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BY PRANAB JYOTI BHUYAN

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Q] What are the Insights into your latest campaign, ‘Neo Casuals for Neo Leaders’?
We have been selling Hush Puppies shoes in India for over two decades now. Hush Puppies was largely a preferred choice of corporate customers, however, over the past two to three years, we have observed that the leaders are evolving in terms of their working style. Now they are listening more to their team members rather than being directive. Instead of being very formal and uptight, they are now being accommodating. There’s an overall change in their outfit too. The casual dresses have become much more acceptable. The leaders have now understood that wearing something casual does not mean being casual in outlook. So, they want their team members to feel comfortable.

Q] Hush Puppies is a standalone global brand that Bata has been exclusively manufacturing, selling and marketing in India for a long time. How has that contributed to Bata’s growth?
Bata is a diverse footwear brand and we have been in India for over 90 years. We are the most loved brand in our category, and we bring in designs and styles from across the world. Hush Puppies is one of the 20 brands that we sell in India, and can be found in 80-90% of Bata stores. As far as the other brands (under Bata) are concerned, we have Power for sports, North Star for college, Weinbrenner for outdoors, etc. As for how that has contributed to Bata’s growth, when people walk into a Bata store they can pick footwear for different purposes.

Q] Bata is a very popular brand in India among the middle-aged and elderly people. How are you trying to popularize it among the younger generations?
When we first started our brand transformation journey, we created a communication platform called Surprisingly Bata with three to four interventions. The first one was to modernize our stores and hence we started rolling out red concept stores. These are premium, spacious, and much more inviting. We display products there in full glory and customers can see the colours of the shoes properly. Second, we started opening stores which are bigger and better. Unlike the smaller stores we had earlier, 800-1000 square feet, today we have stores in malls and even on high streets, where the average area is 2000 square feet. In such stores each brand gets a sufficient space for display. A part of this expansion strategy is to also look at smaller towns where the population is 50,000 to 3 lakh. Here we are going via the franchise route, and today we have over 300 franchise partners.
At the same time, we started offering more fashionable, casual shoes and sneakers in our portfolio. We also got two Bollywood actors, Karthik Aaryan and Disha Patani on board, and this has actually helped us change the imagery and made the brand younger. We can measure the age of the consumers from what they buy, and we have observed that Bata as a brand has actually become 15%-20% younger over the past four years.

ABOUT THE BRAND
A 90-year-old brand, Bata has redefined the modern footwear industry in India. It has established a leadership position in the industry and is one of the most-trusted names in branded footwear. It sells more than 47 million pairs of footwear every year and serves 120,000-plus customers almost every day.

FACTS
Creative agency: Contract
Media agency: Dentsu
BTL agency: NA
Digital agency: Korra
PR agency: Adfactors

PROFILE
Anand Narang, VP-Marketing and Consumer Experience at Bata India Limited has over 25 years of experience across global, regional and country roles in start-ups and MNCs in consumer goods, e-commerce, retail and services sectors. He has been at the helm of marketing operations at Bata India Limited since June, 2016.

Q] What percentage of your sales is coming from e-Commerce now? How has it increased over the past two years?
Pre-Covid, 4-5% of our sales would come from e-Commerce, and now it’s around 15%. Sales in e-Commerce is happening in multiple ways. First is our sales from Bata.in. Second is through our presence on online marketplaces such as Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Ajio, among others. The third is our home delivery system, where if you have not found your size at the store, our people will digitally take your order and deliver it. We also have Bata WhatsApp, an easy to use one-stop-shop, keeping the consumers’ comfort in mind.

Q] Can you please give an idea about your marketing mix?
We actually do 360 degree campaigns and it’s a combination of TV, Digital, OTT, Print, influencers, PR among others. Our Digital spends have increased over the past three to four years. Depending on the month, our Digital spends vary between 25-30%.

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