Browns is a household name across Sri Lanka, synonymous with trust, reliability and quality since the Company’s inception in 1875. Its strong acceptance across generations of customers has instilled a deep-rooted sense of loyalty, such that customers have rallied around the Browns label even during times of challenge and adversity. The Company maintains a portfolio of world-class brands across varied business segments, including agricultural machinery, power generation tools, consumer electronics, marine engines, business automation, porcelain, commodities, tourism and much more. All of its products are supported by unmatched services, marking the evolution of Browns from a marketer of products, to a complete solutions provider. The Company invests heavily in brand building activities, continuously assessing customer requirements and developing solutions to meet changing needs and staying relevant to the business segments it operates in.
The Launch of Browns ‘BG’
With the expertise developed over decades of understanding its customers’ varied needs, Browns launched its own ‘BG’ brand label in several market segments it operates in. The Company identified a gap for high quality, value for money products in the mid-range pricing segment across several of the industries it operated in, that couldn’t be met by the existing product range. A decision was taken for Brown and Company to launch its own brand to meet this need. The new brand will bring with it the trust and quality that the parent brand has long been known for. Several products have been sourced for this label, from highly reputed manufacturers around the world. These products include LCDs, LEDs, water pumps, DVD players and the entire range of small appliances. There is a separate product development team for the BG brand, headed by the Group Managing Director who personally visits all the factories and lays down the quality parameters that are essential and expected from a BG product
Sales of BG products in the local market have been exceptional since its launch, indicating a very high acceptance of this brand by customers who recognise a sound value-for-money offer. The Company will expand further to market consumer goods and power solutions under this brand. The brand has reached households across Sri Lanka through its 300 plus dealers, showrooms, regional centres and modern trade channels, around the island, making it a truly local brand. BG is currently the fastest growing brand in the Company’s portfolio as well as in key segments in the Sri Lankan market. These BG branded products have enhanced the Group’s portfolio in many areas and looking to the future, there will be a significant line expansion within the BG brand.
Sustaining World-Class Brands
Brown and Company has made substantial investments over the years in ensuring the long term sustainability of the brands it markets. All the brands in the Company’s portfolio are carefully managed, positioned to suit specific market segments and supported by the appropriate marketing strategies and distribution channels. For these reasons, it is no surprise that Browns is a market leader in no less than seven sectors of business: vehicle batteries (72%), four wheel and two wheel tractors (70%), marine engines (32%), office automation (24%), radiators (42%), power tools (37%) and veterinary pharmaceuticals (30%). New brands have been introduced into the Company’s portfolio during the 2011/12 financial year that will further drive growth. These include Belkin power surges, IT products and accessories such as laptop bags; the Mitachi range of affordable gaming equipment; the Biancare range of luxury furniture for hotels, and C&S electrical products, to name a few.
A dedicated corporate marketing arm is responsible for aligning the different divisional brands with the parent brand, such that synergies are obtained. While keeping with the overall vision and goals of the parent company, the individual divisions and subsidiaries market and promote their own brands through its respective sales teams.
Offering Unmatched Services
An integral part of the Browns brand experience is its range of value-added services that augment the product offerings and have contributed to the longevity and market recognition that Browns enjoys. These services are supported by the Company’s unmatched reach across Sri Lanka that facilitates ease of access for customers, quick response times by service personnel and technicians and heightened efficiency. At present, the Group has a service network that spans across 250 touch points across Sri Lanka. These service centres are in the form of large regional centres, Power Marts, direct service teams and franchise operations.
Each of the divisions has worked towards a vision of being a complete solutions provider than simply a marketer of products. These services range from after-sales services and quick response times in an emergency, to training workshops for farmers in the use of agricultural machinery or for fishermen on the maintenance of marine engines. These workshops are not limited to the brands Brown and Company markets, making it a truly value-added service. Some divisions such as Animal Healthcare have home delivery services, while Integrated Business Solutions have a 24-hour service network in addition to providing tailor-made office automation solutions that reduce costs and improve efficiencies for clients. One of the most successful service concepts for Browns has been the Battmobile – mobile battery service units that handle any kind of battery related technical difficulty, servicing even brands outside of Browns battery range, at no cost. Further, Browns Power Marts are designed to be hospitable and highly efficient service centres.
The Company introduced a new retail channel during the year called the ‘Discovery Store’. This outlet in Colombo will market Browns range of IT and gaming products, but is also an interactive store, allowing customers to use the products and explore the technology on offer ahead of purchase.
A customer oriented approach to the work that Browns does, together with constant innovation, has strengthened the top-of mind recall of the Company’s brands in the different market segments it operates in. Going ahead, Brown and Company will continue to introduce new brands, products and services, while investing heavily in sustaining the market position and growth that it has achieved to date.