Pushkar Jain, Chief Marketing Officer, BlueStone talks about building the brand into the preferred platform for 20-something fashion-forward women; and developing it organically by creating consumer traction rather than buying transactions through digital media
By Samarpita Banerjee
Q] Your campaign ‘Choose Your Twinkle’ was aimed at portraying the brand as a go-to destination for online jewellery. How has it been received?
We have received a really good response. We launched the campaign in October, and have continued with it because we have been getting a fairly good response to it. The campaign has been able to combine a modern, feminine attitude along with the whole messaging around range and choice of modern designs. As a consequence, it’s given us both brand interest from a merchandise or a product perspective as well as a lot of traction with the right set of consumers, the modern fashion-forward women who typically don’t get to consume the same kind of attitude from other jewellery brands.
Q] What kind of growth has BlueStone been witnessing in the past couple of years?
We have, in the recent past, been growing almost at a pace of 2.5x year-on-year. And we have been sustaining those growths over a period of time. The challenge for us now is to leapfrog into another trajectory altogether, and that’s really what you are working towards currently. A lot of what we are doing right now is has to do with taking the brand to a certain level and investing aggressively on getting a much wider consumer reach. It’s a combination of two different things. We have been doing a lot of investments on above-the-line initiatives like TV, but at the same time, we have pressed the pedal on content. The aggressiveness at which we were creating content and distributing it on social channels has increased substantially. Since we are a design-led category there is a natural traction that branded content starts getting with the right kind of audience of course. If you go through our social channels today, you will see a lot of design-centric conversations and with a lot of different kinds of formats. These are the two primary pillars on which we are building our reach today.
Q] How do you differentiate BlueStone from other players in the segment?
I choose to see the segment as overall jewellery rather than online jewellery. Our job as marketers in online jewellery is to penetrate the jewellery market. We choose to see our competitors as the larger branded players in the jewellery segment because that’s where we are converting our consumers from, and that’s how we will build our overall business as we go forward. Compared to other jewellery players, the biggest differentiators that we have are the kind of design that we offer – everyday wear, light jewellery with an extremely modern take on world trends, whether they are traditional designs or fusion. Our modern trendy designs make us very different from a lot of offline players where the bulk of designs would be traditional wedding or simple jewellery. Secondly, the online format allows consumers to explore a really wide range in light jewellery which they won’t find offline. It allows consumers to compare products over a period of time and through multiple visits. At the same time, we give advantages like home-round service where the consumer can actually call the piece home and see it too. It’s the best of both worlds.
Q] A lot of players in the segment are also coming up with brick and mortar stores. Is that in store for BlueStone?
We are considering it and in the evaluation phase currently. The question in front of us is what is the value-addition in this from the consumer’s point-of-view. Over the next three to four months, we would have a clear idea on whether we want to go that way.
Q] What is your current market-share?
From an online jewellery perspective, we are a bulk of the market and have over 40% share within online. But online is a fairly small market today. Our overall share is not something I would want to focus on right now. The opportunity before us is more about penetration and how to revolutionize the consumer experience and then we would look at exponential growth.
Q] You came out with your last two campaigns around specific occasions, Dussehra and Valentine’s Day. Is this a conscious strategy?
I wouldn’t say that. We believe that our TG is the fashion-forward trendy woman for whom occasions are irrelevant. They are the group that picks up a piece of jewellery whenever they come across something they like. From the media perspective, we will continue to invest round the year. Our media strategy will be more about sustained conversation, but yes, whenever there is a topical opportunity, we will tailor our communication around that.
Q] What part of your marketing budget is allocated to advertising every year?
A bulk of the marketing budget is now going into advertising, and it’s a lion’s share. We have shifted our focus into developing the brand organically by creating consumer traction rather than trying to buy transactions through Digital media.
Q] Which are the media platforms that you invest on heavily?
From a spend perspective, it’s definitely TV. But the amount of effort we are putting on content has increased significantly. Content is more about the quality of content and less about the money spent on it. We are also focusing a lot more on digital content now.
Q] How are you connecting with your consumers on ground?
When I am talking about my own base, which is people who are registered and come on to my website, or my customers, we prefer to connect with them digitally. We are also building a property called ‘Bluestone Stylethon’. What we have figured out is that we don’t want to be only about selling jewellery. We want to become a platform that sells the overall look to the consumer. We picked up a well-known celeb stylist called Sanjana Batra and organized an event with our customers in Delhi where she spoke to our consumers and gave personalized styling tips. We also celebrated a design week during which we launched a new collections every day of the week and then went to a couple of cities, did some customer events, almost like a fashion show, to give them a sense of the inspiration behind those designs and how they could be styled with different looks. Our on-ground focus is more on styling and how our jewellery designs can fit in to the latest trends.
Q] What is the biggest challenge for the online jewellery segment?
The biggest challenge is making consumers overcome that initial hesitation of making that transition from just browsing for styles online to making that first transaction. We are very confident about the stickiness of our consumers once they have overcome that initial hesitation.
Q] What are your efforts towards ensuring that consumers trust your brand?
I can say confidently that we have the most consumer-friendly policies that you can find in the industry. There would be no jeweller out there who would give you a ‘30 day no questions asked’ return. We also offer lifetime exchange and insured delivery. So till the time you actually receive the consignment, the delivery is insured by us. We never leave the package with anybody else. Around 60% of our logistics are owned by us. So we have our own people on ground making those deliveries. And every piece that’s manufactured by us is certified. It’s a combination of all these things which has helped us see the kind of growth we have been witnessing.
Q] In the future, do you want to expand your offering to target an older age group?
It’s a bit of a choice. We are currently targeting women between 25-45, women we believe are far more comfortable with the platform, and also have a sweet spot for e-commerce. We don’t believe we will be able to sell to the traditionally-minded, who look at jewellery as an investment, or who only buy jewellery for weddings. We believe that our advantage is the kind of designs we have to offer which are more experimental and riskier which traditional jewellers can’t do. For us, to maintain that advantage, to be cognizant of what I am offering in the market is critical. And that’s the reason why going after this sharp segment is important for us.
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