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The power of the celebrity should not overpower the product: K Sivakumar

01-March-2014
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The power of the celebrity should not overpower the product: K Sivakumar

Caught in the transition phase from traditional to more modern preferences in apparel, the silk saree is fighting to create space in the consumer’s mind and maintain its relevance. Although silk sarees are the preferred attire for traditional occasions and functions, especially in the South Indian markets, there is rapid incursion of Indo-Western fusion wear.

Amid such a changing scenario, RmKV has been aiming for creating relevance through modern marketing strategies, innovation and a strong retail as well as digital focus. Founded in 1924 by Rm K Visvanatha Pillai, RmKV today offers a range of wedding silks, unique silk sarees, as well as family apparel, with showrooms in Chennai, Tirunelveli and Coimbatore.

In conversation with exchange4media, K Sivakumar, MD, RmKV shares the growth of the brand, the marketing strategy and creating relevance in the minds of the consumers.

What are the fundamental principles of your marketing strategy in India?
There are three aspects that I look at as far as marketing is concerned – design, product and innovation – as all three play a critical role in selling the brand best. The decision of a buyer is often based on the differentiated product and design in the market. So, it’s essential to have an excellent set of collections that will buoy the consumer’s interest. Before entering the Chennai market, we did backend work for nine years and created products in variation and entered the market in 2004. Again, innovation was the card that we used.

What is the USP of brand RmKV?
RmKV’s USP is ‘Silk’. We are the only silk saree brand to have tried to combine creativity and art. One can wear our sarees to any occasion – be it weddings or festivals or any function. In the South, earlier silk sarees were worn on a daily basis, however, due to the affordability factor there has been a change in the buying pattern.

When it comes to retail brands, celebrity endorsement plays a major role. However, RmKV has stayed away from signing on a celebrity brand ambassador. Do you think people relate to a brand through their favourite celebrity or is it more about the product?
One has to be very careful while selecting a brand ambassador, because the power of the celebrity should not overpower the product. We have had actress Jyothika as our brand ambassador earlier, and I must say the ad that we had come out with at that time for our 50,000-colour saree worked very well. But we made sure that the product was so powerful that people talked about the 50,000 colours and not Jyothika.
 

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