Interview with Atul Chand

Atul Chand
Atul Chand
Divisional Chief Executive
ITC's Lifestyle Retailing Business Division
ITC's Lifestyle Retailing Business Division

What kind of brand engagement activities have you employed on digital ecosystems?

With the re-definition of the marketing paradigm and the arrival of the digital era, Wills Lifestyle and John Players have championed the digital movement as a game changer in the category. The brands have been consistently delivering greater buzz and engagement blending in fashion and technology for a greater connect with digitally savvy consumers of today. Both brands together have a vibrant social media community of 16 lakh followers which add to the brand's conversations on a daily basis. 

Wills Lifestyle has been a pioneer in bringing New Age initiatives to consumers. The brand has leveraged the association of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week exceedingly well on the digital front, from first-ever celeb tweets (by Gul Panag) live from the venue, to RFID technology at the event to drones capturing the moments on the ramp. Recently, the brand's #WillsRockTheRamp (360 selfie booth) campaign won Silver and Bronze at the Goafest'15 and #WillsFashionTag campaign at WIFW won Gold in the event-based PR category at The Times of India, Big Bang Awards 2014. 

On the other hand, John Players with its slew of digital initiatives to bring celebrity content has been a front runner amongst youth brands. From Hrithik's new cool moves video, Ranbir's New Face of Cool campaign to owning recent Friendship Day on Twitter with #ThoseFriendsWho campaign and #Buddiez activation, John Players has been making waves across digital media platforms.

What kind of expansion has taken place in the past five years?

Wills Lifestyle, with its high fashion imagery and premium retailing ambience, has expanded to over 100 exclusive stores across 40 cities and more than 400 shop-in-shops in leading, large format stores and multibrand outlets. Wills Lifestyle also continues its group synergies with presence in ITC Hotel's premium properties that cater to high-end business and leisure travellers. The brand has boutique stores in ITC Maurya in New Delhi, ITC Gardenia in Bengaluru, ITC Mughal in Agra, ITC Grand Central and ITC Maratha in Mumbai and ITC Grand Chola in Chennai. 

John Players, being a youth brand in the mid-priced segment, is available in 400+ exclusive stores and 1600+ multibrand outlets and large format stores. The brand has created multiple formats for John Players EBOs for a superior consumer experience over the years and has also launched John Players Jeans exclusive store with a denim-focused retail identity which is more edgy and contemporary, catering to younger customers.

What has been the growth percentage in the last fiscal?

In 2015, across both brands we opened more than 100+ exclusive stores of John Players and Wills Lifestyle apart from penetrating more multibrand and large format retailers. These represent a refreshed and more contemporary retail identity for John Players, one that makes the shopping experience richer and more immersive. We are also opening John Players Jeans outlets/counters which are aiding further expansion, given great acceptance of the denim extension from younger audiences. Simultaneously, we are looking to rapidly expand our brand footprint across key accounts and large format retailers like Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Reliance Trends, Pantaloons etc. In the e-commerce ecosystem as well, John Players is making rapid progress, partnering with various key fashion apparel e-tailers like Myntra, Jabong, Flipkart and Snapdeal amongst others, besides driving its own e-commerce platform.
Published on: 04/10/2016

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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