Our curated stories drive our media outreach with zero spends towards marketing: Jaspreet Chandok, IMG Reliance Pvt. Ltd

Exchange4media interacted with Jaspreet Chandok, Vice President and Head (Fashion) , IMG Reliance Pvt. Ltd on seamless brands integrations planned for Lakme Fashion Week, walking tall despite blazing trails like GST, demonetization and being a part of the larger cultural space

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Published: Feb 16, 2018 8:53 AM  | 6 min read

The Lakme Fashion Week has evolved to become one of the most sought-after fashion events over the years. Its intersections and scale have made it an industry-driving initiative and not just an event. With seamless brand integrations, strategic partnerships, leveraging the digital and influencer marketing at the very best, Lakme Fashion Week Summer Resort 2018 kicked off from January 31- February 4. 
On the same, exchange4media chatted with Jaspreet Chandok, Vice President and Head (Fashion) - ‎IMG Reliance Pvt. Ltd. Chandok talks about driving media outreach with 'zero' spends and how the engagements at LFW have moved from just the fashion industry to stakeholders like the United Nations and British Council, among others. 


Can you tell us about how Lakme Fashion Week as a brand has evolved? Despite various issues like GST and demonetization hitting the industry, you may have recorded a considerable increase at revenues from sponsorships. What do you attribute that to?

We now look at the Fashion Week as a constant content generation platform. What we have done in the last few years has changed how partners view us as well. Today, if you look at our digital following, it is one of the largest for a fashion event all over the world. A lot of partners we see are coming forward to run a conversation across the year versus just looking at an on-ground activation at the event. That's a game-changer for us and that's why in an era of demonetization and GST in the last year, our revenues from sponsorships have grown by 50 per cent. That change, with the interface of fashion, is something we've been able to achieve with LFW.

Our operations are now more broadcast-related. A lot of ancillary events are done through the year to build up a conversation that runs continuously. The engagements have moved from just the fashion industry to stakeholders like the United Nations and British Council, among others. We've moved beyond being just typecast in the fashion space to being a part of the cultural space.

What is your marketing strategy and marketing mix like?

We don't invest any money in the media. All the interfaces that we do are based the quality of content we put out. So, while our partners will invest in amplifying their particular pieces of content, we have a relationship with Twitter, Facebook or Hotstar where we give them an amount of curated content pieces which is a large marketing intervention itself. As a result, we don't have to invest more in buying for the ad inventory. LFW, as you might know, is the most PR-ed event from a media perspective and organically reaches a large set of people.

Our stories on innovation are often picked up by mainstream media. We had the first transgender model to walk the ramp. So, our initiatives towards inclusivity and sustainability have been picked up globally by media groups like BBC, CNN, The Washington Post and others. It has been driving our media outreach with zero spends towards marketing. It's all organic, on basis of the content and story-telling we put up.

We have clear pegs for the stories we pitch to individual publications and create a curated set of content for different magazines that becomes exclusives for them. We are mixing the content rather than mixing the media plan. In a year, our PR values on rack rate on digital and traditional media will hit 500 crores a year.

What are your plans to strengthen the LFW property further on the digital front and the activities planned to better user-engagement closer to the event and during it?

We did a VR experience last year which garnered 5 million views organically on Facebook. Last season, we had Etihad Airways collaborate with Manish Arora to showcase his Paris Collection for the first time in India at Lakme Fashion Week, capturing his journey on film from the Paris to his store in Delhi. The whole travel story was attributed to Etihad.

This year, we are creating the LFW arcade where we will be having the designer versus the show-stopper, key sponsor versus another sponsor, where they will be playing all sorts of games. Whether it's the arcade game or table tennis, the entire conversation is on Fashion Week. In terms of value for the partner, it's significantly larger than just doing it on the ground.

How will you leverage influencer-marketing for LFW this year?

The Fashion Week is a melting pot of influencers. They all interface with us and we look at how we can enhance the business by making stakeholders talk about us. We also look at how we can create linkages between our sponsor partners and the influencers that exist on the ground as well. We keep having a lot of influencer-led campaigns. Content is something that is very important to us, because you can't say that you are a continuous conversation generator until the quality of content that you generate is in top of the box. We were the ones to have the first digital press conference.

Now we've had a two-year on-going relationship with Hotstar for live streaming. So we've dove-tailed Fashion Week to be a broadcast property and not just an on-ground one. Influencers are an important part of this. We ensure differentiated content among different influencers so that you consume fresh content across platforms versus just one.

What is the core thought behind the fashion news website which is going to be launched this year and how is it going to be positioned?

We saw an independent voice of fashion as a big consumer requirement in the country that is free of brand plugs. So the pitch with which we go to our independent partners is that we are creating a digital destination for fashion and you can't advertise on it. So the way it is positioned is that we are looking at bringing only six to eight partners and no more. Each of them is following a leadership position in one of the buckets in that space. It is not open to advertising but only partnership and is a space where complete editorial control lies with us.

What are you doing to increase footfall for this edition of LFW?

Footfall for us is amplifying our content to a larger set of audience and enhance the footprint digitally. That becomes a KRA for us. Digital amplification of the content we create at the Fashion Week is what we are looking at.

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