‘The Complete Man’ has evolved, unfolds Raymond 3.0 for millennials and newly grown-ups

NARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on September 24, 2019 Published on September 24, 2019

How the brand has kept pace with the times and remained relevant to an ever-changing customer profile

“Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind,” said a renowned brand designer. In the 1970’s when Raymond decided to shift focus from product promotion to brand-building, that’s exactly what it did - create a brand that would stay in the minds of generations to come.

In 1925, Raymond started as a woollen mill in Thane, owned by the wealthy Sassoon family. The company changed hands to the Kanpur-based JK group owned by the Singhanias in 1944.

From a woollen blanket producer, Raymond has not only evolved into an iconic textile brand, but has also become a diversified conglomerate with interests in FMCG, engineering and prophylactics, in the national and international markets.

Known for its premium quality products, Raymond produces some of the finest shirting and suiting fabric in the world. It also commands a market share of more than 60 per cent in the worsted suiting fabric space in India.

“Even if one strand in a Raymond suit goes wrong, as a CEO I can tell you that heads will roll in our company even today,” Sanjay Behl, Chief Executive Officer, Raymond Ltd, said recently while addressing a brand event in the city.

Growth drivers

Raymond’s growth from a small woollen mill to a textile behemoth can be attributed to two factors. First, the brand's strong network of retail stores. It has 1,100 exclusive stores, which includes the Raymond Ready-to-Wear (RRTW), Park Avenue (PA), Color Plus (CP) and Parx brands, spread across 380-plus cities. Raymond opened its first retail store in 1958 in Mumbai, when the concept was unheard of.

“Having a great product is not enough, much depends on how we reach customers, to say how we are differentiated,” Behl said.

Second, Raymond has run a series of meaningful and sensitive ad campaigns over the years, which have helped the brand achieve cult status among Indians.

In the 1980’s Raymond came up with its first ad campaign titled ‘The guide to a well-dressed male,’ targeting ostentatious men. Prior to that, it ran a campaign called ‘Final word’. But it was ‘The Complete Man’ campaign launched by Rajiv Agarwal of Enterprise Nexus in the early 1990’s that took the brand to the pinnacle of glory.

The campaign, which coincided with India’s economic liberalisation, grabbed the attention of aspiring young men to the growing big brand.

Brand Raymond, which rediscovered itself with the changing realities of time, broke its own stereotyping of the macho male type of ads of the previous decade.

In the 2000s, when the company shifted its focus to the high-end casual wear segment, Raymond came up with a host of TV commercials, which showed the Raymond man as a personification of care, love and affection, who handles his societal obligations and familial roles with equanimity.

In 2016, Raymond even broke gender stereotyping through a digital ad film, which paid tribute to single mothers. The ad received rave reviews across social media platforms.

“The complete man does not necessarily signify a male. A complete man means a complete human being irrespective of gender,” Behl said.

Test of modernity

With boardrooms becoming younger and millennials preferring fancy casuals over formal attire, the company is caught between its legacy on the one side and the test of modernity on the other.

“It's a strong brand, we can’t rush into changing our brand too fast,” Behl said, adding that till 2014, the company decided to stay strong on the brand, but accepted change and stayed relevant to consumer preferences.

The company’s strategy till 2020 will be to initiate visible changes, but stay true to the core brand values. As part of this initiative, the company changed the looks and aesthetics of many of its showrooms to attract new age consumers. It will not just focus on the 'complete man', but also the 'explorer'.

According to Behl, the aspirations of newly grown-ups (NGUs) is far more complicated than the millennials.

"The NGUs will have an abundance of time, resources and options, so the whole concept of branding will change from storytelling to narrative," Behl said.

Innovation is not new to Raymond, which pioneered the concept of a retail store in textiles way back in 1958.

Raymond 3.0

The brand is gearing up for 'Raymond 3.0', which is an evolution from product to solution to the experience stage. Raymond 3.0 will weave technology and professional tailoring expertise, to offer unique a customer experience.

"So what we did is, we have positioned our communication in today’s man, but positioned our products in tomorrow’s man,” Behl said.

As part of this initiative, the brand will introduce 3D manufacturing, digital body measurement, 75 tailoring hubs and over 1 lakh tailors.

The 94-year-old brand will also open its 1,000th exclusive Raymond store in Surat to commemorate the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Published on September 24, 2019
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