Raymond is looking at ViraSafe as a long term innovation: Shantiswarup Panda
India’s largest integrated worsted suiting manufacturer, Raymond Ltd, recently launched ViraSafe – a fabric coated with anti-viral technology. The exhaustive is aimed at corporate, service and medical professionals for daily use. Raymond believes that the high-performance range of anti-viral fabrics will help give professionals a strong reassurance in combating the viruses as they resume their work lives in the COVID-19 context.
ViraSafe has over 600+ range of suiting and shirting fabrics with prices starting from Rs 487 onwards. The ViraSafe range of fabrics is claimed to be 100% effective in fighting HSN1 (avian influenza), COV P8-P11 (SARS Corona Virus) and H1N1 (influenza virus). The anti-viral treatment and finish on textiles is claimed to significantly reduce the risk of transmission, contamination and curb the spread of these viruses.
Raymond has rolled out a new campaign, called ‘Reassuring by Design’, to create awareness about its ViraSafe range of fabrics:
Watch: Raymond ViraSafe - Reassuring by Design
In this interaction with Adgully, Shantiswarup Panda, CMO - Lifestyle Business, Raymond Ltd, sheds light on the whole objective behind launching ViraSafe and also provides the insights into what dictated the narrative of the communication.
The pandemic must have prompted you to introduce ViraSafe, the anti-viral range of fabrics. Is this a long-term proposition? What has been the initial response to the launch?
We always had this line of innovation in our product pipeline, but the pandemic made it more relevant instantaneously. Having said that, this is not a pandemic-related limited proposition at all. The consumer usage of suits and jackets necessitates such a proposition. Typically suits and jackets are used multiple times before going for dry-cleaning and, depending on weather and occupation, for many consumers usage of these products are seasonal or limited in nature, consequently an anti-viral property works well for these garments.
Is this product well tested out in your R&D lab and what is that property that is helping to protect from the virus? What is that technology used here?
We are using a proprietary technology for this innovation and our product is well tested before launch. This technology of anti-viral agent that we are using has been approved by US FDA, USEPA, EU BPR, etc.
If the fabric is chemically treated, the end customer might be concerned about things like will it cause allergy to their skin, etc. How do you plan to address this?
A treatment on the fabric is always done using a stable and sustainable compound, which is non-reactive in nature and is tested well for its usage. The product treatment has been approved by regulatory agencies like US FDA US EPA, EU BRP, etc., which also is a sign of assurance and hence, there should be absolutely no concerns of allergy, etc. Consumers trust our brand and understand that when Raymond is launching a product, it must be best in class and most appropriate for usage. So, this concern has not come up in any of the feedback either from our trade network or early consumer response that we have received.
In various product categories different brands have introduced product features with anti-viral, anti-bacteria and clean air, etc. How are you differentiating yourself here and distinctly positioning your range of fabrics?
Raymond is looking at this product as a long term innovation beyond the current pandemic situation. We see a consumer rational behind why this is a relevant product for certain category of apparels. If you look at our positioning and communication, our narrative is on reassurance and not based on concern-solution approach, which makes this campaign quite refreshing and a departure from all anti-viral campaigns seen off late.
Is ViraSafe only available in fabric form? What about the readymade garments and other range of products from the house of Raymond?
Currently, our ViraSafe range of fabrics is available for suits, jackets, trousers and shirts only. We have not launched this as yet in the readymade range.
What’s been your objective for the campaign? How did you arrive on your idea and execute it during these times? Can you please elaborate on the target audience?
The objective of our campaign is to create awareness around the new innovation fabric through a route which is based on reassurance rather than pushing it through creating further concern in the consumer’s mind. This is a very positive route and the whole narrative is built around reclaiming our lives as we are getting back to a new normal, but even in that you would see that our characters in the story do not drop guard and are wearing masks. Raymond as a responsible brand has always stood for values which others aspire to emulate, consequently through this campaign we wanted to drive home the point that while we are returning to normalcy, we have to be responsible for ourselves and others around us.
Our target audience for this campaign is an affluent fashion conscious responsible person.
What’s your overall media strategy? How are you leveraging the festive season this year? Will digital be part of the overall media strategy?
We launched this fabric just before the festival season with that conviction that this is going to get our business back to normal. We have a dominant digital leg to it, including search & display ads across social sites and a wide range of content publishers. We are also present on IPL as well as news channels, which helps us reach out to our TG well.