Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) realme is an emerging mobile phone brand which is committed to offering mobile phones with powerful performance, stylish design and sincere services. In a short span of time, the brand has made its own specific place in international market due to its quality products and great features and it has also achieved major milestone of selling 100 million smartphones globally. Although the success of realme is a team effort but a major credit goes to its young Dynamic director Marketing Sherry Dong.
Sherry Dong is the marketing director of realme Southeast Asia, South Aisa & Latin America, and oversees branding and marketing of realme across the region. Prior to joining realme Southeast Asia, South Aisa & Latin America department, Sherry was the marketing leader of realme China, responsible for establishing brand awareness and launching realme as a new smartphone brand in China along with several hero products in 2019.
Before joining realme, Sherry was the team leader of media planning for OPPO across MENA region. And prior to that she was in charge of global branding partnership at OPPO HQ, enhancing international reputation for OPPO by partnering with Hollywood blockbusters, FC Barcelona, and participating in MWC.
Sherry received a master’s degree in Global Media Communication from The University of Melbourne in 2013, and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Media Communication from Nankai University in 2011.
News Update Times have talked with Sherry about realme upcoming initiatives, products and mobile world spectrum. Here is the complete interview.
Q1. This is your first time in Pakistan and now that you have had the chance to connect with the people firsthand, can you tell us how does realme connects with Pakistanis?
- Being in Pakistan and connecting with the people has re-enforced the notion that realme is on the right track. realme is a brand for youngsters, and wants to create a niche amongst Gen-Zers in Pakistan. The young consumers here want to get affordable, high-performance, stylish devices to meet their lifestyle and budget needs. realme recognizes this and aims to bring what the youth desires. We have a very youthful and creative marketing approach with which our target audience in Pakistan can relate to.
Q2. You have said that realme is a brand for youngsters, how do you define the average realme consumer in your view?
2. Our consumers are young and energetic, they dare to be themselves and pursue what they desire. realme leveraged on a niche but captive youth market that was over-promised but under-served. It gained brand recognition by being where the youth and young professionals were, and developed quality cutting-edge smartphones and AIoT technology at very attractive prices, such as the sub-$100 5G smartphone.
Our target consumer wouldn’t settle for less and that essence is embodied in our slogan Dare to Leap. Just as the young ones leap forward, realme leapfrogs in technology to bring them the best smart devices wrapped in a trendsetting design and real value-for-money.
realme’s Dare to Leap philosophy extends to its internal corporate culture. With a young workforce of its own, realme employees have a strong belief in the company and a real understanding of the market they are serving. This belief is rewarded with a company culture and flat leadership structure that empowers employees to take risks and make their own decisions, and places employee development at the forefront of business development.
Q3. What’s realme’s next step? Where do you see realme in 3 years?
We have just touched a major milestone of selling 100 million smartphones globally. There were many challenges in these past two years, yet we became the fastest global smartphone brand to reach this milestone in less than three years, according to Strategy Analytics, a market research consultancy.
So, it is a very promising journey for realme ahead. Our expansion strategy is targeting 300 million handsets by 2023, while for the coming three years we aim to achieve a double-100 million handsets by shipping another 100 million handsets by the end of 2022 and completing the same milestone within the 2023 calendar year.
At the same time, realme will embark on two product development strategies. The first is to target the mid-high end market with its flagship product, the GT Series to enable us to compete in mature markets. The second is to develop our lifestyle products through the ‘1+5+T Strategy’. Under this strategy, smartphones (represented by the ‘1’) sit at the center of 5 core AIoT products (TWS headphones, smart wearables, smart TVs, tablets and laptops) and are integrated with TechLife (the ‘T’), realme’s AIoT ecosystem and also a smart home brand. This product diversification strategy will be supported by realme’s continued short channel and light asset model and a user engagement strategy centered on product co-creation.
Q4. Does realme have options that would cater to the needs of consumers who want great technology but have budget constraints?
- realme is a democratizer of technology – which means that we bring top notch flagship technology for the masses. And how do we reach the masses? By making that groundbreaking technology affordable. We constantly recognize the needs of our consumers and strategize accordingly. realme C21 was released in March 2021 at a price of PKR 24,999/-. Now, its price has been dropped to PKR 19,999/- to cater to the needs of our consumers. The realme C21 has exceptional quality being the first-ever TUV Rheinland Reliability Certified smartphone, a stylish body design, and is a great value for money.
Q5. What more should realme fans in Pakistan expect to be in store for them?
- Well, realme fans in Pakistan are in for a treat because the second half of the year is packed with all sorts of things. We have an amazing line-up of all our smartphone ranges coupled with AIoT accessories. But what takes the cake will be realme’s first-ever laptop realme Book and realme’s affordable 5G flagship killer, the realme GT Series.
To top that off, we will commemorate the entire month of August as realme Fan Fest as it also marks our third anniversary coinciding perfectly at the same time as selling 100 million handsets globally, while we shall be connecting with our realme fanbase in Pakistan for making us the fastest brand to sell a million devices here.
Q6. The world is moving towards the adoption of 5G technology very fast, how does realme plan to keep up?
- The world shall witness a large-scale adoption of 5G from this year onward, as the full-scale adoption of this technological marvel was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the pandemic in turn drove consumers toward online activities that grew the need for high-speed internet connections thereby accelerating the 5G boom. The rapid development of 5G will drive down the price of 5G smartphones and will also give rise to essential applications in the 5G era; these factors will, in turn, drive the popularity and the full-blown adaptability of 5G.
realme is known to be the ‘popularizer of 5G’ and it continues to build a diverse portfolio of 5G products, from no-compromise affordable smartphones to premium flagship products. We aim to sell 100 million 5G phones by 2024. Over the past three years, we have stayed true to this mission and the recently launched realme GT shows the latest example of how the company is jumping to the forefront of innovation, design and product value for our users. It is not available yet in Pakistan but this flagship product is just the beginning of a new journey for us as we gear up to grow our global presence and 5G offerings.
Q7. Pakistan is very behind when it comes to new launches and product offering as compared to the rest of the world. Is realme planning to bring a change for the Pakistani consumers?
- We know that some of the regions are slower to get their hands on new products and see delayed product launches. We understand the issue and are actually working on a plan to enable quicker launches and releases in Pakistan. We have something in the works to make it possible and it would be disclosed when everything is aligned.
Q8. Where does realme stand when it comes to E-commerce in Pakistan?
- E-commerce is crucial for realme. We were able to expand internationally rapidly because of our light asset and short channel model. We focus on online distribution rather than building large-scale physical outlets, while also shortening the number of steps it takes for products to get to consumers.
In Pakistan, we work closely with leading e-commerce partners such as Daraz.pk and Saamaan.pk. Recently, realme inked an MoU with Daraz for developing its online channel and sales in the country. Our association with Daraz has resulted in a strong momentum in sales performance like the Daraz 11.11 super sale event last year, where realme ranked Top 01 in Mobiles, Tablets, Audio and Wearable categories in Daraz South Asia. This year in Pakistan, the entire stock of realme Narzo 30A sold out over Daraz within a few minutes while the realme 7 Pro raked in 592% more sales than realme 6 Pro in the first day sales volume.
During Daraz Mobile Week 2021, realme dominated the Mobiles, Tablets, Audio and Wearable category with humungous sales of its smartphones and AIoT accessories. Moreover, during the Super Brand Day, the entire stock of realme C21 was sold out.
Over at Saamaan.pk, the top-selling AIoT brand is realme with our audio accessories being a hit amongst consumers. The realme C12 sold 2,000 units within nine minutes while the realme Buds Air 2 Neo are the top-selling noise cancellation earphones on Saamaan.pk. We believe that youngsters are more prone to online buying, therefore we want to capture that market segment by offering convenience to our end-consumers.