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Striking the right chord

Sonali Chowdhury, Business Standard

New Delhi, 8 Jun 2015

Did you know that Indians spend 8 per cent of their daily consumption on gold, only marginally behind medical expenses and education? This statistic revealed by the World Gold Council in a report highlights the popularity of the yellow metal in India. Gold jewellery makes up for 80 per cent of the Rs 3,00,000-crore gems and jewellery market in the country. The organised segment accounts for a small share of 22 per cent, while the unorganised space, comprising local and independent stores, hog an overwhelming 78 per cent of the market.

This means two things – one, most of the time the consumer is not sure of the quality of the gold jewellery she purchases; so there is a certain degree of "helplessness” associated with every purchase; and two, since she has no means of knowing what she is actually getting for the money she is doling out, she relies a lot on the recommendation of the jewellery shop owner. In most cases, one finds that Indian households have a family jeweller, who serves them over generations, and who is mostly sought out during family occasions.

Evidently, the relationship is not exactly transparent and in the absence of a better method, transactions are undertaken on faith than anything else. And that for Titan Company’s jewellery division, Tanishq, is an opportunity – an opportunity to showcase the systems and processes the jewellery retailer has put in place over the years and what the resultant professionalisation of its services means for its customers.

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To this end, the company has launched a television campaign comprising four commercials conceptualised by Lowe Lintas & Partners. Each of the films features a member of the sales staff from the brand’s outlets in Bengaluru, Delhi, Kolkata and Jaipur, who narrates what is billed as a real life customer experience to highlight the value proposition offered by Tanishq. These include the promise of great value (that accrues from the low making charges starting at 8 per cent), the promise of best exchange value, the promise of transparency and the promise of purity (almost all Tanishq showrooms across the country use the karat meter, non-destructive means of testing the purity of gold). "A jewellery brand has to be multifaceted. One of the facets of the brand is the retail officers’ relationship with the customers. This campaign is about why the brand is so special to its customers and the revelations at the moment of truth. This campaign is also in line with what we have been doing so far – celebrating relationships," says Deepika Tewari, general manager, marketing, jewellery division, Titan Co.

Indeed, most of Tanishq’s advertising so far has focussed on relationships – be it between a husband and his wife or parents and their daughter/son etc. Even when it has launched a tactical campaign – say, promoting discounts on diamond jewellery – it had tied in a catchline that said lekin pyaar mein koi kami nahi (but there is no less love). Its 2011 ad, designed to create awareness and to demystify diamonds as a jewellery category, revolved around a husband-wife story played out by Hindi movie actors Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan. Another recent campaign, ‘Pehla Heera’, has focused on customers buying diamond for the first time and the emotional roller-coaster they go through during what they perceive to be a ‘high-value’ purchase.

But with consumers evolving in their tastes and preferences, Tanishq feels the need to broadbase the appeal.

"So far, by focusing on relationships, Tanishq has managed to attract young buyers and differentiate itself from the competition. But in the long-term it has to win over prospective customers who have not stepped into its stores and this must be achieved fast," says Devangshu Dutta, chief executive, consulting firm Third Eyesight.

While the brand is admired for its quality, design intricacy, compelling campaigns and superior retail experience for over 19 years now, not many people are aware of the level of sophistication it has brought into the retail part of the business. "The practices followed at Tanishq stores are of a certain standard and matters a lot to customers. But there was a perception that the brand is beyond the reach of most people. It is high time we communicated the plus points through the experiences of our staff, in a more interesting way," says Rajesh Ramaswamy, group creative director, Lowe Lintas. Tanishq, currently, has 174 stores exclusively for jewellery sales and it plans to add 30 more stores (mostly franchises) in FY16. During FY15, the jewellery segment of Titan grew 9.2 per cent to Rs 9,430 crore. During the fourth quarter ended March 2015, jewellery sales declined 15.3 per cent to Rs 1,827 crore.

Of course, this is not the first time that a brand has touched on these aspects of jewellery marketing. In 2012, Kalyan Jewellers attempted to bring transparency with detailed price tags mentioning making and wastage charges. This helped the brand to create a loyal base of customers who knew what they were paying for. "Tanishq may be reacting to the heightened noise levels from other jewellery makers about making charges, purity testing and gold versus stones, but you must give them full marks for retaining the brand’s confident tone of voice," says Kiran Khalap, co-founder of brand consultancy, chlorophyll.

(Published in Business Standard .)

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