27 Feb 2019 19:57 IST

Strong business model can create value for all

Structured approach will enable scale-up while a compelling story could win in the global market

  A strong business model is about creating ongoing value for both the artisans and customers. Following a structured approach will help create a well-defined path to scaling up and requires clarity about the specific audience segmentation, targeting and positioning, that play a crucial role in the grand scheme of planning business growth.

The product, Eri Silk, being a high-end fabric for the fashion industry, needs to reach the right users, taking with it the important message of the cause the manufacturer is espousing. To increase a customer’s willingness to buy, each segmented group needs to be handled with a specific set of strategies relating to product price, volume and quality.

 

Establishing business processes that stem from a sound understanding of key business activities will help cater to each of the segments most efficiently. Each stakeholder plays an important role and, considering the people who are the target of our efforts, or whose help we need in order to succeed, will help refine all micro and macro level processes.

We need to think about the whole range of people the project might impact — customers (internal and external), colleagues, partners, decision-makers, thought-leaders, and competitors, and answer the following questions about them.

 

As the case says, the biggest barrier to working with artisans was not having access to a comprehensive collection of samples, quality control, time management, communication, and pricing. Some things that can be done in order to address these issues are:

~ Start a fellowship programme and hire students from textile institutes to run the show. They will monitor quality and timely deliverables along with communications.

~ Invest in information technology and document every work day of each work group.

~ Instead of burdening artisans with surplus orders, maintain reasonable order pipelines to align them with the capacity production. While our key business resources include the artisans and the biodiversity of Assam, this is not sufficient to meet the higher demand that may arise with scaling up. This needs more focussed planning.

~ Community immersion programmes to glean deeper insights about the products in order for us to pitch them suitable in the global market.

~ Proper demand-supply planning is required to meet targets with zero burdening.

~ To become decentralised would be the best way to meet demand but, since that cannot be done for now, we should focus on targeting the nearby areas for constant demand generation — for instance, States such as West Bengal and Odisha, conveying the strong value propositions that go with buying from local artisans.

Value propositions

The value propositions can revolve around the following aspects:

 

Determining key business partners

Three categories can be targeted for direct, long-term partnerships in return for the best price and quality. These are: global textile industries; indigenous textile firms and the Government of India. These should be the markets 7Weaves can easily tap into and are ones that can will give it long-term sources of revenue. This apart from any B2C/B2E associations.

Demand generation

A demand generation strategy comes from a strong integrated marketing communication (IMC) which will create enduring brand value and presence. Focus needs to be placed on all elements of IMC — advertising, public relations, sales promotions, personal selling, direct marketing and online marketing.

A fixed budget is required to create brand awareness and product placement. The plan involves getting across to the customer a message that is clear, consistent and compelling. The IMC process is vital in managing the communication mix with the right target audiences and maintaining the strong market position through brand differentiation.

Room for innovation

Constant innovation is the key to ensuring a superior quality product. Many innovations are present in the market such as hemp fibre, stinging nettle fibre, coffee ground fibre, and so on. An R&D group should be simultaneously established to manage similar innovations. This will prepare us for strong competition and help differentiate our product in the market.

How can Mandakini effectively market 7Weaves’s products to global fashion brands?

Here’s an outline of alternative strategies that can be adopted to pitch the product to a global market.

~ Start with the story. A compelling story generates a new energy around a product, giving it renewed life. This should be a story that touches consumers emotionally. Such stories can be marketed through different advertising media. But the narrative has to be compelling.

~ Create an attractive and UI-rich website, where all products under the 7Weaves umbrella are displayed vividly. Tell the story of each product. Help consumers connect to one who wove the piece of fabric. This will establish a connect with the brand and ensure loyalty, as also a sense of responsibility towards that artisan.

~ Create a community of people who have purchased the product and who believe in sustainability and thoughtful consumerism. Enlighten them on different aspects of sustainability and what they can do to support such an ecosystem. Start a referral programme to expand the community.

~ Open this community to free workshops and tours of the production unit to generate greater awareness. When the community posts stories of 7Weaves in their Instagram feeds, it will automatically attract more consumers to research about the product.

~ One the brand has value and awareness is established, it can be easily pitched to global brands.

~ Diversify into other causes, such as women’s empowerment and child education, as to establish a core value system that is ingrained in what the product stands for.

~ Let Assam’s local entertainment industry act as voluntary brand ambassadors for the 7Weaves products and reach out to global leaders of the fashion industry.

(The winner is a PGPM student at Great Lakes Institute of Management.)

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