“Live to play” Zeven

Zeven is a multi-di­men­sional brand com­mit­ted to trans­form­ing sports in In­dia by mak­ing ac­tive sport an im­por­tant part of your life. Breathe, Eat, Sleep, Play. Zeven is a rev­o­lu­tion, un­leash­ing your po­ten­tial.

Shoes & Accessories - - Contents -

Zeven, In­dia’s very own per­for­mance sports brand aims to cre­ate an ex­cit­ing and unique as­sort­ment of prod­ucts that draw on var­i­ous el­e­ments of sports. It’s a multi-di­men­sional brand com­mit­ted to trans­form­ing sports in In­dia, is cre­at­ing a new mar­ket for its prod­ucts by meet­ing the de­mands of a bil­lion In­di­ans. The sports ap­parel com­pany be­lieves that In­di­ans have been of­fered prod­ucts that are too ex­pen­sive, not suited to the coun­try weather, un­suit­able for women or of poor qual­ity and styling.

“Zeven is a multi-di­men­sional sports­wear brand which aims at trans­form­ing the way sports is played in In­dia. We at Zeven are at­tempt­ing to make ac­tive sport an im­por­tant part of ev­ery­one’s life. Zeven has de­vel­oped a com­mu­nity por­tal with the in­tent of in­spir­ing peo­ple at the grass root level to pick up sports again. We pub­lish in­ter­est­ing sto­ries and videos of ev­ery day sports en­thu­si­asts from across In­dia. This is one of the only me­dia chan­nels, which high­lights sto­ries of not only pro­fes­sional ath­letes, but also ama­teur sports en­thu­si­asts. It also pro­vides in­for­ma­tion about where in your city you could play your fa­vorite sport, as well as up­dates on the lat­est events around sports at the lo­cal level. Our prod­ucts have been de­signed keep­ing in mind In­dian weather con­di­tions, ter­rain and body type. All our prod­ucts, be it footwear or ap­parel are de­signed by our own team.” Poo­jaa Ku­mar Deepak, leader - mar­ket­ing, Zeven told Shoes & Ac­ces­sories in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view.

Poo­jaa is an ac­com­plished pro­fes­sional with over 16 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in di­verse fields of sales and mar­ket­ing. She has han­dled the mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions port­fo­lio­for ma­jor brands like Honey­well, Quan­tum and Café Cof­fee Day. Poo­jaa has an Ex­ec­u­tive Man­age­ment de­gree from the In­dian In­sti­tute of Man­age­ment, Ban­ga­lore and an MBA from Sym­bio­sis in­sti­tute of Man­age­ment Stud­ies. As a ded­i­cated vol­un­teer at the Air Force Wives Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion, Poo­jaa has been sup­port­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion over the past 14 years for var­i­ous causes in­volvin­gun­der priv­i­leged chil­dren, par­ents of dif­fer­ently abled chil­dren and old age homes.

Talk­ing about Zeven’s re­tail busi­ness mod­els & its phi­los­o­phy, she said, “The Phi­los­o­phy of Zeven is “Live to play”. Our vi­sion is to get a bil­lion In­di­ans to get out and play. We be­lieve that sports helps strengthen val­ues in an in­di­vid­ual, bring about a lot of bond­ing, and ca­ma­raderie when you play to­gether with your friends, fam­ily or even col­leagues. Sup­ported by a group of no­table sportsper­sons and pro­lific pi­o­neers in sports, we are com­mit­ted to help­ing you find the joy of true sports.” Ex­cerpts of the in­ter­view:

How would you dif­fer­en­ti­ate your re­tail busi­ness from the com­pe­ti­tion?

Un­like the other brands, Zeven pro­vides per­for­mance sports cloth­ing, de­signed par­tic­u­larly for the In­dian body type, cli­mate con­di­tions and ter­rain. Zeven’s prod­uct of­fer­ings at an af­ford­able price and qual­ity at par with in­ter­na­tional brands have worked very well for us and we will con­tinue to make more of the same.

What is the most sig­nif­i­cant slice of the group?

For us In­dia is the pri­mary mar­ket, how­ever we are look­ing at ex­pand­ing into the Mid­dle East,us, Africa and UK at our own pace.

Which seg­ment and cat­e­gories of prod­ucts have been con­sis­tently per­form­ing well?

Be­cause of the fact that each prod­uct has been de­signed specif­i­cally keep­ing in mind the re­quire­ment of a par­tic­u­lar sport, it would be un­fair to do a gen­eral as­sess­ment on these lines. The num­ber of peo­ple play­ing Ten­nis would be less than the num­ber of peo­ple play­ing cricket. The num­ber of peo­ple run­ning and us­ing the gym would be far higher than those play­ing Cricket and Ten­nis and hence this would play a sub­stan­tial role in the move­ment of prod­ucts as well. Over all we at Zeven are sat­is­fied with the ac­cep­tance of our prod­ucts across cat­e­gories. We have sold thou­sands of units of footwear and ap­parel and con­sumers for qual­ity and value have very well ap­pre­ci­ated ev­ery unit.

What is the ra­tio­nale be­hind the busi­ness ex­pan­sion on­line & in MBO’S?

For one we wanted our con­sumers to have an Omni channel ex­pe­ri­ence. And for that Zeven needed to ex­pand both off­line and on­line. For us it is also im­por­tant that we reach our con­sumers where they are to­day. While it is im­por­tant for a brand to have its own stores we also have to be cog­nizant of the fact that con­sumers to­day pre­fer shop­ping on­line due to con­ve­nience, and at MBO’S to be able to eval­u­ate of­fer­ings. And so we are where our con­sumer is.

What are some of the chal­lenges that you are fac­ing?

As a young brand,we are try­ing to make our way into a dis­count and price sen­si­tive mar­ket. The con­sumers have re­sponded very pos­i­tively to the prod­ucts and we have thou­sands of sat­is­fied con­sumers. Our only chal­lenge re­mains around be­ing able to pro­vide qual­ity prod­ucts to the In­dian con­sumers at af­ford­able price points with­out di­lut­ing the brand in any way

We do not see a very ag­gres­sive pres­ence of the brand in the mar­ket.

Our mar­ket­ing strat­egy has been a lit­tle dif­fer­ent from how a tra­di­tional brand would ap­proach it. Be­ing a per­for­mance sports­wear brand we had to be where the play­ers were, where the ac­tion was. Hence we signed up brand am­bas­sadors across sports that we were cater­ing to. This has been very ef­fec­tive for us in the sports cir­cle. We are also into are­nas where our con­sumer is. We will con­tinue to ex­pand via these chan­nels and this year will be look­ing at get­ting brand vis­i­bil­ity via tra­di­tional chan­nels too. In or­der to reach far and wide we have main­tained a very strong dig­i­tal pres­ence over the last year and a half. Our first ex­clu­sive off­line brand store opened in Novem­ber of last year and we started en­ter­ing into the MBOS in Feb this year. With the con­tin­u­a­tion of our off­line ex­pan­sion this year, you will soon see us via tra­di­tional me­dia as well.

Ac­cord­ing to you what would be re­ally high sales den­sity fac­tors?

Be­ing a sports­wear brand we aren’t im­pacted a lot by the changes in fash­ion by the sea­son, but more so by the sport of that sea­son.

“Zeven’s prod­uct of­fer­ings at an af­ford­able price and qual­ity at par with in­ter­na­tional brands have worked very well for us and we will con­tinue to make more of the same.”

Can you give me a pro­file of the typ­i­cal con­sumer for this brand?

We have two seg­ments we cater to. An In­dian av­er­age con­sumer, who loves to play sport but would like to play it with the right gear, be it footwear or ap­parel, is con­scious about what he wears both from a qual­ity and style stand point. As well as pro­fes­sional ath­letes for whom prod­ucts are de­signed keep­ing in mind the en­durance the prod­uct has to bare dur­ing play, com­fort that the prod­uct has to of­fer for the ath­lete to per­form well.

What would be the re­tail mar­ket­ing strat­egy in the com­ing years?

We are look­ing at ex­pand­ing across In­dia both via our own stores as well as through a strong dis­tri­bu­tion net­work.

How in­te­gral is dig­i­tal me­dia for the brand?

I am sure al­most no con­sumer cen­tric brand to­day can do with­out dig­i­tal me­dia. The kind of reach, en­gage­ment lev­els and im­pact dig­i­tal me­dia can cre­ate to­day is un-par­al­leled. To add to that, since Zeven has an Omni channel dis­tri­bu­tion strat­egy with a lot of fo­cus on our own e-com­merce por­tal, the mar­ket places dig­i­tal me­dia will re­main an in­te­gral part of our mar­ket­ing strat­egy.

What would be the im­pact of GST on the brand?

None, re­ally. We are a young brand and a lot of our prod­uct cat­e­gories are yet to come in.

How is the In­dian con­sumer evolv­ing? What’s your strat­egy to keep the con­sumer hooked to your brand?

Me­dia has played a very im­por­tant role in spread­ing aware­ness about per­sonal health, the im­por­tance of sports for an in­di­vid­ual’s well be­ing, as well as in­for­ma­tion on the lat­est in sports around the world. The In­dian con­sumer to­day is aware of the prod­ucts avail­able, fea­tures that should be in­cluded in a par­tic­u­lar prod­uct and its im­pact on the sport it caters to. Pen­e­tra­tion of In­ter­net has made both in­for­ma­tion and prod­ucts now eas­ily avail­able to In­di­ans across re­gions.our prod­ucts are de­signed keep­ing in mind the re­quire­ments of a par­tic­u­lar sport, our cli­mate and weather con­di­tions, physique, qual­ity and price points.

“For us In­dia is the pri­mary mar­ket, how­ever we are look­ing at ex­pand­ing into the Mid­dle East,us, Africa and UK at our own pace.”

What would be your on­line strat­egy?

To be present across plat­forms which are mean­ing­ful and where the con­sumer is present and en­gag­ing with the brand

Has there been an in­stance where a strat­egy went com­pletely Wrong?

We are a young brand and start­ing ev­ery­thing from scratch. It would be too early for us to dis­count any strat­egy so early in the brand life­cy­cle. How­ever, there are mi­nor tweaks which we con­tin­u­ally make as the brand evolves.

How crit­i­cal is In­dia to the global rev­enues plans of Zeven?

In­dia is our pri­mary fo­cus and de­spite the fact that we want to grow in­ter­na­tion­ally, we will con­tinue to in­vest our re­sources in de­vel­op­ing our prod­ucts spe­cially de­signed for the In­dian con­sumer.

Do you plan to tar­get ru­ral mar­kets?

We will cater to any part of In­dia where there are con­sumers who love to play.

What is Zeven’s fo­cus for the In­dian mar­ket in the com­ing two-three years? Does it in­clude build­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties in In­dia?

Cricket is the­most pop­u­lar sport, Even has brought to the mar­ket the cricket range which in­cludes per­for­mance footwear and ap­parel meant to play the sport right. Our prod­uct of­fer­ing is meant for both recre­ational Cricket as well as pro­fes­sional cricket. Our brand am­bas­sadors Ravin­dra Jadeja and Mithali Raj, who have been play­ing in Zeven footwear and ap­parel for over a year now, en­dorse the cricket range. Zeven is also the of­fi­cial kit and mer­chan­dise part­ner for RCB. Cricket will re­main our fo­cus and we will con­tinue to grow the cat­e­gory. How­ever we will bring for­ward prod­uct ranges across other pop­u­lar sports as well. We aren’t con­tem­plat­ing es­tab­lish­ing our own man­u­fac­tur­ing units as yet.

Could you share­with the read­ers the most ex­cit­ing thing hap­pen­ing at Zeven?

Ev­ery day at Zeven has a story of its own. The of­fice is al­ways buzzing with ei­ther sports sto­ries, new prod­uct ranges be­ing de­signed, new part­ners com­ing on board or new ini­tia­tives and ideas. It’s all work and all play at Zeven.

“We are a young brand and start­ing ev­ery­thing from scratch. It would be too early for us to dis­count any strat­egy so early in the brand life­cy­cle.”

Poo­jaa Ku­mar Deepak, Leader-mar­ket­ing, Zeven

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