“E-commerce contributes to 16% of our overall sales:” Simeran Bhasin

Founded in 1998, Wildcraft is a performance-driven, head-to-toe outfitter. Sixteen years into its existence with over five million customers served, Wildcraft is now set to define India’s outdoor industry. Wildcraft lays claim to being India’s first outdoor brand. The company has grown from a hobbyist ‘garage’ brand 25 years ago to a Rs 250 crore company.

Brought on board to fuel the company’s expansive plans, Simeran Bhasin, as Wildcraft as chief marketing officer, is responsible for driving the company’s vision to create and redefine India’s relationship with the outdoors. A marketer by both nature and vocation, Bhasin has previously held various leadership positions at Titan Industries where she spearheaded the re-launch in 2003 and the expansion of the Fastrack brand until 2014.

Having a keen eye for and strong interest in design, Bhasin believes in building brands through people, a view reflected in her mantra ‘hire for attitude, train for skills.’ In December 2014, the company carried out a new branding exercise with a new logo.

With the clear objective of brand building, Bhasin has brought on board a network of specialist agencies across brand consultancy (Futurebrands), design consultancy (CoDesign), creative (Famous), digital (22 feet), PR (Zeno Group) and media (DDB Mudra and Milestone).

Excerpts of an interaction that’s Tarachand Wanvari had with her:

Could you explain the why of Wildcraft?

Wildcraft is a brand born for the open air. It came to life in the 90s out of a passion to explore the outdoors. A group of friends came together with quality products and services designed to enable their own outdoor pursuits. Started in a garage, the early days of Wildcraft were spent running the company as a hobby. The company’s inspiring growth story has seen it develop to an Rs 250+ crore brand. And it is this passion that runs through and brand and its people.

Whether you are trekking, camping or walking a trail, the thrill of the outdoors is invigorating. As a brand, we are seeking to emphasise the fact that being out there can make you feel alive! One of Wildcraft’s main goals is to define the contours of the industry and be the central source of inspiration for Indians looking to experience the outdoors.

What was the need for a new brand identity? Tell us a little about the new logo design. What does the new brand identity reflect?

Over the years Wildcraft has experienced a period of tremendous growth. What this has meant is that without any aggressive communication or advertising, our products have been at the forefront of shaping the brand’s consumer perception. As the company continues to grow and expand its operations, we find it essential to articulate our positioning better. And as a performance-driven head-to-toe outfitter, we see ourselves on the cusp of defining the Indian outdoors. Our revitalized identity and logo effectively articulate this position. 

Wildcraft’s new logo, the Wildmark, forms an integral part of the company’s renewed identity. The Wildmark reflects the brand’s passion for the outdoors, represented in the free and spontaneous strokes that form the image. While the hand-drawn stroke represents the simplicity, liberation and raw energy of the outdoors, the colours represent rawness of stone and energy of the sun.

The new brand identity is reflective of Wildcraft’s commitment to grow and shape the outdoor industry in India. Wildcraft’s vision is to help people discover the outdoors and come alive. We aim to do this through best-in-class, performance-driven gear that combines innovation in technology and design construct. The company is expanding its operations and has recently extended its product line to include a range of clothing and footwear alongside the existing product line of rucksacks, sleeping bags, tents and travel accessories for trekking, camping and other outdoor pursuits. The new brand identity seeks to articulate this process of discovery and highlights Wildcraft’s vision of being a performance-driven outfitter.

Could you throw some light on your target audience?

Essentially, our target audience comprises two types of consumers: People who aspire to experience the outdoors but have not yet had the chance to, and; outdoor enthusiasts.

While we provide the outdoor enthusiasts with the requisite gear for their various outdoor ventures, our eventual goal is to inspire the aspirants to turn into full-fledged enthusiasts.

What are the steps that you plan to take to initiate people to fulfill their aspirations?

Wildcraft’s vision is to inspire, inform and enable people to get outdoors. With a recently established marketing team, a robust agency ecosystem, an in-house design team and a global supply chain, we are now set to put our vision in motion.

There are various plans in place to inspire and inform our target market. For instance, our new stores have a community wall where we provide information on trekking expeditions and nearby locations great for an outdoor experience. The store has useful nuggets of information on the walls from the appropriate size of a rucksack to the duration and gear for a specific trip. We plan to make this information readily available on our website as well.

We also have an active social media page with over a million fans through, which we regularly update our fans and customers on relevant Wildcraft news or events in the outdoor space. All content is created specifically for the brand and the images are of real locations visited by our teams. This is a source of inspiration for many people who tend to live vicariously through beautiful wallpaper images. The comments we receive on our page are very encouraging.

We plan to tie-up with various mountaineering clubs and associations for a variety of partnerships.

Wildcraft also regularly sponsors outdoor enthusiasts on various expeditions. Our eventual goal is to enable outdoor pursuits through best in-class gear, clothing and footwear.

What insights have your internal studies thrown about Indians and their outdoor aspirations?

Our research tells us that there is an increasing appetite for outdoor activities. Even activities such as trekking, camping and bouldering, earlier considered a niche activity in our country, are growing in popularity. There is an increasing appetite for adventure and the outdoors. In our experience one of the roadblocks that most individuals face is the availability of information on where to go and the gear required to go there. And that’s where we see it as our responsibility to inform, educate, inspire and enable people.

Moreover, we have a thriving social media presence that clearly points to the enthusiasm our community has for travel and specifically the outdoors.

Social is now turning into ATL. I specifically recall the Fastrack campaign to change the name of the brand in case the number of 'likes' on Facebook crossed a particular number. Could you share the insights obtained by you for Wildcraft from this medium, and how the company plans to leverage it?

Digital media is a critical part of our overall marketing strategy. We have an active presence on Facebook and Instagram. Our digital strategy is two-pronged and focuses on delivering rich content that inspires people to get out there. The content we share ranges from campfire stories to product demos and use cases. 

Social media facilitates dialogue between us and our community. This doesn’t just give us the chance to communicate with our fans on a personal level but also to take feedback from them. A critical part of our social media efforts is the focus on generating quality content that strikes a chord with our fan base.

What brand building exercises is the company is undertaking? Can you throw some light on the steps and the strategies that you plan to adopt in that direction?

A sound understanding of our legacy and goal has given our mission clarity and specificity. As I said, we are a performance-driven head-to-toe outfitter. This then leads to a clearly defined brand positioning that is supported by our focus on clothing, footwear and gear. With a revitalized design and communication strategy in place, we launched our new brand identity in December 2014.

The year 2015-16 will see us consolidate and build on the decisions we have already taken. We will invest a significant amount of time rebranding our stores and products across the country and across channels.

Our core focus has been our product range. We are continuously looking for ways to improve the depth and breadth of our product offering. In line with what consumers most need outdoors, Wildcraft’s product philosophy is built on the principle of FLWR i.e. all products have been designed to be Functional, Lightweight, Weather resilient and Reliable.

We have recently launched our HypaDura collection of activity-specific backpacks and rucksacks built using globally benchmarked materials. We have renewed our footwear and apparel range with an emphasis on making the products outdoor-specific.

Having said that, we are looking to expand our footprint in the Indian market by extending our distribution and reach across the country. Also, we intend to expand our reach to international markets and compete with the best brands globally. Our endeavour is to be recognized as a performance-driven head-to-toe outfitter, globally.

Can you throw some light on the similarities and differences in brand building between Fastrack and Wildcraft? You were involved with Fastrack just before it took off…

Fastrack was in a similar position to what Wildcraft is in today when I began work on the brand. I was involved in the repositioning and re-launch of Fastrack and my role here is similar in a few ways, namely the culture, pace of work and a young, passionate team. I believe an open working environment and a young motivated team can deliver extraordinary results.

Having said that, Fastrack and Wildcraft are also different in several ways. Fastrack is a fashion-focused brand, while Wildcraft is a performance-driven outdoor specific brand. Performance oriented products demand that the category’s culture be shaped and clearly articulated. It is essential to clearly communicate what your brand stands for. The quality of products and services delivered is also critical to growing the brand.   

We have started our journey of consolidation at Wildcraft, but have a certain distance to cover before we reach a comfortable space.

How is Wildcraft placed with respect to local as well international competition?

There is a vast array of international brands that are exploring the Indian market. These can be broadly divided into two categories: Mass Market (unorganised sector) where the pricing tends be lower and; Premium Market (organised sector) where we have mostly international brands with higher price points.

In between these two clusters, there is huge gap that Wildcraft aims to fill. Our endeavour is provide quality-driven and functional products at an affordable price.

How important is e-commerce? I believe that players like Myntra, Jabong, etc., contribute about 15-20 per cent to your topline? Where do you see Wildcraft’s relation with these players over the next few years?

E-commerce is a critical part of our strategy due to its reach and the convenience it affords our customers. Through our various e-commerce partners, we are able to reach customers across the breadth of the country even if we don’t have a physical presence in those locations. E-commerce is one of our fastest growing channels and contributes to 16 per cent of our overall sales. We expect this number to increase to 20 percent soon.

Our products are available on all major e-commerce platforms including Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong and Amazon. Our products can also be bought through our website,

We maintain a great relationship with our online partners and we fully expect this relationship to grow over the years.

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