Suc­cess­ful Brands, Suc­cess­ful Strate­gies!

The 7th Ivy League Meet­ing saw the Sto­ries of two highly Suc­cess­ful Brands - 109°F and Manyavar - en­thral the Au­di­ence with their highly Di­verse and Suc­cess­ful Brand Strate­gies. Nam­rata D’souza Re­ports. Pho­to­graphs: Dhiman Chat­ter­jee

Apparel - - Contents -

The Ivy League meet­ings have al­ways brought to­gether some of the sharpest minds in the ap­parel in­dus­try. Ex­ist­ing and up­com­ing lead­ers revel in each other’s il­lus­tri­ous com­pany; each one learn­ing as much as one can from the other. And the 7th Ivy League meet­ing held on Jan­uary 6, 2014, at the Oberoi Gar­den City, Gore­gaon (East), Mum­bai was no dif­fer­ent! With the first day of the 58th Na­tional Gar­ment Fair hav­ing just con­cluded, the Ivy League mem­bers were more than ea­ger to set­tle down for a won­der­ful ses­sion of knowl­edge shar­ing. The meet­ing com­menced at 8.30 p.m. with the theme—In­dian Brands: Their Suc­cess Sto­ries, hav­ing gen­er­ated con­sid­er­able in­ter­est even be­fore the talks be­gan. The brands in­vited to share their suc­cess sto­ries—109°F and Manyavar— have emerged as true pi­o­neers in the ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive In­dian ap­parel field; they were thus in­vited to share their brand story—how it all be­gan, what were the strate­gies they put in place and the work cul­ture that they em­ployed. At the end of the day, the les­son to take home was that no mat­ter how di­verse a plan you use to po­si­tion your brand, if you be­lieve in it wholly, you will suc­ceed.

THE 109°F STORY

Rahul Me­hta, Pres­i­dent, Cloth­ing Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of In­dia, as well as the Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Cre­ative Life­styles, kicked-off the meet in his inim­itable style as he wel­comed all the mem­bers present and launched into how his brand 109°F stood out from the rest. “109°F’s jour­ney be­gan in 2006 with a sin­gle EBO (Exclusive Brand Out­let) and a sin­gle shop-in-shop. To­day, seven years later, we can boast of 338 shop-in-shops, 28 EBOs and a pres­ence in 191 MBOs, along with hav­ing sev­eral out­lets in for­eign coun­tries such as UAE, Kuwait, Iraq and Aus­tralia.” Truly, 109°F def­i­nitely stands as a mar­ket leader in the women’s wear seg­ment. Founded by Biren­dra Agar­wal and Rahul Me­hta,

THE BRAND NAME MUST REP­RE­SENT THE PROD­UCT CON­CEPT AS CLOSELY AS POS­SI­BLE. IF YOU GO WITH AN ETH­NIC NAME FOR A WESTERN WEAR BRAND, YOU ARE SURE TO FAIL.

the lat­ter had a lot of valu­able points to share as to what are the pointers to be kept in mind while launch­ing one’s brand and what are the ways in which a brand can be pop­u­larised. “The first thing to keep in mind is to de­cide which cat­e­gory of ap­parel one wishes to en­ter. At the time of launch­ing 109°F, the women’s western wear mar­ket size in the coun­try was quite small, while its growth po­ten­tial, im­mense. Recog­nis­ing this, we de­cided to en­ter the women’s western wear seg­ment in or­der to dif­fer­en­ti­ate our­selves and take ad­van­tage of this con­spic­u­ous mar­ket op­por­tu­nity,” said Me­hta. He went on to ex­plain how the brand name could make or break one’s shelf life in the ap­parel in­dus­try and how it is a key el­e­ment in the brand aware­ness process. “To be hon­est, the rea­son we went ahead with the name 109°F is be­cause I liked the sound of it. But since we were aim­ing to be a western women’s wear brand, 109°F seemed a fash­ion­able and west­ern­ised word. And that is the key. The brand name must rep­re­sent the prod­uct con­cept as closely as pos­si­ble. If you go with an eth­nic name for a western wear brand, you are sure to fail,” ex­plained Me­hta. The dif­fer­ent dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels and how each of them af­fects the po­si­tion­ing of the brand and the sub­se­quent sales were also ex­plained at great length, with Me­hta con­ced­ing that 109°F does pri­mar­ily bank on large for­mat stores and MBOs for its sale, than on EBOs. “What we learned through all these pro­cesses was that to own a suc­cess­ful brand, one has to re­alise the dif­fer­ence be­tween hav­ing a ‘man­u­fac­tur­ing’ mind­set and a ‘re­tail’ mind­set, since one is work­ing in a space that com­bines the two. We also learned how to in­cul­cate a man­age­ment cul­ture into our work­ing en­vi­ron­ment, the art of del­e­ga­tion and the need for young blood,” said Me­hta.

EARN­ING RE­SPECT, THE MANYAVAR WAY!

That Manyavar stands as a re­puted leader in the men’s eth­nic wear seg­ment was left to no doubt dur­ing the 7th Ivy League meet­ing. Mr Shreyansh Baid, Con­sul­tant, Manyavar team, made the dais his own dur­ing the meet, with each mem­ber present, star­ing awe-struck at Manyavar’s un­be­liev­able suc­cess story. Manyavar, run by Ravi Modi, is one of the youngest brands on the block, hav­ing started out as a small shop on Theatre Road, Kolkata. To­day, it boasts of 300 exclusive stores world­wide, is one of the only brands to not keep an EOSS, and holds the stag­ger­ing record of open­ing two EBOs world­wide, ev­ery week. Shreyansh men­tioned that the brand aims to be known as the most re­spected brand across the world; with this ob­jec­tive in mind, Manyavar’s suc­cess story runs on a 7-prin­ci­ple pro­gramme. The seven ‘P’s’ that make up Manyavar’s ethos stand for: pioneer, pu­rity, pari­var­tan, pas­sion & pace, process, pari­var and peace & pros­per­ity. Putting each of these ideals into prac­tice day in

A CLEAR VI­SION AND PLAN, ALONG WITH THE GUMP­TION TO TAKE RISKS IS NEC­ES­SARY IF ONE WANTS TO EMERGE AS A WORLD LEADER IN AN IN­DUS­TRY THAT IS RE­PLETE WITH COM­PE­TI­TION.

and day out is what has made Manyavar rise above oth­ers in the men’s eth­nic wear seg­ment; al­beit humbly. Manyavar was one of the first brands to re­alise that there is im­mense po­ten­tial to grow as a men’s eth­nic wear brand and as such pi­o­neered the suc­cess of this seg­ment and con­se­quently, their brand. Re­al­is­ing which as­pect of the mar­ket is yet to be tapped to its fullest po­ten­tial and to carve a niche for one­self in that seg­ment, is a les­son to be learned well from Manyavar. From hav­ing a unique mer­chan­dis­ing pol­icy to be­ing the first brand to man­u­fac­ture first and then take or­ders—Manyavar prides it­self on truly mas­ter­ing the word, ‘pioneer.’ Their prin­ci­ples are so deeply en­trenched in the brand’s cul­ture that it has now be­come a way of life for them. A brand must be ready to take risks and wear its pas­sion on its sleeve in or­der to grow be­yond lim­its. This fact was demon­strated well when Shreyansh men­tioned how af­ter open­ing a 10,000 sq. ft. store at Karol Bagh, New Delhi, just a few feet away, they opened a 21,000 sq. ft. store, too. Many chided Mr Modi say­ing that it was an ex­tremely risky move to take, but the move paid off and they are now see­ing roof-soar­ing sales at both places. ‘Go­ing by one’s gut in­stinct’ is es­sen­tial if a brand has to stand out from the rest and Manyavar has done so, splen­didly. The val­ues of pari­var or fam­ily, pros­per­ity and peace are what keep the team of Manyavar bound to­gether. “In or­der to be known as the most re­spected brand in the world, we need to start from home. We need to re­spect one an­other. For the fu­ture, by 2016, the com­pany plans to have 600 EBOs with one mil­lion sq. ft. of re­tail space and from 40 fash­ion stores to­day, we want to reach 100,” summed up Shreyansh, with a na­maste that has be­come re­flec­tive of Manyavar’s cul­ture. What each of the brands —109°F and Manyavar—demon­strated is that a clear vi­sion and plan, along with the gump­tion to take risks is nec­es­sary if one wants to emerge as a world leader in an in­dus­try that is re­plete with com­pe­ti­tion. All in all, it was an Ivy League meet that in­spired ev­ery brand to raise the bar higher for them­selves and oth­ers and aim at reach­ing newer and greater heights.

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