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Quick 5 with Boring Brands’ Bhargava & Sushil

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Quick 5 with Boring Brands’ Bhargava & Sushil

Co-founded in 2009 by Aakriti Bhargava and Anshul Sushil, Boring Brands is a marketing company working with start-ups. It has worked with more than 60 start-ups and new-age initiatives in varied sectors – from education to digital to mobile space. Some of the companies include Aspiring Minds, Ozone Media, Rail Yatri, mig33, iStream, etc.

Boring Brands also offers services in public relations, social media, content management and designing of brand elements.

In conversation with exchange4media, Bhargava and Sushil talk about how they see marketing evolving in start-ups.

How did you come up with the name ‘Boring Brands’? How has the journey of working with start-ups been?
To communicate that we are disruptive and would bring unconventional ideas on board, we wanted a name that could spell it out. We had chosen a category – start-ups – where we can't afford to do anything boring. So far it has worked well for us.

Journey so far has been tremendous. We have worked with 60 start-ups in the last three years. The name has helped us tremendously – no one ever forgets it. We have had some funny incidents when people forget our names and ended us calling Boring Brands.

What do you think is the difference in start-up marketing and marketing for a large corporate?
The biggest difference is in the approach. In start-ups, approvals take the least effort – it is always planning and optimisation which are most important. Start-up marketing is all about thinking of a focussed marketing activity to meet the objective, execute and analyse the results. RoI is considered to evaluate whether the activity is supposed to be scaled higher (with more marketing budget) or efforts need to be put in search of other marketing activities.

What are the typical marketing campaigns that a start-up should do?
Depending upon which phase the start-up is in, they could be looking at any of the five campaigns:
Creating awareness / building credibility – Creating right awareness and credibility in the start can help a start-up jumpstart to success.
Seeking investments – Focussed marketing objective to seek funds for taking the start-up to next level.
Seeking talent to come and join them – Focussed marketing activity to create an employer brand for a start-up to be able to gain / retain the talent for its plans.
Sales related – Getting that first hundreds of customers or transactions is vital as they pave way for thousands of customers later.
Building thought leadership – Usually done when a start-up wants to own up an entire space and leverage itself as a thought leader.

Highlight some trends that you have observed while working for start-ups in marketing.
Hello Facebook! – Start-ups are keen to invest in Facebook because of efficient local targeting. Further, Facebook helps in brand building as well by creating awareness and engagement to the customer base.
Content is king – Content is giving much more competitive advantage to start-ups – in fact, content has either become or being explored to become the core of marketing activities.
Sub five million cities phenomenon – Marketing battle is fought more in tier II and III cities such as Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, etc. This is simply because media is cheaper than top 10 metro and customers in these cities are more prone to be loyal to a good product or service.

How do you see the scope of working with start-ups in next two years?
The biggest value add that Boring Brands brings to any start-up is answering “What should be done?” before coming to “How should it be done?” And for that, we need to have more experience with start-ups in even more variety of activities. With this, we hope, in two years from now, we should be able to have worked with 250 start-ups and added new services in our portfolio

Our typical marketing budget is usually 10 per cent of the topline spend

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