As the recently-concluded Lakme Fashion Week demonstrated, fashion has moved beyond prêt and haute couture and is now attracting more attention and investment from brands across categories. Brands like Carbon, Liberty, Mauj, Aza, Allen Solly and Stanza, Zee Network, Vogue, Kingfisher, Chevrolet SRV associated themselves with the grand event.
Sify was the official sponsor-broadband partner, while NCPA was the official sponsor-venue, and Hilton Towers was the official sponsor-hotel for the Lakme Fashion Week. While it is true that events have for long been good platforms for brand building and visibility, such moves are considered wise in the days of heavy clutter on television and not many effective options in hand.
Punitha Arumugam, Group CEO, Madison Communications, explained why it made sense for brands to connect to their target groups through such events. She said, “Today, there is a fight for getting noticed and television is all too cluttered. Hence, if brands get to connect to their target audiences in an intelligent and effective manner, they will definitely get associated with such events.”
SifyMax, which has streamed the event live on the Internet, also justified its move. Navin Phangiah, DGM Marketing, Sify, said, “We at Sify will stream live any event that the audience is interested in. These events can be a Bollywood movie, a music video or reality shows and cricket matches and even a fashion week.”
Talking about the association with the Lakme Fashion Week in particular, Phangiah said that there was an increasing interest in the fashion space. “People of our country are getting more conscious about what they wear. They are willing to pay more for brands and designer labels. We like to take this event to more and more people through the live streaming. It helps a lot of designers who are starting out. Since we are the only platform carrying the live stream, we benefit as well, through the association,” he added.
However, a synergy between the brand and a fashion event is definitely a pre-requisite. Mayank Shah, Senior Product Manager, Parle Products Pvt Ltd, emphasised this. According to him, “Apparel, jewellery and lifestyle brands would certainly benefit from such an event. Also brands in the cosmetic space can leverage the platform. However, unless there is a synergy, a brand would not benefit much from such an event. Considering the costs and the returns on investment, one has to make the move very cautiously.”
Thus, Shah is not sure whether a telecom brand or a FMCG brand (excluding cosmetics) would benefit a lot from partnering for such an event. He added that if there was no direct or indirect connect between the brand and the event, there were many other cost-effective options that could be explored for better results.
For Lakme, organising such an event seems to be the perfect move to build its brands and strike a chord with its audiences. Shashi Sinha, CEO, Lodestar Universal, echoed the thought when he said, “Marketers are getting used to paying a premium for such events and for Lakme, it makes a lot of sense as it is about glamour. Brands also benefit as they get a lot of coverage in television and in the press.”
Madison’s Armugam felt that such options would be on the rise in the days to come which would help the brands to connect to audiences in a non-intrusive and intelligent manner. She added that fashion events were a very good option for associated brands to establish a good connect with the audiences. Seems such events will never be out of fashion!