Namah Chawla

On social media, we avoid political, regional polarisation: Titan’s Ajoy Chawla

The CEO, jewellery division at Titan on the luxury jewellery brand Zoya, its retail expansion and marketing strategy.

Zoya, Titan’s luxury jewellery brand, is now eyeing expansion. By the end of the year, it plans to add 2-3 exclusive boutiques and about 4-5 galleries. The brand aims to be present in the top nine Indian towns by the beginning of next year.

As of July 2022, Zoya has five boutiques in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi and Gurugram, and six galleries in Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Chennai. In FY22, Zoya added one store, Tanishq launched 36 stores, CaratLane added 31 stores and Mia by Tanishq opened 10 stores.

Tanishq, CaratLane and Mia by Tanishq - Titan’s other jewellery brands - address specific markets. Mia by Tanishq offers contemporary jewellery, while CaratLane offers modern jewellery at affordable prices. Tanishq is Titan’s flagship premium jewellery brand. Zoya focusses on luxury diamond and precious stones jewellery.

Ajoy Chawla, CEO, jewellery division, Titan, says that Zoya is for those women who are well-travelled, have achieved a lot in life, and reached a stage where they are discovering their creative and feminine self.

“This is reflected in the brand’s journey through the collections that it creates or the patented cuts and finishes that it brings. Zoya provides customised experiences to its customers in our stores, at events or home,” adds Chawla.

Usually an HNI, she is looking for a product that is quite distinguished in terms of craftsmanship and design. Through the pandemic the brand has noticed a trend where customers are looking for meaningful jewellery. Hence, Zoya's focus is on creating meaningful pieces of wearable art for its audience.

What makes Zoya different from most western luxury brands is that it is as much about inclusivity and warmth as it is about indulgence, mentions Chawla.

Being a brand that caters to high net-worth individuals (HNIs) and ultra HNIs, Zoya competes with not only other luxury jewellery brands, but also designers who bet big on customisation and providing personalised experiences.

Chawla points out that the jewellery landscape in India has always been fragmented and unorganised. “The (individual) designers are doing their own piece and are interacting with their own clientele. However, there are hundreds and thousands of HNIs in the country. So, the brand doesn’t need to worry about who we are going after and who our competitors are chasing.”

Elaborating on the competitive landscape, Chawla says that there are many players in the Indian market, like the family jewellers, who cater to a specific clientele. There are designers as well, but hardly any brands.

“So, in a way, we are the only brand. We are also crafting jewellery to the highest international standards. Our customers compare our designs to some of the biggest brands in the world, like Cartier and Graff,” he says.

With its footprint and customer base growing, Zoya is now spending more money on advertising and marketing, especially ATL marketing. Chawla informs that the brand has become more active on its digital platforms. It has scaled up the number of personalised and curated events, as a part of its experiential marketing strategy.

While Zoya aims to have a robust digital media presence, social media is extremely volatile and tends to attract diverse opinions. On how the brand is looking at its social media marketing strategy, Chawla says that social media allows for diverse set of views. Very often, these are unknown entities. There can be sharpness in what they say and how people react, leading to polarisation.

“As a brand, we try to avoid polarisation, especially on views that are related to politics, religion or ideology. Right now, we are using social media to showcase our collections.”

These days, most categories are leveraging the power of e-commerce to expand their consumer base and reach out to audiences far and wide. However, for jewellery brands, e-commerce may not be an ideal channel of distribution because of its touch and feel nature.

As per Chawla, in the luxury jewellery segment, complete online purchases are extremely rare. This is because of the high ticket values (of jewellery pieces) and luxury not being an impulse purchase category. There aren't frequent discounts or offers available, and it is a well-considered purchase. A customer would ideally spend quite a bit of time, interact with the store staff and physically try on the pieces before making a purchase.

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