Alex Lai, Country Manager for the Woolmark company on the benefits of buying Woolmark products

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Alex Lai

Alex Lai

Australia’s Woolmark company along with Indian manufacturers, retailers and designers is trying to bring out the versatility of wool. It is creating a range of products to be launched as “cool wool” in India. The Woolmark brand is owned by Australian Wool Innovation , a not for profit company and is now trying to rejuvenate the brand in India. Woolmark has tied up with premium apparel brands to launch this lightweight wool. Kanika Mehrotra of Pitch caught up with Alex Lai, Country Manager for India, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Woolmark Company to find out more about Woolmark’s marketing initiatives in India.

What marketing strategies does Woolmark intend to adopt or expects its partner companies in India to adopt for educating customers on the benefits of buying a Woolmark product?
The Woolmark symbol is a mark of quality, applied to more than two billion garments since its creation and is one of the most recognised brand marks ever created. The Woolmark Company counts among its target audience both end and trade users of wool. We are now engaging not just with the trade users but also taking up long term consumer engagement campaigns to encourage consumers to choose wool when purchasing premium apparel. Fibre Advocacy campaign is one such example which is currently running in India with associate partners Raymond, Monte Carlo, Richard James and IWP global finalist India Middle East, 2013/14 Rahul Mishra. 2014 will be a busy year with much activity taking place globally with the International Woolmark Prize final for 2013/14 in Milan in February and then heading into its third round in 2014. India will also see the launch within the Indian region. Cool Wool is the certification for light weight wool, traditionally for mens suitings, but is now being used in high fashion women’s wear collections around the world.

Is Wool mark content with the way leading Indian woolen textile exporters including Raymond, Monte Carlo, Reid & Taylor, OCM, Jaya Shree, Ezma and R N Oswal market the idea of Woolmark products in India?
These industry partners are extremely important to The Woolmark Company as each develops and creates wool products and provide the opportunity for brands and designers to develop and source Merino wool products. They are an important part of the supply chain and our partnership with them is integral to the success of our marketing strategy within the region.

What are the few steps being taken by Woolmark to popularize the concept among brands to adopt the Woolmark status?
Our key projects generate a huge amount of editorial support through both print and digital media as well as through the social media sites. The Woolmark message is being delivered through our partner stories and through the products that are available to purchase in the top boutiques and with retailers around the world.

What are the special challenges faced by Woolmark in marketing in India as compared to the Taiwan and Chinese markets?
The challenge is the short winter period as compared to China or Taiwan. That’s why we are coming up with the Cool Wool campaign in Spring/Summer’14 “Cool Wool-When it’s hot, it’s not!!”

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