The popular socks brand Bonjour, which has been the official licensee for Asia’s top property Doraemon along with Barbie, Hello Kitty and Ben 10 has been gearing up for bigger business through licensing as it launches Hot Wheels collection of socks. Along with introducing several innovative categories -- loafers socks, Diabetic/sensitive skin socks -- under the brand name, R.K. Jain - the Managing Director of Bonjour reveals the mantra behind its success i.e. to create a well-balanced mix of brands, while ensuring that none overlaps the other. The enigma of licensing Asserting that licensing is a great way to market your products, Jain shared that at the moment, company is primarily addressing kids with licensed properties as Barbie, Hello Kitty, Doraemon, Hot Wheels and Ben 10. Riding high on success, Bonjour aims to get larger brand licenses on board in categories like sports and lifestyle where it can create an entire vertical of licensed products. The success mantra of Bonjour lies in its strategy that is to take the characters that do not overlap other character’s sales. All the properties with the brand are for a per-defined set of consumers -- Hello kitty is a character for girls and even ladies, whereas Barbie is a character which grows up with the girl right from the age of 3. Doraemon is a brand for kids up to 6 or 7 years of age. “We adjust a brand’s licensing in such a way that minimum overlap happens. The whole idea is to create product line that exists in similar but not same space” claims Jain. Answering on the tussle between Indian brands and international brands, Jain said that most attributes and aspirations of Indian consumer are towards foreign brands, credits to exposure to global market. If you talk about ground reality, acceptance of foreign brands is much better than any Indian brand. For instance Nike is much more extractable than any of the Indian sports brands. Marketing strategies It is not so usual to spot a standalone brand store specializing in socks, but Bonjour has defied the trend by setting up its 12th outlet, while equally emphasizing on eCommerce. Jain told that the brand is going on marketplaces and they have a warehouse for online orders from where they manage and control all the orders. “On the marketing front, we have been aggressively doing promotions on online; we are opening more retail outlets and aiming deeper penetrations within different Tiers,” said the MD while briefing that 25 years ago, people were hesitant to spend more than 12 bucks for socks but now one easily shells out Rs 200 for a pair of socks because everyone wants to buy best product. Constructive outlook The market is growing steadily and we geared up for bigger businesses, said Jain while talking about the immense potential this category holds. Comparing socks to mobile phones, he said that in both cases the basic specifications are static and customers are not as bothered about touch-and-feel as they are while buying apparel and all that matters is comparative price. There are a few staple products which will mainly be sold online, because online sketch a better price. Reckoning upon this trend, Jain fathom that in years to come, 30 per cent of his business will happen online. Also, he is hopeful that socks as a category online will grow up to 20 to 30 percent which at present counts to only 1 per cent of the total share. The customer is graduating as the customer who used to buy product worth Rs 50 some 3 years ago is ready to shell out 100 bucks. Plus the increasing disposal income has added to the buying behavior and aspiration leading to a significant growth in this segment.
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