French ‘connection` connects digitally

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British high-street brand French Connection seems to have struck a chord with the Indian customers by emphasising its presence in the virtual space. Going beyond billboards and print ads, the brand is now experimenting with a special India-centric website with social community pages and blogging.

The Manager – Marketing and Communications, French Connection, Mansi Zaveri, says, “Our customers are usually between the age of 18 and 40 and spend almost 60 per cent of their time online. The Internet unifies the world and we found it to be a great medium to reach out to them.”

Zaveri was recently in Chennai to open the a new store in Express Avenue. The brand has grown since its first appearance at the Lakme India Fashion Week in 2007 and now has nine exclusive stores and 15 shop-in-shops.

“The initial phase was focussed on creating a buzz for our brand. Now our focus is on educating our customers,” explains Zaveri.

Besides the personalised assistance the customer gets at the store, the brand`s fashion blog has sections for the latest fashion trends and an ‘outfit builder` for tips on how to pair different outfits and its bestseller pieces. The brand has roped in popular fashion bloggers to feed-in posts about FCUK and French Connection clothing and spot celebrities in its ensembles. French Connection has also opened a separate Facebook page for Indian shoppers. With around 2,700 fans participating in the polls and discussing dressing styles, Zaveri says that they have found a distinctive media to interact with these individuals.

French Connection has been well-known for its glamorous lines and its sportswear sub-brand FCUK, despite raising eyebrows for its controversial name, had amazing recall value and won loyalty among the younger, casual and street-style audience.

French Connection is the mother brand that started in 1972 and it was only in 1997 that the FCUK campaign was conceived. A fax was sent from FC HK (Hong Kong) to FC UK (United Kingdom) and that`s when the ad agency came up with the FCUK brand.

French Connection branding is used on all shirts, trousers, leather bags, dresses, tops, trousers, cardigans and bags. FCUK, on the sportswear line, which includes t-shirts, denims, canvas bags, belts and more.

Founded by Stephen Marks, the brand has more than 1,500 outlets across 25 countries. Brand Marketing India (BMI) is the exclusive licensee for French Connection in India.

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