Thursday, November 24, 2011
Sana akhtar | IIM S
What started off as a modest mill manufacturing cheap and coarse woollen blankets and low priced woollen fabric has come a long way to become India’s largest branded fabric and fashion retailer. The Raymond Woollen Mills, as it was then known, was acquired by the Singhania family in 1925 in Bombay. Raymond Group today is one of the leading producers of worsted suiting fabric in the world and includes the brands Raymond, Manzoni, Park Avenue, ColorPlus, Parx, Notting Hill and Zapp!.
Raymond was one of the first companies in the Indian textile industry to use advertising in a major way to promote its products. All of Raymond’s marketing revolves around its ‘The Complete Man’ campaign. The campaign started as an attempt to create a man with whom the target audience could connect. Raymond’s research revealed that men did not really aspire to be muscular and well-built. The Raymond Man is thus portrayed as a caring, sensitive, fun loving man with a deep sense of accomplishment in the way he carries himself.
Raymond also focused extensively on distribution aspects and set up its exclusive retail showrooms. ‘The Raymond Shop’ boasts of being the largest retail store in the country with more than 500 stores in prime locations, in more than 200 cities in India.
In 1986, Raymond launched Park Avenue, its first ready to wear men’s formals targeting the young middle class corporates who are fashion conscious but need to wear formal clothes on a daily basis. Later, ‘Park Avenue Woman’, a range of business wear for women was also launched. The brand leveraged its expertise in clothing and the association that consumers make with looking good in a corporate environment to extend its line to include accessories and men’s toiletries to evolve as a brand that stands for complete grooming.
Having focused on formal wear for a long time, Raymond launched Parx, premium casual lifestyle brand targeted towards the age group 22-30, in 1999 to extend its image to that of a free-spirited leaping stag, endorsing the philosophy of ‘living easy’. Recently Parx decided to enter the emerging deodorants category. To create distinction is an already cluttered market Parx executes its brand essence in a playful tone. It stays away from overt sexual imagery that is prevalent in the category and gives its campaign a fresh, youthful and relaxed tone. While Parx was positioned at the lower end, Raymond acquired ColorPlus to target the premium customers which gave it a strong foothold in the Indian ready to wear segment.
Seeing a need gap in terms of availability of a greater range of branded and quality merchandise for children and infants in India, Raymond entered the kids apparel segment in 2006 with Zapp!. Zapp! designed an exclusive kids' loyalty programme to carve a niche for itself in a segment which saw top-of-the-line brands stepping in with aggressive marketing strategies. Zapp! Club, the customer loyalty programme, gives an individual experience to each child, making them a part of exciting events and offers them gifts such as bandanas, wristbands and tattoo stickers.
The latest from the Raymond Group is the launch of ‘Raymond Finely Crafted Garments’ and ‘Neckties & More’. While ‘Raymond Finely Crafted Garments’ offers top of the line fabrics to the complete man, ‘Neckties & More’ adds flair to a man’s outfit through other accessories like ties, tie-pins, belts, cufflinks and bags.
Raymond with its fine offerings and consistent personality based advertising has made a place for itself in the Indian market. What remains to be seen is whether ‘The Complete Man’ will be able to tailor himself according to the demands of the new generation without compromising on his values.