Global lug­gage brand Sam­sonite’s lat­est cam­paign #Ker­alaIsOpen saw an over­whelm­ing re­sponse from con­sumers and also went vi­ral. Anushree Tain­wala, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Mar­ket­ing for Sam­sonite South Asia Pvt. Ltd, talks to us about the in­sight be­hind the cam­paign and tells us why the brand is bet­ting big on con­tent mar­ket­ing for its di­verse port­fo­lio

Q] Your most re­cent #Ker­alaisOpen cam­paign has struck all the right chords, and also went vi­ral. What was the thought be­hind the cam­paign?

We ac­tu­ally de­cided to roll out the cam­paign around World Tourism Day last month. Since Sam­sonite is a part of the travel in­dus­try, we wanted to put the spot­light back on Ker­ala as a travel and tourism des­ti­na­tion af­ter the tragedy that struck the state. A lot of cor­po­rates and com­pa­nies have been ideat­ing about how we can get Ker­ala back on its feet by fo­cus­ing on what is per­haps one of their big­gest in­dus­tries – tourism. We wanted to re­mind peo­ple that per­haps the best way to re­store the state to its for­mer glory is by sup­port­ing its tourism in­dus­try. What we saw was a really over­whelm­ing re­sponse from peo­ple across the coun­try, peo­ple in Ker­ala and even In­di­ans abroad. We are de­lighted that the cam­paign went vi­ral, that peo­ple took the mes­sage so well and that it was sup­ported by politi­cians, celebri­ties and so­cial me­dia in­flu­encers. It also moved peo­ple and that’s per­haps the best thing for us to see as a brand.

Q] Ear­lier this year, you had an­nounced that the brand would be fo­cus­ing ex­ten­sively on con­tent mar­ket­ing. How is that work­ing out so far for Sam­sonite?

Some­time around the end of last year, we re­al­ized that con­sumers to­day are con­sum­ing a lot more con­tent on­line, and if it is some­thing that is rel­e­vant to them, it sees a great deal of trac­tion. Also, our tar­get con­sumer group is one that is niche and as­pi­ra­tional – there­fore, con­tent mar­ket­ing plays a more im­pact­ful, rel­e­vant role than a mass medium like TV. So, that’s why con­tent mar­ket­ing has be­come a much big­ger part of our strat­egy and will con­tinue to be an im­por­tant part go­ing for­ward, to get that lit­tle ex­tra con­nect with the con­sumer and to con­vey that mes­sage that you can’t when you are just mak­ing a 20 sec­ond ad film.

Q] When you talk con­tent mar­ket­ing, who would you say is your tar­get con­sumer?

We sort of have three buck­ets of tar­get con­sumers that we reach out to to­day. The first bucket would be the fre­quent busi­ness trav­eler, a con­sumer for whom it makes sense to spend on a qual­ity travel prod­uct. The sec­ond is the as­pi­ra­tional, brand con­scious con­sumer who val­ues that ex­tra bit when it comes to style or fash­ion, some­one who makes a trendy piece of travel gear an im­por­tant part of their ensem­ble. The third bucket would in­clude the younger con­sumer, who may not af­ford to buy a Sam­sonite

piece to­day but would def­i­nitely aspire at some point to do so – these are the younger, mil­len­nial con­sumers. We are look­ing at tar­get­ing these three groups through our var­i­ous ef­forts in the Dig­i­tal space. So, for ex­am­ple, last De­cem­ber we did a cam­paign called ‘Push The Limit’ to show­case our in­de­struc­tible prod­uct line, mes­sag­ing that makes a dif­fer­ence to the busi­ness con­sumer who looks for that kind of dura­bil­ity. Then we did an­other piece of con­tent around wed­dings where the mes­sag­ing really was around how im­por­tant lug­gage can be in a woman’s trousseau. So through that kind of con­tent we are look­ing at talk­ing to con­sumers who will save up and buy some­thing stylish and ex­pen­sive be­cause these things are im­por­tant to them. And fi­nally, with the Ker­ala cam­paign we are talk­ing to the younger group of con­sumers who are drawn to brands that are so­cially con­scious. For this lot, it’s not just the prod­uct and its rel­e­vance but about whether a brand goes the ex­tra mile and cares about the world.

Q] For your flag­ship brand, Amer­i­can Touris­ter, do you adopt the same strat­egy?

Sam­sonite has a bit more grav­i­tas, if I may say so. For Amer­i­can Touris­ter, we usu­ally talk to a much younger con­sumer group so the con­tent is usu­ally more fun and has more mass ap­peal. So, that’s where the Vi­rat Kohli con­nect also comes in be­cause we need to con­nect with the teenaged con­sumer. Like­wise, for our global Amer­i­can Touris­ter cam­paign we had Cris­tiano Ron­aldo on board.

Q] What kind of mar­ket-share does Amer­i­can Touris­ter cur­rently en­joy?

In terms of sales value, it’s the largest sin­gle brand in the coun­try be­cause the other brands also sort of split into mul­ti­ple brand sales. So, for us 70% of our rev­enues is driven by Amer­i­can Touris­ter.

Q] How are you pro­mot­ing your more re­cently launched Ka­miliant brand?

There are three brands that we will be bet­ting big on in

2019 – Sam­sonite, Amer­i­can Touris­ter and Ka­miliant, which is talk­ing to a more price con­scious con­sumer. For Ka­miliant, we are adopt­ing a largely BTL strat­egy and there will be less splashy mar­ket­ing spends. This brand will take the In­dian mar­ket more head on, and will com­pete di­rectly with brands like Sky­bags in terms of price points.

Q] What per­cent­age of your mar­ket­ing bud­get is de­voted to ad­ver­tis­ing?

Around 70% of my mar­ket­ing bud­gets are de­voted to­wards ad­ver­tis­ing. TV takes up a good chunk of that bud­get, fol­lowed by Dig­i­tal. We also do a fair bit of BTL, Out­door, Air­port ad­ver­tis­ing, etc.

Q] What is the vol­ume of sales rev­enue growth that you’ve been see­ing on e-com­merce plat­forms?

Cur­rently we work with all the big play­ers in e-com­merce such as Ama­zon, Myn­tra, Flip­kart and Jabong so our fo­cus for now is on im­prov­ing con­tent on these plat­forms. We re­al­ized that when a cus­tomer en­ters a store he gets a cer­tain kind of an ex­pe­ri­ence with the sales rep tak­ing him through the pur­chase jour­ney, so our en­deav­our is to repli­cate that on­line as well.

For Sam­sonite, we are work­ing to re-create that store kind of ex­pe­ri­ence on Ama­zon and Flip­kart this year. As far as sales rev­enues go, about 8-10% comes from e-com­merce. I don’t think the plat­form is grow­ing as fast as a lot of peo­ple in the in­dus­try say it is, but it is def­i­nitely ex­pected to be one of our big­gest sales channels in the next cou­ple of years.

Q] Can you give us a sense of how big the lug­gage mar­ket is across In­dia?

In In­dia, the or­ga­nized lug­gage mar­ket would be val­ued around Rs 3,500 to 4,000 crore. And the in­dus­try is see­ing dou­ble digit growth, so it’s been a fairly good time for ev­ery­one in­volved with the in­dus­try.

Q] Is there some­thing the brand is do­ing for the on­go­ing fes­tive sea­son?

We plan to launch some­thing ex­cit­ing for Sam­sonite be­tween Novem­ber and De­cem­ber. We have an up­com­ing prod­uct launch called Poly­gon, which we are very ex­cited about. For Amer­i­can Touris­ter, our fo­cus is on next year with the Cricket World Cup round the cor­ner.

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