Titan has announced the appointment of Sushmita Sen as brand ambassador of its premium-watch brand Nebula by Titan as it has rolled out a new collection inspired by the architecture and style of Art Deco.
In a conversation with Campaign India on the sidelines of the press conference to announce Sen as brand ambassador, Suparna Mitra, CEO, Titan Watches and Wearables, stated that the premium watch segment continues to grow as India's emerging middle class with swelling disposable incomes, combined with evolving consumer tastes, is looking at more choices.
Where does Nebula fit into the portfolio range of Titan watches? Tell us more about this latest collection...
In many ways, Nebula is like the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Titan watches portfolio. It's at the highest end because it’s made of precious stones and 18-karat gold. It’s not just about the material, even the way it is made, the horological experience, the craftsmanship, the quality- everything is done at a very high level. Nebula has been growing very well as a brand, both last year as well as this year. Nebula fits in well because there are several unique and distinctive aspects about it which make it a big draw, such as it’s from Titan, and it’s deeply and authentically Indian, with high-end watches for both men and women.
For this particular collection, the architectural style of the Art Deco era, which started in Europe and became very big around the 1920s and 30s was the source of inspiration. And we see that it has given a lot of freshness to the design because of the geometrical patterns, straight lines, ridges and the kind of shapes and forms that have evolved from it.
What was the thought behind bringing in Sushmita Sen as the brand ambassador to represent this premium collection?
She’s somebody whose values match ours. I think she’s one of those Indian people in the public eye who always stood for authenticity, for purpose, for clarity, the best, and yet at the same time very rooted. That’s why we thought it was a fantastic match.
What’s the marketing plan for this latest collection? Which medium will you leverage to enhance the brand visibility, and why?
For this kind of brand, the marketing plan is a little different from say a mass campaign like we have for a brand like Raga where you blast it on TV for maximum reach. This is not that kind of brand. So we have different formulae, we tweak it depending on the brand. This being a high-end collection with very high-valued pieces it needs to be nurtured carefully over time. It has to have a high-end event, and media interactions; it's not like you have a campaign running for a month and then you forget about it. We need to expose the brand to high-end consumers- both ours and other premium watch buyers.
Overall, for this range, we would go with more PR, digital and social, along with events.
You mentioned social media marketing. Do you think with the high levels of competition in this space, there’s the risk of consumer fatigue with over-communication and targeting by brands? Also, do you think post-pandemic, brand messaging and brand proposition in India have changed?
Earlier when it was just ATL (above-the-line marketing) the same message would reach everybody, but the beauty of digital and social is that it gets personalised and different people are targeted differently because that’s how the algorithms work. The more you like something, the more it gets served to you, and I do think that it allows hyper-personalisation.
I don’t think there’s consumer fatigue because it doesn’t get served at one broadcast level. It gets served in little snackable bits, and people consume it as and when they want it. I also think it's much more useful from the consumer perspective because they search depending on what they want and then the algorithms kick in.
Did the Titan Watches division see growth in sales from the e-commerce channel post-pandemic? How much percentage of the division’s sales does the e-comm now contribute?
Immediately after the pandemic, we saw a dip, but we posted very good results last year which was almost 45% growth over the previous year. And this was across all channels, including multi-brand, marketplace and e-comm. We crossed 5,000 crores of turnover in net consumer price last year. The previous high was 3,600 crore so it was a huge increase which came through across all brands and all channels. E-commerce contributed to about 12-15% of this.
Can you shed some light on the Titan brand journey and how it has strengthened over the years? How do you ensure that the brand remains relevant to the evolving consumer sentiments?
Titan was launched in 1987 and in the past 36 years, it has maintained its leadership. It continues to have the lion’s share of the Indian watch market despite almost all international brands coming in. It remains hugely loved because the brand has put in a lot of effort to keep up with the Indian consumer. the brand has also grown from strength to strength because of innovation, high levels of quality and trust, very deep and detailed design capability, and a very good presence both online and on ground.
On remaining relevant, I think that is something that a lot of effort is put into understanding what the trends are as consumers are changing. And accordingly, new brands, sub-brands, and collections get launched. We have a very extensive listening mechanism, we listen through many sources, we listen to our customers as they come into our stores, and we listen online. There is an active understanding of consumer trends and a lot of data analysis- so we know what works, and what doesn’t. We also place a lot of focus on adaptability, agility, and innovation. One can’t keep doing what you did two-three years back, you have to keep moving and keep coming up with contemporary forms. I think the synergy across the value chain has ensured that we remain relevant, desired, and beloved by the Indian consumer.