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Marketing Interviews

Harish Bhatt

VP - Retailing | 11 Jul 2003

"Jewellery is one of the last great commodity frontiers in India; it has remained so because this market is very fragmented, very unorganized. Tanishq has successfully taken on the challenge of transforming this frontier into a reliable consumer space by bringing to it all the virtues and benefits that branding offers."

In this session of Brand Speak, Harish Bhatt - VP Retailing, Tanishq, shares valuable insight about Tanishq's brand positioning, how the company copes in lean periods and key plans of expansion, consolidation and communication, with exchange4media's Jasmeen Dugal. Tanishq, which is a member of the Tata group, has always been synonymous with pure jewellery and classic designs for Indian women.

Q. Tell us about your marketing and communications strategy. Are you aggressively using advertising, PR and events to reach out to the consumer?

Our marketing strategy focuses on making Tanishq the most desirable brand of jewellery in India. Tanishq is today rated as one of India's most aspirational brand of jewellery. We intend to further strengthen this appeal in the months and years ahead by evolving many more opportunities for consumers to interact with our brand.

We therefore work with two key marketing objectives: first, drawing new customers into our sixty stores located across the country; and, second, building long-term relationships with our existing and rapidly increasing customer base. Last year, more than 1.2 million Indian women shopped at Tanishq - this year, we are targeting a growth of 40% in this figure.

We use media advertising, PR, in-store events and a range of direct marketing tools to achieve these marketing objectives. The Tanishq store is always centre-stage in these marketing efforts; the sanctum sanctorum, where the consumer experiences our brand.

Q. What is the extent of your marketing activity? Do you rely heavily on below-the-line support? Tell us about some of your BTL campaigns.

Marketing is integral to brand Tanishq. We are transforming the marketplace for jewellery by bringing to this category many proven principles of brand marketing. Jewellery is one of the last great commodity frontiers in India; it has remained so because this market is very fragmented, very unorganized. Tanishq has effectively taken on the challenge of transforming this frontier into a reliable consumer space by bringing to it all the virtues and benefits that branding offers.

We do rely on below-the-line support, in addition to media advertising. Let me give you an illustration from earlier this year, when we launched 'Tanishq Collection-G', a collection of 9-to-5 jewellery for the working woman of today. Our marketing team organised presentations to working women at several corporate offices, even corporate canteens during the lunch break. We put in place cross promotional tie-ups with other "working women" spaces such as music stores, beauty salons, lifestyle stores and bookstores.

We also reached out to this target group through exclusive working women's meets, where well known career women spoke about issues relevant to working women. In addition, 'Tanishq Collection-G' ran joint promotions with brands such as L'Oreal and Wills Lifestyle, which we believe appeal to a similar set of consumers.

Q. . Until recently, Tanishq was perceived to be a premium brand. The company is now changing its focus to include mid-segment consumers with the launch of

Tanishq appeals to all discerning consumers of jewellery in India, not merely to the elite. We believe that there are an increasing number of Indian women who seek the values and the benefits that a brand such as Tanishq offers: trust and reliability, exquisite designs, and an International shopping experience. To them, Tanishq is a reflection of their own emerging lifestyle, a judicious blend of traditional values and a modern outlook.

Tanishq is a premium brand, but certainly not a narrowly focused elitist brand. It caters to a wide segment of discerning consumers, and we believe that Tanishq offers a range of jewellery, which caters across all these consumer segments.

In this context, Tanishq "Solo" follows in the rich tradition already established by our earlier branded collections of jewellery - Tanishq "Aria", Tanishq "Diva", Tanishq "Hoopla", Tanishq Collection-G, Tanishq Lightweights, Tanishq "Bandhan" - all of which have similar broad appeal.

Q. What is your key differentiator?

Tanishq offers consumers a unique value proposition, which combines three relevant and compelling values:

First, absolute trust and reliability. Tanishq is synonymous with purity in gold and diamond jewellery. Our Tata parentage reinforces this value even further.

Second, discriminating designs and craftsmanship. Tanishq has a team of award-winning jewellery designers, and our designs speak for themselves. Women who come into our stores fall in love with our designs, and inevitably come back for more.

Third, a differentiated shopping experience, which offers the right ambience, privacy, the comfort of browsing at leisure and transparent transactions with respect to all elements of purchase including critical aspects such as pricing and exchange of gold jewellery.

All these are key differentiators in a jewellery market which is largely commodity-driven, which is led more by mass-market volumes than by differentiated design, which is hostage to a number of unethical practices ranging from underkaratage of gold to wrong certification of diamond quality.

In such a market, Tanishq is a discriminator

Q. The jewellery business generally witnesses a demand surge during festival times or the marriage season. During the rest of the time, what is your view on advertising? How do you utilize advertising during such lean periods?

It is true that festival times or the marriage season are peak periods of sales of jewellery. However, there is considerable purchase of jewellery, which happens and can potentially happen during the rest of the year as well - for birthdays, anniversaries, gifting, impulse purchases, etc. I would therefore contend that, in absolute terms, there is no lean period for jewellery - the jewellery market can be stimulated throughout the year, through a host of well-designed marketing inputs.

Tanishq has successful stimulated demand for jewellery throughout the year through launches of new jewellery collections, a range of exchange programs and other offers (such as our recently concluded "Impure to Pure" exchange offer) and a number of in-store events. As a result of these efforts, even while the market for jewellery declined by more than 15% last year, Tanishq grew by 40% for the third successive year.

Successful demand generation through a slew of marketing measures is, in fact, at the core of the rapid, profitable growth, which Tanishq has witnessed during the past three years.

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