It was the summer of ’19 and Titan had offered me the position as a Summer Intern at their headquarters in Bangalore following the end of year one in my PGDM at Jaipuria, Noida. I was apprehensive at first, but that apprehension quickly turned into an invigorating feeling. I knew a mammoth task lay ahead of me if I were to impress the nifty marketers at Titan. Whenever a daunting challenge is laid ahead of me, I have an overflow of excitement toxins over fearful ones. Given the status and reputation of Titan at the time, India’s largest watch brand by market share and the world’s fourth-largest, my initial reactions of being inducted as an intern were no less dramatic. And so without knowing what lay beyond, I packed my bags and set off for the Garden City.
I was mesmerized by the sprawling and breathtakingly beautiful campus in one of the most secluded places in Bangalore, Electronic City. This 9 acre biophilic campus was everything that one would imagine to be seeing in a Hollywood movie. Right from a high affinity towards nature to the modern oval-shaped buildings; its cascading green terraces to the rustic factory setting indoors, the campus really was awe-inspiring.
The very first task I was given by my mentor after settling down, was to just look at the Instagram pages of Titan’s three biggest competitors, Fossil, Casio and DW (Daniel Wellington). The first two names might ring a bell for everybody out there, but DW is not a very traditional brand in the sense that it doesn’t rely on traditional advertising for its brand appeal. It relies heavily on social media marketing campaigns to thrust its way forward in the online segment. This is what it precisely did, when its revenue grew to $220 million dollars in 2015, solely due to its “Instagram Influencer Marketing Strategy”. DW successfully exploited UGC (user-generated content) and the role of youth influencers on Instagram to disseminate the know-how of the brand’s foremost quality — Social Media Advertising. By going through their pages, I got a basic idea of how to try and engage Titan’s audience in a similar fashion.
The next project I would be given was to be the mainstay of my internship. I was told to study the twelve basic Jungian brand archetypes, based on the Swiss philosopher Carl Jung’s psychoanalysis of models of people, behaviors or personalities over years of research. This project to me was personally the most interesting of all projects I had done all my life, not only because its limits were boundless and there was a plethora of topics to explore in it, but also the intersection of brand management with cognitive psychology and behavioral economics was extremely intriguing. This topic straddled all these three sectors. I got to know beforehand, terms such as Brand Equity, Brand Personality and Buyer Persona, all of which I would be studying under the elective Brand Management in my fifth trimester.
Nowadays, a brand can be designated as a living component, as opposed to the 80’s or 90’s when there was only the traditional form of advertising. Nowadays, the advent of social media leveraged with word-of-mouth advertising has compelled customers to associate brands with vivid imagery and the likes of something which is “living” and has substance. The archetypal framework of branding has therefore become extremely popular in the modern day of marketing and companies that use it become highly successful in creating a brand for the ages.
Since the scope for this project could go beyond infinity for me, and researchers over the years have literally written theses of the topic, it would only be fitting that I only test the waters this time round. I was told to first study the twelve archetypes in brief, study some examples around the world, and then study the brand personas of major watch brands around the world to see if they fit in those archetypes. I was also told to see where the “white spaces” lie for Titan to foray into. An inherent rule I was told about was that there would always be some brand which might or might not fit in one archetype, meaning that even if one of Titan’s sub-brands didn’t necessarily fit in one archetype, it could go as an ‘ostracized’ brand that does not fit in any one of them. I was also told that a single brand can straddle the spaces of multiple archetypes.
Before I reveal what my findings were in the limited time of two months I had with me to explore this endless and colorful topic, I would first like to describe each brand archetype briefly, along with the watch brands I had associated with each archetype.
Goal: To be happy
Traits: Strives to be good, is pure, young, optimistic, simple, moral, romantic, loyal
Drawback: Could be naive or boring
Marketing niche: Companies with strong values, seen as trustworthy, reliable and honest, associated with morality, good virtues, simplicity, can be nostalgic
Example: Zoop, Dash, Skagen
Goal: To belong, or connect with others
Traits: Down to earth, supportive, faithful, folksy, person next door, connects with others
Drawback: Could lack a distinctive identity and blend in too much
Marketing niche: Common touch, solid virtues, gives a sense of belonging
Example: Timex, Maxima, SF (Sonata)
Goal: Help to improve the world
Traits: Courageous, bold, honorable, strong, confident, inspirational
Drawback: Could be arrogant or aloof
Marketing niche: Make a positive mark on the world, solve major problems or enable/inspire others to do so
Example: Xylys, Omega, Breitling, Tag Heuer, Suunto, Master of G-Shock Series, Audemars Piguet
Goal: Break the rules and fight authority
Traits: Rebellious, iconoclastic, wild, paving the way for change
Drawback: Could take it too far and be seen in a negative way
Marketing niche: Agent of change, advocate for the disenfranchised, allow people to vent or break with conventions
Example: G-Shock, Titan Octane
Goal: Finds fulfillment through discovery and new experiences
Traits: Restless, adventurous, ambitious, individualistic, independent, pioneering
Drawback: Might not fit into the mainstream
Marketing niche: Exciting, risk-taking, authentic
Example: Casio Pro-trek, Mont-Blanc, Timberland
Goal: Create something with meaning and enduring value
Traits: Creative, imaginative, artistic, inventive, entrepreneur, non-conformist
Drawback: Could be a perfectionist or impractical
Marketing niche: Visionary, help customers express or create, and foster their imagination
Example: Xylys, Titan Raga, Swatch, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Patek Philippe, AP
Goal: Control, create order from chaos
Traits: Leader, responsible, organized, role model, administrator
Drawback: Could lack a common connection, or be too authoritative or controlling
Marketing niche: Help people become more organized, restore order, create more stability and security in a chaotic world
Example: Rolex, Mont-Blanc, Hugo Boss
Goal: Make dreams come true, create something special
Traits: Visionary, charismatic, imaginative, idealistic, spiritual
Drawback: Could take risks that lead to bad outcomes
Marketing niche: Help people transform their world, inspire change, expand consciousness
Example: MVMT, DW, Victorinox, Swarovski
Goal: Create intimacy, inspire love
Traits: Passionate, sensual, intimate, romantic, warm, committed, idealistic
Drawback: Could be too selfless or not grounded enough
Marketing niche: Help people feel appreciated, belong, connect, enjoy intimacy, build relationships
Example: Titan Raga, Anne Klein, Cartier, Casio Sheen, Longines, Enticer
Goal: To care for and protect others
Traits: Caring, maternal, nurturing, selfless, generous, compassionate
Drawback: Being taken advantage of, taken for granted, or exploited
Marketing niche: Help people care for themselves, serve the public through health care, education or aid programs
Example: According to my research, no watch brand came into this realm.
Goal: To bring joy to the world
Traits: Fun, sense of humor, light-hearted, mischievous, irreverent
Drawback: Could be seen as frivolous or disrespectful
Marketing niche: Help people have a good time or enjoy what they are doing, allow people to be more impulsive and spontaneous
Example: Fastrack, Titan Octane
Goal: To help the world gain wisdom and insight, differentiates itself from others whose quality is suspect
Traits: Knowledgeable, trusted source of information, wisdom and intelligence, thoughtful, analytical, mentor, guru, advisor
Drawback: Could be overly contemplative or too opinionated
Marketing niche: Help people to better understand the world, provide practical information and analysis
Example: Seiko, Citizen, Fossil.”
After analyzing each and every archetype, I came to the conclusion that Titan, as an umbrella brand, can fit into two archetypes:
(i) The “Caregiver” archetype; and make a name for itself as no watch brand currently caters to that archetype. It can follow Red Bulls’ marketing strategy wherein the energy drink maker entered the market in 1987, the market for which was non-existent, and subsequently went on to create a new market for energy drinks and hence dominate it (currently holding over 40% of the market share). Now, applying the Ansoff Matrix here (also known as the Product/Market Expansion Grid), the above strategy would be known as the “Diversification” strategy which is the riskiest of all strategies out of the four in the matrix, the other three being Market Development, Market Penetration and Product Development. Here, there’s often little scope for using existing expertise or for achieving economies of scale, because you are trying to sell completely different products or services to different customers in a completely new market. The success rate for the same again is very low and few exceptions like Red Bull have succeeded in the past.
(ii) Secondly, Titan can foray in the “Sage” archetype, for the simple reason that here, the major players in India are present along with Fossil, Titan’s main rival in the digital sphere. So for Titan to give stiff competition to Fossil & DW, it would have to up its digital strategy. One way it could do that is by increasing the conversion rate on platforms like Instagram. Incorporating “shoppable links” on their every third post could be a way to increase traffic on their landing pages and in turn increase the conversion rate on the platform.
Also, the characteristics of this archetype fit very well according to the description of Titan’s watches; wherein brands in the “Sage” category differentiate themselves from others “whose quality is suspect”. Every watch from Titan is made from utmost attention to detail and superior quality. An example would be the Titan Edge, currently the slimmest ceramic watch in the world, with a thickness of 4.4mm, powered by a 1.15mm thick Titan Edge quartz movement, designed with a 0.30 mm wafer thin sunburst dial, and finally a sapphire crystal glass on the dial to finish. It would make more sense for Titan to foray in this segment as Titan is looking to increase its market share globally, hence Market Penetration with minor product refinements is one strategy they could leverage along with their digital strategy to give Fossil and the like a good run for their money.
After extensive research on this topic, I made a proposal for the use of shoppable links on Titan’s main page on Instagram, which was immediately incorporated.
All in all, it truly was an enthralling journey for me at this venerable corporation. What I learned in my two months here could truly be an institution of knowledge, waiting to be utilized to its truest potential.