Spotlight on Audio Innovations | ChannelDrive.in
Since the inception of the company in the year 1962, Japanese organization Audio Technica is driving innovation in the consumer space with the help of its headphones, microphones, audio electronics products.
Robin Ghose, Business Development Manager, Audio Technica speaks with Zia Askari from ChannelDrive.in about the company’s business strategy for India and its future plans.
What has Audio-Technica’s journey been so far?
Since the inception of the company in 1962, it has grown both in geographic presence as well as in products and services offered. Starting with the first office in Tokyo, the Audio-Technica Corporation now has over 17 different companies across the world bringing over 50 years of Japanese Innovation and Quality to almost every part of the world. Audio-Technica started with stereo phono cartridges and now has a portfolio of products including headphones, microphones, audio electronics.
What has changed for the brand in the post COVID world?
Worldwide the impact of Covid-19 has hurt business in the majority of markets but the recovery rate is faster than we expected. Audio-Technica has always been a reputed and trusted brand with customers and in fact we have had more new customers becoming aware of the brand and coming to the fold. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected certain product segments as consumption has dropped, but this has also been offset with the uptake in products focussing on creating and consuming content and for distance conferencing for work and education.
The past few months have been interesting to say the least. One interesting fact that has come up is the changing consumer behavior. How has that impacted Audio-Technica? What have you changed in your go-to market strategy to accommodate this change?
In addition to the increase in requirements for products such as microphones and headphones, the biggest change in consumer behaviour we noticed in India was the jump to digital channels for purchase of products. Also there has been an increase in customers looking to the internet to research about products they want to buy and these customers are becoming more reliant on influencers online to help them decide what to buy. Customers are also looking at buying products which may be more expensive but are of a higher quality and are more durable, so that they get a better return on their investment.
So we have had to analyse and refine our product mix in this time to better suit the requirements of customers. We have also planned for and will be releasing new products to help improve the distance conferencing experience and content creation quality over the next few months.
Our channel strategy has also been tweaked and we have more focus on the online channels and brick and mortar retail stores with digital presence.
Did marketing take a greater purpose during the last few months? Was there a change in your marketing strategies during these past few months?
Marketing has been and will always be the most important part of the business strategy. Our most significant strategy change was to enhance our digital marketing spends which offered a much better return on investment during this period. We have cut back on advertising in the print media as well as on brand promotion in retail stores for the interim period.
How are you looking at the festive season from the marketing perspective?
India specific festival marketing campaigns are integral part of India Market strategy the difference this year is we will use only digital media to communicate the same.
You are a Japanese company does the restrictions on trade of products made in china have any impact on you?
Firstly, while we are Japanese company, we have our own factories as subsidiary companies in Japan as well as Taiwan and China so the product mix is different and a small percentage of the products we sell in India are manufactured in China. Currently there are no restriction on import of our product segments in India, and there was only a short time where there was enhanced scrutiny of product during import.
Corona locked down has lots of people go back to education / pursuing hobbies that were brushed under the carpet / a overload of webinars and then there was working from home – did any of these or any other trend you may see have an Impact on Audio-Technica?
Yes there has been a surge in demand for headphones as well as microphones to improve the distance conferencing experience and content creation quality. With the trend of work from home and the closure of education institutions we have seen a decrease in the number of commercial installation projects in the corporate and education sectors.
What is the go to market strategy for Audio Technica in India?
India is one of the focus countries for Audio-Technica and we have been investing in people in addition to partnering with key value added distributors for various channels. There are a few products that are being developed specific for the Indian market which coupled with our aggressive brand marketing strategy will help increase our market share We also focus globally on a blue ocean strategy to simultaneous pursue differentiation and low cost to open up new market spaces and create new demand. Making unique, attractive products from new, innovative perspectives and marketing them around the world is how Audio-Technica has grown to what it is today and we will continue to do so in India as well.
What kind of growth are you looking at from your Indian operations and where is this growth going to come from?
The 5 year plan is very aggressive and we are looking at growth from the prosumer segment for our professional segment as well as from our consumer electronics products.
What kind of product innovations can we expect from Audio Technica in the coming months?
Audio-Technica has always been an innovative company and our research and development and product teams are continuously working to bring out new products. As I said before we have planned for and will be releasing new products to help improve the distance conferencing experience and content creation quality over the next few months. Also we have some new wireless and wired microphones and audio electronics expected before the end of this financial year.