A clever combination of selling techniques can make all the difference
Lawn is a favourite fabric in our region perhaps owing to our extended summer season. Brand war begins in February when winter has not yet taken its final bow.
Without marketing, advertising, public relations and event management, lawn could never be the product it stands for today.
This has led to a lot of new marketing approaches adopted by the manufacturers and designers: among them are engaging high-end fashion designers to add the brand value to their product and working with A-list models, from Bollywood too, to lure the prospective customers, engaging bloggers and social media influencers to tweet/blog/instagram, staging preview events to create pre-hype and desirability and shooting campaigns abroad to create a premium feel for the lawn. Essentially using a plethora of mediums to really make their lawn stand out in an already saturated market.
Selina Rashid Khan, Chief Executive, Lotus PR, puts it simply, "Ultimately in our experience, what really captures the market is, of course, great design pushed through a marketing campaign that is timed well, visually arresting, and engaging a plethora of tools across advertising and PR to create visibility, momentum, and virality."
There is no set formula for marketing lawn though. There is no guarantee having an A-list celebrity as your campaign face will mean a sellout. In the same way, some brands may have much success with exhibition style events while others may do better through going direct to retailers.
The objective is to gain the customers’ attention and, hence, generate sale via branding and marketing. It’s either the very strikingly beautiful campaigns that stand out or the absolute waste you can’t take your eyes off!
The HSY brand has always been synonymous with glamour and luxury and that is what the lawn collaboration with Ittehad and its marketing has been about. "We are proud to have initiated a lot of firsts in marketing across the 21 years I have worked in the fashion industry and with our Ittehad collaborative lawn, we strove hard to innovate again," says Hassan Sheheryar Yasin.
"Supermodel Mehreen Syed was the face of my lawn campaign. Our campaign was visually very strong. I think mine was the only lawn collection which had an image of me on the billboards along with the brand muse, Mehreen Syed. This was a strategy, it differentiated the marketing of my collection from others. It was about showing the glamour and luxury of the HSY lifestyle, taking audiences to lawn through the world of HSY," he adds.
Also, the traditional marketing technique of buying space in newspapers, online websites, and outdoors is not a holistic approach any longer for the renowned designer who has worked closely with Pakistan’s burgeoning social media -- instagram, snapchat and facebook -- to reach a new audience of younger customers with spending power.
"Ultimately, marketing works hand-in-hand with the product. With many options available in the market, customers look for more than a normal two-three piece suit. In other words, your product [in this case lawn] has to not only have great product quality but great personality as well and for that we marketed and leveraged the HSY brand persona and lifestyle," says Yasin.
This year’s statement-making campaign came from the under-stated Sahar Atif who featured the style diva, Lisa Haydon, to launch not her lawn brand but a designer prêt line. Why an Indian model? Why a pret line? Why opt for a path less travelled? Why not take the safer, tested route to success like Karina Kapoor if it had to be an Indian?
Sahar Atif believes, "The whole point of advertising is to de-clutter one’s self and stand out, not precisely the Pakistani stereotypical beauty, but a fashion icon. The product was strong, styled in a boho chic editorial shoot unlike the usual we see during lawn season."
As far as her three-year experience with Pareesa goes as creative director, "I frequently shot in India. The dearth of models in Pakistan along with none availability of locations leaves one with very few choices. However, over the years with Pakistani photographers shooting at international ports, the caliber of hair, makeup, styling and photography has also gone a notch above, and today we see work at par with any international campaign," Atif claims.
Over the years, Elan lawn has grown tremendously. This is owing to adapting dynamic strategies to market their lawn, from the conceptual to implementation level. This year and all the years past, Elan focused heavily on the visual representation of the product and the message and aspirational value it captures, "Our lawn is part of the Elan lifestyle we have worked hard to build, which our clients relate to or aspire to and, therefore, its visual representation must always portray this," says Khadija Shah whose name is synonymous with Elan’s product quality and dexterity.
"We conceptualised and captured a shoot abroad but kept it regionally sensitive. We shot this campaign in Galle, Sri Lanka as we wanted to take our patrons on a journey through time. Our focus in the shoot was in the lifestyle our lawn embodies: one that is chic, elegant, spontaneous and carefree in spirit," Shah adds.
"While we’ve worked with superstar actors in the past, such as Nargis Fakhri and Mahira Khan, this year’s campaign was not focusing on the cult of personality, but rather the product -- and considering we are sold out, it worked well," she informs.
"In addition to a traditional and outdoor advertising campaign, we have always invested in a sustainable PR approach to engage the audience and social media presence through preview events, competitions, engagement and wardrobe placement to create a 360 degree marketing approach," she says.
Sana Safinaz are game-changers in the lawn business and have ruled the roost for many years now. "Marketing has become very savvy. Social media plays a big part nowadays. But we still use a lot of print media advertisements," informs Safinaz Munir.
"It’s very difficult to find a suitable model who can understand the aesthetics of our brand but we have been lucky that Neha for many years and now Amna Babar have been the faces of S/S lawn campaign," Munir says.
"We are also among the two or three names in the lawn business that advertise on TV. That shows the strength of the company. But at the end of the day, if your product does not speak to the client in terms of quality of fabric and design there will be little point in extensive advertising," she points out.
Nida Azwer has been a silent, low-key game player and gives a different view on the topic. "Apart from advertising in magazines and on billboards, I feel the best form of marketing is when you physically see people wearing your lawn. You know they bought them because they liked the print and the fabric must feel good, especially when there is so much competition and so many options for clients to choose from. It’s very important to give them the best."
Azwer believes, "it’s no longer about using a top model or an actress. A good model can help advertise only to a certain extent and maybe for the first year after that it’s the quality of your fabric and the design which will make it sell."