It was perhaps the most important presentation Rahul Sharma had done for a while. When the Micromax CEO took the stage for his company’s first major phone launch for months, there was a fair degree of anticipation and apprehension in the air. After all, it had been a long time since Micromax had launched a flagship phone and also a long time since Sharma himself had held center stage.
In the event, Rahul Sharma was able to carry off things with a fair degree of poise. Yes, there will be those who will point out that the Micromax CEO seemed to move away from the script at times and occasionally even seemed at a loss for words – the pauses seemed a tad too long drawn out to be part of the plan. But still, at the end of the day, Sharma held center stage for about an hour, talking about the new phone his company was bringing into the market and for the most part, did a very good job indeed.
Helping his cause was the fact that the Dual 5 event was hosted at a venue that was definitely audience as well as speaker friendly. The seats in the small theatre-like Cinema hall at Roseate House in Delhi were comfortable (there was even room for our bags, which is not the case at many other venues) and as they rose from the stage, almost everyone in the hall had a clear view of the speaker. Round that off with very good acoustics and this was one of the better venues we have seen for a launch of late. No, we did not have an on-time start, but we suspect that had more to do with a briefing by another brand in the vicinity, than the poor sense of timing.
The launch itself was slightly unorthodox in terms of structure. It has been a long time since someone has started talking about a phone by highlighting something other than the design and the processor, but it is a testimony to just how much Micromax is betting on the camera of the Dual 5 that Rahul Sharma spent most of the initial part of the presentation speaking of the cameras on the device. He also surprised a lot of people by showcasing images taken by tech journalists who had been given the phone, rather than going for the routine “photographs taken by specialists” route – an approach we approve of as the images are easier to identify with as compared to those in other presentations, which seem snapped by people with National Geographic photography skills (and cameras that we often suspect were not in phones).
We had remarked at how the launch of the Yunicorn had seen the arrival of a slightly more relaxed and less tense Sharma (who is not a showman in the Barra mould) and that side of him was amply in evidence at the launch of the Dual 5 as well.
He switched to Hindi frequently and bantered often with the crowd.
The downside to the “informal touch” however was perhaps that as the presentation went on, it lacked a certain amount of what one might have called “tension.” Features like security which should have got more attention, I suspect, did not make the sort of impact they deserved because they came towards the end. Even the disclosure of the price was a tad flat by Micromax standards – most people expecting a dramatically lower price were disappointed.
But all said and done, this was a relatively smooth start on the comeback road for the Indian brand, with no bloopers or false alarms. Now comes the tough part: to translate all this into sales.