Interview Our focus is on making relatable, easy to understand & quirky campaigns: Sandeep KS, Redmi India

Sandeep KS

In conversation with Social Samosa, Sandeep KS speaks at length about the various initiatives and campaigns undertaken by the company in the past few months and the core of Redmi India’s social media game plan.

Given the rise in smartphone usage especially during the pandemic, various mobile companies have locked horns to come up with the best versions of updated technology-led handsets. Redmi India being followed suit and launched different variants virtually complemented by a strategic social media plan.

We talk to Sandeep KS, Associate Director, Redmi India Marketing to know more about the execution of the campaigns amidst on-ground restrictions and the marketing gimmicks involved.

Edited Excerpts:

Mi being a digital-savvy brand, how has social media been helpful in engaging with your consumers? Which platform has yielded maximum results?

Over a period of time, our focus has been to develop newer ways for keeping the stakeholders engaged with the brand, across digital and social mediums.

Given the current scenario, we have experimented with our launch formats and have tried making it exciting for our Mi Fans and customers.

  • We unveiled the Redmi Note 9 Pro and Redmi Note 9, Pro Max, in the middle of the pandemic and it was well-received by our Mi Fans and customers

  • In addition to this, our campaign #NoStringsAttached for Redmi Earbuds S, featured our very own employees to create the content for our video, which received a fabulous response from our users.

  • We have always kept a consistent engagement with our Mi fans through multiple meetup sessions. The regular offline fan meet model has been made virtual where we still continue to interact with our fans. It further allows us to reach out to more fans since there are no boundaries in a virtual fan meet.

Taking this strategy forward, we will be looking at introducing newer and creative solutions to engage with our consumers. These virtual launch formats testify to our commitment to using technology as a way to stay connected with Mi Fans and consumers and provide them access to all the relevant product information, more so in these unprecedented circumstances.

How are you trying to help your consumers survive the crisis and also get the conversation going?

We focused our efforts on bringing the most requested/awaited products from the house of Mi India.

We timed the launch of products that made the most sense in this kind of situation. In a lockdown, with limited access to the office, consumers were forced to operate from home. To aid that we launched our laptop category and also introduced a flagship smartphone, Mi 10, to support professionals. We also introduced multiple other products like the Mi Robot vacuum cleaner, Mi trimmer 1C, Mi Box 4K, and many more to add to the elevated experience of a smart home for users.

Even for health and fitness enthusiasts, a series of products were launched which included Mi Watch Revolve, Mi Band 5, Redmi Smart Band and the most needed Mi Automatic Soap Dispenser. Enabling millions of Indians to experience the latest tech without breaking the bank, we unveiled multiple devices in the sub 10,000 price range under the Redmi 9 Series.

The imposed restrictions also led us to revisit our launch timelines and re-align our go to market strategy as per the market development. We introduced Mi Commerce and Mi Store on Wheels to add another level of convenience for our users to shop for products from the comfort of their homes.

When the pandemic became prominent in India in March, most brands had to revisit their marketing & communication strategy. What was it like for Mi? How did you decide on your current content hooks?

While initially, we did take some time to figure out the best possible solutions to keep the workflow going, the team quickly picked up the pace to find newer platforms/solutions to stay connected. We focused on creating engaging content for people sitting at home and tried customizing our launch campaigns to suit their interests.

For eg. for Mi Trimmer 1C, the product was promoted by the Mi Beard gang who are all employees of Xiaomi India, playing a diverse set of characters who tactfully showcased the Mi Beard Trimmer 1C’s innovative features. In addition to this, some of our key corporate announcements including the 3000th store opening and the partnership with Teach for India to donate 2500 smartphones to students were also unveiled through interesting video formats in the digital space. We also introduced Redmi Creator Academy with an aim to provide a platform for all these budding creators across various disciplines, and thus, enabling their creativity.

We believe that it is very important for any brand to stay even more connected with the consumer while staying relevant in current times and we tried doing just that.  We adapted to the latest trends, analyzed data for insights, and spent time understanding new consumer behaviors, in order to drive successful marketing strategies.

Also Read: Mi partners with digital celebrities & musicians for festive campaigns

How did the brand approach the unlock phases?

Since the lockdown relaxations began, Mi India started resuming its sales across all channels and as a result, we saw a lot of pent-up demand. We witnessed significant demand for <12K range of smartphones driven by work from home situations and online education needs. With the gradual opening up of all markets, we have also been witnessing higher demand in the 15-20K and high-end segments.

Catering to the demand through all channels, Mi.com was available for online orders and all offline stores were Suraksha certified and took necessary precautionary measures based on government guidelines for sales. We introduced Mi Commerce, a specially designed platform to cater to the needs of our Offline retail partners in the current COVID-19 scenario.

It has been challenging especially in the first few months of lockdown but user safety and health is our first priority and we have moved forward keeping that in mind.  We are also ramping up our production and with the steady rise in demand for our products and are optimistic about the festive season and Q4.

How does the team coordinate to execute the real-time marketing strategy?

Our efforts are still focussed on making relatable, easy to understand, and quirky campaigns. A normal day in the marketing team is abuzz with ideas across different topics. For example, when we were planning the Redmi Earbuds S launch, we decided to make it as relatable as possible by bringing in the concept of a zoom call and how people from different locations are working together in this scenario.

We truly believe that taking feedback and talking to our consumers is the best way to understand their needs and to enable that understanding, we keep interacting with them through various campaigns on social media. Recently, we did a poll on what the name of Redmi’s audio category of products should have and our fans decided that “Redmi Beat Drop” is the way to go, so that’s what we did.

3 things that the COVID-19 situation taught you in terms of marketing & advertising?

COVID-19 changed the medium and way of marketing, especially with respect to launch events, but our priorities have not. We will continue exploring different ways and strategies of marketing, ensuring maximum malleability across different functions. Key learnings from this global situation have been:

  1. Formulating unconventional campaign
  2. Being able to adapt into newer formats to communicate basis the pulse of the consumer
  3. Use data for insights and understand new consumer behaviors and plan your activities around the same

How do you see the industry shaping up in the post COVID world?

The lockdown has pushed the country towards becoming a digital society which reflects a strong trend in rising digital consumption patterns. A surge in 90% data being consumed via mobile devices, also indicates that this essential commodity will enable more communication and collaboration in the coming times. We expect a lot of users to transition from feature phones to smartphones and we anticipate this demand in higher numbers for smartphones in the budget segment.

With an aim to become a household name for Indian homes, we have launched products across categories, to make our consumers’ life easier. In the last couple of months, we have launched products such as Mi Robot Vacuum Mop-P, Mi Soap Dispenser, Mi Portable Electric Air Compressor, Mi Notebook 14 Horizon edition, among other devices – each one of them offering unique features in the market, and have witnessed a rising adoption of smart devices suitable for smart homes and lifestyle. We believe that in the coming months, there will be an increasing demand for such products, as consumers become open to exploring new tech that makes their life easy.


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