“Brand building in this new world should be more about simplicity than complication”

Even before COVID-19 struck the world, there was a growing demand for technological devices that meet the consumer needs and especially during the lockdown, as everything shifted to digital, the demand for IT Solution devices increased rapidly. With screen work being the need of the hour, manufacturers started innovating convenient platforms for users so that they can choose the right product according to their requirements.

With technology becoming an essential part of everyone’s lives today – from e-learning to e-working and now playing games online, smart devices have taken centrestage in the current scenario.

Primarily a distributor of electronic parts and a consultant in the use of microprocessor technologies, Acer, one of the growing product-based companies, was launched in 1976 with an aim to become a significant PC manufacturer. With the growing demand and sales worldwide, the company started producing netbooks, LCD, LED, Projectors and a lot more. Smart gadgets like G.T.I. was also invented to keep track of footsteps on the journey of staying fit. In addition to this, Smart Device Provider also announced the esports social platform PLANET9, which aims to provide gamers and esports enthusiasts game analytics, community-organised competitions, socialising experience, and more.

In conversation with Adgully, Sooraj Balakrishnan, Head of Marketing , Acer India, speaks about the new ideas and strategies that were built for creating effective branding during the pandemic, brand building in the new normal, the evolving role of the CMO, the importance of offering a cohesive brand experience to customers at all touch-points and more. 

With the changing shift in industries, which new services are you opening up for consumers and businesses alike?

As a product-based company, Acer has always been at the forefront, especially when it comes to offering devices that help meet the consumer needs. In the present-day scenario, when remote working and learning has taken the centre stage, we are offering custom work space IT solutions, smart learning devices and enabling a better learning experience for students. Our devices offer solutions on Windows and Chrome platforms across various price points making it convenient for students, SMBs and enterprises to choose the right device that service their needs.

With the screen time at an all-time high for students and professionals alike, we have introduced various in-built features such as BlueLightShield Pro Eyesafe Certified Displays, LightSense, ColorSense, ProxiSense, Adaptive Light, and Flickerless, amongst others. These features help reduce the strain on the eyes to the maximum extent possible. Moreover, with our embedded hardware level security features, it helps in data security. With increasing time spent online, one of our priorities is digital health and privacy of data.

As an impactful tech lifestyle global brand, we look forward to playing an essential role for our customers to thrive in the new world. Right from Schools to SMBs, from remote workers to gamers, we at Acer are constantly working towards offering devices and features that make life better for all, especially in this stay-at-home era. 

What are the new ideas for creating effective branding in a world where hardware, software, and services fuse with one another?

As devices are offered as solutions with a combination of hardware, software and service, what is important is that we communicate the end benefit of the solution rather than just the individual components. For a customer, the product is a whole and so is the benefit, so marketers need to move away from features to benefit from communication. Customer attention span is fleeting and technology is complicated, so in the shortest span what is the real benefit which a customer should understand should be the lead in the communication. Brand building in this new world should be more about simplicity than complication. 

Given the constant flux in consumer behaviour, especially in pandemic times, what is your go-to strategy to understand your customers’ unique wants and needs?

When it comes to understanding the customers’ needs, being empathetic has always been our first line of action. When you are empathetic, you listen more and that’s when you understand more about your customer and provide the experience they are looking for. Small things matter as much as the bigger things and this is where some brands miss out. As marketers, we need to understand that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to product or branding, so using AI tools to deliver communication which is useful for the audience makes a big difference. Our product lines also cater to different use cases, which might be niche or mainstream, an example is the ENDURO laptop we launched. 

You have several competitors in your industry. In your opinion, what makes Acer stand out from your competitors?

One thing which I highlighted previously is our DNA of listening to our customers and combined with our agility in decision making and taking action at the right time. Of course, we also have an exceptionally wide range of products, right from PCs and laptops to tablets and workstations, from gaming accessories and VR headsets to wearable, wireless audio products and air purifiers. The range of products which offer solutions to fit customer needs is something few competitions can match. 

How is the role of the CMO undergoing a major transformation amid the pandemic and an increasingly digital-first focus?

The pandemic has brought about a radical shift in the ways CMOs function. Today, it isn’t just about marketing or communicating the brand’s offering to the customers. Instead, our roles now require us to concentrate on offering a refined and cohesive brand experience to our customers at every touch-point. Right from the in-store treatment of the customer to the e-store experience, from remote customer care services to on-location services, every interface needs to present a unified experience for the customer. CMO’s role has moved from only marketing to customer experience as a whole. The CMO should have the responsibility to ensure that the brand experience across all touch points reflects the brand promise. 

You recently launched Acer ENDURO Urban N3 Durable Notebook. What was your purpose behind this launch and how far have you experienced the engagement with clients in purchasing this product?

The Acer ENDURO Urban N3 Durable Notebook is a rugged laptop designed for mobile professionals who require extra reliability along with premium level security. This notebook serves a unique set of use cases for researchers, scientists, explorers and the likes. Since it offers Military Standard durability and is engineered to withstand drops, falls, extreme heat, moisture and rain, it has received a tremendous welcome from professionals who have always had the need for a sturdy laptop with extended battery life to meet the uniquely pressing demands as a result of their distinct and often harsh work environment. These kinds of products reinforce our belief that one product doesn’t fit all and that’s why we built a product which caters to a segment such as this.


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