Wednesday, December 20, 2006

COLORPLUS: The silent killer!!

Colorplus is a brand thats rated very highly in readymade menswear. It started with a humble beginning and evolved into a superbrand. And whats more interesting is that all this brand builinding is done with the least amount of noise. Colorplus has made the best use of Print media for its brand builinding and use the potential of print media to the fullest. Another thing that helped this brand is the extremely good product quality provided by it. Also because of this good product quality the shirts have a market of its own (the shirts are priced at a premium). When all the shirting brands were spending mega bucks on brand builiding, Colorplus quite silently and surely has created a market for itself with the least amount of wonder its a silent killer.
If you take a sneek peek at this brand, ColorPlus pioneered the concept of smart cotton casuals in India. But for this to achieve it was necessary to produce cotton garments of such superior quality that they would transcend the inherent deficiencies of cotton. This was a tall order as it meant acquiring superior raw materials, which in turn meant that the finished product would have to be offered to the consumer at a very steep price. So the challenge before ColorPlus was to source quality raw material, design superior products and then create a market for it while maintaining a competitive price tag. Impediments were numerous and surfaced at every stage of the new endeavour. Indian mills, geared to making quality cotton fabrics only for export, were unwilling to produce short runs for a little known company. ColorPlus, however, persuaded a couple of international suppliers to offer fabric to ColorPlus – at a stiff premium, of course! The next hurdle was to get the product to the consumer, at a price for cottons never before seen in India. Anotherproblem was disinclination of stores to sport expensive cotton garments of an unknown brand from an unknown company. But more disappointing was the absence of outlets that would provide the desired ambience to showcase the ColorPlus range.
Making a virtue out of necessity, ColorPlus decided to open its own retail outlets. To begin with a small outlet was opened at the crossing of Poonamallee High Road and New Avadi Road in Chennai, on November 3rd, 1993. It took anotheret,two years for the first full-blown ColorPlus studio to come up in Bangalore’s fashionable Residency Road on September 7th,1995. A novelty in store design, this retail outlet, besides becoming an instant hit, became a trendsetter in garment retailing. The warm ambience of tungsten lighting and wooden flooring became de rigeur for garment retail. Consumers found ColorPlus stores a welcome relief from the fluorescent lights and ill-stacked shelves they saw elsewhere. Shopping became fun and the brand’s growth hereafter was explosive. With its brand identity firmly established, ColorPlus, with the objective of faster growth and greater market penetration, shifted focus to the franchisee, and the ‘store-in-store’routes, both of which have since become industry features. ColorPlus broke another pattern, that of eliminating the distributor and building its own distribution network of upmarket and financially sound retailers. This way credit period and margins were reduced due to the shorter supply chain and consumers got fresh stock faster. The ColorPlus transition from being an unknown player in the menswear retail to a brand to be emulated had been swift.
When ColorPlus was launched, sceptical industry pundits had predicted a swift demise for the brand. Today ColorPlus is an international brand selling in more than 180 locations across India as well as South and West Asia. Global giants have also taken note of ColorPlus’ pioneering effort. When fabric majors Dupont and 3M decided to bring their wrinkle-free and stain-free fabric to India, they chose ColorPlus to launch the product. They were confident that if ColorPlus took their products, the rest of the market would be sure to follow. And surely all this did work use of the print media and an extremely good product quality has helped this brand grow stronger day by day..


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