Barun Prabhakar digs deep into Liberty Shoes' marketing strategy

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Barun Prabhakar

Barun Prabhakar, Head of Marketing and Creative strategy, Liberty Shoes gives insights on the brand's latest campaign. He shares how they plan on shifting offline customers to their online platform while talking to Social Samosa.

Liberty Shoes recently roped in Ayushmann Khurrana and Rakul Preet Singh as brand ambassadors for its athleisure brand LEAP7X. The brand's latest advertising campaign with the celebrities, "Sitaare Aise Hi Nahi Bante Mehnat Karni Padti Hai AM To PM," emphasizes the importance of maintaining tenacity on a daily basis in order to realise one's goals.

Talking about festive marketing and the importance of mall activations in this digital age Barun Prabhakar, Marketing Head, Liberty Shoes gives insights on the campaign and the overall marketing strategy for the brand, in a brief conversation with Social Samosa.

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Edited Excerpts:

As a footwear brand, what does your festive marketing blueprint look like? Which medium will be receiving the biggest pie of share?

We started out festivities in terms of marketing this year a little early, looking at the positive market vibes. Apart from the ATL activities, We shall extend our marketing activities around the festivals through BTL and Digital activations.

Having 450+ retail stores and 100+ MBOs active in the pan India, our major share will be dedicated towards the offline stores largely.

With consumers now stepping out again like before, what are you doing to drive footfalls to the stores? 

I think it's been quite a time now since we have been seeing the normal market trends as pre-covid. Look out at the shopping malls, and high streets, it's even more lively compared to the gone years. People are happy, their way to look at their lives has changed, and their will to spend on travel and fashion has increased grossly.

We have created quite a sensation with our recent campaign with Ayushmann and Rakul. The campaign has been noticed really well through, all leading newspaper advertisements, TV ads, Cinemas across the country and everyone’s easiest accessed medium ‘social media’. Its results are pretty noticeable at the stores, we are getting great footfalls, and conversions have improved. The impact is quite tangible. 

From a Fashion & Apparel perspective, how beneficial are mall activations in this day & age? How are you targeting the mall rats this year? 

Honestly, we are not spending much effort on mall activations, rather keeping our stores nicely VM ready, sorting the displays more apt to the customer's preferences, having great variety at the stores in terms of price points, having smartly differentiated from the ones which are in the high street, considering the ‘Mall’s own customer profiling’.

I believe if you have taken care of these basic but ‘to the point’ steps, you have the battle in your favour.

Liberty Shoes has a strong network of offline stores, known well in their areas. How do you plan to translate this consumer’s awareness online? 

We have a huge offline customer database and we have been very active with our CRM approach, we are successfully delivering a hybrid experience to some of our locations, apart from we keep sharing our latest/festive/regional curated digital catalogues through WhatsApp commerce to our customers, and we are noticing good traction. 

How do you think the consumer has changed from the pre-pandemic times? What are some of the consumer consumption trends seen in the footwear industry?

There is no doubt about the ‘mind shift’, which has happened post-pandemic. I see this shift for good change, digital content consumption has spiked, and to be précised, good content is being appreciated. You must have noticed the kind of ‘communications’ we have been doing in recent years. ‘Story Telling’ has been the key, we have adopted this method in all the mediums of communication, be it our advertisements, product designs or packaging.

The footwear industry is evolving at a great stance, the great shift happening around the making of footwear, the materials being used in footwear, and how generous the manufacturers/brands are towards nature, is been the topic of discussion.

Gone were the days when only having ‘Big-Names’ on board was enough, now the consumers are evolved, they see the relevance, and we have been very selective and cautious about being relevant to our consumers in terms of our products, pricing, communications etc.

What was the idea behind roping in Bollywood celebrities as the face of the brand? Please take us through the insights & highlight how this association has helped the brand? 

As I quoted in my previous answer, ‘being relevant’, has been the key to our all communications. Our athleisure brand ‘Leap7x’ has a very ‘raw and original’ persona. It belongs to the larger set of young India, who hustle day and night to reach closer to their dreams inch by inch.

We needed names which are beyond the tag of being ‘celebrities’. Ayushmann and Rakul, whose journey is well known to us, have been the perfect fit for the campaign we curated “sitaare aise hi nahi bante, Mehnat karni padti hai, Am to Pm”.

Where does influencer marketing lie in the marketing funnel, for the brand? 

As a marketer, what is your opinion on the influencers vs celebrity ambassadors debate? 

The purpose is to break the clutter, reach out to your consumers and be heard. Totally depends on the kind of content we create. I believe we all bet on influencers, sometimes these influencers are celebrities. 

As someone who has been a part of both designing footwear & now marketing, what are some of your learnings from designing that you'd like to apply to your marketing plan? 

The story is communicated better when you know the product, and that’s where it helps. 

The biggest learning I would say, you have to be authentic, the statements you put into your designs, that has to be functional. Statements you make in your beautifully shot ads have to be true. We put a lot of effort into this.

3 retail marketing trends you foresee in 2023

I believe the way we are evolving and the kind of speed we are depending on our digital habits, the ‘Hybrid model’, and ‘Social commerce’ will certainly come stronger in the coming times.

People are now more conscious about the environment, and ‘sustainable’ as a category should be a priority in the coming times.

marketing strategy insights Liberty Shoes