AN EYE FOR  APPEAL

AN EYE FOR APPEAL

Similar to its jewellery and watch division, Titan Eye Plus aims to change its positioning from being a functional to a lifestyle brand. With a range of new designs introduced for every segment of its audience, Vandana Bhalla, its marketing head, shares her game plan on how the brand plans to  innovate on the marketing and product development front to reinforce this positioning

MADHUMITA PRABHAKAR

While A.R. Rahman’s re-arrangement of Mozart’s composition (in Symphony No. 25, Gminor) to create the ever famed Titan theme music still remains intrinsically associated with the brand, over the years each of its segments, from jewellery to watches has experienced a more bracing change in its positioning; that of warming up to a more youthful and well-travelled audience. And, a relatively new entrant to this repositioning bandwagon has been its eyewear category, Titan Eye Plus.

As Vandana Bhalla, the head of marketing for the eyewear division puts it, “We have always been seen as a functional brand but now we’re trying to reposition it on the platform of style. We want to be a lifestyle brand offering a range of contemporary eyewear collections.”

For this story, Bhalla takes us behind the scenes on how Titan Eye Plus is innovating on its product development front, the platform agnostic marketing strategies her team is experiment with, and her long-term vision for the eyewear division.

Addressing a wide spectrum of customers

Typically, the brand caters to customers aged between six to 60 years old with a core focus on the 25 year to 44 year old segment. Apart from Fast Track (which is targeted at the college-going crowd), it has launched two recent collections for the core group; Adreno for men and Enigma for women. While Adreno hosts over 30 collections of sporty and premium eyewear, Enigma caters to the comfort and design needs of working women. Additionally, recognising the needs of a value-driven customer, which forms another vital component of its target segment, it has on its stable, Trendz, a collection priced between Rs. 995 to Rs. 1,995.

While data gives us a more tangible insight into what our customers seek, I believe marketing decisions should also rely on a fair amount of intuition. For instance, every person I meet personally, I see it as a great opportunity to get more insights through a personal observation and a structured conversation.

Closing the marketing loop

With an annual investment of well over Rs. 30 crore, the eyewear division adopts multiple platforms to drive awareness around each of its product categories. Let’s start with the offline platforms. At the store level, apart from visual merchandising and in-store displays, the company ensures that each of its product lines is shelved along a particular colour theme. An obvious example is the Adreno collection being stocked along an F1 theme. Secondly, given the nature of its customers (a mass audience) it develops television commercials and print advertisements to reach a wider segment of its customers. If you haven’t already set eyes on the brands advertisements, its recent brand ambassador is Chitrangadha Singh, for its women’s division, Enigma.

On the online platform, it has developed a micro-site for each of its product categories, thus creating a holistic product experience for the visitor. Apart from this, digital media also plays a vital role in its marketing strategy. In fact, Bhalla indicates that the company’s digital spends have increased from two per cent to ten per cent in the last three years. “We believe that on the digital platform a brand can play a bigger role than just vanilla advertising. It can create an emotional connect with each of its customers,” voices Bhalla. On one hand, while it shares a sneak preview into its TVCs and print ads on social media sites, it also holds regular contests to keep its customers engaged. One such contest was designed for the Adreno customers. Supported with the hashtag #getsporty, it encouraged its customers to send photos and videos of sports they played at their workplace. By this, we mean something as commonplace yet mind boggling as chair races and paper shoots!

Lastly, along with the aggressive marketing comes the quality of service at the point of sale, which, by experience we all know, could make or break a deal. “Each of our employees at the store-level undergoes training to manage customers as well as hold eye tests. We see this as among the key differentiators as compared to our competitors,” notes Bhalla.

Looking ahead

A casual lesson that Bhalla learnt when activating her marketing campaigns was that customers are more inclined to send photos than videos. A more strategic lesson she learnt, and continues to learn is in leveraging the brand’s next key target group – the value-driven customers who still opt for functionality over style. “On one hand, there is a well-travelled and well-exposed consumer who doesn’t mind shelling out a premium for a good product. On the other, there is a value conscious customer who is still seeking functionality over style. The latter is a more challenging segment to upgrade and that is where all our marketing experiments are driven towards,” explains Bhalla. In fact, the company has already taken its first step on this front with the launch of Trendz.

With a current footprint of over 300 stores in 100 cities, what remains to be seen is how Titan Eye Plus will fare against its equally aggressive online players and fight for its position in the top of the marketplace pyramid.