What Indian LED manufacturers need to compete with brands like Philips?
On 25 September, 2017, Make in India initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will complete 3 years. A lot has been achieved under the ambitious scheme. India emerged as top FDI destination globally in 2015 and generated millions of jobs. That said, little can be achieved by government policies until the entrepreneurs and businessmen work arduously towards growth.
For the last one decade, I have been working on strategies that helped our LED brand make a mark in the global market and competed with giants like Philips in commercial lighting space. With this post, I want to share the most effective growth ideas with LED manufacturers and suppliers of India to help them become more competitive in the global LED market.
Invest in digital marketing
There are very few Indian lighting companies that are spending money on online marketing. Most of them don’t care about critical brand identity elements like website, social presence, and Google visibility. If you are thinking this doesn’t matter because your customers don’t use internet for making purchase decisions or Google you online, then, you are mistaken. Check these facts:
• 51% of smartphone users claim finding a new company or product through smartphone search –Google, 2015
• 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchase decisions - Retailing Today, 2014
• 92% of marketers find social media important for business - Social Media Examiner, 2015
Long story short, if you are not investing in building your personal brand online, then, you will have a tough time in the long run.
Join online marketplaces
In next 10 years, digital is going to a big driver of sales and profits for businesses of all sizes. There are product marketplaces that are trusted by consumers and businesses alike for placing product orders. Hence, getting active on such marketplaces and virtual stores should be part of your growth strategy.
By choosing to build your virtual store today, you are becoming part of a future which is technology obsessed. So, start thinking about becoming part of online marketplaces to sell your lighting products locally as well as globally.
Find your niche
When I decided to become part of the LED industry, I zeroed on manufacturing and selling power saving LED lights and worked on the same for almost one decade. Finding your niche will help you in focusing your production as well as marketing efforts and give a vision to your team.
Whether you want to be leader in commercial lighting, sell LED bulbs directly to consumers, or want to explore any other lighting vertical, you have to decide now, and work on it for at least a couple of years. Remember, there is no instant gratification in business.
Explore new markets
India is a big market and perhaps enough for local lighting companies and businesses. However, those who nurture bigger dreams shouldn’t hesitate to explore offshore markets like the USA and Europe. The regions have strict quality & safety guidelines in place to make sure that only top quality lighting products reach their shore.
Hence, start by understanding the international LED market, import guidelines, safety parameters and then plan a product launch. Becoming a registered brand in the target location can also benefit greatly.
Build brand presence online
I have been studying India’s LED market for many years now, and have noticed that very small number of local lighting manufacturers and suppliers are making efforts to make an impact online. China is the world leader in LED industry and the biggest names generate a sizeable chunk of the business and leads through the internet.
This doesn’t mean huge paid spend and Google ads. Brand building can be done at a really small cost as well. It’s high time that Indian LED companies start working on their personal branding and presence to generate business mileage
Right strategies pay off in every market
LED market, like any other industry, is highly competitive, and international brands like Philips & Nichia are global names with turnover in billions. This shouldn’t lead to the assumption that small lighting manufacturers and suppliers cannot build a brand name and undertake expansion.
Internet has played a crucial role in empowering small businesses and entrepreneurs across the world but unlike China LED industry of India has still not capitalized on it in a big way. Though I’m waking a potential rival, I will take my chances to see disruption in LED market.