Rhiti Sports Management, a sports marketing and celebrity management firm that represents Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, has launched an active lifestyle brand called Seven. Dhoni will be the global brand ambassador for the brand that will come out with sports and leisure-wear apparel and footwear. Dhoni will have a licencing agreement with the company. As far as the brand name is concerned, millions of people consider the number seven influential in their lives, says Devtosh Jha, Director, RS Seven Lifestyle (P) Ltd, in an interaction with S&A.
Motivation and concept
While there are several international brands that are available in the Indian market, we realised that there is not a single active lifestyle brand in the market which appeals to the ever transforming youth of India today. To fill this gap, the idea of SEVEN was born.
SEVEN is an enabler of a healthy and active lifestyle. It’s a product and philosophy that invites everybody. It is the finest standard of active lifestyle footwear and apparel that is being specifically launched to target not just the cities but every small town of India.
As far as the brand name is concerned, millions of people consider the number seven influential in their lives. It is also considered to be a lucky number in the Indian mythology. Within the domain of sports, an array of star athletes have been sporting the number seven on their jerseys. MS Dhoni also sports number 7 on his jersey, which eventually formed the basis of our brand name selection. Interestingly, 7 also happens to be the birth date of MSD (7th of the 7th month i.e. 7th July).
SEVEN’s offline distribution strategy includes an all India distribution channel as well as multi-brand retail stores and large format retail stores. In the online world, SEVEN is now available across all major e-commerce portals including Paytm, Flipkart, Snapdeal etc. We also have strong acceptance and demand coming via institutional sales, which will become a key revenue channel for is in the near future.
Online format and offline strategy
E-commerce is a very important channel in our distribution strategy. Given the target market we’re catering to, a majority of them find themselves interacting in the online world. It, therefore, becomes an important platform for us to utilise and reach out to our core customers.
At present, SEVEN’s offline distribution strategy includes an all India distribution channel as well as multi-brand retail stores and large format retail stores. In the online world, SEVEN is now available across all major e-commerce portals including Paytm, Flipkart, Snapdeal etc. We also have strong acceptance and demand coming via institutional sales, which will become a key revenue channel for is in the near future. Going forward, we will also be launching our own e-com store.
With SEVEN, our ambition right from the start has been to offer international quality active lifestyle products across every geography of India. Which is why we are a ‘mass-premium’ brand that aims to inspire and bring about a healthier way of living to every consumer in India, and eventually across the world. Our distribution has been specifically designed to cater to this goal, while our pricing strategy fits very well with the affordability index of today’s thumb-texting, Google-researching connected youth of India and the rest of the world. I strongly believe that in the coming months, SEVEN has the potential to reposition the athletic leisure category.
At the moment we have also received huge demand from international markets, and we are currently in the process of signing up master distributors for GCC markets, African continent, South-east Asia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
From a business standpoint, we don’t see ourselves in competition with existing sports brands. SEVEN’s brand philosophy is built to directly compete with lethargy, procrastination and the old way of doing things. We have invested in design, in research, in production capabilities, but our biggest investment is our faith in the young generation of today’s India.
Under the SEVEN banner, we manufacture and market running, training, indoor, sports and athletic leisurewear apparel and footwear. Our product strategy is to utilize the best-in-class active lifestyle technology, yet keep the price index low so that a major mass of the market can afford it. As such, SEVEN products are appeal to the mindset of the modern youth – changemakers – who are bold, confident go-getters, unafraid to go after what they want on their own terms. The brand aims to drive home the point that fitness is accessible to not just professional sportspersons but everybody, whether you want to break a world record or simply break a sweat.
Indian Sports Footwear segment
Over the years a rapid increase has been witnessed in the consumer trends with them shifting towards a more healthy and active lifestyle. Consumers have added new routines to their lifestyle such as meditation, yoga, gym workouts, swimming and jogging and have also started indulging in sporting activities such as football, basketball, volleyball and cricket.
This has hence resulted in the entrance of various national and international brands in the Indian market making it one the most booming sectors of the retail industry. This has resulted in high demand of high quality affordable footwear and apparel across categories. While earlier the options were limited with respect to the brands and their offerings, it has drastically evolved over the years with newer technologies and players entering the market. Each brand today makes sure to invest their money and time in extensive R&D to stay up to date with the market and give the best choices to their customers.
Virtual absence of Indian brands
The biggest challenge with Indian brands has been the ‘last mile connectivity’. While we are a country with a billion plus population, brands across categories (barring a few) have not been able to adapt to the international quality standards yet. There’s often been a lack of focus on the part of brands to position themselves as global players. In the case of SEVEN, we have the backing of a globally popular sporting icon, MS Dhoni. Our aim was therefore to ensure that our brand is built in a manner which creates synergy between MSD’s global appeal at one end and the mass aspiration on the other. SEVEN is India’s first active lifestyle brand which is being marketed internationally right from the start, and we strongly feel that SEVEN will become a common name across households in the global market.
The sports and athletic leisure products retail market is growing at an average of 13% CAGR. I witness the growth to propel in the next three years, given the increase in the size of the under-30 aged market. This particular segment, that we call ‘NewNow’, has very specific needs and requirements. They also exit their demand borders quickly to create new ones. As such, brands in this segment will need to continuously innovate not only in terms of technology, but more so in terms of preferential changes of the New Now segment. SEVEN’s advantage comes from the fact that we’ve launched a brand keeping this transformative lifestyle of the target audience in mind; as such we see ourselves in a good position in the coming years with incremental demand, augmented top-line and strong profitability.