Ashee Sharma
Marketing

"Mini-metros like Coimbatore, Madurai and Nashik have immense potential": Hewlett-Packard's Lloyd Mathias on his target markets

As Hewlett-Packard India's 'Bend the Rules' campaign enters its second year, we speak to the brand's marketing in-charge Lloyd Mathias about the TG, the PC category and the growing need for 'hybrid devices'.

Sample this: According to a Gartner survey of over 21,000 respondents across USA, China, Brazil, India and Germany, conducted in the third quarter of 2014, as many as 11 per cent of all tablet users, 10 per cent of all desktop users and eight per cent of all notebook users are considering replacing their current device with a hybrid device, in the next two years.

Consumers desire a device that affords a combination of portability, productivity and flexibility of touch, finds the study.

Thus, whether intentional or incidental, the 2014 India launch of the HP Pavilion X360 convertible was well-timed. With a little help from a strategically placed, 360 degree hinge, the colourful device transforms itself from notebook to stand to tent to tablet.

The starting price is Rs. 39,990.

Tapping Into The Zeitgeist

"Mini-metros like Coimbatore, Madurai and Nashik have immense potential": Hewlett-Packard's Lloyd Mathias on his target markets
For the product, that 'bends' into different modes, the company has found an addressable market in "the Indian Millennials" or the "four-screen generation," one characterised by its need to question norms. (Did someone say Fastrack?)

In conversation with afaqs!, about how the global communication theme - 'Bend the Rules' - has resonated deeply with the India market, Lloyd Mathias, marketing director, consumer PCs, Asia Pacific and Japan, Hewlett-Packard, says, "While coming up with the tagline we had to be careful because the Millennials are not about 'jugaad' or rebellion; they're just trying to synthesise a new approach by taking what's relevant from the older generations and then doing things in their own way."

Millennials, he tells us, form a large part of the workforce today. Many of them are young entrepreneurs who have decided to forgo their 'cushion jobs'. Their unconventional approach to work, which is very different from that of the purists, is often looked upon with suspicion. It was this insight that led to the tagline, 'I like your 'soch', but love my approach'.

"Mini-metros like Coimbatore, Madurai and Nashik have immense potential": Hewlett-Packard's Lloyd Mathias on his target markets
"It's a healthy articulation of bending the rules in the Indian sense," says Mathias.

About the four-screen generation, Ajai Jhala, CEO, BBDO India, the brand's agency, says, "They are digital natives. This generation toggles between the mobile phone, laptop, tab and TV. For them, technology is an 'extended self' and the transition from online to offline, or office to home, is seamless. It is this aspect of seamless mobility that lies at the core of the product and campaign."

"Mini-metros like Coimbatore, Madurai and Nashik have immense potential": Hewlett-Packard's Lloyd Mathias on his target markets
The power to make device-related decisions at the workplace is another characteristic feature of this generation. "Today, CEOs/COOs are younger (than they used to be, previously). And in general, youngsters today are comfortable telling their superiors what they want. Ten years ago, the company decided which phone and system one had to use, and there was no choice but to agree. Now, people can say, 'This is the device I use; make it work for me', and the CTOs have to say yes to that," explains, Mathias, adding, "Young people have found their voice and as a technology company we are celebrating their success."
"Mini-metros like Coimbatore, Madurai and Nashik have immense potential": Hewlett-Packard's Lloyd Mathias on his target markets
The multi-media campaign for Pavilion X360 is a pan-India effort. Says Mathias about the target markets, "Mini-metros like Coimbatore, Madurai and Nashik have immense potential and are hence key markets for HP."
"Mini-metros like Coimbatore, Madurai and Nashik have immense potential": Hewlett-Packard's Lloyd Mathias on his target markets
Last year, the brand featured stories of
(Jaipur-based maker of cutomised motorcycles) and
(youngest girl to climb the Mount Everest) as webisodes. The present leg of the campaign comprises two new industry stories - those of Chaayos (Delhi-based tea chain) and Chumbak (design-led consumer retailer, based in Bengaluru).
"Mini-metros like Coimbatore, Madurai and Nashik have immense potential": Hewlett-Packard's Lloyd Mathias on his target markets
In a third video, one sees 'YouTuber' and music prodigy Antareep Hazarika bending the rules to produce music with the HP Pavilion X360.

Category Talk

In a recent interview with afaqs!, Bhaskar Choudhuri, director, marketing, Lenovo India, spoke about the smartphone category and the way it is "galloping" in India, as opposed to the PC category, that has been "stagnant for the last five years."

Giving a quick overview of the usage windows for different segments, HP's Mathias says, "The smartphone is primarily a 'communication' device, tablets are used for 'consumption' (of books, news, content, etc.) and the laptop/notebook is where we 'create' (presentations, music, graphics, etc). Today, although most people have a laptop or notebook (many are replacing the former with the latter, nowadays), the desktop is used in offices, and in homes as a 'family computer' that everyone has access to."

Comparing smartphones to PCs is hardly fair, but it is, perhaps, safe to assume that the fight between hybrid devices, tablets and notebooks is a close one.

To Mathias, it's the fact that these devices are comparable, albeit in medium-to-broad strokes, that makes the convertible/hybrid PC a potential winner.