Triton has added leather luggage products brand La Salle to its client portfolio. In a multi-level agency pitch called for the Rs 3-crore account, Triton clinched the deal through a strategy and creative presentation.
The agencies in the fray were Leo Burnett, Ulka, Triton, Akshara, Able, Foundation, The Hive, Pamm, Studio and Zenith. If one looks at the range and number of agencies called to make a presentation, it is evident that Technic Holding, marketers of La Salle in India, expects a lot from its agency.
Well, Triton has already sprung into action. The first part of the phased launch took place in the capital some time back. The whole affair was carried out in a rather unconventional manner. The models displaying the product range of La Salle on the ramp were not the powdered faces often seen in fashion shows. However, they were celebs by their own right - including AICC secretary Vasanth Sathe, painter Satish Gupta, fashion designer Leena Singh, food writer Rocky Mohan of Mohan Meakins et al. "The thought behind the show was to hit it off with the target consumers - the young, outgoing executives and professionals - straightway," says Vivek Srivastava, vice-president, Triton Communications. The cities next on the La Salle map are Mumbai and Bangalore.
"The brand is clearly positioned as a premium product. It is a symbol of class; an individual statement for the upwardly mobile. The target consumers belong to the SEC A, A+ and B+ categories," says Captain B. Mukherjee, vice-president, sales and marketing, Technic Holding. The product range includes leather portfolios, bags and luggage. The price range for the leather portfolio starts from Rs 1,925 and goes up to Rs 7,500. The leather luggage products range from Rs 1,500 to Rs 6,500. And the more premium range called the 'cloud nine series' is priced between Rs 6,500 and Rs 10,000.
The brand will be advertised through print and radio. A few days ago, the 'personal signature' La Salle campaign broke out in The Times of India and Hindustan Times touting the message 'La Salle products offer utility and exclusive designs that cater to the need of a cross-section of discerning executives and travellers'. Soon, more ads will appear in general interest magazines such as India Today and Outlook as well as in business magazines. The ad on FM radio is expected to break out soon. Equal emphasis will be given to outdoor activities. Merchandising, events and promotional tie-ups with hotels and airlines are underway.
Currently, the company has a well-oiled distribution network active in Delhi, Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Jammu. By year-end, it hopes to cover all the metros and the mini metros. Mukherjee thinks that the task of popularising the brand will not be so tough after all as there are just a few players slugging it out in the market. "The prominent players are Hidesign, Da Milano and a few local players," says Mukherjee. "But La Salle is not competing with these. The only comparable product in our range is the portfolio bags. However, I believe, our entire range is superior to these in terms of technology, finishing and design."
And how is that? He explains, "Most of these brands still use the outdated EIT (East India Tanning) process of tanning leather. The disadvantage with this method is that after a while, when the top layer of the dyed leather starts wearing, the whiteness of the layers beneath becomes visible. This happens because the dye does not seep into the inner layers of the leather. Whereas, the drum-dying technology we use for tanning enables the leather to soak the dye completely. This technique also increases the longevity of the product."
However, once the company introduces vinyl luggage in the market this year, La Salle would be pitted directly against established players like VIP and Samsonite. The task then will be awesome. The Rs 1,250-crore luggage market (hard and soft put together) in India is largely unorganised (60 per cent), even to this day. Of the balance, 40 per cent, VIP commands a leading share of 54-56 per cent and Samsonite has 10-12 per cent. For Mukherjee, it is the grey market that poses the real threat. "Our aim is to pre-empt competition from the unorganised sector. The strategy is not to beat the other brands but to widen the canvass," Mukherjee adds.
Currently, Technic Holding, which has a strategic alliance with Alliance International Inc, USA, has been importing its range of finished leather products from America, excepting the portfolios. The company has tied up with Kanpur-based KCK to manufacture portfolios indigenously using La Salle's drum-dying technology. Technic Holding plans to set up a manufacturing facility in India once the La Salle starts enjoying a stronger brand equity.
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