Q: Could you outline the brand’s history and its journey so far?
A: Singer has been in Sri Lanka since 1877, commencing operations as a sewing machine company. Since then, it has evolved; and today, Singer is a popular household brand specialising in home appliances and electronics.
Throughout the 145 years since its humble beginnings, Singer has been a brand of the people, and its vision is to elevate and enrich lives in Sri Lanka.

The success behind Singer is its brand heritage and the trust built through generations, enabling the brand to expand from sewing machines to household appliances and electronics.

Today, Singer boasts a portfolio of over 50 world renowned brands offering around 600 electronic items and 1,200 home appliances. This is complemented by a formidable market presence and islandwide reach through 430 retail outlets, 350 dealer points, 250 service points and a state-of-the-art e-commerce channel.
The brand now strives to provide consumers a truly omnichannel experience.

As a people’s brand, Singer’s target audience is vast; it caters to all Socio-Economic Classifications (SECs) and age groups across the country. Singer’s portfolio has a product for anyone and everyone – including youth to whom it markets a range of digital products. It also has premium offerings for the higher SECs with innovative, modern and retro style products.

In addition, Singer offers an array of affordable payment plans and competitive pricing, thereby making people’s aspirations accessible.

Brands must evolve with changing market dynamics, consumer expectations and behaviours; and therefore, we recently relaunched our brand proposition and visual identity. Our brand purpose is to ‘curate experiences’ with relevant products and services across various categories, to make it convenient for consumers to improve and elevate their lifestyles.

In doing so, we believe that the home should be at the heart of everything we do, which led us to our new tagline ‘Home at our heart,’ which summarises our brand proposition.

Q: Your assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on brands and branding in general is…?
A: At the basic level, brands had to realign their marketing strategy and reevaluate their route-to-market. Adapting to changes in consumer behaviour was an absolute necessity. Brands had to resort to digital mediums and e-commerce solutions.

However, during such a period, what’s most important is that brands get closer to consumers and increase brand engagement. Brands need to be empathetic and not feed off it; brands should connect at a deeper level.
While achieving market excellence is core to any brand strategy, during the pandemic, Singer shifted its focus to consumer engagement.

We strived to enhance user experiences and deliver value additions to multiple aspects of consumer lifestyles – such as making cooking more enjoyable for the entire family, simplifying daily household chores and providing tools that make working from home more engaging.

Q: What role can brand investments play in accelerating business recovery in the prevailing corporate environment?
A: The first mistake brands tend to make is to curtail their advertising and promotional budgets whenever the market enters an unfavourable context.

While this may still be a reality, a brand can always reevaluate its marketing and communications mix, and brand marketing investments.

The change in consumer behaviour and media consumption patterns will require brands to realign their investments to a much more targeted, data driven approach yielding a higher return on investment (ROI). To do this, brands may need to over index on certain mediums like digital media, which is very cost-effective in reaching the target audience.

Brands should also strive to enhance the quality of their communications, and attempt to relate and engage more with consumers. This will build brand love and help sustain it through challenging times.

Q: How important is the role of marketing in creating brand value?
A: To create brand value, you need to build brand equity; and to do this, you need marketing.
Yet, it is not that straightforward. Your marketing efforts have to be consistent and most importantly, sustained over a long period to drive brand equity. The strongest brands are those that have built strong connections with their consumers over time.

While salience contributes to brand equity, a brand needs to be differentiated and meaningful to consumers. Only then can you truly realise its true brand value.

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