Headquartered in Kolkata and has four manufacturing units in Kolkata, Tirupur (TN), Delhi and Ludhiana. Dollar Industries had Rs. 1030.96 Crore turnover for the financial year 2018 – 19 and has emerged as the highest-selling innerwear brand in the UAE and the Middle East in 2015-16. The brand has a market share of over 15% in the branded knitwear market. Vinod Kumar Gupta, Managing Director, Dollar Industries, speaks to MediaNews4U, on the challenges for a brand like them, best practices that worked and ways ahead.
Why Akshay Kumar was made as to the face of your brand? What were the key changes you noticed after Akshay Kumar started endorsing it?
Our brand association with Akshay Kumar is a decade old which has become stronger over the years. This association has created the ideal brand image for us, and it has been a wonderful experience working with him. Our ‘Fit Hai Boss’ tagline has created excellent brand recall value and Akshay Kumar’s association with the brand has created a mass brand connection. The thought behind roping in Akshay Kumar on board was to connect with his worldwide fan following and also create a brand synonym. It has resulted in a successful consumer outreach through varied media – print, outdoor, digital, television and social media. Akshay Kumar has a great and strong personality and his contribution to the Indian film industry highlights the same. Hence it has helped our target consumers to connect and understand the brand in a much better way.
With the increase in the demi-God status for Akshay Kumar in recent days(through his movie 2.0, his popularity increased in South), how do you think it has and will impact a brand like Dollar?
From being a macho action hero to experimenting with comedy to starring in patriotic and socially relevant films, Akshay Kumar is the only actor who is constantly reinventing himself and has managed to retain his mass appeal and star persona. Moreover, his fan base has kept on increasing over the years. Hence, the brand has also grown in stature and popularity just like Akshay Kumar.
What are your key target markets in India and how your campaigns are designed to convey the messages?
We have a pan India presence and have even expanded out footprints to global markets. We have a large consumer base and therefore we plan our campaigns keeping in mind the consumer and the product. We aim to create top of the mind brand recall for our consumers and build consumer loyalty towards the brand. While we have a strong presence across the country, North and West India are of great significance. We currently operate through MBO outlets only.
Share some interesting insights about telling an innerwear brand story to the customer. What are the key dos and don’ts brands like you follow?
Innerwear can be regarded as an essential commodity, manufactured with common elements like cotton, various kinds of fiber, different designs and stitching types. So, there is nothing much to talk about the features, unless with exceptions and innovations like anti-bacterial, odor-free, scented innerwear and more. The best thing, Brand can do is to work on increasing TOMA. Additionally, the right pricing and quality helps to retain customer preference. Bringing in variety for all segments too pushes the brand acceptance. There is no particular formula for innerwear brands. However, today’s consumers are becoming aspirational. Playing low doesn’t help either. Hence, you see the involvement of film stars and celebrities in brand promotions.
As a brand owner, which medium has been your most successful to date?
As a brand we look at a large consumer base and we understand that various modes of media works for varied consumer categories. For example, a large part of our customer base still consume traditional media modes. While the younger target audience is more inclined towards digital media. And both the sets are of utmost importance to us.
Our marketing strategies are designed keeping in mind the large audience we cater to. We are constantly innovating and our back end team ensures maximum ROI through our brand-building exercises.
What are the new categories you are planning to enter and what are the plans for branding around the same?
Recently, we have ventured into athleisure for both men, women and teens. However, with the prevailing nationwide lockdown, we have temporarily discontinued all our branding and marketing initiatives. Once the situation gets better, we will plan the way-forward accordingly towards the promotion.
You are planning to enter the women’s category. What strategy you would adopt for campaigns and can we expect a Bollywood star to be your face?
Dollar Industries has a substantial presence in the women’s category as we launched the brand Dollar Missy in 2014 which offers fashionable women’s wear such as leggings, capris, inner wears and t-shirts.
In 2018, we joined hands with ace actor Chitrangada Singh as a brand ambassador for Dollar Missy as she represented the urban, elegant, vivacious and active women who conquer the world with their glowing confidence. We follow a 360-degree advertising campaign process across print, electronic, outdoor and online media to promote our brands.
What are the key challenges/hurdles you face while taking your brand to the customers?
India is a huge country, with 65% of population in rural. This challenge is additional to the fierce competition in 35% of urban areas. So, covering the entire retail market is the biggest challenge. Even though we have more than 900 distributors catering to 1 Lakh plus MBOs but we are still far from penetrating all potential markets.
It is time, we find more media mix opportunities and customized solutions for regional markets.