For decades the seemingly friendly neighbourhood jeweller held sway. More often than not he cheated the people who flocked to him. The buyers were aware of this, but there was no other option. They were forced to live with the situation as best they could.
The jeweller was an important figure in a culture where the buying of jewellery signified auspiciousness, festivity and joy, where gold was not just meant for adornment, but also for investment and security in bad times. This scenario spelled good times for family jewellers, from whom Indians had bought gold for decades. The jewellers, for their part, rarely if ever shared these good times with their consumers, who suffered on account of lack of professionalism in the industry.
In the midst of this jeweller's market, with its scant respect for the customer, stood out one brand with its promise of credibility, quality and purity. Tanishq was able to build a name for itself solely on the basis of its reputation for reliability and design excellence. Today, it is the largest jewellery brand in the country.
In shaking the prevailing structure, the 10-year-old Tanishq has managed a remarkable feat. Set up in 1995, this division of Titan came into being as a result of the decision by the Tata group to enter the branded jewellery segment. The world over, watches and jewellery are sold out of the same store, bound by the common elements of creativity and beauty of design. For Titan, getting into jewellery was another first, and it paved the way to defining a new segment. The plan made sound business sense.
In its early days, Tanishq's strategy was to target the Indian elite with western designs in 18-carat gold. The strategy was not very successful. Studies revealed that women in the country were more used to Indian designs in 22-carat gold. This prompted Tanishq to work on a fusion of contemporary and traditional Indian motifs.
From the beginning, Tanishq sought to create a retail chain that would be synonymous with reliability and quality. As a spin-off to this endeavour, it managed to change the way the Indian buyer shopped for gold. Tanishq now has 74 outlets in 54 cities across the country. Each outlet, boasting modern in-store elements and a special retail ambience, holds special promotions to mark the launch of a new collection or a festival.
Innovative ideas and special promotions help consumers heighten their shopping experience. Tanishq also has a fully integrated jewellery manufacturing facility at Hosur, Tamil Nadu. These facilities, combined with the brand's design excellence and sheer professionalism, have made it India's most recognisable name in jewellery. Additionally, it has earned Tanishq the status of most admired jewellery brand for three years running.
Tanishq has left no doubt in the minds of its consumers about its honesty and credibility. Buyers in India had, for far too long, been at the mercy of unscrupulous jewellers who adulterated their gold. In response, Tanishq introduced Karat meters at its outlets. These instruments enabled consumers to ascertain the purity of their gold in a non-destructive manner. Not only did the device create enormous equity for the brand, it also established a clear difference between Tanishq's ethical standards and the lack of them in the unorganised sector.
The brand distinguished itself in other ways too. Tanishq is the only jeweller to have a full-fledged design studio. The team here has won many awards for designs, including 'most desirable jewellery brand' in India in 2003 at the Images Fashion Awards. The team has also created a number of contemporary and traditional designs which are adorning millions of Indian women today.
Over the years Tanishq has launched new collections faster than its competitors, and has conducted marketing programmes and special events. These efforts have opened the minds of consumers to the wonders of getting a value-for-money product. The effort has been so successful that, over the last few years, Tanishq has recorded year-on-year growth of approximately 40 per cent, more than the industry growth.
The brand has also made a successful foray into key export markets such as the US, the UK, the Middle East, Singapore and Australia. This is an indication of how well Tanishq has been accepted not only by Indian consumers but also by their foreign counterparts.
The big reason Tanishq was able to make so much headway is because it has never shied away from reinventing itself. It has introduced ethical practices and design innovations to Indian women. It has also introduced a number of collections that firmly established its reputation as a frontrunner on the fashion scene. Also, a deliberate attempt has been made to identify the jewellery with the aspirations and emotional needs of consumers, rather than with conspicuous consumption.
Having spent a decade in the business, Tanishq has succeeded in winning the trust of consumers. It has also created a class of discerning consumers who recognise the brand by its distinctiveness. Tanishq has ensured that the jewellery market in India will never be the same again.