Karthik Yathindra speaks to Social Samosa about how a performance-centric approach helped the brand in attaining the marketing and business objectives during the pandemic.
In conversation, Karthik Yathindra, Associate Vice President – Marketing and Product Management’, Jockey India speaks at length about the marketing initiatives, key campaigns, and social media strategy during the pandemic, highlighting how the brand worked towards recovery from the hit felt at the beginning of the lockdown.
How has the pandemic impacted the sales and operations at Jockey India? What were the consumer behavioral trends seen in the category?
For a brand with a huge presence in offline brick and mortar, the lockdowns had an immediate effect on sales. However, post-lockdown we experienced a much faster recovery than anticipated in 2020-21.
With regards to consumer purchase patterns, there was a clear shift in what, where, and how shopping happened. We saw a surge in demand for product categories including Sleepwear, Loungewear, Athleisure, and Activewear that are perfectly suited for the ‘Stay at home’ and ‘Work from home’ scenario.
Our Ecommerce business that contributed to about 3% of our overall business pre-COVID is now at about 8%.
There was also a change in how consumers shopped. We observed bulk purchases immediately after the pandemic with higher basket size and higher ticket size. I guess this was to do with consumers shopping for the entire family in one go and trying to avoid stepping out frequently.
It has been a year of challenges and opportunities. How were Jockey’s marketing initiatives shaped differently during the period?
While the challenges were unprecedented, opportunities came along as well. While we did lose out in the short run affecting sales for a quarter, I feel Jockey has gained a lot as a business during the pandemic in line with its long-term objectives and goals.
We’ve consistently invested in building the brand Jockey in India for over 25 years now. Last year, we took a slightly different approach towards marketing Jockey. We paused our pure brand-enhancing content and concentrated on product showcase with a view to delivering traffic/walk-ins and conversion.
The approach was performance-heavy and hardworking which gave us the desired business results.
What were the key campaigns initiated and what does the communication strategy for the year look like?
We conceptualized and executed about 5 to 6 key marketing campaigns through last year.
The worst impacted by the lockdown were kids who were forced to stay at home all through the summer. Through our Jockey Juniors sub-brand, we launched the #JockeyJuniorsSummerLabs campaign targeted at kids. The campaign was our take on a virtual summer camp engaging kids in various fun activities from origami to beatboxing, dancing to cooking and calligraphy to pottery all through the lock-down period and thereby also helped in providing the much-needed me—time for parents.
The other campaign that I enjoyed was #RoundTheClock which positioned Jockey Loungewear and Athleisure products as perfectly suited for 24X7 comfort while our stay at home during the lockdown. During the later part of the year, this campaign extended itself to #InMyJockey with a simple message that with everything all of us had to go through during the last year, the one thing we all thoroughly enjoyed was not getting into that denim, or formal work clothes staying all day ‘In My Jockey’.
This year, we continue to invest in the brand with equal importance and weightage to product showcase and brand building.
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What was the impact of the campaigns on the sales and operations at Jockey India?
In all our marketing campaigns we attempt to present content that is highly engaging with our TG. While this is a given, last year we layered this with specific business objectives to drive traffic and conversions. All our marketing spends last year was meant to have a direct impact on sales. This was achieved through in-store marketing in the offline space and performance digital marketing for eCommerce.
What kind of TG does Jockey cater to do and the kind of efforts aggravated towards millennial attention?
As a brand Jockey caters to a fairly wide audience in terms of its product offering. We have products suitable for kids starting 4 years going right up to adults who are 60+ yrs.
But when it comes to marketing, the TG we go after is narrower to keep the communication sharp and focused. When we create content, we conceptualize and design to appeal to a bulls-eye 23-year-old, Urban, Mid-Premium. When it comes to media and targeting, we go a bit wider and extend the age bracket to 20-35 years. So, Millennials form the core of our target audience today.
However, we should realize that we have been using the word ‘Millennial’ for over a decade now. Millennials or Gen Y are today between 25 to 40 years already hitting the ceiling of our TG as we define it and Gen Z is making an entry to become a part of our TG – if not today, certainly in the very near future.
How do you leverage social media platforms? Please share about Jockey India’s social media strategy
Social media has always been an integral part of our media mix. About 8% to 10% of our media budgets have been invested in social media for the last 7 to 8 years now.
Our presence on social media was built as a community marketing effort to provide an opportunity for our followers to live and experience the brand. We have healthy followership of over a million across the different social media platforms today.
Our strategy continues to be to provide engaging content and have meaningful conversations. In the last couple of years, we have also taken to this platform to reach potential consumers and drive traffic to our stores. These platforms give us the opportunity to micro-target consumers for specific products and also to showcase smaller categories that usually don’t get the spotlight in traditional mediums.
With influencer marketing gaining proficiency in every marketer’s guide, what is Jockey India’s take on the same? How has it helped the brand?
We don’t have a set pattern or approach to all campaigns. The business and brand objectives dictate our approach campaign to campaign. That being the case, I wouldn’t say that influencer marketing is a core ingredient of all our campaigns. We have taken this route in the past in select campaigns to achieve specific objectives.
In my mind, influencer marketing works best for us when there is very high relevance between the product and the influencer especially when we are looking to promote lesser-known categories or products to achieve high awareness in a quick time.
Tier 2,3 seem to be significant for the industry. What would Jockey’s regional marketing strategy be at the moment? The target regions for the near future?
We have a significant play in the Metros, Tier 1, and Tier 2 markets today. Post the pandemic, we have observed a wide migration of population from Metros and Tier 1 cities to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. We will be focusing our efforts towards expanding to Tier 3 cities in the future.
We understand that the awareness and aspiration for the brand are already strong in the Tier 3 markets. Our efforts will hence be towards furthering our presence here through distribution. With regards to marketing, we may not go the regional content route. We would look to keep our communication simple yet effective and address these markets through our media choices.
What does the marketing mix for 2021 look like for the brand and the budget allocated?
Our marketing investments have always been between 4% to 5% of our revenues. We will see investments around that number this year as well.
With a strong brick-and-mortar presence, a large portion of our budget goes towards trade and retail marketing to ensure an in-store presence for the brand. With regards to media, this year we will see investments in TV, Outdoor, Social and Digital.