Titan Case Study

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Brief history of Titan Watches Ltd. Titan Watches Ltd., a joint venture of Tata Industries and Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation, was incorporated in 1984. Perhaps the best way to describe the essence of the company is to quote David Oglivy : “Titan Watches is an international watch company that (just) happens to be (located) in India.” True to its name, the company is a dominant player in the Indian watch market, and is widely credited with having revolutionized the watch industry and made I “come of age”. In this section, we present a brief history of the company from the perspective of various “brand equity and marketing strategy” decisions that it was confronted with over the years.

Phase I : 1987 to 1991 : Creating a brand In 1987, Titan Watches Ltd. launched quartz watches, branded Titan. The primary task in this phase was to endow the name with a set of values which would enable it to address a market where consumers were not familiar with or favourable towards the product. (Quartz Watches); and where competition was diverse – ranging from the old & established “hallmark of quality” brands like HMT to the large ubiquitous smuggled watch market encompassing brands like Citizen and Seiko, and a host of relatively unknown ones. A further consideration in the choice of brand vales for Titan was they should enable the brand to sell at a price premium over similar competing options – this was an integral part of the business strategy of the company. After careful consideration, the core values selected for Titan were “International style & quality “, and the process of brand building began.

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Phase IA & IB : A Detour : Responding to a new entrant in the watch market In 1988, Allwyn, an Indian competitor, launched a low price polyamide range of watches branded Trendy, inspired by the Swatch success in Europe. The brand values that the Trendy name embodied resulted in the beginning of the creation of a “young adult and teenager – fashion market” for watches. The task on hand for Titan Watches Ltd. was to respond to the emerging market opportunity created by a competitor, either with its current brand or some version of it or with a totally new brand. The environment in which task had to be accomplished was one where the main brand Titan was still in the process of being established (hence resources were not abundant); and where there was a constraint on manufacturing capacity. The Titan response was to create and launch “Aqura from Titan” on the platform of “projecting the refreshing and casual side of an individual’s personality.”

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Phase IB : 1989-90 : Managing Aqura “Aqura, from Titan”, grew rapidly in terms of sales volumes. However, there were certain considerations which required the company to decide that the future of the Aqura brand should be-managing success is obviously as much of a problem as managing failure, in the larger corporate context.

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The factors that necessitated hard thinking on Aqura’s future were

(a) A ceiling on manufacturing capacity in the foreseeable future. (b) A lower per unit contribution of Aqura as compared to Titan. (c) The brand equity that Aqura achieved and the strategic importance of the dividends of that brand equity i.e. what that equity could do for the company in terms of helping it achieve its goals. In October 1990, after a review of Aqura’s brand standing, further inputs to the brand were kept on hold till the larger issue of “where should Titan itself be in the next 5 years” was resolved. It was decided to then review Aqura’s role in the reworked scenario.

Phase II : 1990-91 : Managing Titan Equity Having established a successful brand, the company did not rest on its laurels nor did it exhibit the normal reluctance of less enlightened managements of “not tampering with a formula that works.” This phase involved reviewing what value the Titan brand stood for in the consumer’s mind and strengthening it further to make...
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