Ahead of Independence Day, Campaign India speaks with Indian brands that set up operations in the country pre-independence and continue to dominate their space to understand how they have evolved. Read on to understand how these brands aim to stay relevant for the next 75 years...
Here's an excerpt of our chat with Sunil Kataria, CEO - lifestyle business, Raymond.
The biggest advantage of being an Indian brand in the Indian market? Does it help gain consumers’ trust?
Being a home-grown brand, successfully operating over nine decades and offering quality products through generations has helped in infusing immense trust amongst consumers and at the same time has put us in a position where we understand the changing consumer mind-set. This has helped us in creating strong ‘brand love’ for Raymond and today it is a household name when it comes to men’s wardrobe.
How has the brand’s marketing strategy changed over time?
In the 1970s the marketing strategy was to connect with the upwardly mobile youth of the country. It was the advertisement during that period that created a ‘guide to a well-dressed man’ which gave Raymond the much deserved attention. The ads released in the 1980s further went onto strengthen this proposition.
In the early 90s, when other brands were depicting the protagonist as the angry young man, Raymond challenged that and ‘The Complete Man’ was born – caring, suave and a family man in many avatars, like a doting father, a loving son or a charming husband.
This strong proposition of the universal - ‘The Complete Man’ exuding emotions, succeeded in connecting with the consumers over past three decades, each time through a path of evolution to stay relevant.
Who were your biggest competitors when you began? Do they exist now?
In the early years the competitors were Vimal, OCM, Digjam, Dinesh, Reid & Taylor, Grasim to name a few. Some of them are still present but Raymond has been able to strengthen its position as a dominant leader in the fabrics business.
Toughest marketing decision the company took in the last 75 years?
One of the toughest, and at the same time a game changing decision for Raymond and the industry was our vision to change the way fabric was sold in India. In a way, we started the retail revolution in this category by opening the first air-conditioned exclusive Raymond stores way back in 1958 and we have never looked back ever since.
How do you aim to keep the company relevant for the next 75 years?
Innovation is not a new thing to Raymond – we have always brought in ‘newness’ to our business at various strategic points. We pioneered the concept of a retail store in textile way back in 1958.
The key to success of any brand, to thrive and grow from strength to strength, is to gear up to a stage of evolution. We at Raymond are successfully stepping from just a product solution approach to an experience stage, weaving in technology to help offer a unique customer experience and benefits.
Your favourite brand campaign from your company from the last 75 years?
My personal favourite brand campaign is around the ethos and philosophy of ‘The Complete Man’. This has endless possibilities. It’s not just a line, but a thought process.
It seamlessly connects the consumers to this 97 year old brand, building strong brand affinity and love. ‘The Complete Man’ communication is all about deep emotions and strong relations. It effortlessly works on the human insight of – feelings and emotions of a caring family man and that relations are same for all people, which in-turn connects across consumers of all economic strata.
At the same time we have built strong brand asset over time – the compelling Raymond tune which connotes just so much in the absence of words and enables us to connect with our audience.
(This article first appeared in a special print issue published by Campaign India for Independence Day.)