Legacy, functionality and fashion at the core of Timex Group

New Delhi (IANSlife) One of the most trusted watch brands over generations, the Timex Group creates, manufactures, and sells innovative timepieces all over the world. Headquartered in Middlebury, Connecticut, it has multiple operating units and over 3,000 employees worldwide. The Group’s companies manufacture watches under several well-known brands, including Timex, Nautica, Guess, GC, Salvatore Ferragamo, Versace, Versus, Ted Baker, Missoni, and Furla.

In India, Deepak Chhabra is the newly appointed Managing Director of Timex Group India. With over two decades of diverse and insightful Leadership experience in the field of Retail, Brand management, Strategic Business Planning, Management, Sales and Merchandising, Deepak will be spearheading the Group’s Business transformation and Strategic Growth Strategy in India. He will be responsible for strategising and driving initiatives delivering superior brand and customer experiences through innovative business planning solutions.

Being a highly self-motivated and driven leader who believes in going beyond his comfort zone and taking risks, he firmly believes that one should accept their failure as much as we celebrate our success. IANSlife speaks to Chhabra to gain key insights to the brand’s Marketing Growth Expansion Plans and Business Module in the retailing and business sector.

Read Excerpts:

Is Timex as a brand more aspirational or generational?

Deepak : Timex is global brand, an American MNC, but our roots are so strong in India, that many believe we are a home grown brand here and that is a success in itself. So, we really work on how people perceive us, what happens when you have legacy of more than 365 years? One has to constantly keep yourself relevant to consumers while maintaining your legacy. We have to move with the time, so to speak, and somewhere we have to ensure that we keep on addressing contemporary needs.

Our legacy gives us the advantage of being both aspirational and generational, we are close to our consumers, but we have to continue to focus on how they can interact with us, how they can locate us, where can we be available to them and how can we serve them. We have taken conscious efforts to ensure we are where the consumer needs us to be in everyway, be it design, accessibility or contemporary watch trends. We don’t have to choose whether to be be aspirational or generational, we can be both at the same time, which is what we are.

When it comes to watches there’s a lot of competition from brands which are not necessarily watch brands, but are managing to garner a lot of the market space. How does Timex plan to stay ahead of the curve?

Deepak : There are a set of consumers who are watch enthusiasts, who genuinely want to have a watch from only watch manufacturers, mostly Swiss brands and Timex cater to these buyers. But today, a watch is not necessarily only a functional product, it is about fashion and trends, it is a fashion accessory and so there will always be a segment of buyers who look to trends and fashion brands for watch purchases.

There are advantages to both, as many fashion brands take care of this aspirational value and fashion quotient. At Timex Group we manufacture watches under and for several well-known brands, including Nautica, Guess, GC, Salvatore Ferragamo, Versace, Versus, Ted Baker, Missoni, and Furla which caters to this segment. 80 per cent of the business actually consists of fashion lines being designed within our system. So, being a watch manufacturer with huge expertise for a long period we ensure that in our styling, designing and in our communication we convey all the fashion elements needed.

We divide our business into two parts one is the license brands and then Timex, and we do have some sub-brands, so all these three brands put together ensure that we remain fashionable as well as functional.

Are brick and mortar retail spaces worth investing in or not?

Deepak : As I said, we need to be where the consumer is, today a brand’s presence needs to be multi-channel, and we are committed to being present in all channels, retail and e-commerce to be closure to our consumer. There are a set of consumers who want to shop online, especially the younger consumer category, on the other hand there are clients who want to touch and feel, and see how it looks on your wrist, if it matches with your persona and matches with what you are wearing. So brick and mortar is very relevant as is the online space. India is a huge, and so we cannot be physically present everywhere but we can ensure via online we can delivery to every pin code in the country.

GenZ and Millennials are a large chunk of the market, do you have a brand ambassador which appeals to this segment?

Deepak : Today influencers who engage with a dedicated following help brands reach a target audience much more affectively than say celebrities with millions of followers and no engagement. We have seen the ROI on influencer marketing on social media is much more affective than that of generic brand ambassadors. Not all celebrities can target the audience you are trying to reach. Today, I don’t think a single brand ambassador endorsing all the brands in our brand portfolio makes sense.

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