By Meghna Sharma
As more and more brands enter the still unorganised shoe manufacturing sector, Anupam Bansal, MD, Liberty Retail Revolutions Ltd., spells out his marketing strategy to draw customers to his brand
Q] What are the marketing activities that you undertake to build your brand?
Liberty is going through a lifecycle where the brand is focusing on making an impact and upgrading itself. Therefore, the biggest marketing initiative that we have undertaken is to renovate our stores across India. We continue to do so to stand true to our brand image. The marketing activities we are undertaking currently are mostly ATL activities wherein we are reaching out through advertisements in the print medium. Apart from it, there are BTL activities close to our retail stores to bring in more footfalls.
Q] What are the key insights behind your marketing activities?
The focus has been on leading publications. We are focusing on frequency, rather than more media. We have a half-page advertisement with at least one publication per week through the whole season to create awareness about the brand. Liberty is about a very large collection and the 12 creatives focus on different parts, different styles which communicate to the general audience that we have a very wide collection.
Q] Liberty has roped in actor Hrithik Roshan as its brand ambassador, how do you think it will help the brand?
Most sports brands have sportsmen as their brand ambassadors; apart from that, only Metro has celebrities (Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan) as its ambassadors. The idea of taking on a celebrity wasn’t about what the competition is doing. We clearly feel that we are a family footwear company where we have styles for almost all generations – grandparents to children – all genders, styles and seasons. Hrithik is someone who, according to us, connects well with everyone. Women follow him, whereas men copy his style and children aspire to be like him. Other than that, he’s a family man too, which fits in with our brand profile. We didn’t want a very young guy like Ranbir Kapoor but at the same time didn’t want someone in the older age group. We wanted somebody who would be able to connect to our old customers as well as the young generation. Also, we plan to do a lot of campaigns and activities with him, especially around the time his movies release.
Q] What is your target audience like and how do you plan to engage them?
We target anyone who can afford footwear. I’m neither too expensive, nor am I a local brand. My prices start as low as Rs99 and goes to as high as Rs7,000 depending on the product category. So, we have a large variety of TA.
Q] What do you have to say about your competitors? What’s your USP?
Our biggest competitor is the unorganized sector, which steals about 80% of the market share. So, the biggest share we need to pull is from this market. The Indian consumer is moving towards the branded segment, so our plan now is to make sure that the people who are shifting should look at Liberty as one of their top choices. And because of the variety, price and comfort we offer, I’m sure people will definitely look at our brand. Fashion, style, youthfulness are very important. We have to keep this in mind and bring these to the table.
Q] One learns more from failures than successes. Can you share any such phase or incident in your brand marketing that helped you learn and reach a higher pedestal?
I cannot name one, but one must always keep in mind that nurturing a brand is a constant activity. It’s like watering a plant; one cannot water a plant once and believe it will grow on its own. One needs to invest energy into the brand and keep on nurturing it to keep it at the top. For example, Airtel or Colgate which would be market leaders, cannot ignore marketing activities even for a day.
Q] What are the markets which Liberty will be focusing on?
We are focusing on Tier-II cities like Madurai, Pondicherry, Coimbatore, etc., because most brands today are focusing only on metros and Tier-I cities. Our experience in the Tier- II cities has been fabulous as there are more opportunities because of lack of other brand stores. We are giving people a larger-than-life experience in their towns and the responses we are getting are phenomenal.
Q] What is your biggest challenge today?
It’s the unorganised market and especially the retail business there, where the aspiration of the customer and the retailer don’t match. The customer wants brands, but a retailer doesn’t want to sell brands but wants to sell local stuff because of the margin he makes.
Q] What is the future of the industry?
The industry right now is a 15,000 crore business which is growing roughly at a pace of 10-15%. If you look at the brands, it’s 15-20%. There are no exact estimates because of the industry being so unorganised. I definitely see a growth of about 10% year on year. India is very low on consumption, where a customer on an average buys only one pair of shoes a year. Worldwide, it’s almost five pairs a year. This is changing; hence, there is scope of growth.
Q] How can one stand out in the market?
Whatever one does, one should do impactfully, so that the brand isn’t lost in the clutter. Passion is an important ingredient too.