Comio aims to set up own manufacturing unit by the end of this year.

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Sumit Sehgal, CMO, COMIO Smartphones

  1. Over the years the marketing landscape has changed drastically and a role of the CMO at any company has followed suit. Now, with so many marketing channels gaining traction in the industry and so many possible avenues for engagement, what are the key points you focused on for a new brand like COMIO?

The first step is to really decide your segment and their channels of content consumption and engagement. And then for a new brand like ours, build width of awareness cost effectively which is sync with the core brand idea.

COMIO is a challenger brand and our smartphones are for today’s youth. As a brand we want to support and encourage them to hear only their own voice and shut out the external voices. This forms the basics. Through our very first campaign, #DontListen Kar Daal, we engaged with youth and raised questions on the challenges faced by them and encouraged them to following their heart. We got an overwhelming response. This was possible because of 2 key reasons:

One – That we engaged with our segment in their medium of choice – Digital. We also went face-to- face on ground and compounded the power through digital.

Second – The theme came from a strong insight that tugged at their hearts. Therefore, for a very sharp and targeted segment as defined for Comio, the channels of consumption were also narrowed and targeted and therefore a focussed approach has its payoffs.

Q.Coming to a new brand and take charge is very challenging for everyone, how you explain your role and journey with brand COMIO till date?

I have seen my wife giving birth to two children. I am going through the same now – giving birth to a brand. It is a great feeling but is also accompanied with a strong sentiment of care, caution and responsibility. It goes without saying that this is the most ecstatic time of my life. The others have grown up and are very successful. I must now bring up this child in a very competitive environment where my responsibility is to nurture it to the best of my ability so that it grows up to be an adult who has strong values and beliefs and then creates success and garners love for itself wherever it goes.

  1. How important it is to connect with your audience? Do you feel these days marketing model was not to talk about devices but to talk about the people who use our devices?

It is the age of building relationships between brands and consumers. The marketing model has always been to talk with consumers, bond with them and build relationships with those who have the same beliefs as the brand’s. The product is a mere representation of the brand. However, many marketers have found it challenging to go beyond the product since the product communication tends to deliver short term benefits while bonding with consumer beliefs is more profitable in the long term. Different medium can work together to deliver both and that has to be carefully calibrated to ensure that a seamless thought of the ‘What’ and ‘Why’ are delivered effectively to consumers’.

  1. We have seen many new online campaign initiatives from COMIO, tell us how effective it was?

Ans. Our first and very successful campaign- ‘Don’t Listen Kar Daal’ was inspired by the confidence and attitude of today’s youth. Overall the campaign has done extremely well in crossing all industry benchmarks in terms of social engagement and CTR.

COMIO engaged with next generation of entertainers to popularise the campaign, including internet singing sensation- Shraddha Sharma, multi-talented actor and singer-Darshan Rawal, India's no. 1 prankster group – Funk You, and YouTube star – Anisha Dixit aka Rickshawali. Complementing the core of the campaign, the brand ambassadors brought on board are the embodiment of this youthful ‘Kar Daal’ spirit. The campaign mix was focussed on youth media consumption habits with a judicious use of digital, outdoor, radio and a high focus on on-ground youth congregation areas as well as using bloggers and influencers who had a span reaching out to youth in our selected geographies.

As the campaign progressed, new and different questions were raised to engage with the youth like “Kya girls ko late night bahar nahi nikalna chahiye? Kya phone pe chipke rehna time waste karna hai? Padhaayi ke bina kuch nahi ban paaoge? The campaign motivated people not to hesitate and voice out their opinion no matter how different it is. Over the course of the campaign, COMIO India had executed high-engagement activations with its targeted audience by sharing inspiring tales of the four-young digital sensations. The brand has been doing exciting online and offline. Through this campaign, we have received over 36000 story submissions from India’s youth.

Q5. How important 2018 is for Comio? What are your plans?

Ans. The year 2018 is extremely crucial for COMIO since by early 2018, we would have a national footprint. Manufacturing will play a critical role as well, currently we are getting our smartphones manufactured from third party manufacturers, but we aim to set up our own manufacturing unit by the end of this year. Competition would be more intense and we need to drive our differentiation and establish our beliefs as a brand so that we can create affinity with like-minded consumers’. Our online and offline distribution and service network needs to complement our consumer segment and offer great value as well as a smooth brand experience.