I am a marketing professional or at least this is what I think I am. When I was studying marketing, I never realised it would come with endless work hours but then again, perhaps it is better than being a doctor, which is what I was initially studying for.
I realised I was not destined for medicine when I did a stint at a newspaper and loved not having to read about organs and nerves – and that there was so much more to life than what I had been doing as a medical student. So I went to university and got a marketing degree which I really enjoyed doing.
Although marketing and brand management is a passion for me, when I started working at Bonanza three years ago, I didn’t know what my role would be. I had a couple of years of experience as a marketing executive at City FM89 where I had to deal with brands in order to market the radio station, but moving to Bonanza was like going to the other side of the table and nothing had prepared me for what was about to happen.
My tenure at Bonanza started out quite nicely and I had a rather cushy job. I would read the newspapers over a cup of tea in the morning, talk to people and browse through the brand archives. This changed after a couple of months when I was given the task of launching a women’s ready to wear brand. That was when the actual work started and those newspaper and tea days became a mere memory.
Launching a full fledged women’s wear brand with a company associated with a long history of men’s wear was like climbing a mountain with absolutely no knowledge of how high it was.
Changing people’s perceptions, developing different aesthetics and entering a new market were some of the challenges that had to be dealt with. Bonanza already had a small team of designers on board because of their lawn setup and they had been producing limited ready to wear pieces for some time. This team had to be expanded and inculcated with a vision to produce pieces which were backed by research and loved by customers. We hired a mix of new graduates and experienced designers to give the brand both a fresh feel as well as a clear sense of direction.
The next step was giving the brand an identity and this is when the sleepless nights began in earnest. After plenty of talking, researching and brainstorming, we decided to put all of our women’s wear offerings – lawn, sweaters, prêt and accessories – under a single umbrella brand, which we called Satrangi.
Naming the brand and manufacturing the clothing were but two parts of the process, and there was so much more to be done in order to enter the competitive ready to wear market. Going back to marketing 101, we were taught about the ‘point of difference’ or the USP that sets a brand apart from the others. But this seemed like an almost pointless exercise to me because we were offering lawn and prêt wear just like everyone else.
Finally, we came to the conclusion that even with a part of the lawn market moving to prêt, these customers not only wanted ready to wear, they also wanted easy to wear, which is when we hit upon the ‘wrinkle free’ fabric concept and much to our surprise, our technical team gave us the go-ahead. Prints were designed and production was completed, after which we turned our attention to the communication strategy.
Traditionally, Bonanza’s target audience are people over 30 years, however Satrangi was aimed at a younger generation and our communication had to have a young and hip feel and in order to pull this off we realised we had to find young creative people.