Jabong will remain Jabong

By Satrajit Sen , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | September 19, 2014
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The fashion e-commerce player launches a new brand positioning that celebrates individuality.

Being yourself never goes out of fashion., one of India's leading online fashion destinations, has embedded the same idea in its new brand theme titled "Be You". The company believes that the new proposition is a unique expression to inspire and encourage the youth of India to be comfortable in their own skin.

Jabong Be You Anthem

Jabong Be You Digital Promotion

Praveen Sinha

Prathap Suthan

To promote the new positioning, Jabong has also launched a 360-degree multimedia campaign integrating television, print, outdoor and digital platforms. The new commercial conspicuously highlights the philosophy around which Jabong functions today with a message directed in two simple, yet assertive words, "Be You".

The TVC, created by Bang in the Middle, has been shot across cities, capturing the styles of youngsters and the emotions derived from the sense of empowerment and confidence from fashion. It features a peppy and upbeat 130-second music score.

Praveen Sinha, founder and managing director,, says, "This time we are not merely promoting clothes but a concept that never goes out of fashion. We are encouraging the youth to fall back on what they've had since the very beginning."

Says Prathap Suthan, CCO, Bang in the Middle, "In a world that drives and compels the youth to imitate, follow and stand for shallow values, this is a more rooted, almost a counterpoint to typical fashion advertising. It's a call to unlock one's true potential. Being you will never go out fashion. It cannot. Who else will you be?"

Transactional to aspirational

Jabong's positioning has always been about products and transactions. In the last campaign launched in 2013, two girls were shown talking about shoes and stylish dresses bought from their favourite portal even during a tense situation such as a bank robbery.

There were other campaigns from the brand that highlighted the ease of transactions on the website. It launched its first TV campaign in March 2012 where the idea was to communicate as a one-stop shop for the youth and pass on the message of ease of shopping with added features.

Sinha reasons that, up till now, Jabong's communication was in keeping with how the e-commerce industry was shaping. "Two years ago, consumers needed more of handholding in terms of understanding e-commerce platforms and learning how to transact on them. Today, most Indians are aware of both. So, now was the time to stand for a message that Jabong, as a brand, believes in. 'Be You' is a proposition that we strongly believe in," he adds.

Sinha points out that people also expect to learn more about new fashion trends from online fashion players. That was reason enough for Jabong to launch a monthly fashion magazine called 'The Juice' in April this year. The magazine covers stories and features around fashion, beauty, people, trends, travel and pop culture.

To keep in touch with the fashion community in India, Jabong partnered with Lakme Fashion Week - for four seasons - as well as with designer Rohit Bal, for an exclusive collection. It has also launched the India Online Fashion Week. The event was described as a platform for young and aspiring designers, stylists, models and photographers.

The Jabong story

Jabong was launched in early 2012 and Sinha agrees that they were late in entering the fashion e-commerce market and had to differentiate really quickly. "Today," says Sinha, "when I look back, I feel we did three things right. First, we got the right brands on our platform, mostly those that were not available offline in many parts of the country. Secondly, we got the customer experience going in our favour with features like express delivery, 30-day return policy, open box delivery for prompt delivery and efficient service. And, finally, we did indulge ourselves in fashion curation and thus came closer to the fashion community in the country," he informs.

According to a ComScore report of September 2012, had the second-highest volume of traffic among Indian e-commerce websites, in just a few months of launch. The platform clocked 1.9 million gross orders in the first quarter of the calendar year 2014, according to a disclosure by Swedish investor Kinnevik, an investor in Rocket Internet as well as Jabong.

The report further indicated that Jabong, in March 2014, had a total customer base of 2.9 million, as opposed to one million in the corresponding month last year. In December 2013, Jabong crossed $25 million in revenue and expects to touch $1 billion by the end of 2014. According to Sinha, the fashion e-commerce market in India is pegged at $500 million and is expected to touch $3 billion by 2016. The company is now working on launching its own line of clothing brand and has already got the team in place.

Making the connection

What about the new internet users who might be experiencing e-commerce for the first time? Will the current campaign drag these new netizens to Jabong?

Jagdeep Kapoor

RP Singh

Jagdeep Kapoor, chairman and managing director, Samsika Marketing Consultants, believes that Jabong is following the VALS model of marketing. VALS (Values, Attitudes And Lifestyles) is a proprietary research methodology used for psychographic market segmentation, which is designed to guide companies in tailoring their products and services in order to appeal to the people most likely to purchase them.

Giving an example, Kapoor says that in the mid-80s, Charminar was the strongest cigarette brand available. But people used to call it 'Charms' while buying it from the shopkeeper. Thus, the company got the idea of launching a premium brand named Charms.

"Jabong will need to carry on the educational messaging to connect with many new internet users and thus balance their marketing efforts for both the existing and could-be consumers," Kapoor adds. RP Singh, CEO, Sirez Group also agrees that it was high time that e-commerce players start treating themselves as brands rather than pure discount shops.

He goes on to add, "The industry has realised that the discount game is not a long-term solution as it kills the margins of everybody in the ecosystem. The ad is a nice first step towards it from Jabong. The ad hits the nail on the head with current youth issues where everyone is trying to be himself. I love the execution because of the simplicity and the "close to reality" faces in the ad. There is nothing in the ad which you cannot like," he adds.

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