MARKETING SUPERSTARS;VIDEOCON INTERNATIONAL;NABANKUR GUPTA

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BOMBAY-Videocon International's Nabankur Gupta is fighting off global TV marketers by firing Bazookas, Turbo Toughs and Privates at Indian TV buyers.

Until this year, TV sets in India were identified by model letters and numbers rather than names. In addition, import laws were eased, allowing multinational rivals like Panasonic, Akai and Grundig into the Indian market this year, usually with upscale sets aimed at urban Indians.

Mr. Gupta saw an opportunity for carefully targeted branding. And he introduced model names, like Bazooka, to the marketplace.

"We reclassified our entire product portfolio into segments with sub-branding," said Mr. Gupta, 46, Videocon's director-marketing and sales for consumer electronics and appliances.

Videocon positioned the 14-inch Private model as the set for the family wanting a second TV for a teen's bedroom. Responding to research findings that middle-class Indians like to turn the volume way up, Videocon offered the extra-loud Turbo Tough line.

Videocon gave its five no-frills Budgetline models-from a $235 14-inch set to a $635 25-inch set-the task of attracting owners of b&w sets to new color sets by minimizing the price difference. Priced 20% less than similar sets, Budgetline sold largely in rural areas where households typically own b&w sets, if any. For affluent consumers, Videocon's Bazooka model has upscale features, like higher-quality sound and greater channel capacity.

"We realized that the multinationals were coming in," Mr. Gupta said. "We also realized that the [other] Indian brands were getting aggressive. The local market was getting demanding."

The strategy worked. Videocon's market share grew from 21.4% in January to 30.1% in August. Its nearest competitor, BPL, lagged at 19.7%.

Videocon backed its marketing effort with a $3 million campaign by iB&W Communications.

"Our ad strategy was to reach out to customers separately in each segment," Mr. Gupta said.

Videocon believes its strategy of marketing to sub-segments such as rural buyers and teen-agers could work in other emerging Asian and African markets.

"We want to maintain our market position and be instrumental in bringing a TV set into every Indian home," Mr. Gupta said. "We want to be seen as a global player in the TV business in the next five years."

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