Crocs: Spreading comfort

Crocs, the US-based footwear brand which popularised clogs with its modern take, wants to be more relevant to the Indian audience. It is rolling out a new tagline, ‘Walk in comfort, wear in style’, to tell consumers that it is more than ultra-comfortable cogs. After all, it offers over 300 styles each season across 90 countries.

“The new brand campaign sends the message that Crocs can be worn every day, for every occasion,” says Florent Andre Bailly, Crocs vice-president for West Asia, India and Africa. Consumers, according to him, still perceive Crocs as a one-shoe brand. It is time to change that with men’s sneakers and ladies’ flats, sandals and wedges finding their way into its product line.
Crocs became synonymous with comfort when it introduced the material called Croslite. It is a closed-cell resin that is lightweight and keeps the feet comfortable from sun up to sun down.
“We are constantly touching new consumers because many people still think that Crocs is a clog company, and when they find out the wide range of shoes which are comfortable yet stylish. This in itself is a whole new growth driver for the business,” points out Bailly. The range in India too will cater to every season and can be worn to work and for leisure.

Crocs entered India in 2007 through a franchising and licensing agreement. It has grown rapidly since then. Today, Crocs products are available in 13 cities across India and there are 26 exclusive stores (including one kiosk in Pune). Though, the company generates the largest profits in the US, Asia is growing into a promising market. It saw a year-on-year sales increase of 40.5 per cent at the end of the first quarter of 2012.

In India, Crocs will continue to promote its extended footwear range, while in western markets, it has branched out in accessories and garments.

The company claims that it is an experiential brand and hence the marketing strategy focuses on engaging with consumers by asking them to share their feedback. It has also reached out to opinion-leaders such as fashion bloggers. “Marketing is taking place through four points of contacts — public relations, events (mall activations and college tie-ups), web (digital campaigns, online tie-ups with bloggers and other lifestyle websites) and retail (loyalty programmes to begin soon and sales linked promotions),” says Gitanjali Bahl, marketing and retail account manager, Crocs India. It is, however, not planning to come out with a television commercial to support the campaign as its priority remains tier 1 cities which can be reached through non-mass media.

A foray into tier 2 cities could be an option later. But for that, Crocs India will have to figure out the right partners and location, which can pose a challenge in India.

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