Retail likely to see biggest metamorphosis in the pandemic: Ranjani Krishnaswamy, Titan Co

Ranjani Krishnaswamy, General Manager – Marketing, Jewellery Division, Titan Company Ltd., shares insights into the latest campaign from Tanishq, leveraging digital, the post-COVID future and more

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Updated: Jul 2, 2020 7:15 PM
Ranjani Krishnaswamy

The pandemic has in many ways changed the face of the wedding and jewellery industry but now with the country gradually moving into the ‘Unlock’ mode, the industry is looking at being steady again.

With weddings being shifted to Q3 and Q4, the jewellery industry has come up with suitable changes. Consumers too are accepting the new norms like buying jewellery digitally.

exchange4media spoke to Ranjani Krishnaswamy, General Manager – Marketing, Jewellery Division, Titan Company Limited, on Tanishq’s latest campaign, leveraging digital, new trends in jewellery buying, new channels of communication and the future of retail industry post COVID.

Edited excerpts:

Tell us about your new campaign.

We have launched the second phase of the campaign ‘Dua Ka Sona 2.0’ to bring to light Tanishq’s spirit of giving, in this pandemic and hour of need. We wanted it to be a very soulful conversation with our consumers. True to the proposition of Dua Ka Sona, the campaign showcases a heartwarming message that every little act of support and kindness is a blessing earned and when you choose Tanishq, you choose gold that is enveloped with the blessings of every life it has touched. The campaign calls for supporting people who need it the most — Karigars and the community at large.

Who or what was the inspiration behind the campaign?

Typically the craftsmen. Like all Tata Group Companies, Tanishq ingrains goodness in their ethos. It has always been conscious of its responsibilities towards the community and the environment. The recent tough times have urged Tanishq to do more, not just for the customers but also for the Karigars.

What is the target group of this campaign? How does it set you apart from your competitors?

At Tanishq, we call ourselves as the ‘National Local Jeweller’. We exist in about 330 stores; we have a wide spectrum of consumers walking in, from a 25 year old young woman celebrating her first salary to a 55 year old who is buying a daughter's wedding jewelry with us. So, we are both, at the psychographic and demographic level very rich and diverse. Our target audience is everybody who walks through our stores and feels good that while they are buying something to celebrate, there is some life down chain, which is also celebrating his or her livelihood.

Talking about competition, I think Tanishq really came from the point of differentiation. We have a certain altruistic perspective to our existence, and it is not merely commercial. From that standpoint, I think it gives us a distinct identity in the market.

Social distancing norms have accelerated the use of digital mediums. What has Tanishq as a brand done to leverage digital?

We were extremely invested in going digital in the last 4-5 months. Tanishq has got a plethora of ways through which consumers can interact remotely. We have tried to make the entire experience of walking into the store and trying a particular jewellery to be a complete digital experience without having the feeling of risk of walking into the stores. We have a concept called ‘Endless Aisle’ where we have been able to enrich our assortment on the website and customers can avail of a virtual ‘Try on’.

Another distinct feature is the ‘calling’ feature where the consumers can call in to request for the product they want to see and can actually have an experience through the video calling with our stores. This has been done for 120 stores and we soon will be successful in adding the feature in all our stores. We also have the ‘live chat’ facilities which enable the decision making process of customers easy. There are war rooms set up where any requests and queries that come in through our website and other social media are responded in a timely and well informed manner.

So, typically, jewellery buying is not for most people a 100% online experience but we are trying our best to translate the consumer journey of buying jewellery into the online space. Our attempt is to be able to make it 100% online for everybody. We understand, some consumers will be more ready for it and some consumers might not.

Wedding industry has experienced a huge dip during the pandemic. What kind of business has Tanishq witnessed during this time? How is it overcoming the dry spell in the Unlock 1.0?

Q1 was a good wedding season for us. Weddings have been deferred from Q1 to Q3/Q4. But I think the jewellery business might not lose out in this process as jewellery might potentially go up in terms of the budgets that the parents are allocating to it because paradigms are getting changed from big, fat Indian weddings to slimmer and smaller weddings. So, a lot of expenses which would have typically been spent in the scale of the wedding would now be spent on good jewellery as it is very integral to Indian weddings.

So, while wedding demand will happen in the second half we don't expect to be deflated in any way, shape or form. I think the lockdown has increased the demand for some basic amenities, one of them being investment in Gold. We are seeing a lot of traction from those set of consumers who want to invest in it right now. Our own ‘Gold Coin’ offer which was targeted at this consumer has done quite well which allows you to buy a gold coin and then be able to redeem it for jewelry at a later date for a certain discount and making charges. A lot of traditional buying, ritualistic buying is still on. We are extremely optimistic of soaring up in the second half of the year.

How has Tanishq kept the channels of communication and marketing alive? Which medium was the most leveraged?

We were communicating with the consumers are through the lockdown. Our theme on communication was real golden moments, like appreciating relationships, appreciating your home and what you have despite being locked up.

We have also been putting out useful messages around jewellery sanitization and consumers have been writing questions which we have cycled back with responses. So, there has been constant communication with our consumers on social media and also on our loyalty program platform, 'Encircle’ and UGC for all specials days like Mother’s Day, Doctor’s Day and others. It is important for us as a brand to keep those communication channels alive and active and rich content to be able to reach out to our consumers in a useful way.

What changes will the retail industry witness post-Covid?

I think the retail industry will probably go through the largest metamorphosis in this pandemic. They will have to adapt fast and in a way that is useful for consumers. I don't think demand would ever go down. Consumers will choose brands that allow them to shop in safe environment with reassurance. So, the retail industry has to not be constrained by its brick and mortar model, but being able to provide consumers a variety of ways to access products and services. If the retail industry looks at its larger game plan, I think it's going to tide over this pandemic very easily.

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