The Marketing Head of the Tata-owned ethnic apparel brand feels Facebook and Instagram are the ideal platforms for brands to create better conversations and engagement
Safety has become an important point of consideration for brands, both online and offline. Brands are increasingly adopting a mindful approach while engaging with consumers through their marketing initiatives, as well as in conversations on social media platforms.
Tata (Titan)-owned Taneira is one such brand that has decided to focus on Facebook and Instagram and believes that both these platforms deliver desired results for the company. While other Tata-owned brands have an active presence on Twitter, Television, Radio and other BTL mediums, Taneira’s present focus continues to be towards these two platforms followed by targeted BTL around the store location.
Explaining the reason for its limited presence on Twitter, Raghuvar Seth, Marketing Head, Taneira, said, “Statistically, Twitter is more male and younger indexed. What we've noticed is that Facebook and Instagram allow us greater opportunities to set the direction and engage with consumers. For a retail brand such as Taneira, visual representation is of utmost importance, and FB and Instagram allow us to showcase our premium handcrafted products by the weavers of India in various manners. Twitter as a platform has its merits of driving live conversations, some relevant to our category like Saree twitter campaign that was successful. However, the conversation cannot be moderated or chartered beyond a point from ethnic category building perspective. Furthermore, there is always a room for getting trolled that affects brand sentiments. Since we are in an experiential category, we need to be present in platforms that allows us that kind of consumer engagement. We are currently a start-up within TATA Group and we will continue to evolve in our digital marketing journey with time and scale.”
He also added that there's a lot more feeling of community and a lot of its TG (women between the age of 30 and 60) is present on FB and Instagram and some may not be extremely active on social beyond WhatsApp
“We aren’t completely ruling out engagement on Twitter, currently it is a matter of exploration for us. We are waiting for the right moment to enter this platform to be able to do complete justice to our consumers who are active there,” he said.
In terms of marketing, Taneira is focusing on its omnichannel presence and transforming into a one-stop shop as a strategy to cope up with the Covid-19 impact. While the pandemic and the lockdowns negatively impacted the brand, it is in process of opening stores in new cities and ramping up its product portfolio to increase its customer base.
In addition to its focus on omnichannel presence, Seth said the brand is over-indexing on digital marketing. Although it fears the third wave soon, being muted in terms of communication is no option, he said.
“Being mute just means you're missing from the consumers’ life. A learning for brands is to not stop communications but to increase relevance to consumers in times like these and be closer to them. Do not do a lot of marketing. We didn’t go mute last year, or will go this time; we just rationalise our spending. In terms of the geographical spread, we're not big. Marketing is almost entirely driven by focused targeting, geographical targeting along with interest-based targeting. Similarly, when we look at elements such as outdoor or print, even those were geographically targeted in the past. We are over-indexed on digital right now. We are a new brand and focusing on search. We are focusing on social media because the sari is a social category. We're getting into the process of doing digital influencer marketing as well,” he said.
He said all businesses, including Taneira, are waiting to see the return of footfalls to the market before they take a bigger bet on larger spends.
“If you are a bigger brand, you might want to do some TV or print but we're not at that scale yet. We'll probably do it at a time when sentiment is better and spends on the category is a lot better. So barring TV, we've done all types of marketing in the past. Digital is never going to grab a majority chunk of retail brands’ spends because a lot of the buying base is actually not digital,” he added.
Other than rationalising its spends, amid the pandemic, the brand has transitioned from only talking about beautiful ethnic wear to how to take care of such apparel. After the pandemic, the role of brands will transition into where it fits in into the reality of customers rather than trying to push a particular product or a service, Seth said.
The brand has introduced a new line called Taneira Essentials—saris at an accessible price point as it understands that more people are celebrating more and more occasions from the comfort of their homes.
Seth said being smartly frugal is on top of consumers' minds at the moment and this range of saris has been in direct response to this sentiment.
Slower recovery for the retail sector
The second wave’s impact coupled with job loss on retail has been a lot worse than anticipated and the sentiments are lower than last year, as per industry experts. Seth said discretionary spends are even lower than the first lockdown and this could delay the recovery journey.
“Going forward, I expect category impacts to be different. Anything to do with nutrition, health, athletic wear and athleisure will be very positively impacted because it's an outcome of the pandemic. The challenge in our category is that casual shoppers this time might not be back with the same excitement like after the last wave immediately. But those who have the non-negotiable sort of events in their life will shop,” he said.
From its experience last year, it has extended its product and services to the doorstep. It took its entire inventory online and went omnichannel. The brand has also set up a communication channel between its stores and the customer through video chats and video calls so that they could shop from the safety of their homes.
He said, “One non-negotiable step for brands like us is to extend all their products and services to the safety of the homes before the customer starts walking into malls or in high streets in full flow. We have seen that women want to go to a one-stop-shop where they can buy across categories. That is where our proposition is strong because we want to ensure that somebody who's walking into our store buys from us.”
Seth believes focusing on one product line or service might not be a good strategy for brands, especially in retail, because customers are looking to go to one place and tick multiple boxes, because they don't want to get exposed to too many people or too many locations.
“Our top-of-the-line estimate is that around 80% of people, and this is from our conversations we've been having with research agencies, are expecting another wave. So concerns are much higher, and retail recovery for discretionary spends is a fair bit away. So in terms of growth, because we are a small brand and a new brand, last year’s growth was slow. We had a couple of weeks of good sales before the lockdown, but the lockdown has not been kind to us or the retail industry,” he said.
The brand has expanded into various e-marketplaces including TataCliq, Nykaa, Myntra and plans to re-open its stores in Bangalore and Chennai, soon.