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Tanishq - The Turnaround Story

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"When we started out we didn't think that we could achieve this, but now being jewellers to the nation doesn't seem so distant."

- Tanishq COO, Vasant Nangia, in March 2000.

The Unsuccessful Launch

In 1995, Titan Industries, India's leading manufacturer of watches, launched the Tanishq range of gold watches and jewellery. Till then, the Indian jewellery market was to a large extent unorganized, with a few recognized names such as Tribhovandas Bhimji Jhaveri and Mehrason's. Tanishq, an entirely new concept in the Indian market, thus had to struggle hard to be accepted by the customers. Industry watchers were extremely skeptical of Tanishq and doubts were being cast over its prospects. Tanishq began by offering jewellery in the 18-carat gold range, with designs borrowed heavily from contemporary European brands. The company justified its decision saying that it wanted to be 'different' from the traditional Indian offerings.

Tanishq performed very badly in the next three years, posting a huge loss in 1997-98, proving its detractors right. Jacob Kurian, Tanishq's chief operating officer admitted, "Tanishq, as a concept, was far too ahead of its times." Even if one agreed with Kurian, it could not be denied that Tanishq did commit mistakes.

Analysts decreed that the company's strategies were wary. At this point, Tanishq took various steps to correct the mistakes it had committed and very soon, posted its first ever operating profit in 1999. In 1999-00, sales doubled to Rs 1532 million against Rs 743.8 million recorded in 1998-99 and reached Rs 2000 million in 2000-01. Tanishq fared equally well on the export front also with heavy exports to UK, US, Australia and West Asia.

Tanishq was the largest overseas chain in US with 1,200 outlets. In the year 2000, exports contributed 10% to the company's turnover. The story of Tanishq, once written off as a losing proposition, making a remarkable turnaround was an example of a company single-mindedly working to make its own mark in the tradition bound Indian jewellery market. Behind this success was, of course, a well-planned and well-executed marketing plan.

Background Note

Titan Watches Limited was promoted jointly by Questar Investments Limited (a Tata group company) and Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation Limited (TIDCO). The company, incorporated in July 1984 in Chennai, was started in technical collaboration with France Ebauches (a French company), one of the world's largest manufacturers of watch movements. Initially involved in the watches and clocks business, Titan later ventured into the jewellery businesses. The company was India's leading manufacturer of watches, marketed under the Titan and Sonata brand names with a 25% share of the total domestic market.

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Case Details

Case Code : MKTG013
Themes: Brand Management
Case Length : 6 Pages
Period : 1995-2001
Organization : Titan Industries India
Pub Date : 2001
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : India
Industry : Jewellery

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