| 25 Feb 2024
I am astonished that 50 per cent of Indian working population is under 25: Greg Bebee, Sennheiser

“It’s really been an enlightening experience to be exposed to so many cultures, people, and different ways of doing business. It has been incredible,” exclaimed Sennheiser Director Professional Audio Greg Bebee on completing 27 years with the globally popular brand. In an interview with Radioandmusic, Bebee spoke about Sennheiser, strategies applied, Indian market, his recent promotion and more.

Is there any specific mission behind your India tour?

I am embarrassed to say that this is actually my first India visit in spite of being with Sennheiser for 27 years. But, it is neither my last nor it will take me another 27 more years to come back because I am extremely energised by the opportunity that exists in India.

How do you see India as a market?

Having had spent a week in India, I am inspired by the prospect, we have here. The three takeaways, I have are – I am astonished that 50 per cent of Indian working population is under 25 years of age. Also, the shift to online hasn’t occurred completely yet here. The same is true for the live performance and broadcast markets. Today, most of India is still analog wireless and a move to digital is imminent and will occur as online streaming commerce is the future. The wonderful team we have at Sennheiser India will help us in this transition.

This gives me incredible hope that we can continue to work with end users to shape products, be accessible and listen to their needs. Also, the solid performance of our products and relationship with customers, we can also partner and help them in their transition to digital. I am fortunate to know that we have a great team, product, great partners in India. It gives me complete confidence that our strategy is right for India and vice versa.

Can you tell us about your roles and responsibilities post taking up the charge of Sennheiser Director of Professional Audio?

My responsibilities, today, are to manage the product, we create for our markets. I am very fortunate to work with a team of smart people that helps us evaluate customer needs. We do a lot of end-user outreach while building ideas and shaping them in order to bring to life products. It’s a wonderful marriage between market knowledge and product development to assert the key features and benefits, the market asks for. It is about bringing value to the user of course. So, we manage marketing, commercial aspects of business and imatory. We ensure having the right product at the right place at the right price and along the way, we manage the ahrc relations program and business development. Business development is the working institutional collaborations, we have with other brands.

What is the business strategy applied at Sennheiser?

We follow a simple strategy. There are so many products out in the market that it is a bit overwhelming for users to identify the right product for their application. So, we have inserted a good, better, best strategy into the market that helps end users identify, the right product for them. For example, we launched the XS Wireless Digital in January, costing about 40,000 rupees and that functions for us as a good product. We have a better product - the Evolution Wireless G4we launched last year for about 80,000 rupees. And then we have the best - the AVX system, which is for about 75,000 rupees. This is how we convert. Instead of depending upon where you are, in your journey, we like to believe that we are there for you. We have the right product with the right features, benefits, advantages that will help address any pain points, challenges from the work perspective.

Is the marketing strategy applied in India different from the one applied internationally?

We want to help end users know who we are and inform that we are not a start-up. We want to help them identify how our products could help them find solutions. The one thing, I see as an opportunity, here, is the execution. For example, So, social media (online) is the prominent communication we have. We can help to shape other parts of the world that are beginning to develop here, from our perspective to share stories, celebrate end users, highlight and showcase our products.

What is the investment plan of Sennheiser?

One of the obvious benefits of being a family-owned business is that you can control it. Sennheiser has, in my history, disproportionally invested in research and development than average. An example of this is Ambio, the smart headset, VR microphone or the soundbox that is still in its development stage and is the future of audio. So, we are a team of people, who are investing in the future, that doesn’t exist today. We have strong beliefs and confidence that it’s a matter of time before this immersive desire becomes a bit more prevalent in society.

How much profit did Sennheiser earn in 2018?

2018 was the best year in the history of Sennheiser. The actual profit hasn’t been announced yet. But, the first four months of 2019 have also exceeded our expectations. The year 2019 is actually stronger.

Which are the various brands associated with Sennheiser?

We work with other brands like Yamaha, Soundcraft, Allenheith.  We have a group of people that works with other brands to help us improve workflow for our customers. We want to listen to our end users, who tell us that workflow is important for them and they need interruptability, an ecosystem where products are talking to one another. We are also in the video space work with Film Mac Pro to have our memory mike talk to their software. We are constantly pushing the boundaries from what is possible to what is desired. 

 You also deal with Live music and broadcasters.

We are fortunate that within our professional audio space, we have the luxury of serving many diverse markets like theatre, live sound, broadcast and while they are unique in their own respect, the requirements are pretty consistent, which are reliable audio, surround wireless performance and interruptability. We had launched in January XS wireless digital and Sk60 as well, which is a small transmitter. These serve the theatre market, which is looking out for small items. But, broadcasters also are looking for lighter weight devices in wireless transmitters. Though Live music and broadcasters are distinct, there are some commonalities. So, we try to provide them solutions, they need to make their jobs easier.

Can you tell us about Sennheiser’s international and Indian artists’ collaborations?

We are fortunate that there are major celebrities like Lady Gaga, who are using our products. She has a Sennheiser microphone in her latest movie, A Star Is Born. I was also very happy to learn that we have 25 Indian artists, who are already associated with Sennheiser and growing. So, our technology is being embraced by the top level professionals around the world.

Are there new Indian artist collaborations, you want to talk about?

There are, but I don’t know the details yet.

Is there any ambitious product, you are yet-to-explore?

There are lots of ambitious products. Without exaggerating, we have nearly a dozen projects in our development team right now. While, I can’t give you those details, but can tell you my vision, which is to continuously have highly desirable products coming up.

Any advice for young budding professionals in India?

I will advise them something, I always keep saying – learn everything about everything.