You can call it the “3 Idiots” formula, and Onida is adapting it.
Like the Bollywood movie story of a homegrown engineer who makes his innovations more locally relevant, the old electronics warhorse is attempting to rebound in a market dominated by Korean labels such as Samsung and LG with products that have that extra local touch.
Mirc Electronics, which championed the brand — said to be an anagram of Noida — is stepping up research and development as it aims a growth target of 35 to 40 per cent in the current financial year with a turnover of R2,500 crore.
You could soon see from the Onida stable a washing machine with a built-in brush to scrub collars or spots, mobile phones that have a component to repel mosquitoes and air conditioners that tell you how much electricity you have saved.
The company that grabbed eyeballs with a devil-like mascot who touted a television set as “Neighbour’s Envy, Owner’s Pride” has already LCD television sets that play movies through a USB drive, which it says is doing well in rural areas.
“Innovation is not simply high-end technology, but also ensuring that your product meets non-verbalised needs of consumers,” said Gulu Mirchandani, chairman, Mirc.
The brush-laden washing machines would sell in the R10,000-18,000 range.
Sriram Krishnamurthy, vice-president, sales, marketing and service for Onida, said as many as 93 per cent of Indian customers use a hand-brush because even fully automatic machines do not have the facility.
In mobile phones, the company plans to take its market share to 3 per cent from the current 1 per cent through its handsets in the R2,000-4,000 range.
“The international players, when they came in, outdid Indian players with their deep advertising spend. We are now looking at evening out this long deficit,” Krishnamurthy said.
“Indian players have an advantage as going forward, local innovation will be very important for growth," said Rashmi Upadhya, managing consultant, strategy, at PricewaterhouseCoopers India.