Rainco recently claimed the Gold Award in the Fashion Retail Category at SLIM Digis, the Digital Marketing Awards organized by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM). Initially a family-run business, Rainco’s growing global presence in the Fashion Accessories, Family care, Baby care, Rainwear, Shoe and Foot Care, has cemented its position as a premier brand in Sri Lanka. With 4 production factories, a workforce of over 1200 and a dealer network of over 7000, it continues to look for opportunities in the market.
Known primarily for their umbrella products, Rainco received the Gold Award for their product concept of the Trendy umbrella. Trendy was developed with the objective of making the umbrella more fashionable and in line with the latest trends. With the intention of introducing as many current and trending elements as possible, the Trendy umbrella was inspired by denim culture. The fabric used for the umbrella itself embodies the denim look and feel. Keeping with the whole idea of Trendy, Rainco opted for less conventional forms of marketing communication in order to resonate with their product concept. As such they initiated a dance challenge called the ‘Trendy Challenge’ with Sachini Nipunsala, a Sri Lankan television presenter and dancer. Many people started doing dances with the Trendy umbrella and the overall engagement with the product was better than expected. Customer interest peaked and generated positive feedback regarding the Trendy umbrella.
Rainco has taken steps to revolutionize the way the umbrella is perceived by consumers. As opposed to merely thinking of an umbrella as a commodity, Rainco is aiming at repositioning the umbrella as a lifestyle product by emphasizing innovation and relevance to the target audience. Their largest target audience consists primarily of women who make up 70% of their sales. If you look at the overall performance of Trendy, it became one of the Top 20 contributing stock keeping units. There is always a need to make products more relevant and the thought process in terms of marketing and the digital execution enabled Rainco to create an experience that effectively resonated with their consumers.
Constant innovation that lacks relevance is ineffective and as such Rainco has put a lot of thought into their innovation process and product development. Most products developed are not mass-market but target a specific segment and are designed to be useful to that particular segment. Accordingly, they have developed a variety of products that continue to wow their consumers. One such product is the Sunproof umbrella which comes with ‘Sun Protech’ – a feature that provides protection from the sun. The use of umbrellas for protection from the rain is obvious but sun proof protection is a relatively novel concept from Rainco as the needs surrounding the use of an umbrella for the sun differs. As opposed to the sturdiness required for rain and the wind, in the sun, the preference is for a light umbrella that keeps the consumer protected. In order to facilitate this added protection, the ‘Sun Protech’ was designed using a special screening fabric that offers 99% protection and reflects back UV rays. Studies were done by Rainco to prove that the temperature inside Sun Protech umbrellas is 2°C cooler than normal umbrellas. It is tested as having UPF 50+, independently validated for this fabric – a clear win in terms of innovation.
Another product that was developed by Rainco was the C-wiser, specifically for the benefit of vehicle users. The handle for this is in the shape of a C, designed for the convenience of the user, taking into account the fact that nowadays, most often, our hands are usually busy with our phones or bags and we tend not to have a free hand to use an umbrella. With the C handle, by linking a hand through it and propping the umbrella against your shoulder, your hands are free to hold your phone or whatever else. It is also designed with a reverse opening mechanism, so that when you get into the car and close it, the water does not drip out. When you fold it, the water stays within the umbrella and does not cause water damage inside the car. When it opens outside of the car, the water spills outwards due to the reversed layout of the umbrella. These selectively available umbrellas are specifically designed to be hassle-free to the user.
Focusing on encouraging creativity among the younger generation, Rainco also developed the ‘Stencil Umbrella’ so kids could draw and colour their own designs on the umbrella. The ‘Stencil Umbrella’ included a white umbrella, a set of child-friendly fabric paint, a paintbrush and stencils as well as an instruction manual for them to design their own umbrellas. This became a good gifting solution for kids because the kids loved it. A similar product that was developed was the ‘akuru kude’, targeting primary school and pre-school kids to facilitate learning of the alphabet.
Further innovations included the “Titanium” umbrella which comes with an ‘auto open and close’ mechanism and a strong frame structure which also makes it windproof. This opens by pressing a button and also closes automatically with the same button further emphasizing ease of use to the consumer.
Exciting new innovations are in the works at Rainco, currently working with an Italian start-up company to produce the world’s first ever 100% recyclable umbrella. This would be a breakthrough in the industry.
Rainco has strengthened their strategy through the implementation of core values that the entire business is structured around. These values are goodness, ownership, partnership and drive. They believe in the need to inculcate certain values in society and strive to not compromise on the quality. Consistency is primarily built on functionality but also on the elements of style and fashion. Making the product more unique and appealing to a younger and more vibrant audience is a key goal. A striking difference can be identified when comparing Rainco products with competitor products especially in the way it is curated.
With a priority of being exclusively Sri Lankan, Rainco identified colours that are very Sri Lankan so that everything, inclusive of design, is 100% standardized for Sri Lankan conditions. Even the sturdiness of the umbrella is to fit the Sri Lankan weather; wind patterns and rain patterns.
In addition to core values, Rainco values customer promises. These have been defined and articulated in a manner that every employee is aware of how they contribute to production. Firstly, Rainco promise a product that will never fail when the consumers need it the most. Secondly, they promise availability and distribution, ensuring that when you need it the most, you have access to the product whenever you need it. Thirdly, they promise unique experiences – design and appeal that really differentiate the customers as well as experiences with the product that make them unique. Overall they promise a good experience with the product and strive to stick to their promises.
While focused on ensuring that the core product and market is not compromised, Rainco continues to look for new opportunities. As the market leader for mosquito nets, ‘Singithi’ – kids’ mosquito nets, and rainwear apparel – raincoats, Rainco plans on further innovation that involve these categories as well. Priding themselves on being a Sri Lankan success story, and being known as a Sri Lankan brand, they plan to take Rainco to global markets. Competing with brands that have been in the market for nearly 4 decades, Rainco was able to attain market leadership within a short span of time and to transform perception around user behaviour. Having already worked with the global brands such as Lidl, Haas-Jordan, Decathlon and many others, Rainco is considering market expansion to a global level.