By Patrick Avenell
Daniel Todd has just returned from Germany. In addition to visiting the IFA show in Berlin, the English born managing director of Bush Australia finalised the agreement with German in-car specialist Blaupunkt to beginning supplying the ‘Blue Spot’ brand to local retailers.
The first batch of products — predominantly digital radios, docking stations and LCD TVs — will be on sale by late October.
Blaupunkt translates into English as ‘Blue Spot’, which Todd says is closely associated with product quality and appealing design. Blaukpunkt has already been espousing these qualities through its in-car audio units, which are predominantly pre-installed in motor vehicles, but are also being distributed as standalone products by AudioXtra.
The process to bring Blaupunkt to Australia began 12 months ago, when Todd visited existing business associates and friends to enquire about the brand. As it happens, Blaupunkt was looking to expand.
“They had been looking for global partners like us to design products and to come up with ideas for products which hopefully will go global, so actually Australia is stamping its foot a little bit here,” Todd said.
Currently, Blaupunkt only manufactures its car audio products, which it assembles in Malaysia.
“The rest of the products,” Todd said, “whether they be televisions or audio products, will be manufactured in factories that either we [Bush’s parent company Harvard] own or they own in China or Europe.”
Blaupunkt will join the Bush, iLuv and Grundig brands in the Bush Australia stable. Todd said that although similar products to the Blaupunkt range are already being marketed by these existing brands, the Blaupunkt range will offer different feature sets. He said Blaupunkt will be promoted as a high quality German brand at “mum and dad prices”.
“We believe that technology like AirPlay and Near Field Communication are better fitted to a brand like Blaupunkt, which has much more of an audio history, whereas Grundig has much more of a TV history.”
The first batch of Blaupunkt audio products will be released with the 30-pin docks currently found on iPhones up to the 4S and iPads. Todd said he expected to be releasing stereos with the new iPhone 5 dock by March 2012.
The go-to-market strategy for Blaupunkt has been devised by marketing manager Jim Parissis, who has experience in this field from his former role at Hagemeyer Brands Australia, which formerly had the distribution of JVC. He said a consistency is the message would be noticeable in Blaupunkt’s advertising.
“We’re taking a lot of care to ensure that what appears at the front end is also exactly what consumers see when they enter a store, so there’s a lot of consistency right through from general advertising to packaging and merchandising – all that sort of thing,” Parissis said.
“You will be clearly able to recognise a Blaupunkt product when you walk into a store: it will have distinctive packaging and imagery about it that will be completely consistent with the advertising that we do.”
Although Todd would not confirm which retailers will be stocking Blaupunkt, he listed The Good Guys, Harvey Norman, Dick Smith and David Jones as Bush Australia’s “stable retailers”.
He was happy, however, to go into great detail about how Bush Australia’s core competencies will be an asset to this launch.
“It’s not just about a brand,” he said, “It’s about the products behind the brand and the serviceability and the quality of us as Bush Australia behind the brand.
“It’s something that we’re very good – product design – and technology is something that we’re right at the heart of and I think we’re bringing to Australia a really strong brand with some nice products.”
As for the future of the range, Todd said he expected to have many more Blaupunkt products in the market in the near future. AudioXtra need not worry, however, as he confirmed that Bush Australia had no plans to market Blaupunkt's in-car products.