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Marketing Strategy of Hul

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									                                           The New Face of Adland!

                                   Rs 45              The Face of Marketing
Volume VI G Issue 7 G April 2009

                                           How the tobacco-to-hospitality
                                              major ITC stormed the
                                                Personal Care and
                                            Premium Apparel markets.
                                           What makes it tick...
                                                C O V E R S T O RY

                                                 By ONKAR PANDEY

            ATA, BIRLA, RELIANCE, OR GODREJ.                 ganically, it created a range of new personal care and
            Just look at the making of these business        branded apparel brands. The decisive element for its
            conglomerates, you will find that diversifica-   new brands was having a product that's differentiated
            tion into new businesses has been the            and superior in value proposition than what the compe-
            biggest propellant of their ever-growing size,   tition has to offer. The first step in this well-planned
clout and brand prowess. Popularly known as ITC, the         strategy was the launch of Wills Lifestyle, the premi-
$5-billion Indian Tobacco Company is a likely addition       um branded apparel business in 2002. This business is
to this select club of ambitious desi conglomerates.         being spearheaded by CEO Atul Chand from New
Starting from its humble beginnings in 1910 as Imperial      Delhi. That ITC was very serious about this new foray
Tobacco Company of India, Virginia House, the group          was clear from the fact that it hit the market with four
headquarters in Kolkata, has been the proud witness          brands— Wills Classic, Wills Sport, Wills ClubLife and
to many successful new business scripts in the compa-        Wills Signature—to cater to the specific apparel needs
ny’s long and varied journey.                                of men and women of upper and mid-income levels.
   As tobacco became a bad word in the last two              Besides, it has also launched exclusive men's and
decades, and successive governments began to put             women's wear brands—John Players and Miss Players.
many curbs in terms of advertising and other promo-             Not stopping at apparel, ITC then moved on to take
tions around tobaccos, it became a tough business envi-      the competition head on in the FMCG domain,
ronment to operate in, besides it has started taking a       through ITC Foods in August 2001, and personal care
toll on the company's image. Hence, ITC needed to            business, which is the focal point of this story, in 2005.
change its track and that too quickly. And like a skin-      It has created good impact with its well etched-out
shedding snake, ITC started an earnest exercise in cre-      Personal Care Brands, headed by Sandeep Kaul.
ating a new brand image and corporate philosophy by          Under this category, brands like Essenza Di Wills,
investing in new business categories like personal care,     Fiama Di Wills, Vivel Di Wills, Vivel and the Superia
premium apparel, rural business (e-                                     were designed to take care of various sets of
Choupal) and foods. All along using its                                 consumer segments.
famed distribution strengths built through                                 This feature tries to unravel the behind-
its successful past businesses like ciga-                               the-brand thoughts and strategy of its per-
rettes, paperboards and packaging, hotels                               sonal care and branded apparel retail ven-
and agri business, to create synergies                                  tures. How these businesses are panning
across its verticals and help prop up its new                           out, and how significant a part they are
businessess, like personal care and foods.                              going to be in the group's growing brand
   ITC has a well thought-out strategic                                 portfolio? The story also discusses the
approach. Rather than acquiring weaker                                  road ahead for these new ventures vis-à-
brands to get into these new segments inor-                             vis the competition.

                                                                                                 April 2009 I Pitch I 23

    Using a six-pillar strategy that straddles consumer insighting to product
    development and packaging, ITC has created a powerful personal care
    portfolio with five brands across multiple categories and price-points

             hough, the plans for personal        they faced while developing the busi-         head the personal care launch. It also
             care foray were high on chair-       ness from scratch were upfront invest-        poached some key talents not only from
             man YC Deveshwar's agenda as         ment of time and resources to under-          across the industry but also a senior sci-
             one of the next growth drivers       stand consumers and develop consumer          entist from the HUL stable to spearhead
    for long, it got fructified only in July      insights. “We had to have patience for        the technology function. That apart, it
    2005, after its successful foray into foods   converting these consumer insights to         also sought help from product formula-
    business with brands like Sunfeast,           winning consumer value proposition,"          tion and branding experts in Europe
    Ashirwaad Atta and Bingo.                     concurs Kaul.                                 and America to formulate the fragrance,
       But behind this launch was five years        As an adage goes 'if you have to win a      aesthetics and packaging. Many of the
    of intensive on ground research of mar-       race, you have to clearly target the No 1',   brands have also been developed at its
    ket conditions and consumer expecta-          ITC too aimed the No 1 which happened         R&D centre.
    tions. Over one lakh consumers were           to be the formidable HUL (which still            The results are there for everyone to
    surveyed across the country to test var-                                                    see. In less than four years, ITC has
    ious prototypes. Acceptance benchmark         The tobacco major wanted to                   been able to create brand awareness
    was kept as high as 90 percent for the        create a personal care portfo-                and consumer acceptance for its five
    final products. ITC called this exercise                                                    product lines—Essenza Di Wills, Fiama
                                                  lio that met today’s consumer
    as '3E’ approach —explore, establish                                                        Di Wills, Vivel Di Wills, Vivel and the
    and execute.                                     needs, but without being                   Superia—each targeted at the needs,
       ITC personal care division chief            bogged down by the history                   aspirations and usage behaviour of dif-
    executive Sandeep Kaul said, "We, at                                                        ferent consumer segments.
                                                      of an acquired business
    ITC, wanted to create a portfolio on our                                                       Kaul informs that the strategy for
    own unlike many others who have a             reins over 50 percent of the FMCG mar-        designing personal care is that everyone
    long and varied history of inorganic          ket). And ITC's target was HUL and            is a potential consumer.
    growth, which had its own merits. We          P&G only. After all, you get a kick in gun-      Now let's dig deeper into the product
    had the flexibility to create the portfolio   ning for the best. Hence, it went about       development side. Each of these brands
    to meet the needs of today's consumers        its business with a lot of strategy, expe-    has been created around six key strate-
    without being bogged down by the past         rience, innovation, correct marketing-        gic pillars. The first of which is 'clear
    heritage or the varied history of an          mix and better products. It modelled          segmentation' across brands and prod-
    acquired business. We could develop           itself after P&G's proposition of superior    uct lines. The second pillar is making
    strategies to utilize the innate strength     products in every segment it has              these products reach far and wide. ITC
    of our organisation.”                         entered. ITC roped in its tobacco busi-       cleverly leverages its 'distribution and
       Kaul adds that the unique challenges       ness veteran Sandeep Kaul to spear-           group synergy' strengths to deliver the

24 I Pitch I April 2009
with Care
The Six Success Mantras
    Creating brands from scratch with no history and lineage, ITC used clear segmenta-
    tion across its five product lines and the target audience, each brand was meant for

    Once the five products were created and communication strategies set, ITC leveraged
    its properties like hotels, foods and apparel store network to retail these brands

    Like HUL, these brands sport Western names, and different communication. Essenza &
    Fiama, meant for the elite, have English communication, while Vivel & Superia use Hindi.

    Selective extensions as it doesn’t want to confuse consumers with too many irrel-
    evant brand extension & sub-brands. The Essenza range is the only exception.

    ITC uses brand ambassadors strategically. While for the Fiama and Vivel ranges it has
    roped in brand ambassadors,for the Superia & Essenza ranges the key TG is the real king.

    Since packaging plays a key role in product differentiation, ITC uses it to the hilt. It
    has taken foreign experts’ help to make its products stand out from competition.

                                                                                         April 2009 I Pitch I 25

                                                 The Desi Luxe
                                                                      Essenza, as the                    Also being dis-
                                                                      Western name                       tributed
                                                                      suggests, targets                  through ITC ho-
                                                                      the luxury seek-                   tels and Wills
                                                                      ing elite                          Lifestyle stores

                                                                      Gender-neutral,                   Instead of brand-
                                                                      mostly in English,                extensions, it has
                                                                      and a bit of French               sub-brands like
                                                                      — the language of                 Inizio, Aqua and
                                                                      the super elite                   Mikkle

                                                                     No brand ambas-                    Manufactured
                                                                     sadors; the TG do                  in France, the
                                                                     the role as they                   Essenza packag-
                                                                     are very individu-                 ing has an inter-
                                                                     alistic and are                    national appeal
                                                                     super acheivers

    products right at the doors of con-           Personal Care Stakes
    sumers.                                       Focus is on the soap and shampoo categories as they
       Though, ITC has a highly successful        dominate the personal care business
    distribution network for its tobacco
    products, it had to quickly devise a dif-
    ferent distribution plan for its personal
    care brands, as these are positioned in
    the premium category. This was
    answered by rolling out a wide distribu-
    tion infrastructure for ITC Foods’
                                                  SHAMPOOS                    CONDITIONERS                     SOAPS
    brands like Bingo, Ashirwad Atta and
    Sunfeast. This helped in quickly rolling
                                                    Value in Rs Cr               Value in Rs Cr              Value in Rs Cr
    out the personal care business across
    the country, with further support from            2,605                           84                       7,967
    its universally acclaimed e-Choupal net-         Value Growth                 Value Growth               Value Growth
    work. And today, ITC's distribution                18%                          25%                         18%
    reach is almost at par with market
    leader HUL's reach.
       The third pillar is a clear communica-
    tion for these brands, according to the
                                                     Volume in Litres            Volume in Litres             Volume in Kgs
    target consumer sets. The fourth pillar
    is the relevant brand extensions around       10,85,49,607                    14,35,873               5,68,812,568
    which it has created the five product            Volume Growth              Volume Growth               Volume Growth
    lines. So far, the effort has been to keep
    the focus on the main brands through
                                                         14%                        29%                           4%
                                                                              Source: The Nielsen Company Data, March 2009

26 I Pitch I April 2009
brand extensions rather than confusing         en. Lastly, its sixth strategic pillar is   soaps, shampoos, conditioners and hair
consumers with many sub-brands with            visible on the packaging side.              oils touched Rs 16,612 crore in 2008-09,
different names. But, the same doesn't         Explaining the rationale for innovative     growing at a healthy rate of over 20 per-
apply to its luxury Essenza Di Wills           packaging, Kaul says that the packag-       cent in terms of value and 14 percent in
range, which has sub-brands like Inizio,       ing for Fiama Di Wills was developed by     terms of volume. Soaps alone account
Aqua and Mikkel to cater to exclusive          international design houses to ensure       for over 40 percent of the personal care
and individualistic desires of its rich tar-   high-quality standards.                     market and along with the shampoos,
get audience.                                     The personal care business is consid-    control well over 50 percent of the over-
   Since brand ambassadors play a key          ered recession-proof as these products      all FMCG market. These two are also the
role in creating the top-of-mind recall,       are of regular demand and hence a           categories of prime focus for ITC. It’s in
the fifth pillar of its strategy rests on      lucrative area. And ITC has both—a          no hurry to get into every conceivable
associating itself with strategic brand        deep pocket to sustain through the ini-     FMCG segment. The 2008 ITC annual
ambassadors whenever required. For             tial years and the ambition and will        report underlines, "We'll continue invest-
example, only the Fiama Di Wills and           power to grow large.                        ing in building a robust personal care
Vivel ranges have brand ambassadors               According to Nielsen data, the person-   business in line with our strategy of cre-
while the rest two brands are TG-driv-         al care space, comprising of skin care,     ating multiple growth drivers."

                                                              High on Glam Quotient!

            Tageted at the young,                           Besides, being retailed                      Mostly in the language
            urban, aspirational                             at departmental stores,                      of the young urban
            women. Its core TG is                           it is also present at Wills                  woman profession-
            the upper and mid-seg-                          Lifestyle stores, & ITC                      als—English. Its aspira-
            ment urban consumers.                           hotels                                       tional in nature.

               It has been cleverly                         Sophisticated, young,                        Premium packaging to
               leveraged in the                             having arrived & beau-                       compete with the likes
               shampoos, shower                             tiful Deepika Padukone                       of Dove. Designed with
               gels, soap and condi-                        is used to further the                       help from American
               tioner categories                            brand recall                                 packaging experts.

                                                                                                              April 2009 I Pitch I 27

       Unlike many other con-
    sumer goods players which
    have too many brands, but not
                                                                           The ‘Popular’ Choice
                                                                               Clever targeting:                   Retailed at John
    all which are not very clearly                                             Vivel Di Wills for                  Players stores, be-
    defined. ITC has kept the focus                                            the upper-middle                    sides ITC’s tradi-
    on its five main brands with                                               class and Vivel for                 tional distribution
                                                                               the popular                         channels
    each of them having a unique
    brand proposition.
                                                                               Communication in                       Vivel & Vivel Di
       Now, with high brand aware-                                             Hindi & English to                     Wills— a clever
    ness in place, the focus is on                                             cater to both                          way to target
    driving sales by creating multi-                                           upper-middle &                         the ‘Lux’ con-
                                                                               popular mid-seg.                       sumers of yore
    ple touch-points through vari-
    ous channels of communica-
                                                                               Kareena Kapoor                        Vivel Di Wills has
    tion, promotions, different                                                is the brand face                     a more premium
    price-points and leveraging                                                thanks to her                         packaging, but
    the group synergies.                                                       popular mass and                      Vivel has a differ-
                                                                               class appeal                          ent packaging

    The first of the four brands to be         is the latest addition to the Essenza       stores, its premium branded apparel
    launched in mid-05, Essenza Di Wills,      portfolio, which again is targeted at the   retail offering, across 30 cities, and
    an exclusive range of fragrances, body     high-end men.                               provides (as these stores offer) an
    and bath care products, is targeted at        The strategy here is around sophisti-    ideal environment for sampling by
    the high and snazzy consumers.             cation and enigma rather than brand         elite consumers who regularly visit
    Essenza is a gender-neutral brand, and     recall, hence we see sub-brands with        these stores. The Essenza range is
    hence offers a range of products for the   western titles like Inizio, Aqua and        also available across the ITC
    well-heeled men and women.                 Mikkel than simple brand extensions,        Welcomegroup hotels.
       Inizio, the signature range of the      as the target consumers in this seg-           The communication strategy is well
    Essenza brand, has two sub-brands—         ment are drawn by exclusivity and           defined too. There are no brand ambas-
    Inizio Femme and Inizio Homme—and          enigma and not by popular brand             sadors for this segment, it's the product
    offers an exclusive range for women        names. An entry level Essenza range of      which is the hero; a brand imagery of
    and men. The fragrances offered in this    fragrance comes for a cool Rs 2,000!        allure and enigmatic grandeur has
    range were designed by leading French         The Essenza caters to the market         been created around the Essenza line.
    fragrance houses. The brands across        segment where established names like        Even the brand website communicates
    the Essenza line share the same olfac-     Lancôme, Olay, Body Shop, Oriflame          in English and French, the language of
    tory signature creating a harmonious       and Avon are present. It's a niche seg-     the uber-sophisticated.
    experience, and hence the brand recall     ment, which is growing fast, and where
    for consumers.                             there's no competition from dominant        FIAMA DI WILLS
       Since, men constitute a high percent-   players like HUL and P&G. ITC feels         If Essenza is about luxury, Fiama is
    age of luxury consumers, a new line        that with its packaging, sales and dis-     about premiumness. This second prod-
    Aqua Homme has been created. It            tribution strength, it has a fair chance    uct line, launched in September 2007,
    offers a range of grooming products        of getting a head start in this high-mar-   caters to the premium segment with
    like after-shave lotion, deos, hair and    gin space the over present players.         the mid and upper middle-class as its
    body shampoos and soaps for discern-          The premium brand is also retailed       prime TG, and it is pitched against
    ing men. Mikkel, an evening fragrance,     across more than 50 Wills Lifestyle         HUL's Dove and Vaseline, Nivea,

28 I Pitch I April 2009
                                           Spencer's Hyper, Big Bazaar and           Marico, CavinCare, Godrej, Dabur etc.
                                           Reliance Fresh among others, besides        Launched in the first half of 2008,
                                           group hotels.                             Vivel Di Wills offers two soap variants.
                                              The brand imagery has been created     Vivel has both soaps and shampoos,
                                           using different shades of natural         catering to a wide range of consumers
                                           colours like green, yellow, blue and      in the mid and upper-middle class seg-
                                           orange, conveying gentle and effective    ments. The USP of Vivel range is nour-
                                           care through its tagline 'Beautiful you   ishment, protection and hydrating
                                           today, tomorrow'. A special fan club      ingredients for complete skincare.
                                           'Friends of Fiama' has been created to    Vivel, unlike Fiama, is a gender-neu-
                                           increase two-way communication with       tral brand.
                                           consumers, where they get a chance to       Vivel Di Wills soaps come in two vari-
                                           interact with the brand face Deepika.     ants and cater specifically to upper-
                                              To increase brand salience and posi-   middle class consumers, and is priced
                                           tion Fiama as a lifestyle product, ITC    at Rs 30. While Vivel offers five vari-
                                           positions it as one of the partners of    ants, all priced between Rs 16 and Rs
                                           the Wills Fashion Week, held twice        17, while the Vivel shampoos come in
                                           annually, besides an exclusive luxury     three variants.
L'Oreal and Garnier shampoos and           lounge called Salon Di Wills is created     This space is dominated by HUL,
conditioners. Its fragrance, aesthetics    at the Wills fashion weeks to experi-     whose brands like Lux, Rexona, Liril,
and packaging are developed in consul-     ence the effectiveness of Fiama Di        Sunsilk and ClinicPlus command over
tation with European experts. Fiama is     Wills products. At the 2008 Wills         50 percent market share in soaps and
exclusively targeted at the young,         Lifestyle pageant, it has an exclusive    over 45 percent in the Rs 2,600-crore
working and modern women who               Fiama Di Wills fashion line created by    shampoos market, while ITC has only
wants indulgence. Fiama offerings          two leading fashion designers titled      around 2 percent of the personal care
include shampoos, conditioners, show-      'Lost in an Urban Maze' to showcase a     market. Kareena Kapoor is the brand
er gels and soaps.                         premium imagery.                          face for Vivel brands and its communi-
   The USP of this range is a combina-                                               cation is both in Hindi and English
tion of science and natural extracts for   VIVEL DI WILLS & VIVEL                    unlike Essenza and Fiama which is
shampoos. Developed in collaboration       Easily, the most important of all the     only in English and French.
with the US-based Cosmetech                brands, Vivel Di Wills and Vivel com-       Towards the end of 2008, ITC has
Laborataries, these shampoos come in       pete in the most competitive, the pop-    launched a new anti-dandruff shampoo
five variants, while the shower gel        ular market segment, dominated by         ‘UltraPro’ under the Vivel umbrella,
comes in three. It has a soap sub-brand    well -entrenched players like HUL and     pitched against HUL's Clinic AllClear
called ‘SkinSense’ which is priced on      P&G, besides smaller players like         and P&G's Head & Shoulders in the
par with Dove at Rs 40.                                                              rapidly expanding Rs 600-crore dan-
   The Bollywood sensation Deepika              The five ITC brands                  druff control segment. Targeted at
Padukone has been strategically used           cater to various con-                 men, UltraPro is endorsed by Hrithik
as the brand ambassador for the                                                      Roshan. Besides being available across
                                               sumer segments ac-
Fiama range, thanks to her sophisticat-                                              leading departmental stores and mod-
ed, youthful look and urbane appeal.         cording to their needs,                 ern retail outlets, Vivel is also retailed
   Using group synergies, ITC retails        usage, aspiration levels,               through the John Players showrooms
the Fiama range across Wills Lifestyle                                               — ITC’s men’s wear stores.
                                              and are clearly etched
stores and modern retailers like

                                                                                                         April 2009 I Pitch I 29
 Targeting the Masses                                                                                       Superia is the mass brand
                                                                                                            from the ITC stable, cater-
                                                                                                            ing to lower income and
                                                                                                            rural segments like a
                                                                                                            Lifebouy does

                                                                                                            Retailed through ITC’s
                                                                                                            distribution channels
                                                                                                            across the hinterlands,
                                                                                                            especially the E-Choupal
                                                                                                            for rural reach

                                                                                                            Being a mass brand, it
                                                                                                            caters to segments where
                                                                                                            aspirations are low, and
                                                                                                            family is very close-nit. The
                                                                                                            brand has a family-ori-
                                                                                                            ented communication
                                                                                                            strategy too

                    Superia has four soap                         No popular brand                          The only brand which is
                    variants and three                            ambassador; the                           available in sachets,
                    shampoo variants which                        focus is on the target                    Superia has colourful
                    take on the likes of                          audience, which is                        packaging, which is
                    Clinic AllClear, Lifebouy,                    the low-income                            common among mass
                    Breeze, Godrej No1 etc                        families                                  brands

  SUPERIA                                       THE WAY FORWARD                               shown a good degree of acceptance to
  To cater to the popular mass segment,         Sandeep Kaul says that he has a robust        our value propositions. The progress so
  especially in the hinterlands, where          long-term strategy and his portfolio is       far, has been as per the internal goals set
  HUL's Lifebouy, Hamam and Breeze and          designed for multiple price points, which     for the business. At a time when most of
  Godrej No1 etc compete, ITC has               has proved to be working well so far, at      the homegrown FMCG brands were
  launched the Superia range of soaps           least in terms of brand recall, as its mar-   looking at going niche, we did not want
  and shampoos. Superia soap range is           ket share is at under 2 percent is any-       to limit our potential. The way forward
  available in four variants, the shampoos      thing to write home about. While the          can be sometimes through an organic
  come in two variants, besides an anti-        core focus remains further developing         route and sometimes through an inor-
  dandruff variant.                             the categories under the belt, by offering    ganic route but the growth strategy for
     This segment again doesn't have a          more value proposition to consumers,          us will always be consumer centric,"
  brand ambassador as the company proj-         besides working on new categories,            Kaul further elaborates.
  ects its target consumers as its              including acquisitions.                          Now that the brands are out on the
  endorsers. The brand communication,             Sandeep Kaul says, "Consumers have          racks across the country, and con-
  mostly in Hindi, is weaved around a                                                         sumers have given their thumbs up to
  happy family and its various members.             ITC brands have re-                       them, the tough task lies ahead -- to con-
     This is also the only segment where                                                      tinuously innovate and provide better
  ITC has launched its products in
                                                   ceived high consumer                       value to consumers and make them stick
  sachets, considering the price-sensitiv-         acceptance so far. The                     around these brands. After all, con-
  ity of its TG. On the distribution side, it      company says that it’s                     sumers in the personal care space are a
  cleverly uses its e-Choupal network to                                                      fickle lot, unlike in the cigarette space
                                                     open to inorganic
  create deep entrenchment for the                                                            (who overwhelmingly prefer the ITC
  Superia range among the hinterland               growth if a brand fits                     sticks), and ITC knows it well. I
  consumers.                                        its long-term plans.                                —

30 I Pitch I April 2009

 On the HIGH S
  How Wills Lifestyle has been able to weave a premium success story with its
  high-end branded apparel range; and how it plans to sustain this success?

              S THE ECONOMY STARTED           opportunity, and launched its branded       Lifestyle retail business division chief
              vrooming post-liberalisation,   apparel business under the Wills            executive. Recalling the initial days,
              the retail scenario witnessed   Lifestyle brand in 2000. But, it wasn't a   Chand says that when they started out,
              many convolutions as the        work done in a hurry, rather an elaborate   organised retail was almost an unknown
 last century drew to a close with organ-     marketing and branding strategy went        concept in the country, as there were
 ised retail taking off in a big way. As a    behind this to ensure its success as a      hardly any exclusive premium outlets or
 result, in the past one decade, the          brand with premium imagery and high-        brands of repute for premium wear for
 nation's shopping habit, especially in the   aspiration appeal.                          men and women. Working on these seg-
 metros and big cities has changed com-         We spent considerable time to figure      ment-insights, Wills Lifestyle presented
 pletely. The tobaccos-to-foods-to-hotels     out the reasons for its huge success with   its premium offerings. "It's really chal-
 major ITC was quick to sniff at this         Atul Chand, the New Delhi-based ITC         lenging to start with. There were no
                                                           DRESSING UP THE NATION
                                               Industry Break-up                                     2008               2013
                                               Total Apparel Market                                1,28,347          2,29,673
                                               Branded Apparel Market                               33,004             59,059
                                               Urban Apparel Market                                 79,575            142,397
malls, no premium stores and a com-
                                               Urban Market as % of the Total                          62                 62
plete lack of women's wear. Hence, we
set out to make a strong store imagery.        Branded Apparel as % of the Total                       41                 41
And we've been able to successfully fill                                    (Source: Technopak Advisors; Figures in Rs Crore)
those gaps," shares Chand.                 sumers are increasingly looking for           research and insight, has understood
   Since, consumers' shopping habits       solutions and not just garments. They         this fact and rolled out its strategy
and brand expectations have undergone      are looking for brands which offer dis-       accordingly. And hence in less than a
a polar change, the unorganised sector     tinct apparel,for instance, formals, casu-    decade, Wills Lifestyle boasts of over 55
is no more appealing, especially to mid    als, sports, club wear, sleepwear, and        retail stores across 30 cities and enjoys
and upper-middle class consumers. In       innerwear. They want precise solutions        around 8 percent of the Rs 2,000-crore
fact, it doesn't stop there; people in     and prefer brands which can help them         premium branded apparel market.
smaller cities are also hankering for      select a piece of functional clothing,        Being one of the category leader, ITC has
branded wear and so we see many            thereby enriching their quality of life.      been successfully fending off steep com-
brands including Wills Lifestyle, with     And most marketers, including ITC             petition from a host of domestic and for-
presence in tier II and III towns too.     Lifestyle, seem to have understood this.      eign brands like United Colours of
   Industry experts point out that con-       ITC, through its deep consumer             Benetton, Provogue, Louise Phillip etc.

                                                                                            done-up change rooms!
                                                                                               The lifestyle label currently offers four
                                                                                            product lines, each catering to a different
                                                             I Its
                                                                                            set of consumers. The formal wear range
                                                                  the formal wear
                                                               range from the               under Wills Classic was launched in
                                                               Wills Lifestyle stable       2002. The second line, Wills Sport, is the
                                                             I The highest selling          casual wear range; and there is an
                                                               label of the com-            evening wear range called Wills ClubLife
                                                                                            launched in 2003. Capping it all is the
                                                             I Competes with the
                                                               likes of Louis Phillip       clearly differentiated designer wear
                                                               & Arrow from the             range called Wills Signature, which con-
                                                               Madura Garments &            tributes 15 percent to the overall sales.
                                                               Arvind Mills stable,
                                                               respectively                     Wills Lifestyle, as a gender-neutral
                                                             I The Classic range            brand, offers these four ranges in both
                                                               starts around Rs             men's and women's segment, and if
                                                               1,000 and can go             Chand is to be believed, they are one of
                                                               upwards of Rs
                                                                                            the largest women's wear brands today.
                                                               25,000 for a suit
                                                             I Available for both
                                                                                            Women's wear constitutes a significant
                                                               men & women                  portion contributing to close to 35-40 per-
                                                                                            cent of overall revenues. The men's for-
     According to retail consultancy           shopping experience to event tie-ups to      mal range is popular, too.
  Technopak Advisors, the domestic             in-store visual merchandising to commu-         Maximum care has been given to the
  branded apparel market is worth over         nication, we ensure that there is a con-     store location as well. Chand informs
  Rs 33,000 crore (2008 figures) or over 20    sistency to the values and imagery that      that store presence at the right places is
  percent of the Rs 1,28,347-crore domes-      these brands offer," Chand concurs. Even     a major focus for them. "We ensure that
  tic apparel market and 40 percent of the     its stores are designed with care. These     we are present where consumers are
  overall urban apparel market. The same       stores use glass, steel and granite exten-   shopping extensively -- malls and high
  is expected to grow to Rs 59,000 crore       sively, thus matching the premiumness of     streets. So, your expansion strategy is in
  plus by 2013, or around 25 percent of the    the apparel they store. This premium         line with what and how consumers are
  overall apparel market that is forecast to   look is also reflected in the spacious and   doing and where," he adds.
  touch Rs 2,29,673 crore.
                                                       I   The showpeice collection
  STYLISH PAR EXCELLENT                                    of Wills Lifestlye con-
  Wills Lifestyle not only offers a vibrant                tributes around 15 per-
  product portfolio but also an internation-               cent to total sales
                                                       I   Retail creations of a
  al shopping experience to the discerning
                                                           dozen Indian designers
  consumers. Because there is a seamless                   like Rohit Bal, Manish
  flow of careful attention paid to all the                Malhotra and the like
  four brands in the formal, casual,                   I   Signature range prices
  evening wear and the designer ranges                     start from Rs 2,000 for a
                                                           designer shirt and can go
  under the respective brand names of
                                                           upwards of Rs 10,000 for,
  Wills Classic, Wills Sport, Wills ClubLife               say, a Rohit Bal jacket.
  and Wills Signature. "From products to

34 I Pitch I April 2009
                                                                                         international advice in areas like people
                                                                                         training, store designing, merchandis-
                                                                                         ing, and fashion trends to keep its loyal
                                                                                         customer base intact.
                                                                                             The company tied up with the US-
                                                                                         based Friedman group to train its people
                                                                                         in selling skills thus converting more
                                                                                         footfalls into sales. It has also tied up
                                                                                         with the London-based Elemental
                                                                                         Design on visual merchandising to make
                                                                                         in-store product presentation more
                                                                                         attractive. The company also collaborat-
                                                                                         ed with the Italian design studios
                                                                                         Alessandra Macchi Studio for flat knits
                                                                                         and Ricardo Rami Studio for fashion
                                                                                         wear for women.
                                                                                            Recently, it has roped in FRCH, a Las
                                                                                         Vegas-based architectural, planning and
                                                                                         interior design services firm, to get a
                                                                                         new-look. Since then, there has been a
                                                                                         20 percent increase in footfalls across its
                ATUL CHAND, CEO,             ITC Lifestyle Retail Business Division stores and 15-20 percent rise in produc-
                                                                                         tivity, according to industry reports.
A RAMPS-TO-RACKS PRESENCE                        For its regular wear range, it has an
After creating its retail presence and        in-house talent pool of 30 fashion design- INNOVATIVE MEDIA MIX
establishing premium brand imagery,           ers, who are clued on to the latest fash- Most of the marketing strategy for the
the brand needed something to keep            ion trends across the world. That apart, brands revolve around its flagship event
itself up-to-the-minute to get to the next    to ensure future supply of talent and to association with the fashion week, as it
level. And being a premium brand, it          promote fashion further, it has tied up gives it a clear chance to promote its
found an easy-fit with India Fashion          with leading fashion institutes like NIFT, flagship Signature collection in a big
Week, a bi-annual event title-sponsored       NID and Pearl Academy to help budding way. Besides, the chain does extensive
by Wills Lifestyle for some years now.        designers showcase their talent, with an promos through mass media advertising
   Chand emphasises that there's a per-       eye on building future capacity and the like magazines, newspapers, etc.
fect synergy between his brands and           capability of the fashion industry.           In the light of the slowdown, it’s chan-
the fashion week. "The whole idea is to                                                  neling its marketing spend more
take designer wears from the ramp to          GOING THE WHOLE HOG                        towards BTL initiatives like activation,
the rack, making sure that the designer       Even as Wills Lifestyle was busy prepar- loyalty leveraging and promo. BTL
wear is glamorous, aspirational and at        ing itself to rule the premium segment, spends are expected to go over 60 per-
the same time accessible and afford-          many premium category players like cent of the total spends.
able. The fashion week provides a             Westside, United Colours of Benetton,         The company spends roughly 12 per-
great opportunity to create global            Provogue, Madura Garments, Arvind cent of its turnover on advertising and
benchmarks and has worked very well           Mills, etc. entered the fray targeting the marketing, and is also looking at
for us with a positive rub-off on us,"        young and upwardly mobile urban con- FaceBook and YouTube to attract the
Chand says.                                   sumers. ITC changed gears, and sought youth, through personalised marketing.

                                                                                                             April 2009 I Pitch I 35
                                                                                 I   The casual wear
C O V E R S T O RY           MARKETING@ITC                                           range from the
                                                                                     Wills Lifestyle sta-
                                                                                     ble under the
  SLOWDOWN CHALLENGES                                                                Classic & ClubLife
                                                                                     labels. Price for a
  Though slowdown has caught every
                                                                                     shirt or jeans starts
  corporate by the gut, Wills Lifestyle                                              from Rs 1,000.
  says its less affected owing to the very                                       I   Upper price-point
  nature of its business i.e. luxe. "The                                             is around Rs 5,000
  market is obviously sluggish, but people                                       I   Competes against
  are still shopping; it's a great opportuni-                                        the likes of Levi’s,
                                                                                     Benetton, etc.
  ty for brands like ours to go back to con-
  sumers and satisfy their needs in a bet-
  ter way. The stronger and more premi-         apparel retail scenario is likely to         cent growth in 2007-08, higher than the
  um brands will survive that much better       undergo a rapid transformation in the        segment's growth 15 percent growth.
  than mid-market or weaker brands.             next five years. Concurrently, the con-      And despite the slowdown, it hasn't held
  "We need to give innovative stuff in          sumer behaviour is also likely to show       back its expansion plans. Chand
  terms of variety and newness. We must         some significant changes. These two          informs that he will add 10 more stores
  continue to surprise our consumers,"          revolutionary changes shall create an        this fiscal and by 2011, it will touch 100
  Chand opines.                                 entirely new set of opportunities and        stores. To achieve the same, it's plan-
     Still, the company is re-working its       challenges," says Technopak Advisors         ning to take the franchisee route in a
  strategy to protect bottom lines and          associate vice-president Ashish Dhir.        big way, especially in expanding into
  check sales drop. It has reportedly cut         Dhir adds that traditional strengths       tier II and tier III cities.
  down its growth forecast for the current      of some brands like vast reach and              In yet another exercise in premium
  fiscal from 30 to 20 percent. It also         brand aura are now coming under              imagery, Wills Lifestyle will also open
  recently shut down four of its loss mak-      threat since consumers today are look-       boutique stores across the group's
  ing stores in Bangalore, Mumbai, etc.         ing at retailers who have consolidated       hotels. A 1,500 sqft boutique is already
     In an effort to boost sales, it's devis-   base. They are looking at a hassle-free      operational at the ITC Maurya in New
  ing special schemes and activation            one-stop shopping experience which           Delhi, and soon Chennai and Bangalore
  events for its 60,000 Club Wills (its loy-    has led to success of players like           hotels will too have them. ITC runs 14
  alty programme card) members, who             Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Central etc.       star premium hotels across the country.
  account for over 50 percent of its sales.     These retailers can today increase their         Chand states this is a noble way to
                                                sustainability by offering the best brand    reach out to international customers at
  WAY FORWARD: FRANCHISE &                      collection in a limited space and with       ITC hotels. Does it point towards ITC's
  IN-HOTEL RETAILING                            excellent customer service, he adds.         future plans of going global? "Currently,
  "With a huge amount of retail invest-           And all this augurs well for the ITC.      the focus is on India. This is where the
  ments in the pipeline, the branded            The clothing brand witnessed a 25 per-       action is happening. But we are certain-
                                                                                             ly an international-level brand," is all
                                                                                             what Chand would proffer.
                                                                                                So far Wills Lifestyle has had an
                                                                                             exciting nine years of existence in the
                                                                                             country, but it will be worth watching
                                                                                             how the home-grown apparel brand
                                                                                             goes on to cope with the growing com-
      I   Not among the four Wills Lifestyle brands. Its an independent                      petition in the premium and luxury
          offering from the ITC Retail Division catering to men’s wear.                      clothing segment, as more and more
      I   A strategic initiative to take on the likes of LP or Arrow. Also                   international brands pour in. I
          used for retailing like ITC personal care brands such as Vivel.                                  —

36 I Pitch I April 2009

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