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Sanjay Sharma

Country Head | 26 Apr 2004

“From the point we came to India in 2001 when the pronunciation of the word swarovski was quite a tongue twister for people, we have invested lots of effort to build Swarovski sarees as a fashion statement in today’s India.”

Crystals have always been fancied by women across the world. Use of crystals for adorning apparels has always been a royal affair till Swarovski introduced crystals as a fashion statement for all. In a unique craftsmanship, the group weaved the crystals in different cultural and traditional ethnographic components, giving the fashionable attire a whole-new look.

The journey in the Indian market however was a difficult battle for the group. With firm objectives and dedicated endeavour, Swarovski has established itself as synonymous to today’s fashion. Over a conversation with Ranjana Gupta of exchange4media.com, Sanjay Sharma, Country Head, Swarovski India, shares the success story of brand building.

Q. What initiatives did you undertake for positioning and branding of the product in the country?

From the point we came to India in 2001 when the pronunciation of the word Swarovski was quite a tongue twister for people, we have invested lots of effort to build Swarovski sarees as a fashion statement today’s India. The journey took almost three years of hard work and here we are when Swarovski is being used like a generic for crystals.

As far as brand positioning is concerned we adopted a top down strategy from day one in 1999 when Swarovski finally decided to venture in the Indian market. People in India were not aware about the product and even access to information was limited. The first thing we did was to tie up with leading designers of the country and support them in design production. This was a starting point and the product got noticed at almost all major international and national fashion shows. That’s how we created awareness among the fashion community. Our products like, buttons, buckles along with crystals – all got showcased. This process had a trickle down effect wherein trends in Indian fashion industry were set. We used crystals to do up almost all types of ethnic outfits. The response to this approach was tremendous. In fact, we saw how garment sellers whose products were lying piled up due to non-consumption were out of stock with the use of Swarovski. In all, I would say that the trickle down effect was of great help for us in positioning and branding of the product.

Q. What is your marketshare at present and how much increase do you anticipate this fiscal?

As far as crystals are concerned, we are the undisputed leaders in this segment. Four years of operations in India have established the brand in the country. So, looking at crystals we have the largest marketshare. Cheaper imitations of our product are there in the market, which may have a certain marketshare. But ultimately the best quality product delivered by us has gathered the largest chunk of the pie. In future we will consolidate our position further and become the undisputed leader in the market.

Q. Are your products competitively priced for the Indian market?

Till a few years back possessing a crystal was a dream for Indian consumers. Keeping in view the market, we have priced our products ranging from as low as Re 1 to Rs 15,000 per piece as far as crystals are concerned. Buttons, buckles and other products start at Rs 13. That’s how we have made it sure that as far as price is concerned it should not be a constraint for the Indian consumer. Over here, I would like to tell you that the prices for the Indian market are comparable across the globe. We want to offer global products to the Indian consumers at the most reasonable prices.

Q. Tell us about the different marketing initiatives you have undertaken and, how much do you spend on these activities?

Fashion designer JJ Valaya is our brand ambassador. His new Fall Winter Collection will showcase the extensive use of our products. At the same time, we work with almost all leading designers in India such as Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Bal, Suneet Verma, Rina Dhaka, Rocky S, Malani Ramani, Manish Arora, Manav Gangwani among others. They have all used our products.

We conduct the marketing for the product basically through a B2B mode. All our campaigns in popular apparel magazines are created in Austria, and Triton is our releasing agency in India. As far as B2C communication is concerned, we have plans to launch a new ad campaign, developed in-house, in August with the theme “get crystallized with Swarovski”. This campaign will be extensively carried in all leading lifestyle magazines. Currently, Swarovski India spends around 15-16 per cent of its annual turnover on advertising.

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