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How Anish Varghese’s ‘one-step ahead’ strategy is effective for Joyalukkas

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Anish Varghese, Head of Marketing, Joyalukkas, talks of the brand’s core philosophy of ‘customer-first’ thinking, and how the marketing function works to manage this expectation by anticipating customers’ needs.

For Anish Varghese, joining the Joyalukkas Group nearly 20 years ago was a career move that rewarded him with high engagement and growth. Today, as Head of Marketing at the Joyalukkas Group, his brief is to deliver on the brand’s ‘customer-first’ philosophy, as he goes about strategizing marketing plans in line with the company’s Chairman and MD, Joy Alukkas’ vision. “Our esteemed Chairman leads us from the front and his vision and entrepreneurial zeal always keeps us motivated and excited to face every challenge head-on,” Varghese tells The Retail Jeweller in a brief conversation.

Edited excerpts:

Srabana Lahiri (SL): What are the top three marketing lessons that you have imbibed from nearly 20 years spent at the Joyalukkas Group?

Anish Varghese (AV): My top three learnings would be • Power of branding • ‘Customer-first’ thinking and • Strong understanding of diverse cultures and traditions. Customers have a strong connect to brands, especially in the world of jewellery, because trust is key in our business. We understand this and constantly work towards building a strong emotional connect with our customers. Our core philosophy has been and will always be ‘customer-first’ thinking. The fundamental principles of the marketing function is to manage this expectation with the right product mix, appropriate pricing, relevant offers and promotions at the right time. We do this by identifying relevant catchment areas to set up new stores, recruiting people who understand our philosophy and principles, constantly working on a distinct positioning for Joyalukkas vis-à-vis the competition and of course ensuring that the end product is packaged and delivered in a way which provides our customers pride of ownership. We constantly strategize and plan to stay one step ahead of our customers’ needs – be it in experience, expansion, service or uniqueness of designs. We ensure that the designs offered are customized to meet the demographic demands of the specific region. We are also constantly growing and expanding, upgrading our showrooms to state-of-the-art infrastructure and introducing new designs to bring the finest jewellery shopping experience to our patrons.

” For any brand to be successful, it must be passionate and constantly evolve with innovative offerings, and a ‘customer-first’ mindset “

ANISH VARGHESE, Head of Marketing, Joyalukkas
RJI

SL: Tell us about a few specific marketing initiatives in recent years that have proved to be of immense benefit to Joyalukkas?

AV: Selecting actor Kajol as our brand ambassador: A brand ambassador is very important for our business and we have constantly invested in celebrities best suited to represent our valuable brand. Currently, our brand ambassador is Kajol and she has proved to be very relevant and popular with our clientele. Her image and personality suit our brand’s image very well. Also, her age and stature are appealing to our key customer profile. This is a well-thought-out association that has worked well.

The ‘Sita Kalyanam’ wedding collection is proving to be a huge sucess

Launch of sub-brands: Two recent sub-brand launches have proved to be very successful. First is our ‘Yuva’ collection, a range focused on the everyday wear segment. We got the right mix with appropriate pricing and designs suited for everyday wear. Jewellery lovers have been constantly looking for a line that fits their everyday wardrobe, be it work or an evening out with friends, and we have addressed this need with the ‘Yuva’ collection. The response and demand we are seeing for this collection is amazing; this segment has also enabled us to attract a new set of clients to Joyalukkas. The second example is our recently launched ‘Sita Kalyanam’ wedding collection, which is proving to be a huge success, because the story behind the collection is winning hearts and appealing to the imagination of our customers and brides-to-be.

SL: How do you market the sub-brands under Joyalukkas – Apurva, Ratna, Veda, Pride, Eleganza, Li’l Joy…? Is there a different strategy?

AV: We primarily rely on digital channels to promote our sub-brands, our strategy includes association with micro and macro influencers, collection specific digital videos, direct mail to our customer base, bank partnerships and more.

” Trust is key in our business. We understand this and constantly work towards building a strong emotional connect with our customers “

ANISH VARGHESE, Head of Marketing, Joyalukkas

SL: What is the quantum of the brand’s investment in marketing and advertising? What is the media mix that has worked for the brand?

AV: Our Chairman has implemented a policy of allocating a significant portion of the turnover for marketing and we strictly adhere to this budget. The media mix we use is Print, TV, digital channels, radio and in-showroom visibility. We also allocate a part of the budget for events and co-branded offers.

SL: Which markets have shown the strongest growth? What are the plans for further expansion in line with Joyalukkas’ vision ‘to ornament the world’?

AV: As of now, we have a network of 160 showrooms in 11 countries – India, UAE, UK, USA, Malaysia, Singapore, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman. India by far is the market where we have seen the strongest growth and we are sure this will continue for a long time to come, because gold jewellery is an intrinsic part of the diverse culture of India. Moreover, gold and jewellery are also considered to be of great investment value.

The vision of Joyalukkas is to ‘Ornament the World’ with designs and quality of jewellery that align with global trends and provide a lifestyle extension to our customers. Our tagline ‘World’s favourite jeweller’ captures the essence of this vision and it is the aspiration that drives our future global expansion plans.

SL: What are the challenges you face as a marketer in the highly competitive jewellery industry and how do you address them?

AV: Any business can face numerous unexpected roadblocks in its growth path. In the last couple of years, the pandemic affected several businesses and domains, just as it affected us. Moreover, in the jewellery retail business, rates keep fluctuating, especially the price of gold. With time, the trends and demands of customers vary too and it is necessary to keep evolving to keep pace with the changing times. These challenges are inevitable, and we continually strategize to overcome these obstacles. What helps us push through is the constant support and love of our patrons.

Written by Srabana Lahiri

The Retail Jeweller India Magazine

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