What it means for lifestyle brands with roots overseas

New Delhi, Nov 15 (IANSlife) A panel consisting of CMOs from the top brands will discuss best practices and marketing techniques for lifestyle brands at The Great Lifestyle Brands & Awards. The day-long event held on Thursday will honour remarkable works by premium lifestyle brands and highlight noteworthy trends celebrating some of the most sought-after branding initiatives.

IANSlife.in caught up with Karan Kumar of veteran lifestyle brand Fabindia, a leader in the Make in India ethos and a forerunner in the lifestyle segment to find out what it takes to be ahead of the competition.

1. Do you think e-commerce sites like Urban Ladder and Pepperfry.com, along with luxury living stores like Good Earth, have eaten into Fab India's market share?

Kumar: No, not at all. In fact, the addition of new players has only helped grow the market for Indian wear and other assorted merchandise. At Fabindia, we continue to receive loyal patronage for our products that are differentiated basis their source of origin and their direct relationship with artisans and crafts persons from our rural hinterland. Our consumers are very well informed and discerning and amongst a sea of choices available today, they continue to prefer products with certain core and intrinsic value - products that celebrate the ingeniousness of their creators while celebrating the culturally rich soul of India.

2. Fabindia now has cafes and hosts various events, do you think that experiential driven marketing and collaborations are the way forward?

Kumar: Indeed, customer experience and engagement will greatly help physical retail in reinventing itself and continue to remain increasingly relevant to customers in future. Not just the Fabcafe but the Fabindia store itself very actively hosts experiential events including workshops that bring alive the artisanal knowledge behind our products or for that matter, recipes. In India, we greatly value traditional wisdom and crafts that gloriously come to form our cultural identity and the physical retail offers great environment for consumers to interact with products and more importantly, engage with artisanal heritage behind them.

3. What is the growth forecast for Fabindia on the ground in terms of retail stores and percentages?

Kumar: We continue to grow in double digits and we see this momentum only further strengthening with our new and flagship retail format, the Fabindia Experience Centres. I think these are very exciting times for consumers who enjoy world-class, Indian products - products that are not just made in India but fundamentally have an Indian soul. At Fabindia, we will continue to be forbearers of products that represent this DNA and support consumers by offering them alternative for conscious and responsible consumption.

4. When it comes to marketing how important is digital marketing for the brand?

Kumar: Extremely important. Digital marketing is a very important and potent part of our overall marketing mix and in our efforts to constantly engage and have meaningful conversations with our consumers and audiences. It keeps us on our toes, encouraging us to be "always on". And it plays a very important role in story-telling, both aided by influencers, who experience our products as well as our everyday consumer who puts out her delight with her peer group and cohorts. Over the last 3 years, we have put together a very strong and robust digital and social marketing plan and have been able to execute with great success. Our investments behind this medium have also doubled over the last couple of years and if they serve as any kind or testament, our campaigns have won more than 15 metals across industry platforms during the same period.

5. Tell us about your blog ‘Bolder Marketing'.

Kumar: I greatly enjoy putting together my thoughts on various aspects of marketing, emergent trends and issue that I see pertinent from a marketing and business point of view. Some of these thoughts have been very kindly been published by various digital industry platforms and most of them have also been discussed in panels as part of some of the conference I have attended. Bolder Marketing on wordpress.com is that one space where I put all of these thought writings together - for me and some of my friends and followers to read, refer and discuss. I have been greatly encouraged by the response I have received on my various writings and I have been equally fortunate to be challenged with some very exciting perspectives on my thoughts. I think the blog and this entire process has made me a better marketer today than I was when I started out. And my education continues.