Madura Garments is a hub of activity with plans in place to extend its four power brands into complete lifestyle brands. Besides this, the apparel major is soon to re-launch its Byford brand. As its brand-related activities get on top gear, the company goes busy strengthening its retail chain with much of its advertising focused on building EBOs (exclusive brand outlets).
Brand extensions seem to be the new buzzword across categories and Madura is one of the places to catch on to the trend fast. According to M Vasanth Kumar, VP, Marketing, Madura Garments, efforts are on to build its four power brands – Louis Philippe, Van Heusen and Allen Solly from the premium section, while Peter England from the popular category into complete lifestyle brands catering to their specific audiences. “We want to get along the trend of the next generation, which is lifestyle. This basically means cutting across occasions. Each of our brands will cater to not only work occasions but also non-work occasions. While this is the trend across the industry and everyone attempts it, only those brands that are truly established can carry it off successfully,” he says. On the charts is an accessories line for all brands including socks, belts and ties. Along with innerwear for men, each of the four brands is currently “testing” the possibility of bringing out a perfume and cologne range for men, said Kumar. As he observes, the new ventures should fall in place over the next two years.
All the four brands have already taken a few initial steps in this direction. While Louis Philippe has introduced a leather jacket range, Van Heusen has added formal tees to its portfolio, Allen Solly ventured into women’s wear and Peter England, which recently introduced trousers, will soon bring out its suit range in the mid-price segment.
Besides this, the company is looking at the best way to re-launch its original t-shirt brand, Byford. As Kumar puts it, the brand was not viable for the company after the launch of other brands, which catered to the same category of buyers. Currently on the backburner, the brand is involved in institutional business where it produces customised t-shirts and knits for corporates. Says Kumar, “In another six to eight months we will have better clarity as to how we would like to take the brand forward and we will re-launch it in a manner where it will contribute value to the Madura portfolio.”
Madura has placed a parallel focus on building its retail chain. With most of its current campaigns, which have been restricted to print and outdoors only, the company is isolating single retail outlets and promoting them. “It is only at the retail that one can deliver the brand experience. What we are involved in at the moment is strengthening our retail and increasing the brand experience at our EBO, where we can showcase our merchandise and emphasise on the lifestyle,” explains Kumar. According to him, while brand loyalty is a fast-diluting concept, each customer is predisposed to a brand and Madura is aiming to increase the number of customers who count one of its brands as the selected one. Madura currently has around 120 exclusive outlets for its premium brands across the country and another 160 for Peter England.