Swiss luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet (AP) plans to ramp up its marketing and advertising in India to reach out to customers who shop around the world, with a special focus on wooing women buyers.
"The idea is to invest in marketing and branding to create generic demand for our watches and seduce them into buying not only in India but also while travelling abroad," said Antonio Seward, AP's general manager for Southwest Asia region. It is important to separate the Indian customer from the domestic market because Indians are increasingly buying in global centres such as Dubai, Paris and Hong Kong as well, he said.
The strategy makes sense also because the Indian market presents a challenge owing to its protective regime and high import duties, he said, adding, "So for now the idea is to invest in creating aspiration for the brand and seed it in the minds of people."
The focus on women buyers is aimed at broadening the brand image. "AP has always been perceived as a gents watch brand despite having done fantastic pieces for women as early as 1940s and '50s," he said.
Globally, one in four watches sold by AP is for women and the segment is growing fast, he said, explaining, "We have to add newer references which are intelligent and charismatic to woo the women buyer across the world, including India."
As a part of this strategy, the brand is considering an association with some "influencer" in India who could be the "source of inspiration" for the ladies, he said. For the men's range AP has had an association with ace cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.
In terms of advertising, too, there will be a bigger push. "We want to spend proportionally more than what we sell here," Seward said.
AP watches are sold through 550 outlets worldwide, but the company is rethinking its strategy in this respect as well. "We want to have less partners and focus more on quality of service," said Seward. In India, the brand has two retail partners and sells through three outlets.
Related Tags:Swiss luxury watchmaker, Audemars Piguet, generic demand, buying in global centres, domestic market