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Provogue wears a new attitude

Last updated on: October 26, 2009 13:22 IST

Provogue wears a new attitude

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Sayantani Kar in Mumbai

Apart from a new brand ambassador, the apparel maker has gone in for aggressive store expansionProvogue has done it again. It has switched its brand ambassador, this time from Saif Ali Khan to Hrithik Roshan, for its new campaign.

The brand needed the buzz as much for its new line as for ensuring that its aggressive store expansion drive matches the growth of curious consumers.

The brand has come a long way from 2000 when it was grappling with retail space constraint (just a few multi-brand stores and one exclusive store). It now has 134 exclusive stores and is set to open 20 more by March next year. This is apart from the brand's presence in 110 multibrand outlets.

It has also set a target of opening 25-30 exclusive studio stores every year, with this year's plans costing Rs 15 crore. To move into smaller towns that have its catchment audience for less than three of its stores, it will tie-up with franchisees.


Image: Actress Esha Deol poses for Provogue brand.
Photographs: Courtesy, Provogue
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Provogue's expansion spree is despite the toll the downturn had taken on premium apparel makers last year and early this year. Provogue, the company, suffered too. Sales grew by just 7 per cent in 2008-09 compared to 29 per cent in the previous year.

Operating profit in the first quarter of this year was down 500 basis points over the year-ago period. The company has, however, been quick to correct its course by reducing the size of the new exclusive stores. From 10,000 square feet large stores, it is now content with 800-2,000 square feet spaces.

Pinakiranjan Mishra, partner and national leader (retail and consumer products), Ernst and Young, observes, "The tough year has made apparel brands relook at their positioning." For Provogue, Roshan's endorsement will help it in the task.

Provogue's deputy managing director Salil Chaturvedi says, "The change is in line with our strategy to avoid brand fatigue and Hrithik Roshan is the perfect icon to make our image contemporary." In any case, a change was due in line with Provogue's strategy of roping in a new brand ambassador every third year.

Analysts agree. "It is a must for a lifestyle brand to keep rejuvenating itself. Provogue seems to have perfected the art in not letting the brand ambassador become larger than the brand and refreshing the brand by changing the ambassadors from time to time," says Nikhil Vora, managing director, IDFC-SSKI.


Image: A Provogue outlet.

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Provogue wears a new attitude

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For Provogue it has meant not just a new ambassador, but trying out a new attitude. The company has dumped the earlier tagline 'Redefining Fashion' for a new mantra -- 'Be the Change'. Provogue wants to make the change more visible to its target consumer -- the youth.

And Roshan fits the bill as he is among the top-10 popular celebrities in the country according to a survey by Percept Talent Management.

The 'attitude' is reflected in its new clothing lines as well. Provogue's factory in Daman has brought out an enhanced denim range and fashion formals with roll-up sleeves and small collar and cuffs, double pockets and contrast collars.

Sameer Makani, managing director of Makani Creatives, the agency handling Provogue since the brand's inception 10 years back, says, "if earlier the brand stood for being stylish and hot, now it is about having an attitude.

"So, in the campaigns, instead of putting the spotlight on the garment, we have tried to catch different attitudes that highlight the attributes the clothes will have."


Image: Actor Saif Ali Khan models for Provogue.

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Provogue wears a new attitude

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Makani says that each letter in the word 'change' stands for a particular value -- courage, hope, attitude, next, glory and edge, respectively. Each of the six different shots of Roshan will signify one of the six values, and there will be one consolidated shot of the actor.

Teaser ads gave way to hoardings and print ads that depict Roshan wearing this new attitude, in a Rs 12 crore (Rs 120 million) marketing campaign. The budget will be upped to Rs 15 crore (Rs 150 million) next year.

The brand has also brought Narendra Kumar Ahmed, a renowned designer, on board to strengthen its womenswear range. He has also finetuned the men's range this season.


Image: Provogue products.

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The focus on nurturing the brand has helped Provogue strengthen its position. The company operates in three segments: manufacture and trading of textile and related products, infrastructure activities, and other activities.

Through its subsidiary, Prozone Enterprises, Provogue is developing properties for commercial purposes, including the development of shopping malls. It retails its products through exclusive Provogue stores and by opening shop-in shop outlets in national chain stores and multi-brand outlets.

Vora says, "While some players in the same industry have overspent in trying to strengthen its retail right from the start, Provogue has not gone overboard with any of its moves and has consistently concentrated on brand-building.

"Its focus has ensured that it now has the capital to go beyond just brand creation and move into retail mall management (Provogue's JV with UK-based Liberty for mall developments under the name of Prozone), which is a bigger arena."


Image: Models pose for Provogue,

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