NICON READY TO CASH IN ON POPULARITY |OF THAI BRANDS
NICON Thai Sales and Service Co is setting a strategic plan to take its Sherman brand to the regional level.
Chief executive officer Akapol Kittiratanapinan said Sherman was a domestic audio brand that had been with the Thai people for more than 18 years. The brand provides its customers with quality audio products for both indoors and outdoors, such as speakers, home-theatre applications, amplifiers and microphones.
He said the company would continue to build Sherman's brand awareness and credibility in Thailand. However, the company also plans to expand the brand into the CLMV markets (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam), while Thailand remains the manufacturing base for the export market.
According to Nicon's market research, Thai-branded products are popular and trusted by CLMV consumers. Sherman is also one of their favourite brands. Therefore, going into this new market should generate additional sales of more than Bt100 million this year.
"We currently have a local representative in Laos. We are under negotiation with potential distributors in the rest of the CLMV markets," Akapol said.
Nicon targets overall sales to reach about Bt1 billion, including exports, and hopes to become one of the leading players in the audio market this year. The company expects its annual sales to reach Bt1.5 billion in five years, about 20 per cent from export.
"I have been to CLMV countries and found counterfeit Sherman products. I realised that the name 'Sherman' from Thailand is valued in those countries. It became my starting point to secure my brand's reputation from counterfeit, unqualified products and take the opportunity to expand the Sherman business," Akapol said.
He added that in the audio-appliance market, lots of international brands had already entered the CLMV markets. However, there remains a gap in which Thai products can have a margin.
"Consumer behaviour and tastes in CLMV countries are quite similar to Thai consumer behaviour. They share the same traditional and religious culture and festivals, for example Songkran and temple fairs."
He said the implementation of the Asean Economic Community at the end of last year would facilitate trade liberalisation within the region. The AEC will be highly beneficial to Sherman's business for two reasons: tax benefit and logistics.
He said the company had a five-year plan to set up new manufacturing facilities, expanding from its current plant in Samut Sakhon. The expansion will cater to the regional expansion of its Sherman business. The company also plans to list on the Stock Exchange of Thailand within five years.
"The production capacity at our current factory is enough for only two to three years. Then we plan to expand our production to support business growth in five years."
Akapol said the company's ambition over the next five years was sustainable growth for the Sherman brand in CLMV, with Bt300 million in annual sales from those regional markets.
"For Thailand, Sherman will expand its distribution channels, with Bt1.2 billion in annual sales expected in five years' time. The sales growth will be achieved by developing new strategic products to serve modern trade, strengthening relationships with traditional dealers, and exploring online channels.
"Sherman will raise its brand awareness and experience in new consumers, who are between 20 and 30 years old."
He said Sherman was a trusted brand that had received the "Thailand Trust Mark" from the Ministry of Commerce. Communication to customers will mainly be focused on various media and channels such blogs, product reviews and market activities at sales points to reach the targeted customer group.
Moreover, reinforcement of the "Thailand brand" will also be a main strategy to expand into the online market, cashing in on the digital trend and popularity of online shopping.
Sherman is now available at online stores such as Lazada, Ensogo, iTrueMart and Comseven, representing 5 per cent of overall sales. About 70 per cent of sales are still from the modern-trade channel, and the remaining 25 per cent from appliance stores. Although the online proportion is still small, it is likely to increase dramatically and become a major marketing channel for the company in the near future.
"Customers' behaviour is changing more and more into a digital lifestyle, starting from the process of finding information for making decisions on places to shop and music preferences.
"The company has initiated a 'Smart Sound' framework to integrate all marketing factors, namely the technology of product development, online distribution channels and international markets, as well as marketing communication to respond to the digital-lifestyle trend among consumers in a sustainable manner," Akapol said.Source: www.nationmultimedia.com/business/Sherman-audio-aims-to-be-heard-in-CLMV-30283692.html