innovation that Philips offers. This was also an occasion to showcase the new
products that Philips is launching. I think that in this direction, it is clear that Philips has been constantly changing over all the years and if you see the way we do business and the field that we play in, it is all about health and well being. The products that we bring into the market improve lives by convalescing health and well being of the people. When we talk about health, we are talking about the latest technology like the AirFryer. Throughout the seminar, everyone has been amazed by this product with which you can now fry food without using oil. That is our dedication to health and well being. We also have new television and sound systems that help you
relax and rejuvenate.
What are your plans for Asia? What are your branding and marketing plans?
We are already the number one leading brand in many categories globally. We are number one worldwide in juicer, blender and male grooming shavers. So we already have a very strong global brand. Even in small remote villages of Cambodia, I was happy to see that
people recognise Philips. We are very strong but we have to pay attention in some categories to keep ahead and retain our market share. We believe that the best way to be the market leader is to constantly bring innovative products to the market that are not only the finest in terms of design, etcetera but also really make a difference in the lives of our consumers.
But isn’t Asia is a very competitive market?How do you plan to compete?
I think our biggest strength is that Philips is a company that’s more than a 100 years old. We have this brand heritage and since we have been around for a while, we know how to make things and we know how to survive. We pay attention to what our competitors are doing but we pay more attention to how we can bring the best products to the market and how to cater to consumer needs.
Of course in Asia, the competition is very strong — after all, Asia is the home of LG and Samsung. This is also the home of Panasonic and Sony. But I think we have the right proposition to sustain and increase our market share in Asia.
How do you see the market in Nepal? What are your future plans?
When I look at the market in Nepal, I think it is very similar to the other smaller markets that we have in this region. There are a lot of local players and also the Chinese products are all over. I think that if we can come with the right products and the right proposition in the market, there are consumers who are willing to pay a little extra money and buy a Philips product. People in Nepal know the brand value of Philips; they know the kind of quality that we deliver and the added value that we offer. That is something that we can achieve in Nepal. We have a distributor here in Nepal that has done a good job. Now with this seminar here
in Nepal, I think it will energise everybody and we will see greater achievements.
There has not been much branding of Philips in Nepal. Will there be more brand focus and aggressive marketing from now on?
We want to go in the direction of really trying to build a brand in the country. We have had discussions with our local partner on how to increase our market share in Nepal. We know our competitors are doing quite a lot of things and so we need to really match that. But of course, we have to be very creative in trying to reach the target audience. We are planning to do some more activities to promote the brand. There has to be some investment for that, which we are also prepared to make in Nepal.
We have to convey the message to the consumers that Philips is all about sense and simplicity in the simplest form. While our products offer the most innovative technology their usage is simple. I think the target audience would be very enthusiastic about our products — especially the new range of products we are launching in this market.