Print is the strongest category in our media mix: Swapan Datta

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Swapan Dutta, President, Retail, Monte Carlo Fashions Ltd

Swapan Dutta, President, Retail, Monte Carlo Fashions Ltd

Monte Carlo a home grown brand from the house of Oswal Woollen Mills, made its debut in Dubai last year with the launch of three stores. The popular winter wear brand has off late launched its summer wear collection. Swapan Dutta, President, Retail, Monte Carlo Fashions Ltd. speaks about the brand’s venture into new markets and the other developments.

How would you define your target audience?
We cater to upwardly mobile audience. We position ourselves as mass premium brand and value for money is our core proposition. The age group that we target is young mobile entrepreneurs and executives in the age group of 25 to 40 years.

What is the fundamental marketing strategy of Monte Carlo?
Our strength is our penetration. We have a network of over 200 stores and 1500 retailers spread across the country. The core of our marketing strategy is the lifestyle with which a consumer connects. As far as media tools are concerned we focus on a 360 degree media campaigns that include print, TV, digital and outdoor. Out of all the tools outdoor is leveraged the most.

Please throw some light on Monte Carlo’s marketing mix.
Our marketing budget ranges from 5 to 8 per cent of our annual turnover. And within this budget spends are allocated accordingly into categories including- media, outdoor, events, sales promotion expenses, Public Relation activities. Out of all these newspapers and magazines or rather print is the strongest category, closely followed by television in terms of marketing spends.

What encouraged you to venture into Dubai Market?
Through Dubai, we are targeting Middle Eastern market. The reason we look forward to Middle East Market is that, we have a dominant community from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and so on. Among these people the brand is immensely popular. Besides their connect with the brand is high, body structure and fit of the clothes is the same. 65 to 70 per cent of middle class Arabs and 18 per cent of the elite Arab community which forms the Dubai Market do not relate to our brand and are not a part of our target audience.

It’s been a year that Monte Carlo entered the Dubai Market. Considering your pan India and international presence how does your marketing strategy vary according to the region?
Our strength areas are North, Central and East India. Because of the critical mass in terms of sales from these areas, we have to market aggressively and the strategies also differ accordingly. For Instance when we leverage a Hindi publication for advertising, the advertisement comes out in English because people like to associate themselves with a brand which is distinctive. If the ad comes out in Hindi language in a Hindi publication, it will give a local image to our brand.

Our international presence is at a nascent stage and Middle East Countries are our target. We have launched just three stores in Dubai last year. FM radio and outdoor ads are the popular tools of promotion in these countries. Newspaper is not a very popular medium over there. As a part of consumer lifestyle, newspapers are not very much relevant. Since brand awareness quotient has to be highlighted so our focus internationally would be FM and outdoor along with the events and promotional activities. So either we will link ourselves with events or do our own events.

If we talk about our Middle East Consumers, their buying habits, buying season and also their buying experience is different. For them overall buying experience, the quality of the garment, ambience of the store matters and we try and deliver it to the consumers. While in India value for money proposition has to be considered. Indian market is still evolving from aspirations to using a brand as a part of your daily life.

As mentioned earlier, your target group is young working executives between 25 to 40 years. So speaking on the lines of in-film placements, what encouraged you to tie-up with Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and how did it help your brand?
We have immense popularity in Punjab and Milkha Singh comes from a Punjabi background. This connect was reflected through the movie and reached out to the whole country. Secondly he is a living legend and his achievements that we are proud of and this partnership made some commercial sense to our brand.

Besides through this association we also wanted to convey to the audience about our sports category garments, which needed a good promotion. In sports category, our target is Lifestyle sports i.e. people wearing sporty garments in daily routine. Lifestyle sports in India is a far bigger market than performance sports because in India, people are mostly sports followers.

Monte Carlo has also come up with summer collection. So what initiatives have you taken to break the stereotype ‘winter wear’ image of your brand?
Our connect as a winter wear brand in the minds of our consumers is so huge that breaking this stereotype image was indeed a challenge. We came up with certain marketing campaigns for our summer wear categories including road shows and fashion shows and successfully drew huge audience. Besides we came up with promotional offers to promote this collection. We are still working in this space.

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