VKC Group is a Kerala-based footwear manufacturing company that has recently roped in Amitabh Bachchan as their brand ambassador. In a conversation with e4m, VKC Razak, MD, VKC Group discusses the launch of their GoodSpot campaign, Amitabh Bachchan endorsing a footwear brand for the first time in his 50-year career, their VKC Parivar App, which is the first in the country that connects the brand and dealer network with customers, and more.
GoodSpot is a campaign that spreads goodness and good feelings and inspires people to be successful at the individual level and spread happiness in society at the community level. The campaign highlights that when you look at VKC footwear on your own feet, you must think about the goodness that you can contribute to the world. This campaign is not about the metrics that matter, but we want to inspire and make this world a better place for our children.
Please also tell us the insight behind the recent launch of Debongo - sporty fashion. What has the response been like?
Almost every brand in the world wants its users to buy into the attitude of the brand. #Debongo practices the reverse of this concept. #Debongo tells its users that as a brand, it will buy into the attitude of the user. That's why the brand celebrates the line: 'You Are You'. Every individual is unique and special in their own way. As a fashion brand #Debongo will do whatever it takes to raise the confidence of its users.
What are the synergies between VKC and brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan? How do you aim to leverage this association going forward?
As a brand, VKC is celebrating Amitabh Bachchan’s work ethic more than his celebrity status. He can be a role model for every human being who wants to be successful. In the VKC ads, Bachchan is presented as Amitabh Bachchan himself where he talks about his work ethics and his approach to a hard-working lifestyle. Maybe that is why the media gave it the sobriquet of 'Ad less Ads'. Going forward, we would love every Indian to connect with the VKC brand as the products portray qualities such as hard work and endurance.
What other initiatives have you undertaken as a brand at a more local level to facilitate your dealer partners and consumers?
VKC is always concerned with the future of neighbourhood businesses in our localities. We believe every neighbourhood will be more beautiful to live in when the neighbouring businesses flourish and it will be possible with local transactions. To energise these businesses, we launched the #ShopLocal campaign which was appreciated and benefitted 2.5 lakhs neighbourhood businesses in India. We have also launched insurance schemes and benevolent funds for these small-scale retailers. We are doing whatever we can to drive sales in their shops so that customers do not desert them for online marketplaces.
What is the core of your marketing strategy? Please tell us your media mix in terms of percentage of marketing budget allocation.
As a corporate policy, we do not bifurcate strategy into corporate strategy, marketing strategy, product strategy, digital strategy, etc. We have just one strategy and that is reflected in everything we do. We believe in oneness. Speaking of the media mix, we are more into print, broadcast, and outdoor at the moment. We will be exploring digital very soon.
What has your YoY growth in revenue been like? Any targets you are looking to achieve this year?
Last year, we clocked the highest growth by at least 58 per cent. This was in the markets where we had rolled out our Strategy Implementation Programme. This is probably the highest figure in India in the PU footwear industry, especially when the lower segment of the mass market was ravaged by the pandemic.
Going ahead, what can consumers expect from you in terms of new products and campaigns?
We celebrate innovation. That's a part of our corporate DNA. Last year, we introduced India's first supersoft PU footwear named VKC Pride Eezy in our VKC Pride brand family. Another product we launched in the previous year was Ultra Violet Footwear, which would change its colour under daylight. Both were priced in the affordable segment. The pricing is a bigger innovation in these cases. With innovative brand ideas, we launched India's first Sporty-Fashion Movement. Soon, we will be launching Fun Wear as a new brand idea.