Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Timex : What Next

Brand : Timex
Company: Timex India
Agency: JWT

Brand Count : 125

In the 30 Million units per year Indian watch industry, Timex is a brand is living its second life. Launched in 1992 as a joint venture between Titan and US based Timex, this brand was virtually dead during the early 2000. The company suffered huge losses and the brand was pushed to oblivion.

Timex is America's number one brand. in 2003, the brand celebrated the selling of a whopping 1 billion watches. With a history dating as early as 1857,the brand is known for its technological excellence. Experts say that in US, Timex is to watches what Microsoft is to Computers.

In India, Timex is a different story all together. Launched as a mass market brand, Timex was in rough terrain from the start itself. In the previous blogs, I have mentioned brands which failed because of Premium pricing. Here Timex suffered because it sold cheap during the initial years. Although Indian consumers are value conscious, low price = low quality is the attitude that still pervades. It is not the price but the VALUE that matters to Indian consumers.The initial mass market focus diluted the international image and brand equity of Timex. So when Timex and Titan parted ways, Timex was having zero brand equity.

Timex was the master of innovation. In 1992 Timex brought the INDIGLO feature in watches . Indiglo is the worlds first electroluminescent watch which gives a beautiful green light at the press of a button. Now 70% of Timex watches have indiglo feature as a standard. Besides Indiglo, Timex along with Microsoft launched the Datalink feature that allowed downloads to the watch from a PC. Timex Ironman is the world's largest selling sports watch.
Timex brand is known for its style , multifunctionality and durability. The watch is technologically superior than any other watch brand. Timex is used by the Who is Who of Celebrities from Bill Clinton to Bill Gates, Terminator to George Bush, Brett Lee to Harsha Bhogle. Even with these brand qualities, Timex is still no where compared to Titan in India. That is because the brand owners failed to position the brand properly. In the initial years, the focus was the volume which diluted the brand and then came the lack of positioning of the brand.

Timex have the age old positioning of " Technology that keeps you ticking". In India, the brand has changed the tagline frequently. At one point of time, the tagline was " Time on your side" . Now the brand comes with the tagline " What next". Constant changes in the positioning statement will inevitably confuse the customer. Globally the brand has the USP of a innovation leader . Technology first was the brand motto. Along with this the brand is perceived to be stylish and durable. But sadly in India, Timex failed to communicate its core brand values to the consumer.
2003 saw a rejuvenation in Timex. The company restructured and a new marketing team was in place. The brand was repositioned as a premium watch and the sub 1500 range was done away with. The brand then concentrated on its core values. Timex have the range of watches like, Matrix, Expedition series, Brett Lee collection, Big Bold and Beautiful collection etc.

But even during that time also the promotions were not upto the mark. For example there was a range of Watches with a feature of Perpectual calender that does not need any adjustment. Timex spent lot of money on this feature but did not highlight the brand value. When Citizen positioned its Ecodrive, the watch was given more prominence not the feature. For the perpetual range the tagline was changed to " Time on your side". Timex also gave importance to the retail push by opening lot of Shop within Shop outlets named Club Timex.

Timex is running a new commercial for the Expedition range which looks good. But for that range the tagline is " What next". I am now pretty confused about the real intended positioning of Timex. May be the company wants to say to customer that Time moves so does Timex. In my humble opinion, Timex should align the brand with its global positioning. Timex globally has the tagline of " Be There Now". Since the Indian consumer is aligned to global consumer characteristics, Timex will benefit by having a global positioning since watches are considered now as a fashion accessory.
Source : Businessline, Timex.com, agencyfaqs,