CMO Speak

CMO Speaks: Shailesh Chaturvedi, CEO, Tommy Hilfiger, India

Shailesh Chaturvedi is the executive director of Arvind Murjani Brands Pvt. Ltd. (AMBPL) and
chief executive officer of Tommy Hilfiger, India where he has managed to lead this brand
toward a recorded 40 per cent growth, despite the recession between 2008 and 2009. Under
Shailesh, the brand has entered new markets, explored different strategic alliances and
opportunities, resulting in 67 retail outlets across 22 cities, in a period of just five years.

A Bachelor of Engineering and an MBA from NM Institute of Management Studies, Bombay

Shailesh Chaturvedi is the executive director of Arvind Murjani Brands Pvt. Ltd. (AMBPL) and
chief executive officer of Tommy Hilfiger, India where he has managed to lead this brand
toward a recorded 40 per cent growth, despite the recession between 2008 and 2009. Under
Shailesh, the brand has entered new markets, explored different strategic alliances and
opportunities, resulting in 67 retail outlets across 22 cities, in a period of just five years.

A Bachelor of Engineering and an MBA from NM Institute of Management Studies, Bombay
(1992), Shailesh has been specialising in the business of premium international brands in India.
Before joining Tommy Hilfiger, Shailesh was the head of the Asia Pac Wholesale business of
Benetton PLC, Italy. In an exclusive interview with AlooTechie, Shailesh Chaturvedi shares how
Tommy Hilfiger plans to leverage the digital medium for brand building in India:

How does the digital medium – both internet and mobile figure in Tommy Hilfiger’s plans to
reach out to consumers?

Consumers have become very tech savvy these days! Right from kids to parents to even
grandparents, just about everyone is on the Internet or wants to be on the Internet. It’s very
important for a brand to go where its audience is, which is why we decided to take a plunge
into online marketing. With our digital and mobile initiatives, we plan to connect with our
consumers online!

Parents are increasingly becoming conscious of their purchase decisions. And as a brand, it’s
quite important for us to connect with them, engage with them to understand what they are
looking for and then cater to their needs. We want to strengthen their relationship with the
brand and in the process give them high quality fashion.

Which according to you have been some of the most exciting online campaigns that the
company has initiated for its brand so far?

We have only recently started with kicking off our presence in the social media space! With
the launch of our Facebook Fan Page (www.facebook.com/TommyHilfigerChildrenswearIndia)
and Twitter handle (www.twitter.com/tommykidsindia), we plan to explore the potential of
social media to engage better with our customers. We have a lot of interesting campaigns and
contests coming up that would encourage parents to check out Tommy Hilfiger collection and
build a better connect with the brand.

How do you see Tommy Hilfiger’s digital spends moving this year – in terms of growth and
focus?

We are extremely optimistic about the online space for Tommy Hilfiger and our spends and
focus will reflect that.

What answers do you seek from your digital advertising agencies and digital media partners
while promoting your brand on internet?

As I mentioned earlier, we are looking forward to our digital partners helping us create a bridge
between the brand and the consumer and open the floodgates of conversations. We wish to
study and evaluate the specific needs and wants of our consumers and then cater to them
effectively. More importantly we are looking at social media as a means to hold a meaningful
dialogue with our consumers.

What innovations would you as a brand, want from online publishers in the country?

Digital media is a very new medium for us. Till now we have only delved into traditional
print campaigns but with social media, we plan to explore newer ways of engaging with our
audiences and offering them a holistic Tommy Hilfiger experience.

How do you see the importance of social media for promoting your brand in India?

Given the percentage of Indians online, it had become impossible to ignore the power of social
media. For us, our customers are our driving force and we need to be everywhere they are
in order to connect with them far more effectively. Also, social media offers a much more
interactive form of communication that is missing from traditional media.

People are speaking about mobile being a great medium for brand communication, but still,
very less amounts are spent on the particular medium. What is your take on this?

Mobile is definitely showing some interesting possibilities in brand building and there are many
Indian brands that have done interesting work in the mobile space. Increasingly marketing
spends are being diverted to the digital space – both web and mobile and it is only going to
increase in the future.

Internet is said to be a measurable medium. What is your take on this? Have we overdone the
measurement quotient and made this medium hard to understand for the brand marketers?

Internet definitely offers you higher measurability than most other mediums. Given that it
is a relatively new medium, the spotlight would definitely be on it to prove its effectiveness
translating into higher rigour in measurement. Having said that, what is more important for a
marketer to look at over the numbers of hits, number of fans or followers, etc is the quality of
the conversation that is taking place.

How do you see more traditional advertisers like you embracing the digital medium now?

Well, like fans follow brands; brands have to follow their customers too! And there has been
a massive shift in terms of where our target audience is located. Earlier they used to read
newspapers and watch TV, and now they spending more time online. And that’s where brands
should be to connect with their audience.

Also, now that we’ve delved into the digital space, I feel it’s a great medium to engage with
customers and throws open multiple options for two way communication. With social media it
becomes easier to have a dialogue with your audiences and get feedback from them.

How do you see your marketing objectives aligning with what the online medium offers from
two years down the line?

People are only going to get more internet savvy in the coming months! And it would become
increasingly important to keep pace with the online innovations and we are likely to see a
greater merger happening between offline and online marketing endeavours to offer our
customers far more delight.

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