In Conversation with Vijay Jain
How important is social media today for brands? How should brands communicate effectively to consumers on social media?
The definition of communication has changed. Earlier the fixation was largely “one-to-many” with the use of traditional media. Now, brands are moving to campaigns that are “many-to-many” simultaneously. Basically, digital media is empowering brands to build communities around. Earlier, if I wanted to buy a car, I would ask a friend who was a specialist. Now, there are communities online to tell me what to buy, how, etc. A category like jewellery, which is word-of-mouth, has to look at social media because it plays a critical role. So social media is facilitating various touch-points for us and that’s why it is important.
Google India selected ORRA for its successful digital campaigning. How integral is digital media for ORRA?
Earlier ORRA’s discovery was largely offline. Brands have to look at two core issues in marketing – the issue of relevancy, and where is the discovery happening. If today there is an ad of a car in newspapers, I won’t look at it if it isn’t relevant to me. I will ignore that communication – for a brand then the consumer hasn’t been engaged. In social media, there is a larger cycle of engagement in that the consumer can come in any time and become relevant to the brand through its marketing. Earlier, ORRA’s user engagement or discovery was through offline stores. But now, with penetration of mobile telephony, the discovery is moving online. So 30-40 per cent of our brand’s discovery is happening online – you are going on the mobile phone and desktop and seeing what is happening.
Brands should also look at “relative investment versus competition”. Let’s look at our example. We don’t have 30,000 sq ft stores – like other jewellery brands – because our brand can reach out as effectively with smaller-sized stores and highly curated products. Also, I am ensuring that digital allows me to stay more focused in terms of the community reach and the largeness of the brand. The largeness of my brand is not defined by how big is my store offline. I’m only making sure that my consumer’s fulfillment happens, both online and offline.
What are some of the spending patterns and trends you have seen in your TG consumer?
ORRA appeals to a very large audience – consumers look for big ticket purchases and other purchases too and we are seeing a major play online in terms of what they are looking for. On the website, our consumers get an idea of the design and the products. Many of our consumers who walk in already have an idea of the brand because they have seen everything about our designs, the look of jewellery pieces online. Also, while we cannot show all pieces offline, on the digital platform all of our pieces can be seen and purchased. We have a robust business online and consumers are accessing that and coming offline. There’s another interesting trend that our data analysis showed. A large number of consumers are accessing our site during office hours.
What was that one strategy ORRA had to change?
When we began, we were a corporate site. Then we moved to a site that allowed transaction. From there, however, we moved to a more user friendly site that could allow consumers the look and feel of our products. We had to improve the look and feel of our website to allow both, transaction and fulfillment for our consumers. Nothing happened overnight, we had to move along with tremendous realization that just a corporate and a transaction site won’t work. We had to make the website conducive for the consumer to allow her to search it well and genuinely experience jewellery and designs online. To buy a piece of jewellery, we needed to do more, we needed to add designs and check our site thoroughly on a daily basis.
Given your experience in varied industries, when should companies tweak or pull back strategies?
Normally going back to the drawing board for tweaking strategies or pulling them back happens when it is too late – people go to the drawing board when economics of the business don’t work and they realize belatedly that they have to make changes. Evaluation – and changing – of any brand’s strategy is an ongoing process. When people launch businesses they spend time on strategies and when there’s a crisis they spend time on strategies. What you need to do, instead, is to keep revisiting strategies.
ORRA is a family-run business. What are the challenges to turn family businesses into more professionally run enterprises? How should the new generation take over the reins to maintain the balance between the old and the new?
While businesses can be family owned there’s a great need to professionalize businesses. Also, we should move from hierarchy to collaborative businesses. Some brands’ structures are hierarchal, especially where family control is there. A step towards family-owned but professionally-run businesses is important to achieve. There’s a generation that has built and grown the business but there’s also a young generation that’s bubbling with ideas. You have to allow both generations to synergize. You cannot always evaluate the outcome of business decisions but you have to go ahead, armed with these tools –commitment, understanding the organizational, functional and financial structures. You have to engage with all stakeholders. A brand’s growth needs to be initiated through dialogue and not through a monologue.
Could you please share any memorable moment of yours at ORRA?
Yes, only recently I did a professional shoot for the forthcoming ORRA campaign. I used to love photography in school and college. I stopped because of work commitments but I got back to it with a vengeance and did the ORRA shoot.