Industry stalwarts and Directors of M&B Footwear Bhai Ajinder Singh & Inderdev Singh Musafir see twice the opportunity for footwear in India. As a result, the company’s brand iD has stepped into the future with MTV Roadies Extreme. The brand has done so to pave the way for functional and fashionable possibilities.

Inderdev Singh Musafir

M&B Footwear is a vertically integrated footwear manufacturing and distribution company, having in-depth experience of handling many national and international brands. The company started its operation in the year 1993, and it is amongst few Indian footwear companies to have achieved multi-fold growth in a short span of time. M&B has two state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities with an annual capacity to produce over 2 million high quality leather shoes and sandals. The core strength of the company lies in its vast sales and distribution network, because of its brands and products are available across 4,000 premium retails stores across India.

Bhai Ajinder Singh

Known as ‘first Indian Footwear Cult Fashion Brand’, iD is one of its flagship projects and it aims to create unique and exciting stylised products. While some may look at skipping rungs on their ascent to the apex of the business ladder, Musafir has always wanted to learn from each step and be fully prepared by the time he completed the climb. That meant absorbing everything those at the top could teach him. He acknowledges that at M&B footwear he has access to one of the finest business leaders in the world, Bhaiji Ajinder Singh. He shares his views with S&A’s Amit Chopra on a wide range of issues, including iD’s future plans.

What advantage would you gain by associating with MTV Roadies?

MTV Roadies is a youth-based popular reality television show on MTV India Channel. The show was first aired in 2003 and has gone through different phases. Roadies Xtreme is the latest version to be aired in 2018. In the show, a group of contestants travel to different destinations and participate in various tasks that seemingly challenge their physical and mental strength. During the course of the journey, there are vote outs, vote ins, eliminations and game changing twists. Eventually the contestant who manages to survive vote outs and succeed in the final task is chosen as the winner. The show has enjoyed much success among the youth. There is a natural alignment of iD brand with Roadies or you can say both complement each other in terms of TG (target group) and attitude. Roadies is amongst few reality shows which has a huge viewership across all digital platforms. Today in India, more than 8 million youngsters follow Roadies on social and digital platforms and these youngsters are common TG with the iD brand. These youngsters have a different approach towards today’s life. They like to cross conventional boundaries, which is a core and common value between iD and Roadies, therefore Roadies gives a direct connect to iD brands core consumer.

Who would be a typical consumer for this brand?

The core consumer group of iD falls between age group 18-25 years who are college-goers and young professionals, who have a knack to do things differently, go beyond conventional boundaries, follow new fashion trends, love music and participate in off-beat events.

How do you see your brand being positioned today in the Indian market?
iD is positioned as a “CULT” brand, and has a unique following amongst the youth. Every product is distinct compared to what is available today in the cluttered footwear market. Special surface treatments on leather, investment on exclusive moulds and dies make it authentic within its segment.

What strategies have you adopted to expand your presence in the country?

iD shoes are available both online and offline channel of sales, which include all big departmental stores, footwear-specialised stores and premium footwear stores. As per the current market response and the kind of marketing activities, we have aligned for the coming season. We are looking at getting into an aggressive distribution strategy across India.

How would you strategize your digital initiatives to gain brand visibility?

We are already investing heavily on ATL and BTL activities to increase brand awareness. Digital marketing is a focus medium of advertising for us largely due to changes in consumer behaviour. The youth of today is spending a good amount of time on smartphones and internet to keep themselves up-to-date with current trends, and actively participate in voicing their opinion on social media even if it is rebellious, and these are the core customers of the ID brand. The brand is very active on all digital and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Within a short span of one-and-a-half-year ID has more than 3,00,000 followers on its Facebook page, which is a testimony of its brand liking amongst youth.

Similar to MTV Roadies, we have plans to align the ID brand with other such marketing activities/integrations on TV and Social/ Digital platforms. ID’s new TVC is already running on MTV and other Viacom and Social Media channels to promote the brand, and this will continue till December 2018.

In what regions of the country do you see more growth? And what’s your growth projection?

Currently iD Footwear is available across 300 stores which include all major modern retails chains and key account stores such as Metro, Lifestyle, Central, Shoppers Stop and selective regional chain stores and MBOs. Starting with Southern and Western parts of India covering Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra, we plan to expand the iD footprint to the other markets of India within this year. It is tough to forecast as to which region will contribute more on numbers, though the south market has shown some very encouraging numbers. We are targeting exponential growth in the coming 3 years as currently iD shoes are only available in selective zones and we have yet to cover the major markets of India.

What would be the retail marketing strategy in the coming years?

Work is on for expanding the iD brand portfolio into apparels and accessories such as belts, socks, wallets, bag-packs etc. Hunt is on for suitable channel partners to build the iD brand across all fashion product categories. By the 2020 we are targeting to open a minimum of 50 standalone ID flagship stores across all major cities of India. These stores will be a showcase of iD’s DNA and in turn will facilitate the launch of the India’s first Cult Fashion brand in other international markets.

You must have surveyed the Indian market for a better understating. According to you what would be really high sales density factors in India?

As per our understanding and learning from the past two decades, we have come to the conclusion that every region within India has its distinguished preferences and demand, and if we can align ourselves to this, there is a huge sales potential in each segment.

Could you share with the readers the most exciting thing happening at your brand?

The DNA of the iD brand is about finding one’s own Identity. Our endeavour is to connect with the Youth of India through the CULT Fashion that we have to offer, which will help them in Celebrating their own iD.

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