Tanishq’s Mia eyeing growth through expanded focus, digital: Bhavishya Kelappan

The Indian jewellery market has responded well to Mia from Tanishq since its inception. The brand created a niche for itself at launch, targeting working women. Today, Mia targets the young discerning Indian woman who expects a seamless shopping experience both online and offline. 

Mia has witnessed a healthy double digit growth y-o-y and has earmarked a significant amount of budget towards the growth of the brand, which includes product development, retail expansion and advertising and marketing efforts. 

Keeping in mind the customer shopping trends, Mia recently announced its partnership with Amazon, where customers can access over 350 styles of its jewellery. Given the growing ease of purchasing jewellery online, Mia has been using the omni-channel route to reach out to its customers – through its own website, as well as online marketplace players like Myntra, Tata Cliq, and Caratlane. 

Along with the growth in the online space, Mia is also eyeing expansion in the retail space, launching its first standalone store in Delhi market recently. More such stores are planned across the NCR, Gurgaon and Noida regions in the coming months. With Delhi, Mia now has 15 standalone stores across the country across different locations. The presence of Mia is largely at malls, where it has seen a better footfall. 

Going forward, Mia is looking at growth by creating more visibility, accessibility and creating more categories and occasions for the brand. Mia’s collections attempt to target women not only at her workplace, but also occasions, activities and hobbies that she pursues after work. 

Having joined Titan Industries Ltd in July 2017, Bhavishya Kelappan, Business Head, Mia by Tanishq, has been leading the brand’s growth in India in the last one year. In conversation with Adgully, Kelappan speaks at length about the factors driving Brand Mia’s growth, the branded jewellery market in India, the forthcoming repositioning of Mia, increasing focus on digital and much more. Excerpts: 

Brand Mia is eyeing a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore in the next 5-6 years, as per various media reports. What will be the growth drivers?
We look at three key levers when it comes to achieving aggressive growth of Rs 1,000 crore that you have read about. Firstly, we are looking at expansion in the retail space. That’s one big lever. Second is with the kind of merchandise that we bring under the Mia brand. Third is the new innovations that we are bringing in for our discerning customers who have great power of choice in their hands. 

How are you strategising to achieve this growth?
We are into a lot of innovation when it comes to product category and design. We are looking at retail operation excellence as the future is already digital, and we mean digital in the most literal sense as it’s very primary to the customer in the social media space. 

We are working on innovative ways to harness technology and utilising it to create better customer experience and retail operations. Our objective is to be more desirable and relevant to the consumers. 

How do you view the growth of the branded jewellery market in India? What have been the major developments in this market in the last 5-6 years?
I see a very bright future for branded jewellery in India. Tanishq’s growth has been a big marker of that success. The biggest growth drivers have been the steps that the government has been taking to regulate the jewellery industry, maybe not by making direct changes but through measures to regulate the economy such as demonetisation and GST, which help the branded jewellery players. 

As part of the Tata Group, we have taken these regulations very seriously and our customers are also seeing the impact. Hence, they want to come back to us and buy our jewellery as they know that we have and will continue to exist in the future. Especially, after cases like Nirav Modi, most of the customers are a bit nervous to buy jewellery from their neighbourhood jeweller. For us Indians, it is much more than just owing a piece of jewellery. 

How are you looking at e-commerce platforms to further grow Brand Mia? What percentage of your total sales comes from e-commerce channels?
It’s very pre-channel for us for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the fact that a lot of discovery happens online; when you are considering a brand, the first thing that you do is search for it online. Whether you buy or don’t buy at that point is irrelevant, but you are in that consideration level. Secondly, with the average price point for Mia being about Rs 12,500, it is very easy to commit that money and buy online. Last year, we were present only on titan.co.in, which is the official website, which will now become a brand website, that is, Mia by Tanishq. It did contribute to our business by over 1 per cent. We are currently available on Myntra, Amazon, and Tata Cliq and are also looking at other websites. We are planning to take the contribution to roughly about 6 per cent this year and hope to grow it through the next couple of years. 

Could you elaborate on the partnership with Amazon? How will it add to the reach of brand Mia?
Our partnership with Amazon is very recent, just a couple of months old. We are extremely excited about it and so is Amazon because the fine jewellery category has become a big focus on Amazon. Shopping on Amazon is quite convenient and not complicated at all, which adds to the buying experience of the consumer. Thus, we both as partners are trying to create some kind of magic for fine jewellery in the online space and are looking forward to associations and joint events together. As of now, all of it is in the planning stage, but you will soon see a lot of exciting stuff coming up. Our partnership with Amazon is long term in nature. 

What is Mia’s current positioning? How are you planning to grow the consumer base?
Earlier, Mia was sharply positioned as only work wear jewellery and we changed it from 14 carat to 18 carat in order to make the price point more attractive. While the designs were extremely trendy and cool, they were also small and minimalistic in nature because there was this whole dichotomy between work code and jewellery code. Mia wanted to bridge this gap, so it was more like having the feminine side and still wear it to work, matching the code of the work place and we were very sharply positioned in that space. However, eventually we realised that over the years even though we were sharply positioned in the work wear space, a lot of women were buying it because it’s a beautiful collection of jewellery which is affordable and could also be worn from desk to dinner. It was not only opted for by working women, but also the ones who didn’t work. 

Currently, the brand is going through a re-positioning; we have got into research and are widening our neck definitely. I can’t comment much right now as to where we are headed, but will be able to share more on our new positioning soon. The idea now is to target a larger set of women by appealing to different women with different needs and desires. Hence, we are hoping to put jewellery out there that appeals to all the facets of women. 

Mia’s communication has been about fighting prejudices against women. Could you take us through the advertising strategy to build the positioning for Mia and the statement that the brand wants to make?
Earlier, as we were sharply positioned in the work wear space, we basically took up advertising avatars talking about the biggest issues that women have felt over the years, but might not have been able to voice it. The first set of ad campaigns spoke about things like just because we work, it does not mean we are mad at work, our work is just beautiful as we are – this was because the code of work earlier was very masculine. 

The next set of advertisements was based on gender battle describing us as women who don’t care what people think about us, we just give the best to our work. Hence, it addressed gender biases and how women were overcoming them. 

Nowadays, things are so much better for working women – all of us work and the entire female capital that exists is so revered now and appreciated. The new positioning of Mia, which will be revealed shortly, will celebrate all these aspects. 

What is the YoY marketing spends for Brand Mia? Since you have an omni-channel strategy, how are you leveraging the different media platforms – TV, Print, OOH, Digital, etc.?
I cannot talk about the marketing spends. Since we are part of Tanishq, if the idea is good there is no budget issue. 

Coming to the media strategy, we will be focusing on mass media this year because of where the brand is when it comes to expansion and the overarching statement that we are going to make very strongly for the brand. We will also have a significant focus on the digital space – whether it is through our own content that we create or curated content. Right now we don’t have much there as we started this initiative only this year, but we are hoping that by the end of this financial year there will be enough content out there. Along with digital, there is also a lot of focus on creating awareness in malls and on-ground. We have a very local approach, where we will have hoardings and other outdoor advertising. 

What are your expansion plans in the retail space?
We are hoping to expand to around 25 stores this year, which will take us to a total of 40 stores by the end of FY2019. 

How do you propose to create more categories and occasions for the brand?
As a brand, I don’t think we want to get into a lot of body jewellery. We will stay within the regular jewellery category, but there will be a lot of product innovation – both in design and material. We recently came out with a new collection, called #BornToBeMe Birthstone bracelets. This range is an assortment of 12 bracelets, designed to include a buyer’s birthstone colour, zodiac sign and a constellation unique to them. Basically, we are trying to innovate within the category rather than creating a separate category.


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