Epson: An eye for the unusual

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | September 02, 2011
Epson India is out with a campaign, which includes a television commercial, in what is a more significant step towards advertising and marketing by the brand. The positioning statement goes, 'See beyond the usual'.

Digital imaging solutions provider Epson India is finally feeling the need to make noise in a big way on mass media channels, including a commercial on television, after a substantial gap. This is to showcase its entire range of imaging products in an effort to drive reach, visibility and equity for the brand among regular consumers, instead of concentrating on trade and distribution channels, which is what Epson had been practicing in recent times.

The baseline for the brand now is 'See beyond the usual'. This kind of a branding effort, after a gap of several years, could also be spurred on by the high-voltage campaigns launched by competitors Canon and HP Printers.

Not a stranger to the Indian terrain

Epson India was established in 2000, although it did have a presence in India from a few years earlier. The brand was given prominence at that point of time using Sushmita Sen, then recently-hailed Miss Universe, as its brand ambassador, among the firsts for an IT brand. Advertising was largely restricted to the print medium and supported by below-the-line (BTL) activities.

As is known, Epson primarily deals in printers and projectors, and caters to home and office users, photo-professionals, digital labs, educational institutions, retail store owners, corporate houses and government bodies.

According to Tushad Talati, general manager, brand and communication, Epson India, Epson has been growing at 25-30 per cent annually for the past few years and in 2011, its turnover crossed Rs 500 crore, which led the brand to take its advertising more seriously.

"While the spends on the brand were not large in the past, it's incorrect to assume that there was no focus on advertising and marketing at all," explains Talati. The brand was present in the print medium, online, outdoor and BTL. Marketing activities focused on its key target audiences and markets, but these efforts were few and far-between. The brand's ambitious target of becoming a Rs 1000 crore brand by 2014 led to a renewed focus on advertising and marketing at this point.

Research done by the company a while ago indicated that only 61 per cent of the respondents 'knew Epson very well' and a further 23 per cent 'knew Epson somewhat'. These numbers needed to improve for the brand to enter its next phase of growth, and there was a strong need for Epson to reach out to the unaware market, in addition to attracting the aware non-users and converting them.

While in the past there had been strong push for the brand, there was now a need to create strong consumer pull as well, to build a brand preference, ensure that the brand is not dependent on products/models, and create a trust in the name 'Epson' amongst consumers at large as 'more than a printer company'.

Not the 'usual' communication

A television commercial - among Epson's first major efforts on the medium - has been created by OpusCDM, which revolves around the thought, 'See beyond the usual'. It profiles Epson users, talking of how some people express themselves without limits, while some see the power to change minds. The ad concludes with 'Some see beyond the usual. Epson'.

OpusCDM and Epson tried out three different planks for communication, and finally settled on one. The first route was to convey Epson as the brand that brings imaging perfection to life. The second was about how smart people choose to use smart imaging, and the third was based on the 'reliability' platform. After much debate, it was decided to go with the 'Imaging perfection brought to life' route.

Nagesh Manay, head, creative development and strategy planning, OpusCDM, says, "We had to connect with consumers in a conversational tone to build more confidence around the brand."

'See beyond the usual' works at various levels, with 'see' implying the imaging domain, while the tone of voice is an invitation to experience; the word 'beyond' is about 'further', a promise of growth and newness; and the words 'the usual' convey the brand's attempt to be unique, and go beyond the mundane. The line is in sync with Epson's broader thought, 'Exceed your vision'.

Apart from television, Epson shall be present extensively in print, online media (including a recently-launched Facebook page), airport and ground level activations. There are six different versions of the Epson TVC, and to build some traction on social media, the brand introduced the 'Spot the six spots' contest online to get consumers/fans to list all the six spots during the ongoing India-England cricket series, with the winner getting prizes from the Epson stable.

Talati says, "We saw cricket as the best vehicle to kick-start the campaign. Given the massive pan-India, cross-lingual, cross-geographic reach the game has in India, it was a logical choice to enable widespread penetration in a short span of time." Epson is an associate sponsor of the India-England series.

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