Our focus is on experience-led marketing initiatives: Ramesh Kaushik, Blackberrys
Kaushik, Vice President- Brand Experience, Blackberrys, talks about business post rebranding, marketing strategy, future plans and more
Published - 26-March-2019
Menswear retail brand Blackberrys last year rebranded itself. With a journey spanning 27 years, the brand has a pan-India footprint covering more than 350 cities through its robust channel and partner network.
exchange4media caught up with Ramesh Kaushik, Vice President- Brand Experience, Blackberrys, to talk about business post rebranding, marketing strategy, future plans and more. According to Kaushik, Blackberrys intends to strongly accelerate its retail presence and sales, with special attention to its sub brands.
Blackberrys re-branded after 27 years. How has been the response, both on the business side and the customer side?
Talking about the customer front, over the last 27 years, we have been synonyms to fit, design and quality. So, nothing has changed there. We are only strengthening these features. The need for rebranding arose following voices from partners, employees and consumers. We decided to be a part of their journey. Hence, the whole self-inflicted transformation happened.
The response has been positive and encouraging. Our promise to the consumers is that Blackberrys will always keep you clothed and confident in your journey of success. Our quality and innovation is at par with the global standards. And nobody understands the Indian fit like we do.
Coming to the employee front, there has been more impact there. We have younger workforce, mnemonics of the brand logo and there is a burning drive (to perform). Our tagline ‘keep rising’ aptly depicts this drive.
On the business front, trade has been pretty good and exciting because we have undergone a change that resonates with consumer’s lifestyle, his journey and his wardrobe.
What are your plans for expansion in terms of retail presence and product assortment? Also, what will be the retail and digital strategy?
For retail expansion, we believe that the brand should be visible wherever the consumer is. Our effort is to ensure that whenever a consumer decides to explore the journey of fashion, design or style, the brand should be visible or available. We have opened more than 80 doors in the year that is going by. For the coming year, while the budgeting exercising is still going on, we are clearly looking at 40-50 more doors. Between the formats, we are available in nearly more than 1000 outlets. Blackberrys is currently present across 350 cities in India and operates more than 260 exclusive brand outlets and 700-plus multi-brand outlets.
Expansion for us is expanding to reach closer to our consumers as well as expanding geographically. While we are expanding geographically, we are also looking at cities that need more doors. We will expand in the existing cities also.
Coming to the ‘Digital vs Retail’ debate, today, the consumer’s explorative journey in the fashion and style segment starts in the digital space. So, we look at digital as an influencing medium.
On the retail front, we would be the only company that has invested so heavily on stores. We are very particular when it comes to consumers’ experience. Retail is extremely critical for us.
What are your plans to strengthen sub-brands Urban Blackberrys, Blackberrys Casuale and others?
Each brand has now moved ahead in its journey in the consumer space. For Casuale, we have India Khakhi Week. It is a big property that we are rolling out in April. Urban has wanderer. We will tap into the day-to-day life of a wanderer, those who travel and like to keep their dress sense edgy. There would be definitive investment in sub-brands across all the segments, whether it is consumer, product, channel or category.
Last year, you were the official style partners for Race 3. Will we get to see any more partnership this year?
Now that we are House of Blackberrys, we have three sub-brands Blackberry (formals), Blackberrys Casuale and Urban Blackberrys. Our associations would be much more heightened as against earlier. However, brand association with this type is of more importance to us than routine association with movies.
Can you please throw some light on company's turnover for FY 19?
We have been growing at a CAGR of more than 20%. We closed last year with gross revenue of around Rs 900 crore. We are pretty hopeful that we would be able to close with Rs 1100 crore this year.
Tell us about your marketing and business strategy for 2019? What will be the focus?
Business strategy is largely consumer driven; what would make a consumer consider the brand. Even the wardrobe is now getting casualised. We have very interesting innovations and product. Nathalie, the first knitted cotton trousers, is from the stable of Blackberrys Casuale. These are unique propositions in the market. From a marketing strategy perspective, our focus will remain on retail. We would be more experience-led when it comes to marketing strategy. We are also looking at travel and entrepreneurship segments in terms of associations.
Our marketing strategy will be a mix of digital, on-ground activation and brand visibility in the medium that is relevant to the consumer, and not necessarily a traditional medium.