Vinay A Bhopatkar, COO, Van Heusen, spoke to BestMediaInfo about the brand’s ethos, its communication and its role of a fashion authority for Indian professionals
Aanchal Kohli | Mumbai | December 8, 2015
The apparel industry has seen several highs and lows in the last few years with the changing preferences of consumers. What makes a brand a leader in this space is its ability to innovate as per the need and demands of its target audience. One such brand is Van Heusen that entered India in 1990 and enjoys a rich heritage of 128 years in the United States of America.
Over a period of 25 years in India, Van Heusen has emerged as a fashion authority for the ever-evolving Indian professional, becoming the go-to source for the latest in fashion trends as well as for expert advice.
Today, Van Heusen is not only the most preferred work wear brand, but also effortlessly straddles the spectrum of casual, ceremonial and party wear. The brand stands for ‘Power Dressing’. Van Heusen customers are corporate leaders for whom elegance and style are not fads, but a philosophy.
Vinay A Bhopatkar, COO, Van Heusen, narrated how the brand has evolved over the years while still remaining relevant.
Creating an impact
The Van Heusen range is modern, minimalistic and timeless in design and is distinguished by high quality. With its distinctive and fashionable range of products, the brand helps corporate leaders create their best impact, as much for their style as for their substance.
“With consumer choices changing at a fast pace the apparel industry has had to keep up with it. Today, consumers are inclined towards western wear, having been exposed to new and innovative dressing styles whether it’s casual or formal. The brand has had a strong legacy in United States of America and in India too it has managed to make its presence felt, having developed a strong hold.”
The Growth Story
According to Bhopatkar, the brand has seen significant growth over the last few years. Last year was particularly competitive for the entire industry with the advent of digital which opened up a lot of opportunities for different players.
The brand has not only grown with respect to revenue but has also expanded its footprints in several markets. It has also forayed into the online space with its e-commerce virtual store, My Fit.
E-commerce: a boon or bane?
With the rise of e-commerce in the apparel industry, many brands are facing challenges. When asked about how helpul e-commerce has been, Bhopatkar said, "It has been both ways. We faced challenges also and at the same time it opened new opportunities too. It has expanded our reach into smaller markets where we do not have a brand presence.”
Through My Fit, the company will sell its iconic high-fashion brands on the site. Madura Fashion already has a portal, trend.in, through which it sells brands such as Van Heusen, Pantaloon, Peter England and People. The e-commerce model has helped increase sales.
South India happens to be the largest market for the brand. The Eastern market is an under- penetrated market which is trying to cope up. “A lot of expansion is happening in other markets but we are trying to cope up in the Eastern market. North has also performed quite well,” he added.
Ha also added, “The tier 2 and 3 markets have performed quite positively for us. We are seeing a good amount of growth there as well. The consumers there are becoming more brand conscious and want to try new styles of dressing. Around 60 per cent of our expansion is happening now in tier 2 towns as metros are getting saturated.”
Digital Presence and Marketing strategies
In such a competitive space, marketing plays a very vital role and Van Heusen's marketing strategies, according to Bhopatkar, have built a strong presence for the brand. “In order to stay ahead of the curve it is very important for every brand to keep sharpening it presence in the market hence, we are investing a lot in creating television commercials and strengthening our presence in the digital space. We are doing a television commercial almost after a gap of 15 years.”
The brand has also been conducting a contest for the last three years. The contest consists of a search for the country’s 10 most fashionable achievers at work who are taking the fashion graph at the workplace as high as the business graph and even higher! For the third time, in partnership with LinkedIn, the brand launched a fresh season of its successful contest, Most Fashionable Professional.
“This is in line with our continued endeavours to strengthen our positioning of Power Dressing. The brand is about the duality of powerful presence and style – which is epitomized by our target audience – the successful corporate leaders; who make their presence felt as much for their style as for their substance. Through this contest, we want to create a platform to recognize such people,” he said.
The brand covers all aspects of an individual's clothing needs, be it corporate wear, casual wear, party wear or ceremonial wear, making it a complete lifestyle brand in the truest sense. Its core consumers are professionals and corporate executives - men and women who are successful, focused, articulate, well-travelled, and confident and have a sense of style about them. They pursue success just as they do their other interests and passions, learning and exploring everything that comes their way.