Feature

Beyond Fame

Companies are not relying on star factor alone to drive sales. Will this break the jinx for celebrity brands?

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Manish Mandhana gets a lot of attention from those who command it otherwise — the celebrities. “A lot of people approach me with proposals,” he says. Why not? Success as they say is the most powerful magnet and Mandhana’s claim to fame is Being Human. The force behind Salman Khan’s popular clothing range, he has not just turned it into a recognisable brand but also demonstrated that celebrity businesses can be sustainable. A string of short-lived ventures by cricketers, Bollywood and other celebrities had led one to believe otherwise. 

Branching out
Considering that the clothing line was first commissioned barely four years back, Being Human has done well to scale up. From net sales of Rs.40 crore in 2012, the brand clocked sales of Rs.216 crore last year. “We have followed an omni-channel policy, selling at Shoppers Stop, Central and other chains besides using e-commerce, and have 600 touchpoints today,” says Mandhana. The company also launched exclusive retail stores.  Today, it has 55 stores, of which 30 are owned by the company. 

All this gives an impression that Mandhana has had it easy. But the brand business, he says, can be tricky. “It’s very competitive, you need to be in the right place. There has to be consistency in terms of performance. A lot of thought has to go into developing the brand and its DNA, the collections have to be trending and the pricing has to be correct. With social media, you need to reach out to as many people as possible.” That’s a long list of things to go right. Clearly, Mandhana hasn’t stopped at Khan’s appeal, but relied on a sound business plan.

That’s the reason behind Being Human’s success, feels Harminder Sahni, managing director, Wazir Advisors. “It’s not like they were running many lines of businesses and experimented with a star-based brand, like others in the past. They invested heavily in Being Human, opened stores and created distribution — that kind of commitment was missing in most other cases.” 

Most experts consider Being Human to be the exception though. Arvind Singhal

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