Communications Custodian | 16 Dec 2003
“Amitabh Bachchan is an icon with universal appeal and has helped us to reach out to the real ‘Bharat.’ In fact, agents and retailers have told us that already customers have started asking about the ‘Amitabh wali suiting.’”
Tarun Joshi has over seventeen years of experience in advertising and marketing; his resume includes Contract, O&M, MCCann and Percept. At S.Kumars, Joshi's responsibilities include strategizing and execution of all brand related issue. He oversees all media and communications related activities, both external and internal pertaining to the brand, including advertising and public relations.
In a candid discussion with Jasmeen Dugal, Tarun Joshi, Communications Custodian, Reid & Taylor talks about the key USPs of the ‘Amitabh wali suiting,’ how the Indian market differs from the global set-up and plans for ‘smart marketing’ the brand.
Q. Amitabh Bachchan has been signed as brand ambassador for Reid and Taylor, edging out Pierce Brosnan. How does he fit into the 'Bond with the best' image? Is it an attempt to ‘Indianize’ the brand personality?
We haven’t moved away from the Bond platform; we have simply added on Amitabh Bachchan this year for strategic reasons. The criteria clearly were issues like brand fit, relevance and requirements. Our objective was to reach a wider audience in India. That meant going beyond the metros but without losing the premiumness associated with the brand.
This challenge required a brand ambassador who is a style icon, is equally popular with the masses and classes, and has a personality befitting the brand persona. Amitabh Bachchan fitted this role. In fact, during the deliberation phase, very few names came up for discussion and in the end Amitabh was the unanimous choice for Reid & Taylor.
Q. How has signing on Amitabh Bachchan helped the brand to grow and develop a new vision?
Amitabh Bachchan is an icon with universal appeal and has helped us to reach out to the real ‘Bharat.’ While it is too early to quantify the results of our new campaign, our business associates including the trade, are extremely excited about Mr. Bachchan’s association with Reid & Taylor. In fact, agents and retailers have told us that already customers have started asking about the ‘Amitabh wali suiting.’
Q. What kind of distribution network does Reid and Taylor have?
Reid & Taylor is available across the length and breadth of the country in more than 6,000 outlets. We have plans of adding 2,000 retail outlets to our existing network with a special focus on non-metros. We are also exploring possibilities of setting up franchised stalls in various malls, and will add 4-5 franchised exclusive stores to our existing chain of ten stores by March 2004.
Q. What is the feel of the market in India? What is your market share?
Due to various segmentations it is difficult to give exact figures but roughly speaking, in a market of roughly Rs. 1,200 crore, Reid & Taylor’s turnover is Rs. 180 crore or 15%. We are expecting to close this fiscal with a growth of 25-30% over the existing Rs. 180cr mark.
Q. How does the Indian market differ from the global set up?
Internationally (esp. in developed countries), fabric is seldom retailed. Paucity of time, highly evolved ready-to-wear market and exorbitant cost of custom tailoring are the key reasons for this trend. To that extent, India is unique.
Q. In such a vast market, what is your key differentiator?
The basic pillar of this brand is the quality. Manufactured at a state-of-the art plant at Mysore, R&T fabric in India is manufactured to stringent International specifications defined by global textile experts based at our plant in Langholm, Scotland. Superior quality of fabric, affordable pricing and a rich heritage – these are the key USPs of Reid & Taylor.
Q. Who is your target group?
Our key target group is men, 25 years and above in SEC A, B & upper end of C.
Q. Reid & Taylor is the title sponsor for the ‘Indian Open Polo Championship.’ How does this help in building and strengthening the brand image?
Polo is a lifestyle sport and Reid & Taylor a lifestyle brand. So the brand fit was perfect. That’s where the brand synergies start. Additionally, both are male-centric, associated with style and both have an illustrious heritage. R&T has been around for 160 years and Polo since 1900. Thus, the persona of the brand and the sport are similar. We are catering to the niche segment by addressing them through such events; sponsorship of the ‘Indian Open Polo Championship’ will remain an annual feature . The sport draws enthusiastic audiences who are influential among their peers and varied in their lifestyles, in unprecedented numbers. As title sponsors, it is an excellent opportunity to meet our target customers at a more intimate level.
Q. What is the extent of your marketing activity?
We are looking at ‘smart marketing’ our brand. This would encompass all marketing tools, conventional and unconventional, including advertising, PR and promotional activities.
Q. Tell us about some of your below-the-line activities.
Apart from regular supply of POS material (including Posters, In-shop Vinyl & Shop boards) this year we have added life-size cut outs of Amitabh Bachchan for the retailer. Additionally, a unique stylebook is going to be launched shortly.
Q. Does PR help in building the brand image?
PR helps us reach out to the media, which is a very powerful medium of communication. It is a powerful tool since we are focusing on image building for our brand and we have to send out the right messages to all our target audiences.
Q. Who is your advertising agency?
Q. Would there be an increase in ad spend this year?
We will close the fiscal 2003-2004 with an advertising and promotional expenditure of Rs. 19-20 crore.