VIP Group has been continuously engaging in the branding of products and emerging its image from masses brands to premium brands. The Company’s foresight in placing Frenchie and Frenchie X innerwear brands in the Indian market and abroad has created a passion for innerwear in the young generation of the Country. The company has also forayed into retail with its exclusive innerwear store called “Inners – the innerwear studio”, a significant step in the direction of creating new, unique, and holistic product experience for consumers at the retail level. Kapil Pathare, Director, VIP Clothing Speaks exclusively with MediaNews4U.
With COVID-19 shattering all our plans for 2020, what are the ways, you think it will impact the branding and marketing for brands like you?
Apparels, Clothing, and Textile as an industry has been vastly affected. For innerwear brands like ours, branding and marketing will have to get more conscious. Let’s face it, we are going through an unheard-of crisis and all brands are doing the best they can. In terms of impact, reach has posed to be a big challenge. With innerwear, most purchases happen at a retail level and stores being shut means lesser consumption opportunities. Reaching audiences with the right messaging and the right platforms are going to be a big challenge.
The customer has become very cautious and mindful. More transparency with the customer on where and how is the product being made is going to become a crucial aspect of marketing campaigns. Brands such as VIP who have been in the industry for more than 4 decades, will need to reinforce brand trust with customers.
And while the messaging will focus on quality, durability, and trust in these times, brands will have to do it with engaging content. Entertainment content and News has been the most consumed content during the lockdown. So, relevant messaging to target audiences with a touch of entertainment would help most brands.
VIP as a brand would have explored all aspects of marketing. What form of media has been successful for you as on date?
As a national brand, we can say no one media vehicle in promotions can influence consumer behavior dramatically. As a brand, VIP has always adopted a holistic approach towards promotions; from outdoor to TV to digital; each media delivers results and achieves a different set of objectives. In the lockdown, however, digital and social media has gained much importance, since everyone is now on their phones.
During this national-wide lockdown, what are the key strategies you implemented to retain brand recall?
Consistent delivery of the quality products, value for money for decades and the right communication strategies have been a driving force behind our brand image. Well, thought campaigns strike a chord of familiarity among the audiences of the country creating a strong brand recall for VIP.
With the lockdown, digital consumption has risen drastically. Audiences now resort to their mobile phones and television sets for entertainment. So, staying digitally connected became one of the key ways for us to reach out to audiences. Engaging content across social media platforms is one of the things VIP as a brand is undertaking. In fact, we recently revived one of our old advertisements for Frenchie, which has reached quite widely among our audiences. It was also heartwarming to see Diljit Dosanjh remember our Frenchie campaign with Dilip Tahil on his Instagram handle.
We are elated to see user-generated content around the brand during the lockdown, especially after the local for the vocal announcement. For VIP, it feels good to be that brand that the consumer is remembering today.
On a policy-level what are the ways your organization had transformed in terms of advertising?
At VIP, advertising has always maintained a brand image that is respected and valued. Our communications and policies have always ensured that we drive value for our stakeholders. However, going forward, our policies will also include being more responsible for advertising. The Covid situation has brought to light the essentials of life for everyone, so taking more accountability for communications is what we aim to do.
Post-COVID, which are your key spends when it comes to advertising?
Post- COVID we are yet to see how the market responds. The markets, consumer sentiment, and economic impacts are too uncertain to predict anything. The response we’ve been seeing through social media experiences indicates that key spending in advertising is now moving to digital. We are exploring an integrated digital marketing strategy and channeling budgets to online platforms. Digital Media, Social Media, and eCommerce marketing are where we plan to channel immediate advertising efforts post Covid.
Being a brand that has always been holistic in its promotional approach, we will gradually move to a 360-degree campaign, once markets have settled.
You are in a category where people do not need a retail store for sales. At the same time, they are not comfortable buying online too. How are you planning to manage this?
The lockdown has brought to light, that VIP is in a category of essential clothing. Innerwear the segment has detailed communications and packaging that outlines the fit and sizes, which makes it one of the clothing categories, where no clothing trials are undertaken. We’ve been seeing a good response to online retail. With the lockdown, even senior citizen audience categories have become technology savvy. Shopping online has become easy for most customers, and this trend encourages our efforts in eCommerce.