Strategy Consulting | Advertising | Packaging Design

How do we build a rainwear brand in an unorganised category and thereby drive business growth and brand awareness?

In a predominantly unorganised category of rainwear where majority of the players are labels that focus on trade to drive business growth, Zeel became the first visible brand to market the product directly to customers while also focusing on trade relations.

The product offering in this category is not differentiated by brands, and similarity in form and designs across brands fails to offer a clear value to customers. And most brands are far from making their collections different and unique. Zeel, on the other hand, offers a variety of designs and patterns and is continuously innovating to cater to the different needs of customers in terms of price and design, thereby offering more value.

There’s a clear divide in the category when it comes to brands operating in this space – there are heritage brands which focus on trade heavily for sales; there are local players who sell in the limited catchment area and offer price advantage at the cost of quality and design, and then there are mainstream brands like Wildcraft and Decathalon that have rainwear as an added product in their line of offerings.

The heritage brands take a conservative approach to marketing and work on the equity they have built over the years and drive growth by pushing the trade through margins and incentives. On the other hand, for the mainstream brands rainwear is a small part of their line and not the core focus in marketing. Zeel, however, has adopted a marketing strategy that is customer-facing and has drawn a fair market share from their approach.

Zeel wanted to leverage the advantage and drive business growth by establishing itself as a rainwear brand with a clear proposition that resonated with its customers and led to brand preference in purchase.

What was the challenge?

· In a category driven by trade, how do we position Zeel as a customer-facing brand

· How do we strengthen trade relations and drive business growth in a category where loyalty towards brands is low among trade partners

· How do we increase retail buying and solve for trade concerns

The Sideways Approach

We approached the problem by first understanding the behaviour of all stakeholders involved. This gave us an insight into their perceptions, concerns, and relationship with the brand, leading us into devising solutions to address their needs.

What did we do?

Brand positioning

We did an extensive study of the consumers’ behaviour and relationship with rains and rainwear and also the value offerings of the brand. This helped us in creating a positioning for the brand that would be a clear differentiator in the category.

The core consumer’s need to carry on with his day, unaffected by rains, married with the brand’s innovative offerings and quality assurance gave it a distinguished space to operate in the category - Performance Rainwear. This lead to - ‘Let It Rain!’ A statement that not just captured the sentiment but also brought alive the brand promise.


To make the brand more visible, we created 3 TVCs that reflected the purpose and positioning of the brand. The commercials depicted everyday scenarios from our consumers’ life and launched the idea that life shouldn’t stop because of rains. The films, all of 10 seconds each, were kept short and crisp, with a dose of humour, to put the product in the spotlight. These were aired during the World Cup season.

Packaging design

The brand positioning also lent itself to the visual design of the brand. It encapsulated the essence of ‘life during rains’ and integrated the product in everyday context and usage. We used illustrations to give a young and modern feel to the brand, something completely novel in the category.

The category is such that there is no association of the brand with the product once it's been unboxed and its usage is also limited to the season. Thus, low involvement and an even lower association with the brand. To solve this, we got the brand to bring more value to its customers, by revamping not just the design but also its packaging.

The first step was to ensure that the brand remains top of mind outside the monsoon season as well. The way we addressed this was by interpreting packaging as utility vs. just retail stocking. For various offerings like Zeel, WaterFighter and RainFighter we designed the packaging in such a way that it differentiated itself from other brands and gave utility value. We created a clip-tie packaging for Zeel, a sling packaging for Waterfighter and a carry bag packaging for Rainfighter. The packaging was thought about in a way that people could decipher the material and colour of the raincoat inside – with see-through parts in the packaging, or using the raincoat material itself for the packaging. This way people would know what they are buying and the feel of the material, without taking the raincoat out of the pack. All these packaging had illustrations that depicted how people can go about their daily life, even in heavy rains – aligning with our philosophy of “Let It Rain”.

We also disrupted the whole Children’s range for Zeel by owning a unique shape – the raindrop. Since children seemed to be the only ones who enjoy the rains unconditionally without context, we created illustrations of kids being kids in rain – stamping on puddle, enjoying being out in the rain. We also added some utility for the kids packaging by creating a simple board game on the packaging which the kids could play in their free time. This packaging came equipped with dice and pawns, which could be used by the kids during their downtime. This allowed us to drive the brand positioning across all aspects, including packaging.


Trade partners find it difficult to maintain loyalty with the brand as smaller players serve their demands with immediate effect as opposed to high lead times and other strict terms with the brand.

To address easy stock availability, we proposed a mechanism that worked on the existing network and helped in addressing the urgent requirements of trade partners. The aim was to facilitate the stock demand and fulfillment within a stipulated time period.

We conceptualized a digital platform that would allow trade partners to raise requests for selling or buying stock. The mechanism would also minimize the lead time by allowing the requests to be fulfilled by the nearest partner in a timely manner, as opposed to the time taken by the brand in fulfilling it.