Zivame’s Khatija Lokhandwala on marketing lingerie and addressing taboos

Pranali Tawte
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Khatija Lokhandwala

Khatija Lokhandwala of Zivame shares how the brand addresses the taboos around women's innerwear and aligns its marketing with the shift in consumer behavior. She shares the three E's of their marketing strategy.

Intimate wear brand Zivame, which has been encouraging women to not treat lingerie as something to be spoken about in whispers. Khatija Lokhandwala, Head of Marketing, Zivame, told Social Samosa that the brand's communication centers around three Es in their marketing strategy - education, empathy, and entertainment.

Zivame's campaigns focus on educating consumers about finding the right fit. They use technology to help women determine their correct size and provide solutions tailored to different body types. By showcasing Indian women, who are not professional models, facing problems with their intimate wear, the brand aims to establish relatability and promote the idea that finding the right fit doesn't have to be a struggle.

A decade ago, the lingerie category in India seemingly had an overtly sexual tone. Globally lingerie brands have also been accused of sexualising and objectifying women. According to Lokhandwala, when Zivame launched, it wanted to focus on functionality and education. 

"We generally don't do glamour shots or provocative shots, don't show women in a sexualised manner. We show real, relatable Indian women who are struggling with real problems when it comes to intimate wear," said Lokhandwala.

And that's how their first pillar of marketing, education, was built. 

Second, comes empathy, which also plays a crucial role in Zivame's marketing strategy. Navigating the lingerie category can be overwhelming, especially for consumers in smaller towns or less urban areas. This is why Zivame positions itself as a friendly guide, offering support and options without judgment. They aim to assist consumers in making choices that suit their preferences and body types.

While addressing taboos and connecting with the audience, Zivame also tries to have fun along the way. Entertainment is another key aspect of Zivame's social media engagement. Lokhandwala explained that while addressing the sensitivities of the category, the brand ensures that they don't take themselves too seriously. They infuse their content with a pinch of humor and quirkiness, making it engaging and relatable.

"We are not the 'ha-ha' funny that you may see other brands do on social media, but we definitely have this touch of quirk on most of the things that we do so that the consumers are constantly entertained and engaged in this sensitive category," said she.

The category's advertising approach has also shifted, taking a more informative approach. The lingerie category was valued at US$ 4.4 Billion in 2022 and is further expected to reach US$ 8.2 Billion by 2028.

Strategy Behind Social Media

The three Es are also seen on social media. With 188K subscribers on YouTube and 425K followers on Instagram, Zivame employs a mix of content types to keep their social media presence engaging and varied.

Myth vs Fact

Through this educative approach, Zivame’s Myth vs. Fact post series debunks common myths and misconceptions related to lingerie and intimate wear. The brand addresses myths about bra sizing, bust support, fabric choices, body image, and more.

Did you know?

The brand makes informative posts and videos to help and enlighten its audience about lingerie. These videos aim to clear misunderstandings about bra sizing and offer tips on measuring, fitting, and selecting the right lingerie for different body types.

Contests and Giveaways

Based on driving engagement and establishing a better connection with the audience, this approach sees Zivame running contests to encourage user participation, generate buzz, and reward customers. This involves creative challenges, giveaways, and promotional offers to their social media followers.

Influencer Marketing

In addition to these strategies, Zivame leverages influencer marketing to normalize conversations about the category to further educate the audience. 

"Influencer Marketing is definitely one of the pillars for us." mentioned Lokhandwala.

She explained that by collaborating with influencers who discuss intimate wear openly, Zivame helps remove the stigma and encourages consumers to feel comfortable discussing their needs and preferences.

She further added, “When this category is being spoken about by an influencer who people look up to, when that person is talking about this category – somehow in the minds of the consumers, it normalizes the conversation.”

Content Marketing

Lokhandwala also explained that through their content marketing initiatives, Zivame encourages conversations about intimate wear and addresses common concerns, sparking discussions that help break down barriers. The brand aims to remove the taboos and discomfort associated with it. The brand’s blog gives them a platform to have an open conversation with women.

"We have used content marketing very effectively to encourage conversations in this category" she mentioned.

In the past, Zivame has collaborated with stand-up comedians to create a branded content series that humorously addressed topics typically considered embarrassing for women. The idea was to package this content in a relatable and humorous manner. 

The brand has also introduced a show called "Unhooked" where women share their experiences by showcasing how the right intimate wear could boost confidence and enhance external appearance. This brand IP revolved around creating engaging content that resonated with consumers.

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Wear Your Confidence

The brand’s focus on the curvier segment aims to provide a variety of sizes and styles for women who have traditionally been underserved in the lingerie industry.

“The curvier women would not find products which were for their size and also did not have the kind of variety for them to choose from. That was a need gap that we identified,” said Lokhandwala.

Zivame has recently launched a campaign centered around body positivity and inclusivity. Lokhandwala explained that the campaign aims to address the existing gaps in the market and promote a wide range of products designed to cater to the needs of Indian women. 

The campaign features a woman who navigates various everyday scenarios with ease, calling out instances where society overlooks the diversity of women's bodies.

As per Lokhandwala, the response to the campaign has been positive and viewers appreciate the portrayal of a curvy woman without resorting to self-deprecating humor. 

“We were very conscious that we wanted to not showcase self-deprecating humor and, hence every situation and the dialogues said are just laughing at the world and laughing at their lack of inclusivity and, and sensitivity,” said Lokhandwala.

To reach its target audience, Zivame is primarily leveraging digital platforms and social media. Lokhandwala explained that the brand recognizes the importance of choosing the right channels for each campaign based on its objectives and by investing strategically in advertising Zivame aims to lead conversations about body positivity and inclusivity.

Challenges in the lingerie industry

Apart from helping consumers find the right size and addressing stigma, another challenge lies in penetrating tier-two and tier-three markets. She explained that while there has been a mindset shift in urban areas regarding the acceptance and understanding of intimate wear, it is essential to extend this shift to smaller cities and towns. Zivame aims to create awareness and make consumers in these markets feel more comfortable and involved in the purchase decisions related to intimate wear.

Furthermore, the industry is dynamic and ever-evolving, with consumer preferences and trends constantly changing. Zivame faces the challenge of staying ahead of these trends and continuously innovating to meet the evolving needs and demands of consumers. This involves keeping a pulse on the latest fashion, styles, and technology, as well as staying informed about emerging categories like loungewear and activewear.

Speaking about the shift, she said, “It used to be that the mom would buy for the daughter but right now the roles have reversed where the daughter now has a lot more access to information and is therefore helping the older generation find out what's right for them.”

Lokhandwala explained the brand ethos and the initiatives that Zivame is going to continue to drive in the coming years as well.

She said, “It is to ensure that the consumers always have a platform that is inclusive and personalized so that she's able to discover whatever is right for her, whether it is on a digital platform, whether it is in a store, we're going to make sure that we help every woman find out what's right for her.”

As per, eCommerceDB, a statista partner, Zivame’s global net sales of 2022 stood at US$191.6m. Zivame follows an omni-channel approach, with 80% of sales happening online and 20% offline. They aim to be available wherever consumers prefer to shop, both online and offline, with a network of 160 exclusive stores and availability in over 5000 multi-brand outlets.

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