Rebooting traditional marketing strategy: A case study of three fashion retailers

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Advancements in technology and an increasing number of web users over the years have transformed the face of marketing, advertising, and brand promotion in India.
While traditional channels of advertising — TV, radio, and print– are certainly not obsolete, marketers today are finding creative and effective ways to reach an information-hungry, Internet-oriented populace. Marketers and brands alike are trying to reach their target audience through channels that these consumers use most.
The use of the Internet as a means of communication has given rise to several new marketing tools that may be much more effective and cost-efficient in validating an ad campaign that has high recall value for today’s on-the-go and wired customers.
Keeping in mind the changing consumer behaviour, here’s a closer look at the marketing and promotion activities of three multi-brand fashion retailers in the fiscal gone by — Lifestyle, Max and Shoppers Stop.
All three have effectively adopted a right mix of traditional and digital marketing and promotional tools to increase the visibility and sales of the brand.
All three were the nominees at the IMAGES Fashion Awards 2016 ceremony, held in March this year, in the ‘Most Admired Fashion Retailer of the Year: Marketing & Promotions’ category.
Max, a division of Lifestyle International (P) Ltd.,set an annual marketing budget of 210 million,in the year 2015. Out of the total budget, 18 million was dedicated to social media and digital marketing promotions, 60 million was for Print and TV and outdoor took 12 and 20 million respectively.
The company’s marketing strategies revolved around the season launch theme following its ‘AIDA’ model: ‘Attention,’ which is driven by ATL communication; ‘Interest,’ which is created through store/mall/catchment activation; ‘Desire,’ which is delivered through digital video, bloggers and brand properties like Elite Model look, Max fashion Icon, Max Design Awards and Max Kids Festival, and ‘Action,’ which is achieved through fresh international collection, CRM, and sharp pricing.
Max makes sure that their digital activities are well in sync across channels and get consumers’ attention even in its 117 physical stores, spread across 50 cities.
The company’s robust marketing and promotion strategy got them the honour of ‘Most Admired Fashion retailer of the year: Marketing & Promotions’ recognition during the IMAGES Fashion Awards, held in March 2016.
To promote its last year’s theme, Today’s for Small Joys – which addressed the issue of busy people living life on auto-pilot – Max entered into a collaboration with music streaming application ‘Saavn’ to communicate the season’s theme to its audience.
The company selected 15 classic numbers songs that were classics and through which the listeners could re-live memories that brought joy to their lives. Max also created a banner on Saavn, which when clicked re-directed customers to its website.
“The campaign saw a CTR of 7 per cent and had over 5,500 unique listeners who used the playlist to listen to their favourite songs,” says AVP Marketing, Jiten Mahendra.
Besides that, Max partnered with Mirchi South Music Awards as a fashion partner. It prepared an Audio-Visual (AV) with celebrity attendees talking about on ‘Small Joys They Miss Today’. These bytes were promoted for a two-week period in cinemas and on Radio Mirchi stations across Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad.
“This AV reached over 7 Lakh people in the cinemas. The AV was followed by a Twitter contest which directed customers to participate in a contest running on our twitter page. A total of 1,300 tweets were received over a 2-week period with total impressions of 13.2 Lakh and over 1.7 lakh accounts reach,” explains Mahendra.
The company also roped in Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan, who showcased the Max men’s casualwear category through an association with Cineblitz magazine’s August cover. These images were promoted in-store and on digital platforms. Max also released an interesting behind the scenes video of Irrfan Khan that garnered close to 1,500 views.
The company also integrated a magazine ad contest around the theme ‘Relive Your Small Joys’ and released it in Sananda, Femina, as well as Cosmopolitan magazines. Customers were encouraged to participate in the contest by answering questions and all they had to do to answer those questions was give a missed call on a certain number placed in the magazine ads. “The contest received close to 2,800 entries on the microsite with over 680 entries through these magazines,” Mahendra says.
To tap regional readers, Max rolled out an offer on their ethnic wear in Kumudam and Grihalaxmi magazines. Readers who gave missed calls and participated in the contest were thanked with discounts on the collection. “Through this offer, we created additional traction in North and Tamil Nadu markets. We received over 4,300 calls from these magazine readers with over 1,200 readers visiting the store, generating business worth of Rs 12 lakh,” says Mahendra.
The company also did an Influencer marketing program with a popular fashion blogger Nilu Thapa to launch key categories, push brand Imagery and drive sales. These key categories saw a sell-through of 88 per cent through this association.
” Whatever initiatives we did on digital platforms were well connected through powerful visual merchandising in-store. Thus ensuring the constant communication for our customers on all the platforms,” Mahendra explains.
Lifestyle International Pvt. Ltd
Leveraging the popular Instagram platform, Lifestyle launched a new campaign ‘Insta weaving’ in the year 2015 which highlighted key trends of the season using a hashtag (#) such as InstaGlam, InstaSleek etc. The company maintained a constant communication across all channels — print, digital and in-store — so that customers can connect with these trends both online and offline.
“Our Instagram channel which had around 250 followers, organically grew to 23,500 followers in just 10 months as a result of this campaign,” says Srinivasa Rao, VP – Marketing, Lifestyle International Pvt Ltd.
“This campaign was aimed at customers who embrace trends and fashion to look their very best. The strategy was well represented at our stores, too, through engaging Virtual Merchandising(VM) displays and through strong imagery in traditional and digital media. The campaign was well noticed and helped register our differentiated and fashionable offering,” he added. Lifestyle currently operates 43 stores across India. The company’s annual turnover last year (April 2014- March 2015) was Rs 2,668 crore approx.
Along with Instagram — using it’s 4.5+ million facebook and 80,000+ twitter user base — Lifestyle launched exciting campaigns and promotions on twitter and facebook account. Some of the examples include #PikuMelangeLook, #FarhanforCode, #BestFestiveFashion, #AnushkaforCode, #BestSaleEver, #LifestyleOffSale etc. This campaign gained high engagement over twitter. “Because of these, Lifestyle nationally trended around 10 times on twitter, in the year 2015,” says Rao.
Along with the digital campaigns, Lifestyle also partnered with leading bloggers such as Scherezade Shroff, Style Drive etc for their ‘in-store’ activation program; ‘StyleCircle’.
Launched last year, ‘StyleCircle’ hosted ten leading bloggers in Lifestyle’s key stores across the country, who gave personalised style advice sessions to customers; helping them put together the looks that were ‘insta-worthy’ and suited their body type.
Apart from this, Lifestyle also partnered with leading bloggers such as Scherezade Shroff, Style Drive etc for their ‘in-store’ activation program; ‘StyleCircle’.
Launched last year, ‘StyleCircle’ hosted ten leading bloggers in Lifestyle’s key stores across the country, who gave personalised style advice sessions to customers; helping them put together the looks that were ‘insta-worthy’ and suited their body type.
“We saw an increase in sales on the days when we hosted these sessions in our stores. Customers too saw the benefit through these personalised style sessions and shopped for garments advised by the bloggers. We also got high visibility on social media channels,” explain Rao. ” Style Circle’s phenomenal success has lead to the inclusion of this program as a regular feature in our marketing calendar,” he added.
Riding on the celebrity quotient, the company also signed celebrities to promote their private label brands. Farhan Akhtar was signed for Code Menswear and Anushka Sharma was for Code Womenswear. A visually impactful campaign was launched across key channels with these stars. Both the campaign were well executed and created high visibility for the brand Code by Lifestyle. The sell-through for both these brands witnessed double digit growths over last year.
“Farhan Akhtar for Code campaign created high impact and witnessed over 65 per cent sell through. The campaign was well supported through outdoor, print, in-store and digital media. Online, the campaign garnered nearly 50 million impressions,” says Rao.
“Similarly, Anushka Sharma for Code saw sell-through of over 60 per cent and helped strengthen the positioning of Code by Lifestyle as a leading womenswear brand. On the day of the campaign launch, it trended for over six hours becoming the third top trend nationwide,” he further added.
For Lifestyle’s ethnic wear brand, Melange, the company collaborated with Bollywood movie Piku and launched a line inspired by the lead character, Deepika Padukone. A high decibel print, in- store & digital campaign, was created resulting in high sell through of the range.
“The day of the announcement, #PikuMelangeLook; key hashtag for the campaign, trended for over four hours. The campaign received over 7.8 million impressions in four weeks. The range saw over 80% sell through within first four weeks of the collection being brought in the store. We also developed a microsite for this initiative which received 1.4 lakh visits in 4 weeks,” Rao adds.
Shoppers Stop
One of the early adopters of Omnichannel retail, Shoppers Stop has been active in leveraging the potential of digital and social media to market and promote the brand.
The company has 7 million fans on Facebook, making it the largest big-box retailer on Facebook in India. The Twitter page has above 15,000 followers and its YouTube channel has received over 13 lakh views till date.
Shoppers Stop engages with its Facebook fans by creating unique contests such as ‘Perfect For’ Me that provides suggestions to fans based on their likes, search history etc. The company claims to be the first Indian Retailer to have created a ‘How to…’ series on youtube channel.
These were the series of fun, instructive, engaging, and youth-centric videos that give customers fashion and grooming tips. The videos range across topics such as ‘How to dress for a party’ to ‘How to tie a tie’, to ‘How to apply make-up’ etc. Customers also get the choice to buy the products showcased in these videos via the e-store. It also introduced ‘Style Hub’ videos on its YouTube channel. It is a fashion content property that features a set of videos which showcase different styles and looks.
The company claims that its loyalty programme is one of the most highly regarded programmes in the retail industry. With over 3.5 million members contributing to over 71 per cent of sales, ‘The Shoppers Stop First Citizen Loyalty Programme’ has been one of the company’s strongest marketing tools – a lesson to learn for other retailers.

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