Fastrack was launched in 1998 as a sub-brand of Titan. It was spun off as an independent brand of watches targeting the urban youth in 2005. Since then, it has carved a niche for itself with designs that were refreshingly different and affordable. During that time, Fastrack also extended its footprint into eye gear and in the last 4 years has quickly notched up the title of being the largest sunglass brand in the country. Fastrack has now chartered into newer categories – bags, belts, wallets and wrist bands – as part of its vision to become a complete fashion brand for the youth. With enough categories to fill up one cool store, Fastrack has ‘moved on’ to open its own stores for its young consumers. The store is positioned as a complete accessories destination with all Fastrack gear under one roof. The first store was opened in Pune in 2009.
With a smart combination of edgy design and value pricing Titan’s Fastrack has managed to keep a firm grasp on the capricious youth market. Not many brands live by what they preach. Taglines are often born out of a creative team’s clever phrasing or a strategy team’s eye on a certain positioning. For Titan Industries’ Fastrack ‘Move on’ is a way of life. From a sub-brand with a fuzzy identity to a bonafide youth brand, Fastrack sure has moved on. The brand, which was conceived in 1998 as a flanker to fend off a competitor and insulate Titan from the fray, now contributes about 25 per cent to Titan Industries watch division’s profits, raking in close to Rs 500 crore.
Initially called Titan Fastrack, it was meant to be a brand of cool watches; but it soon became clear that defining cool was far from easy. It started with funky packaging and then with steel bands to make the range look sharp. People into their first jobs were its targets. However, around the same time, Titan Industries was also contemporising the Titan range, with similar metals and communication. “Fastrack was then just a sub-brand of Titan. It was only in 2005-06 that the brand came into its own,” says Bijou Kurien, who left the company as chief operating officer in 2006, after 19 years with Titan Industries. He is now president (lifestyle) at Reliance Retail. Titan Industries had entered a joint venture with Timex Corporation, leading US fashion watch manufacturer, in 1992, which broke off in 1998. “Timex had been conceived as a young brand while Titan would focus on premium watch buyers. After the JV ended, there was an opportunity for Fastrack to be launched as the youth brand from Titan,” says Kurien. In 2004, another division called the Accessories and Licensing Business launched sunglasses under the brand name Fastrack. It had already been selling licensed eyewear by FCUK andTommy Hilfiger. But it was only in 2005 that Titan Industries took the decisive call to hive off Fastrack as a separate business unit. “In 2005, we saw the opportunity of bringing all the divisions under one umbrella,” says Ronnie Talati, vice-president and business head, Fastrack & New Brands. By then, there were all of 1,500 products carrying the Fastrack tag. The total turnover then was Rs 30 crore, from 1.5 lakh watches and 30,000-40,000 sunglasses being sold that year. Sunglasses accounted for about 25 per cent of the sales at that time. Making it happen
Kurien recalls, “We started investing a lot more in the brand, we signed up John Abraham as the celebrity ambassador.” It started with defining the look (stress on design) and the price (introduced lower priced watches) of the products. The company put in place a separate distribution network for Fastrack rather than let the brand piggy ride on Titan’s network of stores and increased counter displays at all Titan showrooms. Then of course, there was the decision to enter other categories, inspired by its successful foray into sunglasses. “We weren’t willing to run out of options for the youth and wanted to move beyond being a watch brand,” says Kurien of...
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