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Infusing culture in footwear marketing: Metro Brands’ Deepika Deepti on reaching diverse demographics

Celebrations call for a makeover and increased shopping and brands, especially retailers, tend to play on this increased consumer demand through celebrities and their glamourous looks, putting the outfits in the limelight. Metro Shoes, however, took a different approach, taking the consumers on a journey through the eyes of a normal couple. 

An inter-faith and inter-continental couple enjoying Durga Pujo in Bengal, show the journey of the married couple compromising as they learn each other’s cultures and get accustomed to their new lives. 

 

 

Titled ‘Takes You To The New’, the campaign aimed to pay tribute to the spirit of togetherness, love, and timeless connections. 

Metro Shoes falls under the house of the retail footwear company, Metro Brands, where storytelling has played an important role in the company’s marketing.

For the unacquainted, Metro Shoes falls under the house of the retail footwear company, Metro Brands, where storytelling has played an important role in the company’s marketing.

This diverse mix of brands has seen the company blending Indian heritage with global voice, says Deepika Deepti, Sr. Vice President, Marketing, Metro Brands Ltd.

Each of these brands has its own voice as they cater to different demographics, while the parent company builds a ‘cultural positioning’ for each of its arms, on four pillars of community, culture, brand, and product service, continues Deepti. 

Consumer-centric Approach 

Sharing how the marketing for all the brands is approached, Deepti mentions, “Recognising the power of storytelling, we aim to engage consumers on multiple levels and strive to cater to the entire shoe wardrobe of our consumers. Our culture-first marketing orchestrated through a digital-first approach ensures that we connect with the modern Indian consumer wherever they are.”

The festive season isn’t the end for India’s marketing blitz as the country observes another round of consumer demands during the wedding and the holiday season. This is why keeping culture at the forefront of marketing is of utmost importance.

Deepti expects the ongoing wedding and holiday season to outshine the last, as the company plans to apply strategic measures like proactive inventory management to cater to the expected surge in demand in the upcoming months.  

She further notes, “In contrast to the previous year’s pent-up demand due to the pandemic, consumers are increasingly diversifying their discretionary spending, including experiences such as air travel, dining out, and vacations.”

Keeping up with this trend, the retail company communicates through a customer-centric approach aimed at reaching varied audiences through different situations.

For example, one of its brands, Mochi, caters to the youth for their varied needs and special occasions. This is why influencer partnerships have been prominent for them. For the festive season, influencers engage the audience through curated festive looks.

 

 

Beyond that, Mochi has kept the youth on its toes by encouraging them to show off their dance moves as part of a contest for a workshop that teaches Bachata. It has also kept up with the trends in pop culture and curated Barbie-inspired looks on its social media. 

 

 

Likewise, catering to consumers’ holiday needs, Metro Shoes has partnered with several influencers to introduce its collection that can be worn on a holiday retreat or adventures.

 

 

For the wedding season, the company is taking an omnichannel presence, spanning Exclusive Brand Outlets (EBOs), Multi Brand Outlets (MBOs), and e-commerce platforms.

Recently, Metro Shoes joined hands with Geisha Designs to showcase the Maristella collection, at the Lakme Fashion Week.

 

 

Talking about the larger objective behind the entire portfolio’s marketing strategy, Deepti shares, “Metro Brands’ marketing initiatives revolve around predominant themes that highlight the brand’s deep-rooted connection with its consumers across different generations.” 

She elaborates that these initiatives convey key messages and narratives that highlight the brand’s impact on its customers’ life journeys for all occasions.

Its campaign for the international brand Fitflop called ‘For People Who Move’ celebrate those who redefine success at every step of their journey.

Featuring personalities like actor Akhil Akkineni, celebrity wellness expert Anshuka Parwani, Editor-in-Chief Nandini Bhalla, celebrity wedding photographer Joseph Radhik, and start-up founder Vedant Lamba, the campaign shared stories of their journey and the work it took behind the scenes to become the people they are today.

 

 

Another international brand Fila launched its campaign titled ‘Numbers are just Numbers without Love’ for the brand’s 50th anniversary featuring a line-up of Fila ambassadors both past and present. 

The brand’s focus is on athleisure and this campaign aimed to instill the passion that has fueled its journey while inspiring consumers to do more of what they love, to go beyond achievements and let passion move them.

 

 

Creating Experiences

While the brand has a larger digital-first approach towards marketing, providing an omnichannel experience, especially in its retail stores has been key to their strategy. The company has over 586 stores spanning 134 cities in India.

“Our campaigns are designed for multi-platform engagement, ensuring that they reach our audience wherever they are – be it social media, TV, print, or in-store displays,” highlights Deepti.

Metro Brands utilises a mix of retail formats, including standalone stores, shop-in-shops, and e-commerce platforms, to make their products accessible to a wider international audience. These physical and digital channels are strategically placed in high-traffic areas.

Deepti divulges that they have strategically placed digital screens within stores presenting product stories. This content is tailored in real-time, providing a personalised touch to their consumer engagement.

It launched the foot wellness awareness campaign #CarewithBiofoot at its flagship experiential store in Colaba, Mumbai that included a specialised masterclass by Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. George Ampat. 

The three-day campaign aimed to encourage consumers to understand the health of their feet and how best-suited orthotic/footwear solutions can improve the overall quality of our lives. 

 

 

“Our retail strategy is intricately designed to provide a superior in-store experience to our customers while tapping into the growing potential of New India, particularly in tier II-III cities,” she says.

Further, technology plays a vital role in connecting with customers as they embrace the power of digital in their omnichannel model. 

“We leverage innovative tools like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and AI-driven personalization to create immersive and interactive experiences,” continues Deepti.

In the fiscal year, the company’s e-commerce sales, including omnichannel sales, reached INR 162 crore, demonstrating a year-on-year growth of 48%, as per Deepti.

Expected Marketing Trends

In the future, marketing is set to observe fast-shifting trends. Deepti foresees voice-activated tech such as smart speakers to be on the rise. 

“In 2024, businesses need to optimise content for voice searches. Brands are also realizing the impact of connecting with people through cultural events, for example, the 2024 Olympics. It’s not just about selling – it’s about celebrating local and global cultures, using art and stories to make lasting impressions.”

Further, AI and Automation are set to take precedence. From chatbots offering instant consumer support to algorithms customising recommendations, AI is seamlessly integrated into marketing strategies, mentions Deepti. 

She believes that Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) bring immersive experiences to life, supporting interactive product demonstrations, experiential virtual showrooms, and innovative storytelling.

In this way, Metro Brands, with a range of brands falling under its umbrella, has been implementing storytelling into its omnichannel model to provide a seamless experience to its consumers while catering to different demographics.

 

Source: Social Samosa

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