Brand Building – Liberty Shoes

Liberty Shoes INTRODUCTION Liberty is India’s No. 1 footwear brand and the 5th largest footwear manufacturer in the World. Liberty produces footwear for the entire family, right from the toddlers to the young at heart. Liberty Footwear is the only Indian company that is among the top 5 manufacturers of leather footwear of the world with a turnover in excess of $ 100 million producing more than 60,000 pairs of footwear a day. Origin of the brand Established in 1954, today the company through its six manufacturing units collectively produces 50,000 pairs of footwear a day that is sold through 6,000 multi-brand outlets and 350 exclusive showrooms and has presence in 25 countries with 50 showrooms outside India. -It was predominantly focused in the export of shoe uppers till the early ’80s when the Indian domestic market started to show promise. Therefore in 1982, the company set up a unit to exclusively manufacture footwear for the domestic market at an investment of Rs 3 crores.

Its sport shoes range is manufactured using polyurethane technology, though eventually set a precedent for the domestic market was initially considered a risky proposition as it was priced at Rs 300 a pair, compared with conventional canvas shoes selling at Rs 50. By 1989 Liberty had become an Rs 35-crore company. -Liberty posted Rs 260. 29 crore net sales in 2009-10 with net profit of 9. 82 crore is aiming for above 20 per cent growth every year Brand Identity, Personality and Symbolism -‘Force 10’, Liberty’s first sub-brand, was launched in August 1990, a time when a casual footwear wave was sweeping the Indian market.

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By 1994-95, Force 10 became Liberty’s flagship brand in value, notching up sales of Rs 32 crore. In the coming years, it not only helped the company establish its name in the domestic footwear market, but also paved the way for nine other sub-brands and a firm foothold in the mass family footwear segment led by Bata and became the country’s second largest footwear company. -Liberty has re-positioned themselves as a more vibrant and contemporary brand without leaving the current comfort, durability and value. -In April 2003, the Liberty Group underwent an important restructuring and its product portfolio was revamped.

As a part of the restructuring process, the company split its manufacturing and retail business in January 2004, with Liberty Shoes as the holding company for its shoe business and a subsidiary Liberty Retail Revolution Ltd for its retail business, which established a new retail channel through “Revolutions Stores”, that was set up at Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai. In 2006 Liberty Shoes joined hands with Pantaloon. The company underwent a major expansion in the 2000s, both in retail and manufacturing bases leading to a sharp growth. In the year 2002-03, the company posted a retail turnover of Rs 400 crore. Liberty took up the task of creating awareness for its brand name in the Indian market. Their advertising and promotion strategy over the years has consistently aimed at positioning Liberty as a complete family footwear brand. Initially, they focused on the upper class segment as our core target market. Later on, shifted attention towards the middle and upper-middle class segment also. The focus was very clearly moving towards middle and upper class segment since the premium segment had low volumes. Liberty has been perceived as a brand which is young, modern and offering new and international range of footwears. The brand name of Liberty is synonymous with footwear in the minds of the people. One can always think of footwear when the word ‘Liberty’ is seen or heard. Liberty’s consolidated image is one of a family brand offering great value for money. -Liberty used the word “Revolution” as a symbol for their diversification. -Liberty has created a repertoire of 10 well developed brands, each one of which has been painstakingly nurtured to cater to its specified target group. Care has been taken to create a specific identity for each brand and to provide has latest international designs.

Today, the new range from Liberty is all about style, design, and comfort. The range imbibes the spirit of fun and is trendy to the core. There is a product for every season and occasion. -Liberty has evolved with the changing times and got intrinsically linked with fashionable living. Today it is perceived as a lifestyle brand for those who see themselves as inseparable from the latest trends, global class and tasteful appreciation of beauty. It’s a brand that breathes attitude where fashion is an attitude. Liberty tied up with fashion designers including

Rohit Bal, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Rina Dhaka, Rohit Gandhi, Ashish Soni and Suneet Verma to develop footwear to match their clothing lines. Strategic Decision taken to build the same brand Being an established household brand name, Liberty has always catered to the needs of its customers updating the latest trends and fashion to maintain its presence in the market. Liberty has constantly been evolving to keep pace with the changing trends, styles, beliefs and aspirations of customers while maintaining the sanctity of certain traditions like workmanship and good value for money.

As footwear retailing in India remain focused on Men’s shoes only, there exists a plethora of opportunities in the ladies’ and kids’ footwear segment with no organized retailing chain having a national presence in either of these categories. Considering the present situation of footwear retailing as an opportunity, Liberty has been focusing on manufacturing of footwear for entire family to target the untapped segment in footwear. With changing lifestyle and increasing affluence, Liberty has considered the domestic demand of footwear to grow at a faster rate than has been seen in past.

The company is broadening their product range from need based shoes to lifestyle shoes. Liberty Shoes is increasing their presence in the high end market through concept stores called “Revolutions”. Revolutions’ strategy is to target women and children to increase footfalls. Apart from having presence in malls, Revolutions is also expanding its reach through the Shop in Shop concept. In September 2005, Liberty Shoes and Pantaloon Retail entered in to a joint venture for the business of footwear retailing. Another significant market that Liberty Shoes addresses is the institutional market. They manufacture safety shoes for industrial workers. % of their revenues came from this segment ‘Sapne Hue Apne’ the entire look of the campaign was thoughtfully stylized to strike a chord with the up-market, fashion centric youth. Besides, changing the look and feel, Liberty also strengthened its distribution in general trade and opening new exclusive outlets. By end of 2010, Liberty had 350 stores in metros and smaller cities, including the 80 company-owned ones. The strategy was to add between 50-100 stores every year and increase the distributors from 40-60 by Dec 2010 to expand the reach to 1000 retail points and aiming for 20 percent growth in sales revenue every year.

Each store entails an investment of Rs 25-50 lakh depending on size and location. How this brand did positioned itself in its competitive market? Liberty has an extensive distribution channel which has enabled them to develop a firm grip over the market. Liberty’s strategy is to scale up in all directions, i. e. to widen customer base by introducing products for all categories of customers, through different channels of distribution. Liberty wanted to create foothold in the domestic and export market.

With the implementation of VAT at a flat rate of 12%, the company had taken a long term view of their pricing strategy which has been revised from the April 2005. Liberty’s strategy of introducing various price points to cater to different income groups helped them in garnering a greater market share. Moving up the value chain by introducing brands to cater to higher income groups as well as putting up retail shops in malls augured well for the company. This strategy helped them establish their brands as well as increase margins.

Another interesting aspect is the company’s change in focus from men’s shoes to concentrating on shoes for the entire family. Consumer Insights & Perceptions used to create its value -Liberty has a range of footwear that is among the largest in the industry covering virtually every age group and income category. The brand is marketed across the globe through 150 distributors, 350 exclusive showrooms and over 6000 multi-brand outlets, and sold in thousands every day in more than 25 countries including fashion- driven, quality-obsessed nations like France, Italy, and Germany. Steeped in a philosophy that has at its core innovation, technology and advancement, Liberty is proud of their healthy and heart-felt respect for the human ethos. The brand projects itself as in the expectancy and excitement with which one greets the arrival of the new combined with a sincere and deep regard for the old that is appreciative of and adopts at every stage the unique balance between modernization and tradition. -Liberty as a brand is constantly evolving to keep pace with the changing trends, styles, beliefs and aspirations of people while maintaining the sanctity of certain traditions like workmanship and good value.

Liberty has for over 50 years always stayed in touch with the aspirations of every successive generation even as it developed the largest range in the industry catering to every income bracket and age segment. Liberty devised the patent of ‘Humantech’ that combines the best of talent with the latest in technology. From the price-conscious, value for money seeking buyer to the trendy, global, price-indifferent customer from the with it all attitude teenager to the conservative ‘seen it al’ adult, just about every-body today finds a good reason for being with Liberty. Liberty is today consolidating and expanding its following from the fashion alloys to the sidewalks with styles that compliment the newest most happening trends. And also by turning footwear selling into a byword for personalized service in an ambience of five star comforts. This can be experienced in the hundreds of liberty five star showrooms and shoe stations in India and abroad. But beyond that lies another but equally significant involvement. – It’s all about making a difference in the lives of thousands of people all over India by ensuring direct and indirect employment. Creating wealth sharing prosperity, and enerating progress. For Liberty, there can be no greater honors than that and no bigger reason for walking tall. Role of Advertising in the Brand Building Process Liberty chose to build their Brand through various Media sources i. e. News Paper & Events, Advertisement campaigns through Press Release, TV, Radio and Brand Captions and Hoarding Displays. The marketing division takes aggressive promotional exercise throughout the year. Special marketing communication mix are devised for special occasions like Diwali, ID, Christmas etc. company promotes its products by adding value to the lifestyle and a part of the ambitions.

It aims at satisfying consumer’s esteem and self-actualization needs so that consumer can relate themselves with the company. However, for promotion of its product, the main instrument of the company is its “SHOWROOM POLICY”. This policy aims at reaching more and more customers through Liberty showrooms. Following are some of the key captions covering all segments, Gender and age of the consumers that Brand Liberty serves. Force 10 has long perceived to be the flagship brand of Liberty, Force 10, today is Synonymous with value for money fashion sports shoes. It is a symbol of family force of Liberty which has 10 members.

Targeted at the age Group of 13-28 year old boys and men, Force 10 produces over 600,00 pairs annually. Available in the range of Rs. 350 to Rs. 1250, Force 10 looks with Caption – Force 10 “Life at a force of 10” Coolers are the brand of men’s sandals and slip-ons. These sandals cater to the age group of 21-45 yeas and are a stylish and comfortable accompaniment to any apparel. The range is amongst the most sought after during the summer months and over 1,000,000 sandals are produced every year. In the price range of Rs. 295 to Rs. 899, Coolers are indeed really cool. Caption – Coolers “Cool comfortable sandals”

Footfun has been created as an exclusive brand for children in the age group of 1 to 12 years. Children have their own peculiar requirements so far as footwear is concerned. The Liberty Footfun addresses all concerns of style, comfort, fitting as well as gives special emphasis to the flexibility of the footwear. Bright and vibrant colors are to the USP of the range and the maintenance proof product adds value for the children and parents alike. The products in this category include sandals, infant and toddler range of unisex shoes, sports shoes, and school shoes. The range is available in the price range at Rs. 35. 00 to Rs. 395. 00 and sells over 240,000 pairs annually. It conforms to the tag line. Caption – Footfun “Non Stop Fun “ Fortune comprises of men’s formal and casual shoes in Leather from the House of Liberty. These shoes, meant for toady’s students and executives in the age group of 18-45, combines the latest trends in formal wear abroad in to the most formal footwear. It is a sign of good luck, a symbol of being prosperous. The Fortune collection produces 60,000 pairs of shoes every year. In the price range of Rs. 850-1495, this shoe promises. Caption – Fortune “It takes some men places”

A symbol of light weight footwear, it gives a feeling of floating in air. It is the most important brand of Liberty as it covers all segments, varieties, colors, designs and price ranges. It is a mass brand of the company. Gliders cater to the specific need of normal, semi-formal footwear as well as beachwear for the age group of 2-45 years. This range has something or the other to cater to the requirements of children, young men and women. Over 4,500,000 pairs of Gliders footwear are produced each year in the price range of Rs. 125 to Rs. 1795. Gliders conform to the adage: Caption – Gliders “Some things are just right”

Senorita is a brand that caters to the high design and fashion styling amongst young women. Bringing out the flair of each style, Senorita invites young women in the age group of 14-26 to be comfortable as well as look the most delicately brought out the latest designs for this brand. Over 450,000 pairs are produced in this range in the price category of Rs. 495 to Rs. 995. Senorita invites women to retain their youthfulness, vibrancy and energy through its tag-line: Caption – Senorita “Hey woman, stay girl” Geo Sport exclusive professional sports shoes for 14-38 year olds; Geo Sports is targeted at budding and professional sportspersons.

The shoes cater to niche of professional sportswear. Over 15,000 pairs of shoes are created every year in the price range of Rs. 895- Rs. 1695. Geo Sport is important to the serious player. Caption – GEO Sport “Because winning matters” Warrior a range of safety shoes for institution sales and workers of the age group 21-45 years comprise Warrior, because of its solid sturdy looks, Warrior is also becoming quite a rage with the young boys and men. The products line is available from Rs. 685-1195 and sells 40,000 pairs annually. Caption – Warrior “Professional Gear”

Windsor provides casual and formal shoes for the young executive in the age group of 21 to 40 years. This brand caters to the need for power dressing for the young executives and allows the busy executive to make a statement in power dressing, which is as much at ease in the boardroom as in the cocktail lounge Windsor provides casual and formal shoes for the young executive in the age group of 21 to 40 years. This brand caters to the need for power dressing for the young executives and allows the busy executive to make a statement in power dressing, which is as much at ease in the boardroom as in the cocktail lounge.

The idea is to be comfortable wearing these attractive leather formal shoes over long periods every day, in keeping with the hectic lifestyles today. Over 750,000 pairs of Windsor are produced annually in the price range of RS. 895 to Rs. 1999. Windsor truly believes: Caption – Windsor “What’s life without a little comfort” “Walking comfort, Talking Style” Tiptopp caters to providing comfortable and fashionable women’s slip-ons and sandals. This range is synonymous with comfort, durability and neat styling.

Targeted at ladies in the age group of 24-40 years, this range sells 750,000 pairs annually. Available in the price range of Rs. 325 to Rs. 550. Caption – Tiptopp “Good Looks lasting comfort” Factors that shaped the brand during its life cycle -Liberty has developed new material TPE (Thermo Plastic Elastomer) for high Quality formal footwear. This material has better properties than PVC or TPR conventionally used for formal footwear. It introduced EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate) direct injection molding for the first time in Asia.

The EVA technology uses very light material and the footwear is made with direct injection system. The footwear weights next to nothing and is very flexible providing maximum comfort. Liberty’s Gliders ‘U’ range is made with EVA technology. -Liberty is a pioneer in the area of R & D for footwear and has a number of firsts to its credit. 2-way Channel partners of Liberty dig their feedback deep and constantly, hammering the string of creative workmen at the manufacturing centers to produce not just faceless shoes dancing down conveyer belts but shoes with character.

So the centers have poured 53 years of research and continuous flow of emotions to redefine the R & D center at Liberty the edge is a vertically integrated infrastructure with complete in-house manufacturing capabilities including Desma machines for PU Direct Injection, 6 lines for cement lasted construction, 15 machines for PVC Direct Injection and 3 machines for EVA Injection. All the units are interlinked by a SAP computer network facility, which ensures every order, is delivered in time. -Liberty is a technology driven company. ‘Humantech’- Liberty’s patented technology is a combination of human craftsmanship and technological excellence.

Conclusion: Liberty is a leading footwear brand catering different segments with latest design, style and trend in affordable price. It has an edge over technology and Innovation over its competitors and hence is doing well. The brand has been well established over years of painstaking effort creating value for money. Constant Innovation and focus on R&D has helped their growth. Liberty has a well established Sales and Distribution Network as well as strategic tie-ups with leading clothing brands and fashion designers. Liberty also has presence outside India in 25 countries to establish as an international brand.

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