Welspun India Ltd, one of the world's largest manufacturers and exporters of terry towels, has appointed Equus Red Cell to spearhead the communication and branding strategy for the company's imminent foray into the domestic home textiles market. Confirming the development, DJ Singh, CEO, Welspun India, told agencyfaqs!, "Welspun is now stepping into the retail market with its own chain of franchisee outlets, and we have signed on Equus to help structure our branding efforts."
In a separate note to agencyfaqs!, Swapan Seth, co-CEO & chief creative officer, Equus Red Cell, adds that the agency has been given "the mandate to put into place a retail chain of homestores, with bed-, bath- and beyond products".
Welspun, as a towel brand, has been present in the domestic market for quite some time now, but there has never been any concerted effort at brand building. "Yes, the brand has been available in the market, but being the only product from Welspun, we had no strong motivation to push it aggressively," says Singh. "But now that we are coming out with a whole range of products in home textiles, we are looking at building the brand."
As it transpires, the Rs 260-crore company is planning to open a chain of retail outlets, across metros and mini-metros, by end-October or early-November. These luxury outlets would stock a range of Welspun products such as bath towels, bath robes, bed linen, curtains, shower curtains, table cloths, table mats and other bathroom and kitchen accessories. Singh informs that the retail chain - which will be a division of Welspun India - would bear a distinct brand name "which is being conceived by Equus". He reveals that the initiative has an advertising budget of Rs 5 crore "during the launch phase".
The 'virgin' account came to Equus on the back of a credentials presentation, Seth informs. "We presented our credentials in the retail and luxury space. We also shared with the client the immense non-mass media catchment strategies. We understand the retail space. We understand seeding new luxury retail opportunities. I think our category seeding in consumerscapes won us the business."
Singh, on the other hand, gives a simple reason for opting for Equus. "The agency has a good background in launching brands," he says. "Look at Daewoo… it was an unknown name in this country, but Equus' launch put the brand firmly on the car map. This talent appealed to us. And we were looking not just for an agency that could give us advertising, but for one that could provide marketing and branding solutions. And I think both Swapan and Suhel (Seth) have such expertise."
Talking about the challenges facing the agency and the client, Seth observes that towels are a peculiar category. They are high-involvement in terms of their physical daily usage, yet have low interest. Categories of this nature are changing. "We have to move that space from need to greed. That is the supreme challenge," says Seth.
Seth is obviously ecstatic with the win. "What interests me are the 'proposition plantation' possibilities," he says. "Retail is an exciting space. Personal products like bed and bath accessories are large branded opportunities. It is exciting to preside over their marriage. We are indeed privileged to partner Welspun from conception to execution. Our role as an advertising agency is minimal. We are co-farmers of the concept." Â© 2002 agencyfaqs!