Monday, February 13, 2006

Vimal suitings : Where art Thou ?

Brand : Vimal Suitings
Company : Reliance Industries Ltd
Agency : Mudra

One of the oldest and most respected iconic textile brand of India is languishing some where in the attic of the mega corporation Reliance. The brand which started of as a Saree brand developed itself into a mega textile brand for women , men and even for furniture ( Vimal Harmony is one of the largest furnishing brand).

Vimal suitings was launched in 1980 after the successful Vimal range of sarees. At that point of time Reliance was a predominantly a textile company. This brand was carefully positioned as a premium men's suitings brand. The brand which was handled by Mudra, was promoted heavily by Reliance. At that time the major competitors being Bombay Dyeing and Raymonds.

According to the case study of Vimal available in Mudra Website, the Vimal Suitings brand was developed in 4 stages . The first stage involved convincing the customer about the quality of the brand explaining the technology behind the making of Vimal in advertisements. The second stage involved creating a personality of the brand using living legends. In the ads, living legends like army veterans, experts in various fields were used as models to build the character of the brand as a credible brand. The third stage involved promoting the brand as a fashion brand or Style guru. The ads showed Kabir Bedi and the likes catched the imagination of the TG. The 4 stage used cricketer as models to appeal to larger crowd. May be Vimal was one of the first brands that used cricketer as models ( correct me if I'm wrong).

I would add the fifth stage as letting the brand die without giving it any marketing support.

The brand was targeted at the young ambitious who are challengers to the CEO's . The brand personality was stylish, and aspirational. Vimal was promoted using the famous tagline " OnlyVimal " created by Late Frank Simoes. The tagline is said to be personally approved by Dhirubai himself. The brand was a premium brand and the ads were catchy. Reliance also opened exclusive Vimal showrooms as a part of promoting the brand.

Later in the 1990's the Reliance business model changed. The company changed from textiles to petrochemicals and Vimal was not fitting into reliance business plans. It was the only retail brand of Reliance ( now we have RIM) and company never focused on Vimal.

As far as a marketer is concerned, Vimal was a great brand with huge potential ( whether it fits into Reliance plan is another issue). 90's also saw the shift in the consumer's preference towards readymades. Although reliance had a readymade brand "Reance" it was a half hearted move which resulted in a flop.

Vimal was known for its quality and style. Still people remembers its simple baseline " Only Vimal". Lack of marketing support had virtually killed the brand. Now the position that Vimal occupied is now owned by Raymonds and Reid & Taylor.
News reports suggest that Reliance may revive the Vimal brand owing to their retail foray and the opening of the textile sector to the global markets. Vimal have already being messed itself up with the launch of V2 brand which is cheap and available even in grocery stores. What a way to mess up a brand ! Vimal have stopped marketing sarees and is said to be concentrating on suitings. Suitings are becoming more popular because of the increasing globetrotters and professionals.

Reviving Vimal will be very difficult since this brand has lost its touch with the new Indian consumer.

Oh Vimal!