In the year 1996, the marketing team conducted a dipstick survey among 100 female students in a few colleges in Mumbai city. The aim of this survey was to find out what they would like to receive as a Valentine’s Day gift. The results indicated that the first choice was card and a rose. The second was soft toy and the third was jewelry. Putting all this together the marketing team came up with a unique package of a card and a card and a teddy bear with a rose bud, which opened to hold a piece of Gilli diamond studded jewelry. No special advertising was done to announce this package but the ads which were featured on the front pages of mid day every afternoon in Mumbai, for 14 days merely suggested that Valentine’s Day could be celebrated it Gili. The communication addressed all three markets and the response was mind blowing.
Making Gili a household name
The year 1998 was a turning point in brand building for Gili. A mail order catalogue was yet again created the only difference being that this time, the tie up was between Gili, the World Gold Council and The Times of India. This time, the catalogue went to 1.2 million households cross the country. This is not only helped create awareness, but also established Gili as a household name. This was evident from the conversions, which had stated happening at the store levels. For brand which had to pay a minimum guarantee to keep is product in a retail store. Gili had indeed come a long way. The company discontinued its catalogue at Diwali, as by this time the local jewelers were copying the designs.
International bodies like De Beers had now started taking an interest in India and approached Gili to promote diamond jewelry. Gili was the first company to cerate heart shaped diamonds, including very small ones, which could be gifted.
The company now toyed with the idea of experimenting with 24 carat gold jewelry. However, selling 24 carat gold jewelry was a problem as gold prices fluctuate and they include an element of making charges. However, Gili Gold was created ad to create awareness for this, a catalogue was created which was again circulated with the Times of India however only in the major metros. A round 800,000 copies were distributed and it helped reinforce the brand name.
For the valentine’s day of 2000, Gili promoted its gold jewelry by creating a gold heart which could carry an inscription. This was in the form of a 24 carat heart shaped gold coins which could carry a pre embossed message on the other side. The embossing of the message took care of the making charges. The customer could choose from pre decided messages and the length of the message varied with the size of the heart. This promotion was run simultaneously in 16 cities and at around 80 outlets. While it was a runway success, it was a nightmare to the staff that was delivering gold hearts till 10 pm on Valentine’s Day, The company had reached a stage where 35% of its business and from 14 days in the month of February!
Over the years Gili has gained substantial ground as a jewelry brand.The current range offered includes rings, earrings pendants and chains. Every three months, new styles are introduced and the life of a popular style is 2 years. It is retailed at over 150 retail outlets across the country and sales have grown from a modest Rs 2 crores in 1991 to Rs 64 cores last year. The average ticket size of the products sold in the store has also increased from Rs 750 in 1995-96 to Rs 7,100 in the year 2003-04.
To sell its product across the retail counters, Gili hires graduates preferably multilingual and trains them in subtle selling. The training process involves understanding how jewelry (gold and diamond) is manufactured in order to be able to sell in.
Over the years Gili has also started tapping the corporate customer. It offers a wide range of presentation articles like gold and silver coins and medallions, silver articles pens key chains and gift vouchers to its corporate clients.