ONIDA The Brand and its Strategies

Born: 1981

History: Owned by Mirc Electronics Ltd

Status: The most recognizable home-grown brand in the highly competitive consumer electronics industry dominated by Korean chaebols such as LG and Samsung.

Brand story: Onida is a brand best remembered for its unique mascot—the green devil with horns, long nails and spiky tail slithering across television screens. The tag line, Neighbour’s Envy, Owner’s Pride, was as catchy as the mascot. The devil turned out to be an angel in disguise—his mischievous message stood the brand in good stead in times that saw many of its rivals capitulate under market pressure.

For, Onida, too, was a victim of liberalization: Korean heavyweights such as LG Electronics and Samsung came to India with aggressive pricing and distribution strategies and conquered the consumer electronics market. The older players, such as Mirc, Videocon and BPL, couldn’t match their ability to scale up operations and cut prices while playing the volumes game. Most companies went into the red.

Onida survived. “There was a great fear that all Indian companies will be washed out with large MNCs (multinational companies) coming to India. But, Onida had managed to build a strong connect with its consumers and it re mained intact even in challenging times,” says Gulu Mirchandani, chairman of Mirc Electronics. “We soon decided that to stay ahead, we must make products that are not only globally competitive but measure up to global standards of quality as well,” he adds. The company continued to communicate its brand promise through clutter-free advertising—and the irrepressible devil.

According to a study of brands by market research firm TNS Mode released in September 2007, more than 78% of those surveyed could recall the devil, and connect it with the Onida brand. The times remain challenging, but the devil and his antics have built a strong equity among consumers.

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