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Racing ahead on the digital fast track

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Youthful, irreverent and racy are adjectives that define Titan’s Fastrack, a sub-brand that launched in 2003 targeting the 15 to 25 year olds. With the credibility and backing of Titan, Fastrack fast became a name to reckon with among the young and filled the need gap for edgy fashion. The sharp brand positioning shifted the focus from youthful to youth, with urban college students as the prime target. Fastrack is continuously innovating and reinventing their communication approach, the latest being a microsite with a video ‘Keep Trippin’ targeted at engaging youth. Rashi Bisaria caught up with Hemal Panchamia, Head Marketing, Fastrack who has seen the evolution of the brand and been instrumental in it.

Has Fastrack become a successful independent brand or is it still latching on to Titan, the parent brand?
Fastrack was spun off as a separate brand in 2003 targeting the 15 to 25 age group. This sharp brand positioning shifted the focus from youthful to youth, with urban college-going youngsters as the prime target. The brand took on the platform of irreverence and positioned itself as an affordable fashion accessory brand for the country’s youth. We function as an independent brand with our own set of ideals and core target audience.

fastrack-1How many stores do you have in the country today?
Fastrack’s exciting retail journey began in 2009 with its first ever exclusive store in Pune. Today, we have 158 stores across 75 metros, major cities and towns across India. Last year, we introduced a new retail identity which is a highly innovative and engaging format keeping customer experience at the heart of the concept. At the risk of defying traditional norms of retailing, Fastrack has managed to translate the irreverence of the brand into a physical space. Currently, we have five stores in the new format in Bangalore, New Delhi, Chennai and Pune. We intend to roll out the new format across all our outlets in the coming year.

Has the franchisee model worked well for you?
Fastrack has been franchising since 2009 and since then has rolled out over 148 successful franchise outlets, across 75 cities. As a corporate, we focus on building the brand and making great products available to our consumers. We believe the operational aspects of retailing are best handled by business associates as their local knowledge and dynamism provide a great value add. At Fastrack, we look for a franchisee who can relate to youth and fashion, which is essentially what Fastrack is all about. Our current set of franchisees are extremely passionate about the brand, and they showcase an undying hunger to experiment. It is important to us that our franchisees believe in both, hiring and retaining good staff with luring incentives. Also, we insist that they prioritize the needs of the brand more than ROI and cost implications. This strategy has delivered optimum results in our retail channel and we have continued with it.

What prompted you to come up with an interactive microsite for the youth and the video?
Fastrack is constantly innovating and reinventing their communication approach to stay relevant to its audience. The core aim behind building an interactive microsite was an increased level of audience engagement. We wanted to take our presence in the digital space to the next level, and Keep Trippin’ seemed like the perfect way to do it. A fun music video with a catchy soundtrack created and produced exclusively for this purpose allowed us to use engaging content to interest our audience and showcase our products at the same time.

What kind of response has the video generated and what is the kind of sale you have made through it?
We have received tremendous response since the launch of the video. The video has also been uploaded on Facebook and Youtube where it has been viewed over 1.54 lakh times. On the microsite, viewers can pause the video at any moment, click on a product (say, a helmet one of the guys are wearing), get information on the product, and purchase it right there. While in this short span of time the sales numbers aren’t very high, we find that the microsite is receiving a lot of traction. Not only is the bounce rate high with viewers checking out the various products, but they are spending an average of two and a half minutes on the video.

fastrack-2For some years now you have been coming up with pure play digital campaigns, so are you moving away from traditional media now?
While we haven’t moved away from traditional media, digital is becoming one of our most important marketing platforms. With the way the youth has embraced social media, it was a logical decision for us to have a significant position in the digital space to ensure with are always ‘in conversation’ with our audience. Our social media strategy doesn’t is not in your face advertising.

Fastrack has become a brazen youth brand which has come up with risqué campaigns. Has this positioning worked for you? How?
Fastrack’s edgy and provocative campaigns are responsible for the strong connect that we have with the youth segment today. As a brand, we are constantly walking an extremely thin line between irreverent and insolent with our radical youth focussed campaigns and have successfully managed to grab their attention. After all, what is considered risqué for adults isn’t necessarily so for the youth. Our ultimate aim is that our communication resonates with our target audience and we effectively communicate to them in a language that they easily understand and relate to. Be it with product design or advertising campaigns, Fastrack strives to stay relevant to the youth by constantly changing and innovating.

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