Lo! Foods raises $1 Million in pre-series A funding

The funds will be used towards accelerating growth, strengthening existing distribution networks and ramping up marketing

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Apr 16, 2021 2:47 PM  | 4 min read
Lo! Foods

Lo! Foods, a Bengaluru-based startup that offers Low-Carb and Keto friendly packaged products along with Cloud Kitchens across 4 cities, has raised $1 Million in pre-series A funding. The round has been led by the Chona Family Office, erstwhile promoters of Havmor Ice Cream. The round also saw participation from Ecosystem Ventures, Raveen Sastry (Co-Founder, Multiply Ventures), KRS Jamwal, Pratyush Prasanna (Gojek) among others. The funds will be used towards accelerating growth, strengthening existing distribution networks and ramping up marketing.

Started in 2019 by Sudarshan Gangrade, a serial entrepreneur and Former Head of Marketing at Ola; Lo! Foods offers a range of healthy Low Carbohydrates and Keto friendly packaged products that are quintessentially Indian. Each product is formulated inhouse and provides less than 3 gms of Net Carbs per serving; making it 60% - 80% lower than regular products.

Lo! Foods covers all Food occasions: from Staples (Atta) to Snacks (Namkeen, Cookies) and Desserts. The startup has also ramped up to 20 cloud kitchens across Bangalore, Delhi, Gurgaon and Hyderabad that offer fresh Low-Carb food like Parathas, Rolls, Sandwiches on demand through food delivery apps. 

Speaking on the investment, Sudarshan Gangrade, CEO and Founder, Lo! Foods, saidWe are pleased with the further validation of our products and business model from our existing as well as new investors. Our product range has gained tremendous traction, and the response from our customers has been extremely positive.  Through our relentless focus on product innovation, we will continue to offer newer products and expand our footprint. The new investment will accelerate our next phase of growth and enable us to further strengthen our presence in the market” 

Post selling their ice cream division to Lotte, Ankit Chona, ex-promoter of Havmor Ice Cream group, has been incubating start-ups as well as investing in early stage consumer brands who have a potential to build a viable business. He says “What sets Lo! Foods apart is their deep rooted connection with the Indian customer. Their vision in creating a range of healthy and tasty products that's familiar to and loved by generations of Indians has been well received in the market.  With its strong understanding of the science of nutrition and Indian consumer behavior, the brand is positioned for incredible future growth and has immense potential to become a category leader. We are excited to be a part of their growth story” 

Abhishek Sanghvi, Co-Founder, Ecosystem Ventures, who’s been supporting Lo! Foods since its inception, says, “Over the last decade, due to changes in diet and sedentary lifestyles, there has been an increase in the incidence of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cardiac risks. The only way to seamlessly switch to a healthier diet is by creating a range of everyday food products that Indians are used to eating, but Low-Carb, healthier and just as tasty. Lo! Foods has identified this gap in the market and has thoughtfully created a range of products that offer great health benefits without compromising on taste. We are happy to be supporting the team in their mission to reduce the incidence of lifestyle diseases in India” 

Lo! Foods has earlier raised $500,000 from a clutch of well-known angel investors, including Anuj Golecha, co-founder of Venture Catalyst, Rashmi Daga, founder of Freshmenu, Raveen Sastry, co-founder of Myntra, and Mitesh Shah, CFO of BookMyShow. PC Musthafa, co-founder and CEO of ID Fresh Food India, Aditya Somani (serial investor) among others are a part of the advisory team. 

Lo! Foods products are available on its website and on ecommerce sites like Amazon, Flipkart and Bigbasket. In addition to their Low-Carb products and cloud kitchens, Lo! Foods has also tied up with five-star chains like Hyatt and Sheraton to offer Low carb and keto friendly menu to customers. The company has recently expanded into international markets such as the US, Singapore and Middle East. 

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Customers keep India.Inc at bay during ‘Me Time’: Report 

WebEngage's new report shows global trends & benchmarks in Customer Engagement in the Spring 2023 Edition of its State of Retention Marketing Report

By exchange4media Staff | May 31, 2023 12:35 PM   |   7 min read

Avlesh Singh

WebEngage, the leading full-stack retention operating system launched their annual trends report titled “State of Retention Marketing 2023: Global Trends & Benchmarks in Customer Engagement - Spring Edition”. Drawing on WebEngage’s extensive expertise in customer engagement, this report aims to offer a comprehensive view of industry wise customer engagement strategies across channels and tools in 2022. The data has been culled out through an analysis of 1000+ brands like CueMath, Juicy Chemistry, Alt Balaji, Acko, among others, capturing 992 billion events, ranging across 8+ industries and 6+ geographies, including India & APAC, European Union, Latin America, Middle east & Africa, North America, and Southeast Asia. 

In the current macroeconomic scenario, brands today are forced to relook at costs and seek sustainable growth strategies that offer longevity to the businesses and limit cashburn. Customer retention has proven to be an effective strategy in this regard, wherein if done right, it is possible to generate 80% profits from a mere 20% of your customers. During economic downturns, consumers become conservative with spending, but their expectations from brands remain intact, even if the form it takes varies. It is brands that have been able to provide the best engagement even through the toughest of times, that have withstood these downturns and come out the other side successful. 

Avlesh Singh, Co-founder and CEO, WebEngage said, “In the face of uncertainty and challenges, resilience and consistency become our greatest assets. Retention Marketing enables brands to navigate stormy seas and connect with customers in a meaningful manner. In fact, we have come to believe firmly that legacy enterprises today must also think about engagement and retention strategies so as not to be rendered irrelevant by the fierce competition in the market today. By investing in data and technology, brands are delivering personalised experiences that help them thrive in complex economic landscapes of 2023 and beyond”.

“We are thrilled to release the State of Retention Marketing 2023 Report report, which we believe will be a valuable resource for brands and other industry stakeholders alike,” he further added. 

Chirag Parmar, Lead - Customer Growth & Strategy, WebEngage said, “When everybody changes, change becomes mainstream. With the marketing world bracing for a cookie-less future, zero-party and  first-party data become the backbone of user engagement and retention. Brands have not only started building data models, but have also started gaining substantial fruits out of these concerted omnichannel user engagement efforts. While problems with big data continue to persist, brands are moving forward and solving for these challenges - one experiment at a time.”

WebEngage’s report provides a guide for omnichannel marketers and leaders to grasp the current trends in customer engagement across various channels, industries, and markets. Some key highlights of the report include:

Time & place are the key to win customers’ undivided attention

The report highlights that contextual and personalised campaigns are more effective than blast promotional campaigns in building stronger relationships with customers, increasing engagement and conversion rates, and driving business growth. Targeting specific segments of the audience based on their interests, behaviour, and preferences helps brands deliver highly relevant content, resulting in higher conversion rates. The study found that different time bands across geographic regions are best suited for user engagement. In India & APAC regions, the peak conversion times for various channels are as follows:

  • Emails: 12 pm to 4 pm (30% conversions)
  • WhatsApp Messages: 4 pm to 8 pm (28% conversions)
  • Push Notifications: 8 am to 12 pm (34% conversions)    

Generic messages are like lullabies - Get straight to the heart of the matter with personalised messaging

Generalised communications by brands regardless of channel can only take brands so far. A deeper look into the performance of personalised messaging across different channels revealed: 

  • Blast emails yield only 1.24% conversion rate, whereas contextual campaigns tailored according to user behaviour were found to be 2.4x more effective. It led to a significant uplift in conversations of 2.98% 
  • Promotional SMSs have a low conversion rate of only 0.17%. However, lifestyle-influenced SMSs have shown a conversion rate of 0.46%. Contextual and personalized SMSes instead led to 2.71X growth in conversion rates
  • Promotional WhatsApp campaigns have a conversion rate of 0.25%. But by sending personalised and contextual WhatsApp campaigns businesses experienced a significant increase in conversion rate, up to 3.79 times higher; recorded at 0.96% in the report
  • Sending intrusive and irrelevant app push notifications can cause users to uninstall an app and result in a low conversion rate of 0.15%. Whereas, personalising app push notifications with context and relevance, has resulted in a substantial 7.39 times increase in conversion rate; recorded at 1.12% in the report.
  • Generic Web push campaigns can yield a conversion rate as low as 0.01%. By sending contextual and personalised web push notifications instead, businesses saw an impressive 34 times increase in conversion rates 
  • In-app push campaigns that take into account factors like previous response rates and past transactions resulted in a high conversion rate of 26.52%. Businesses that opted for personalised in-app push notifications saw a 2.2 times increase in conversion rates.  

From B2B to Entertainment: different sectors, different strokes:

The WhatsApp Revolution: How B2B Companies are Transforming the way they communicate with customers-

In 2022, B2B companies sent 1 billion messages and continued to invest heavily in push notifications, but have also started using channels like email and SMS more frequently. WhatsApp remains an important focus area for B2B companies and message volumes have steadily increased. Across all channels, the industry had an average open rate of 41%, click-through rate of 0.7%, and conversion rate of 0.4%. The report analysed Sulekha, a prominent online platform in India that connects local service businesses with users in over 40 cities. By leveraging retention marketing strategies, Sulekha experienced significant growth in revenue, saw an increase in services by 7%, and won back 4% of its lost users.  

Edtech Giants Prioritise Email and WhatsApp in 2022 Messaging Strategy, Achieve 24% Average Open Rate- 

The Ed-Tech industry sent over 12 billion messages, with email and app push notifications comprising 93% of all messages sent by Ed-Tech giants. They have shifted their strategy to focus more on email and WhatsApp, with increasing volumes of messages being sent through these channels. Across all channels, the sector saw an average open rate of 24%, click-through rate of 0.4%, and conversion rate of 0.6%. Shaw Academy, an online education platform was able to catalyse a 100% increase in class attendance, decrease membership cancellations by 20%, and generate a 25% revenue boost through personalisation and elevated customer engagement.

Media & Entertainment industry sends over 62B messages in 2022, with focus on App and Web Push Notifications-

In 2022, the Media & Entertainment industry sent over 62 billion messages, with App & Web Push Notifications being the primary channels, accounting for 99% of all messages sent. Media & Entertainment companies have been increasing their focus on Web Personalization. On average, these companies experienced an Open Rate of 22%, a Click Through Rate of 0.07%, and a Conversion Rate of 0.02% across all channels. ALTBalaji, a leading player in the Indian OTT media market, saw a 30% boost in user retention, a 75% increase in day 7 retention, and a 9.5% uplift in conversions. 

WebEngage is committed to providing innovative solutions and thought leadership to its clients and the industry as a whole. The release of the State of Retention Marketing 2023  is just one example of its dedication to advancing the marketing industry’s knowledge and driving positive change through actionable insights on customer engagement. To read more about the report, click here

 

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We want to be where our new-age consumers are: Vineet Sharma, AB InBev

Vice President of Marketing, South Asia, AB InBev, Sharma spoke to e4m about how Budweiser Beats performed in the Indian market and the brand plans to expand

By Tanya Dwivedi | May 31, 2023 9:07 AM   |   8 min read

vineet sharma

Budweiser Beats has two powerful brand attributes of inclusivity and high energy, which has helped the energy drink make a mark on its Indian audience, says Vineet Sharma, Vice President of Marketing, South Asia, and AB InBev. In a chat with exchange4media, Sharma spoke about the company's strategic plans to expand across India, its ad campaigns and associations with sporting events globally.

Excerpts 

Budweiser launched ‘Budweiser Beats' almost two years back. How has the brand performed in the Indian market in the last couple of years?

When we launched in 2021, we wanted our product to take centre stage, allowing consumers to try our offering without overwhelming them with a creative narrative. We focused on distribution and retail access, unlocking a route to market distinct from our familiar beer channels, and truly understanding the energy drinks segment in India. Over time, we have built a loyal and growing consumer base. Driven by data, and consumer insights; today, we’re able to create a relevant, authentic brand world for Budweiser Beats energy drink that resonates with the lifestyle and interests of our target audience.   

Furthermore, our campaign, ‘Get Your Beats On’, reflects the shared values of creativity and inclusivity championed by our core consumers. Beyond the campaign, Budweiser Beats energy drink, also wants to be where our consumers are, and our multi-pronged strategy is designed to fulfill this endeavor - enabling us to stay top-of-mind for the hyper-connected target group (dynamic Gen Zs and younger millennials). From partnering with leading and iconic festivals, tapping into passion points that our audience resonates with, to driving a relatable dialogue with emerging creators on cognitive energy- the brand aims to build a strong community and loyal following among the new generation of energy drink consumers.   

What’s your quarterly advertising budget and how do you plan advertising and marketing across the Indian market? Which categories are you investing your budget in?  

When it comes to advertising an energy drink, some endless opportunities and channels help drive engagement and deliver the overall brand narrative. Generation Z is the first 100% digitally native generation. Younger millennials too, show a preference for digital content formats and mediums. They are appreciative of brands that provide them with authentic, shareable content. 

At Budweiser, we curate content in line with the consumption patterns of this hyper-aware consumer group across short- and long formats for effective engagement. Real, raw, and relevant content draws attention. With rapidly changing algorithms and popular formats, we are dedicated to pre-empting trends and working proactively with our insights & social listening teams to be ahead of the curve. Our primary focus in advertising is digital platforms. India has one of the world’s largest sports viewing audiences and so, we’ve partnered with both Star Sports and JioCinema for IPL.  

We are also collaborating with OTT and video streaming platforms like Voot and Disney+ Hotstar to air our brand film. While digital is a dominant force, tech cannot match human nuances. The power of emotional connections should not be underestimated. Therefore, we make it a point to activate across touchpoints, connecting with consumers in moments that matter, or when they are creating/ making “core memories”. For example, we have partnered with iconic and culture-shaping festivals including Lollapalooza, Magnetic Fields, and Supersonic to create unparalleled, customised experiences.  

Recognizing the significance of gaming as a passion point for our target audience, we will also maintain a strong presence across gaming platforms. Looking beyond Budweiser Beats energy drink and at the mother brand, Budweiser- India is now among the top 5 markets for the world’s most-loved beer brand. As a growing beverage brand in India, with offerings ranging from beer, and whiskey to non-alcoholic products including an energy drink and 0.0 beer, we are optimistic about our growth in the country and are accordingly investing in advertising, PR, and media incrementally. Even beyond Budweiser, as the leader in the premium and super premium beer categories, we are seeing much enthusiasm for our Hoegaarden portfolio and Corona beer. Localised in 2021, these super premium brands are increasingly becoming a favourite among Gen Zs above LDA and younger millennials in urban centers.  

Do you have any market expansion plans in the coming months? Are you planning to expand the market across India?  

With a negligible penetration of 4-5% in India, the energy drinks category presents a lucrative opportunity for the recruitment of consumers by tapping into new occasions and need states. We are already available in pan India through modern trade and e-commerce. Accessibility and affordability are drivers of category penetration for any product. And, while Budweiser Beats energy drink may not be competing in the affordability segment, we are very confident about using distribution and innovative, disruptive marketing to drive growth for both the brand as well as the larger category by unlocking occasions and thereby unearthing its vast potential in India. To drive accessibility, we are developing comprehensive route-to-market strategies and building partnerships with key retailers, e-commerce platforms pan India.  

We are investing in building a strong distribution network as well as in standing out from the competition by offering a superior product with natural caffeine, differentiated trade visibility and disruptive positioning. Leveraging our existing relationships in the beer business, we are also making inroads into the on-trade channels. This includes not only bars and pubs but also airports, HoReCa (hotels, restaurants, and catering), and QSR (Quick-Service Restaurants). 

AB InBev entered the energy drink market with the launch of Budweiser Beats in the year 2021. Do you have more plans to invest in energy drink categories in the coming months? 

The energy drinks segment presents an incredible opportunity within the larger beverage industry. With only 4-5% penetration in the country and the growth trajectory of this segment witnessed in geographies world over, we believe, the category is set to grow at an exponential rate in India, over the next decade. The energy drinks market in India is divided into two segments: basic pricing. 50% (value market share) of the market belongs to the premium segment which houses three brands: Budweiser Beats, Red Bull, and Monster. Approximately 35% (value market share) of the energy drinks market falls under the value segment, comprising brands such as Sting and Charged. 

The core segment which includes brands like Hell, and Predator and also features our in-house offering, introduced in 2022, Hurricane, comprises 15% (value market share) of the energy drinks market. So, we’re straddling both – the premium and core segments – reaching a much broader base of consumers.  

Which events and sports is the brand associated with, to boost the overall revenue coming from Budweiser beats? 

 For Budweiser Beats energy drink, we want to be where our new-age consumers are, so we’ve partnered with leading festivals in the country- Echoes of Earth, Magnetic Fields, Lollapalooza, HG Street, VH1 Supersonic, Road to Ultra amongst others. We used these events to create unparalleled experiences for our audiences to increase brand recall and build positive associations, becoming an integral part of memory structures.  

We aim to go beyond the adventure-focused narrative promoted by competitors in the space and instead focus on cognitive and creative energy levers. Hence, we are tapping into culture north stars across art, design, photography, gaming, and comedy that interest the younger target group.  

What's your audience in India and what kind of campaigns are you focusing on to boost the overall Budweiser market in the country?  

Our TG is millennials and Gen Zs, above LDA, and within that group, Budweiser Beats energy drink is focused on emerging, creative professionals and hustlers who are seeking refreshing beverage options to help them power through their day and unlock their creative best. While we are looking at India as a whole, tier 1 cities like Delhi NCR, Mumbai, and Bangalore witness higher consumption and are, therefore, a priority for our marketing efforts. Our recent campaign, ‘Get Your Beats On’, will help us increase product adoption and establish resonance with our target audience.  

According to company officials, the company aimed to corner a 10 percent market share after the pandemic. Have you achieved the estimated numbers in the last couple of years?  

While we cannot provide precise figures or percentages at this moment, we have been working diligently to build our brand presence and capture a share of the market. With Hurricane also joining the mix in our energy drinks portfolio, we are making steady progress toward achieving our ambitious goal. The global pandemic undoubtedly impacted consumer behaviors and market dynamics across industries. As a young and agile brand, we have been quick to pivot and adapt our approach to navigate these challenging times and remain committed to our long-term growth plans. 

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YES BANK reveals new brand identity with renewed logo

The Bank is set to roll out an integrated campaign with the tagline – ‘Life Ko Banao Rich’

By exchange4media Staff | May 30, 2023 1:53 PM   |   3 min read

yes

YES BANK today unveiled its refreshed brand identity, a visual transformation relevant to the changing times. The Bank's dynamic new identity is designed to resonate with the evolving needs and aspirations of customers, while reflecting its intent of going beyond just ticking the boxes and enabling people to live each day to the fullest. This fresh narrative echoes the values of the YES BANK of today that resonates with the Bank’s commitment to empower customers to focus on their priorities while the Bank takes care of their financial needs. 

As part of its refreshed identity, YES BANK has launched a vibrant new logo which carries forward the visual DNA of the Bank and builds on it. The design language is digital friendly and reflects a brand which believes in being fluid. It depicts the Bank's progressive spirit while staying true to its core values. The tick has been transformed into a soaring bird, which represents the Bank’s current position of ‘soaring’. Moreover, the smoothened out corners and fluid shapes have replaced the angular edges of the older identity, along with a more emphatic typography. The familiar blue and red colours that have been associated with YES BANK logo have got a makeover as well; the red and blue have an electric tone, representing high energy and innovation that the YES BANK of today stands for. 

In line with its refreshed identity, the Bank is set to roll out an integrated campaign with the tagline – ‘Life Ko Banao Rich’ - which represents the Bank’s core focus of being a complete solution provider and taking ahead the baton of being recognized as a brand that walks the extra mile to cater to the needs of all its customers. 

Commenting on the launch of the refreshed brand identity, Nipun Kaushal, Chief Marketing Officer and Head CSR, YES BANK, said, “Over the last three years, YES BANK has been through a transformational journey and has since then, progressed on several strategic objectives to position itself as a strong customer centric franchise. As brand custodians of the Bank, it was imperative to represent the extent of our transformation in the best possible manner. I am delighted to present to you a refreshed identity of YES BANK, which resonates the ethos and values we uphold, the emotional connection we have with our customers, and our motivation to provide them with a rewarding banking experience. Our campaign tagline ‘Life Ko Banao Rich’, reflects our objective to encourage customers to spend time and make memories with their loved ones, and leave their banking needs to us.” 

The revitalized identity extends across all customer touchpoints, such as the Bank's headquarters, branches, products, digital platforms and communication materials. The campaign will underline the theme of ‘Life Ko Banao Rich’ and will be promoted across social and digital media, OTT networks and television. 

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GroupM and MMA launch marketers guide

'Transform to Thrive' serves as a valuable resource for organizations striving to achieve transformational success

By exchange4media Staff | May 30, 2023 12:56 PM   |   3 min read

groupm

GroupM along with MMA today has launched Modern Marketers Guide titled “Transform to Thrive”. With insights from industry leaders and practical advice for implementation, this compilation serves as a valuable resource for organizations striving to achieve transformational success.

Amidst these uncertain times, marketers also need to expand their focus on protecting their advertising spends from the rising threat of sophisticated fraud. A critical component in achieving this is ensuring safe inventory to engage the "right audience" with advertising campaigns. Brands must adopt a customer-centric advertising approach, prioritizing the protection and acknowledgement of their consumers' interests.

The landscape of customization has extended beyond media, with innovative strategies such as QR scans on products to build "always on" engagement, exclusive product bundles for omnichannel, and leveraging the strength of online marketplaces for key occasions. Marketers are urged to embrace dynamic marketing strategies that cater to individual customer preferences and preferences for communication channels.

Furthermore, building flexible distribution networks that can quickly adapt to changing customer preferences is crucial. Organizations must pace up technological innovation to foster omnichannel growth and digitize supply chains, enabling real-time inventory management and delivery.

"A Marketer's dashboard is spruced with business numbers, social numbers, service/outages, and innovation, all tied to delivering a superlative experience. This holistic approach ensures that marketing strategies are aligned with business goals, social engagement, service reliability, and innovation, all contributing to an exceptional customer experience. We embrace these trends and strive to provide innovative solutions that meet the evolving needs of our customers", said Prasanth Kumar, CEO – GroupM South Asia.

Moneka Khurana, Country Head & Board Member, MMA Global – India said "MMR’23 is a must-read for every marketer looking to thrive in the face of unprecedented change. It provides a roadmap for building a future-proof marketing organization, one that is agile, consumer-centric, and data-driven, and leverages relevant tools and technologies to power it. At the MMA, we believe that the future belongs to those who embrace 2023 as the year with change being front and centre and are willing to challenge the status quo. This report brings perspectives from 25+ experts from across the ecosystem offering the needed understanding. Grab the MMR – Modern Marketing Reckoner to start your Transform to Thrive journey "

Amit Jain, MMA India Board Chair; Chairman- L'Oréal India said “The Modern Marketing Reckoner 2023 offers a rich perspective on future-proofing marketing and being agile in the current times. It also drives perspectives on the power of AI, data, tech, and new media to accelerate business growth. We at MMA strongly believe that digital maturity must be measured in the context of key growth drivers to measure success and progress year on year. As the Chairperson of MMA India and L’Oreal India, I am excited to see the influence and shift in mindset this report will have on the marketing community."

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Nimbooz and Mithila Palkar engage consumers with tongue-twister challenge

Instagram creator Zaid Darbar, actors Barkha Singh and Sanya Malhotra have also taken the challenge

By exchange4media Staff | May 30, 2023 12:39 PM   |   1 min read

Mithila Palkar

Nimbooz has launched a fun and engaging social media challenge titled #ChatakNimboozChallenge with brand ambassador Mithila Palkar.

In the challenge, participants are encouraged to repeat the tongue-twisting words Chatak Nimbooz Gatak Nimbooz 10 times without fail. The first to go live and kickstart the challenge, Mithila took to Instagram to share her cheeky attempt on Instagram, instantly captivating the audience.

The #ChatakNimboozchallenge quickly gained momentum as users enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to showcase their creativity with the tongue-twister. Celebrities and influencers, including Instagram creator Zaid Darbar, actress Barkha Singh, and Sanya Malhotra, jumped on board to share their own renditions of the viral challenge.

Speaking about the new summer campaign, Anuj Goyal, Associate Director, Juices, PepsiCo India, "With this social media campaign, our intention was to bring joy and excitement among our consumers during summers through a tongue-twister challenge that the nation is well versed with. We are thrilled to witness the extraordinary response from netizens, celebrities, and influencers, which has propelled this challenge into a true viral sensation across Instagram.”

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'Brands are looking to transform to not just survive, but also thrive'

In a chat with e4m, GroupM’s M Parthasarathy and MMA India’s Moneka Khurana spoke about the marketers guide for transforming marketeers and more

By Nilanjana Basu | May 30, 2023 2:28 PM   |   6 min read

GroupM

GroupM and MMA India unveiled a report “Modern Marketers Guide for Transforming Marketeers” on Tuesday as they set out to guide marketeers on the changing environment in the world of marketing, and how they can do that smartly and successfully.

Speaking exclusively to exchange4media about the report and how marketers can thrive in this era were GroupM’s Chief Strategy Officer – South Asia, M Parthasarathy and MMA India’s Country Head Moneka Khurana.

Parthasarathy talked to us about what inspired this report and its aim. “The theme of this report is on transforming to thrive. What we are saying here is that there has been a period of tremendous uncertainty, not just when we thought we were out of the entire COVID debacle, there's been lots more uncertainty, whether it's inflation, war, so on and so forth. And at the same time, there's been lots of advancements as well, whether it's in terms of technology, whether it's in terms of consumer behaviour and so on. So, the entire aim of this is to literally look at how can how companies and brands are looking to transform in order to not just survive, but also thrive in this in this new age.”

Speaking about the factors that affected the need to transform, Moneka said, “There were three top factors which came out as the need to transform and to think very out of the box to be able to thrive. Those three like, one of the factors MAPS mentioned was, of course COVID. Second being the pace at which technology is evolving, and third being the shift in the consumer mindset itself. So, these three have been extremely potent reasons why the need to transform the tribe as a narrative just lands perfectly.”

Talking about what marketers should invest in amid the plethora of opportunities that they have, Moneka said that the most important bundle to invest into for marketers are the marketers themselves. “So primarily, it's the need for marketeers to be to become full-stack marketeers, who are not only doing what a marketer does, but who are able to drive performance using data and technology at the heart of it, and yet, build the brand and the reputation with storytelling, with design with cultural nuance and with of course, better and equals creative tools.

The second area, which we can't ignore, is investing in data stacks. So, when we say data stacks, it's not investing literally only into collecting data, but it's investing into the entire ecosystem of building a very rock solid, robust data driven strategy and data driven approach to business.”

On a similar note, Parthasarathy says he believes testing is one thing marketeers should spend their bucks on. “I think there's one investment which is never given enough priority, in my opinion, and that's the investment into test and learn. As we move into an era of more and more volatility, the only way for marketers to thrive will be to have a very strong test-and-learn process and a kind of a culture of test-and-learn and there is an investment required. There's a financial investment as well, which is required in that test and learn. It's about learning about consumers, trying to learn about what works, measuring each and every aspect because very often we see even today that learnings are in the head of individuals and not institutionalized.”

With India’s fast paced growth economically in the last few years, Parthasarathy says “India today is the eighth largest ad ex market in the globe. It was tenth not too long ago, and it's moved to the eighth position. More importantly than that, it is by far the fastest growing ad ex markets in the world. Our Group M has this year, next year report which we publish every year. In 2023, the expected growth is around just ahead of 15% as per February estimates. Obviously, we keep calibrating it periodically and so on. Now, last year, as well, it was about 15.7% when we look at 2022 over 2021. So, it's extremely robust while the overall entire world is growing at perhaps half that speed. The second point is even when you look forward into a period up to 2027, we are looking at a CAGR growth of anywhere in the region of 12% to 14%. So, this market is projected to continue to grow, continue to grow ahead of global levels. The other interesting thing is till date, if I look at 2023 it's the only market perhaps among the large markets where every form of media is growing; digital TV, print, radio cinema, out of home, so I think those are positive indicators. That's how marketers are also kind of increasing their investments.”

Moneka spoke about the AI trends as that is turning out to be a game changer this year. “AI obviously has multiple use cases and they will only keep growing, but when we talk about AI for marketing, there are clearly some very strong trends which are emerging and which are also already showing immense success. So, for example, enabling AI powered personalization, that's a very big trend. Whether it is through communication through media, through creative through influencer marketing, but enabling AI powered personalization is a very key trend, to a point where it's already for one of the global reports that mme released some part of the last quarter. It's already shown that when you deploy AI powered personalization, you would see a 25% increase in your customer retention and you will see a 20% growth in revenue.

Second is even when you look at AI from a lens of influencer marketing, there is a lot of experimentation happening on creating AI avatars and creating ways where you could use influencers and ambassadors multiculturallym multilingually and that also is a very big trend. The third is, I wouldn't even actually call it a trend, I would call it as oxygen for businesses. That's basically about having a driving data first marketing where you're continuously finding ways of leveraging data, whether it is your own data, whether it is second party data, whether it's third party data or blended data, but leveraging data effectively to drive marketing and growth.

Parthasarthy, speaking about the balance between creative marketing techniques and technology, said, “The message and the medium are now inseparable. I think what is important is to leverage these trends in the best manner possible manner.”

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Retail therapy: Decoding Myntra’s love for celebs

Sunder Balasubramanian, CMO of Myntra, talks to us about roping in fashion icons like SRK and Kiara for its latest campaign and how the brand keeps experimenting to stay relevant with consumers

By Tanzila Shaikh | May 30, 2023 9:12 AM   |   3 min read

Myntra

“The role of celebrities is critical for fashion and beauty,” asserts Sunder Balasubramanian, the CMO of Myntra. He was speaking to e4m on the e-commerce platform’s recent campaigns for its End of Reason Sale (EORS).

Myntra has roped in Shah Rukh Khan and Kiara Advani to promote the same with a set of quirky ad films.

“In the fashion industry and when you talk to consumers at large, the role of celebrities is critical because that is aspirational for consumers to start with and when they start thinking of fashion choices, they say what does my favourite celebrity, wear and endorse which is different for many categories. Kiara has done multiple campaigns for us in the past, but when it comes to EORS, it plays an important role in democratizing fashion in the country.”

On getting SRK on board, Balasubramanian shared, “SRK is someone who resonates with every cohort, right from the GenZ to the millennials - men or women, whether urban or rural.”

The superstar will be featured in a number of commercials highlighting innovative features of Myntra's EORS-18. The campaign will be promoted with multi-media amplification before, during, and after EORS-18. Myntra is banking on SRK’s fanbase for making the campaign big.

Talking about roping in celebrities from the South, Balasubramanian said, “For us as a brand, it is about associating with fashion icons everywhere.”

We also asked the CMO on the flak the brand received with some of its campaigns, alleging that it was spreading negativity. While many loved the humorous take on fashion in the films, a few questioned the morality.

Balasubramanian noted that people are welcome to perceive the concept but the brand is just trying to tap into the insights they have received on how people find their previous dressing habits funny.

The brand recently onboarded a virtual influencer - Maya - to talk to the GenZ audiences who are excited about the virtual universe. 

Asked about having a virtual influencer when the brand already has been working with macro and micro-influencers, Balasubramanian said, “We are keeping pace with the changes in the world. For the GenZ, the digital avatar or the virtual world is part of their daily lives. Myntra has always been experimentative and always follows trends.”

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On the buzz around AI, Balasubramanian said the brand wanted to study the problems or barriers with this new technology before getting on to the bandwagon - “what are the problems and barriers, when the consumer is looking at your platform and what are the different ways to solve it”.

Asked about the media mix for the EORS campaign, the CMO said they would be banking heavily on TV for reach and influencers for call-to-action purposes. In the coming future, the platform has many such things in store with celebrities, influencers as well as marketing initiatives.”

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