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How Midea Brand Markets to Indian Consumers
Apr 4, 2013
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Carrier Midea India (CMI) launched the Midea brand in India on a line of air-conditioners and home appliances. Products include BEE-Star-rated Midea-brand residential air-conditioners, light commercial air-conditioners, microwave ovens, and water dispensers. The line is positioned in the mid-premium segment and Midea is intended to represent a youthful, energetic, technology-savvy brand.

The company faced a challenge in the Indian market. Namely, the air-conditioning category was largely undifferentiated in brand positioning, product technologies, features, and communication. All brands were seen as addressing the same kinds of consumers, and almost all the consumer communications were in a similar, clinical tone and voice. This led to overlapping brand messages.

CMI's challenge was to find relevant and differentiated territory for its brand. The company would be addressing the same target group; it needed its communications to be more "humane" in nature while still sufficiently "rational" to create the consumer connection.

The launching of the brand would also require "breaking the ice" with Indian consumers and establishing Midea as a strong and reliable home appliance brand option.

CMI approached the market first with consumer research, including interactions with single males, females, and young couples across socio-economic groups in India. This helped the company pinpoint product needs, and define consumers' identification with brands.

CMI refined its understanding of the importance of technology among its target customer group. Technology was important for convenience, yes, but also was a lifestyle component.

Another approach the company identified in other brands: most brands promoted the concept of a utopian lifestyle. But life is not perfect, but CMI chose to address "smaller moments of truth" as an alternative marketing message. The company noted, "Life is full of imperfection and that's what makes us 'alive'."

So, when CMI went to the Indian market, it avoided the extensively used clinical voice in favor of "Reason To Believe"-driven communication. Because messaging needed to talk to consumers on a more emotional level, it presented the marketing was built around stories that consumers could relate to and describing scenarios they might face in the context of the everyday household.
The marketing approach adopted a casual tone and style and was directed to young couples who have, or are about to have, a new life together. Humor was also used to make the message more relatable to customers, as opposed to the more traditional marketing reliance on technical jargon.

The media mix included TV commercials, in-store promotions in 1,000 stores, and POS media both inside and outside the stores to grab customers' attention.

"We needed to give the brand a differentiated and aspirational position in the otherwise cluttered space and also align with Midea's global positioning," explained Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing Sanjay Mahajan. "It takes just a little care and concern to keep negative human emotions out of your home. And Midea products facilitate this."

TV commercials introduce the brand message "Bring Home Happiness" aptly, and highlight key product features like quick-cooling and energy efficiency in a subtle way. The communication delivers the primary benefits like convenience, comfort and ease, along with the emotional concept of a Midea appliance inhibiting negative thoughts within your home.

The campaign was created by DDB Mudra and directed by Nicholas Reynolds.

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