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“Brands need to deliver on tangible benefits rather than make superficial promises”

Lingerie and innerwear category has never been an openly discussed category. Most went by the salesperson’s recommendations and there were very few brands available. Today, this category has evolved into a major fashion choice, with various ranges available – shape wear, lounge wear, intimate wear, maternity wear, athleisure and more.

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Several domestic and international brands are available in stores as well as online. Innerwear brands are now paying more attention to Indian women’s body shapes and coming out in sizes and designs that provide a better fit. Brand communication has become more sophisticated and fashion oriented.

Zivame has played a pivotal role of a catalyst in growing the category and shifting perceptions. In conversation with Adgully, Khatija Lokhandwala, Head - Marketing, Zivame, speaks about the current trends in the innerwear and apparel categories, Zivame’s communication strategy and much more.

A RedSeer report indicated that women’s innerwear will grow to become a $11-12 billion market by 2025 in India. What are the factors that have made this among the fastest growing apparel categories?

Zivame has consistently identified changing consumer trends and quickly adapted its business model to stay relevant in the category. We initially identified the consumer need for a shopping platform that allows privacy and ease of shopping in a sensitive category.

Zivame then identified that the problem did not lie just in the purchase channel, but also in lack of availability of the right products for the Indian body profile. The company, thus adapted and metamorphosed itself into a brand which took cue from the evolving consumer needs and developed products to deliver on the right fit and comfort for the Indian body profile.

Along with that, Zivame built an ecosystem that not only engineered products that deliver on right fit, comfort and quality, but also offered consumers a comfortable and enjoyable shopping experience through various channels.

What has been your communication and media strategy in FY2021?

Zivame as a brand has always endeavoured to break societal taboos and encourage conversations in this category and make it more mainstream. One of our core campaigns last year, our comedy Stand-up series, was built to highlight sensitive issues with quirky fun and humour so that the message is relatable, palatable and comfortable for consumers to engage in.

We had come out with four films created in partnership with leading female comedians in India like Aishwarya Mohanraj, Mallika Dua and Prashasti Singh, which showcased real life challenges that women face when it comes to intimate wear.

Also, given the pandemic times that we live in, we have followed 3 E’s to drive engagement:

Educate - With consumers spending large amount of time at home and having a lot more mind space than before, we are driving awareness about critical aspects of the category – from the importance of the right fit to pairing the right intimate wear with outerwear.

Empathise - Understand the difficult times and share the silver lining – from encouraging consumers to use this time and indulge in things that they love or use this is a wake-up call and start focusing on things that really matter.

Entertain - Constantly endeavour to engage consumers through content that is smart, educative, relatable and humorous.

For your category, what were the significant trends in consumer behaviour?

The on-going pandemic has led to a drastic change in lifestyles – from WFH, socialising limited to smaller groups or moving to the virtual space, to people spending a large amount of time indoors. On account of these lifestyle changes, the intimate wear needs of consumers have also evolved. Comfort is the most sought after benefit, leading to increased demand for lingerie styles that deliver high on comfort.

With the increased focus on health and wellness, consumers are also seeking the right Activewear gear that aids and supports one’s work-out activities.

We have also seen a surge in demand for our Sleepwear & Loungewear range, which offers consumers comfortable fabrics and fits coupled with stylish prints and colours so that one can go from video-meetings in the day to relaxing and unwinding in the evening. 

What are the new ideas for creating effective branding in a volatile world?

In an era shaped by the pandemic, evolving consumer behaviour requires marketers to predict what consumers will think and feel in the next normal and modify and build strategies to stay relevant.

Consumers have become a lot savvier and are demanding that communication clearly highlights the value that the brand adds to the consumer’s lives – both on a functional and an emotional level. In these trying times, brand trust is an important factor that ensures consumer loyalty and stickiness.

While value has taken prerogative, given the underlying economic conditions, consumers are willing to pay for products that add real value to their lives and thus, it is imperative that brands deliver on tangible benefits rather than make superficial promises.

Demand influx in Tier 2/3 markets also requires localised marketing efforts to make the brand resonate better with the consumers.

(Edited and additional inputs by Shanta Saikia.)


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