‘Shelf presence is of utmost importance for a brand’

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Vinod Kumar Gupta, Managing Director and co-founder of Dollar Industries, talks of marketing branded hosiery products in the mass market as well as to premium segments; leveraging the brand and scaling up market-share with brand ambassador Akshay Kumar.


Q] People relate with Dollar essentially as a male-centric brand, whereas women are also a part of your TG considering your line of products. How do you ensure that your marketing strategy addresses both men and women?

The women’s line has been launched fairly recently, in 2007. We have launched several sub-names of Dollar for marketing our women’s products called Zapphire and Missy, both in the premium segment. We are not yet specializing in them because until now, our major concentration was on our men’s range. We are working hard to push the women’s brands in the market, but haven’t succeeded as yet.

Q] What is the current market-share you enjoy in the men’s branded hosiery segment? What is the market-share you plan to achieve in the long run?

In the branded market alone, our share is approximately 15% of the total market. It was just 10% five years ago, but we managed to get up to 15% for this fiscal year. We are moving ahead with a speed of 15% every year and in the next four years, we want to acquire at least 20% market-share. For this, we are focusing on our premium segment Bigboss and have started advertising heavily in the electronic media. We were also involved with the Indian Premier League where the brand sponsored the Extra Innings, and fall of wickets in Season 5. We are also concentrating on our network of dealers across the country. We have at least 650 dealers in India and we are planning to increase this to 800 dealers in the days to come so that we can reach our target customers more aggressively.

Q] Most of your products are mass market products spread across geographies. Which Dollar products are focused on the premium segment? What is your marketing strategy for this segment?

Our premium range is called Bigboss and we have Akshay Kumar endorsing this range of products. The share of this premium range was very low a few years ago. But we have been able to manage up to 25% growth of sales for our premium products. We have already renewed Akshay Kumar as our brand ambassador for three more years and he will be with us till 2014. Our endorser has played a very important role in leveraging the brand. We got him on board in 2010 and in 2011 alone, we achieved a staggering 400% growth in terms of sales. We are now working hard towards placing this range across all the premium counters of the country. We are supporting our retailers through several schemes too. We are trying to raise public demand through store display. Our sales teams are pushing retailers to keep our products on high visibility levels. We are also running several promotional activities to drive retailers for higher sales.

Q] You recently tied up with the movie Rowdy Rathore. The movie stars Dollar Industries’ brand ambassador, Akshay Kumar. Dollar also has in-film brand placement. How has this helped the brand?

We have already started receiving enormous response on our website and the brand recall has increased too. Everybody knows that we are associated with Rowdy Rathore. The film is doing well and this is subsequently working for our brand and we are getting good mileage.

Q] What are some of the marketing activities that you have been undertaking to build your brand? What is your media mix?

Our idea is to try and innovate every year. Especially during the start of the summer season, we come up with a new campaign. This year with the extension of the association with Akshay Kumar, we launched ‘Bigboss Se Milo Contest’. The campaign was extended through digital, outdoor and radio throughout the country. A micro site was built to get pre-registrations for the contest. And post the launch, the Facebook page of Dollar was created to guide people how to participate in the contest. Approximately, 31,000 participants have registered themselves for the contest online.

Q] This means Dollar is also innovating on social media platforms. How important is social media for the brand? Do you plan more such campaigns in future?

Social media is very essential for every brand today. None of our competing brands are even remotely popular or even present on social media. We also forayed into the internet platform some six to seven months back. Right now we are focusing on making our existing marketing strategy on the Internet more popular. Once that succeeds, we will plan further.

Q] Your brand seems to be quite active on outdoor platforms. What share of your advertising budget goes to out of home (OOH) advertising?

For outdoor media, we have something around 30% of our total advertising budget. Advertising spends for fiscal year 2012-2013 will be 7% of our total turnover. We have segregated percentage-wise how much we have allotted to outdoor and other media. Around 50-55% is dedicated to electronic media, and 10% is for print; the rest goes to atl and btl. This year, our advertising budget is about Rs 35 crore.

Q] How important are leisure wear and winter care products for Dollar Industries? What share of revenue do they drive?

Thermal products for winter season bring in almost 8% of our total turnover. As these are seasonal products, we are always running short of material. However, they do have a healthy demand in the market.

Q] How different is your marketing strategy for rural India?

Our maximum thrust area is the masses, and the masses live in rural pockets mainly. Dollar’s main concentration is on the masses in the rural stretches of India. In the urban sector, if you go to the market, you will hear people asking for Jockey, etc. These buyers are least interested in Dollar, though our product quality is good. Since we are price-wise much cheaper than other premium brands, customers identify our brand as being for the masses only. We accept that situation and that is why our main thrust area is activities in semi-urban and rural areas.

Q] What are the challenges you face in your marketing strategy?

It is a little hard to please the urban markets, as I said before. Besides that, the only challenge is the production bottleneck. In the present scenario, we are trying to build more production facilities and better infrastructure.

Q] What is the edge or advantage you have over competitors in the category?

Our price is our main advantage. We have priced our product so economically that the public is getting a better product at a very fair price.

Feedback: disha.thakker@exchange4media.com

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