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BY Anjana Naskar

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Ed-tech company, Great Learning recently launched its campaign #NayeZamaaneKiDegree to improve awareness about the new age degree programmes offered by various universities through its platform. Aparna Mahesh, Chief Marketing Officer, Great Learning talks about the impact of the campaign and the insight behind the brand’s new identity

Q] What was the insight behind Great Learning’s new campaign – ‘#Naye ZamaaneKiDegree’? What kind of response have you seen from consumers so far?
It’s something that every one of us who holds a degree relates to. If you look at the way our lives have been transformed by technology over the last several years, it’s unrecognisable. The things that we used to do maybe 10 years ago are just a distant memory. The nature of work has completely transformed. But if there is one thing that has not changed or kept pace, it is our college degrees. And when we say not changed or kept up with times, it is the kind of specialisations that are being offered, the kind of industry inputs being provided. So a lot of it is almost very similar to what people may have done 15 - 20 years ago, and there’s a very slow pace of innovation in that space. That is where this whole thought of ‘Zamaana Badal Gaya’ came from, and that is how we conceptualised this campaign. It was just a simple take saying everything in the world has moved on, but the degree has sort of stayed behind a little bit. We are talking to a slightly younger audience, so the degrees that we have are BBA, MBA, MCA and M Tech. We felt like this was a message that would resonate with them. Our campaign has some very interesting, quirky comparisons where we’re saying ‘phone 4G waala lekin degree landline ke zamaane ki’. We have seen good results, the engagement that we are seeing and the participation too shows that the campaign is resonating with our users. I can definitely say that we’ve seen a fairly large surge in organic traffic and organic leads for these degree programmes as well.

Q] What marketing mix was used for the campaign?
We just started it as a social media campaign and we’re using a lot of these creatives on our performance marketing. Ultimately, our degrees are being marketed as ‘naye zamane ki degree’. We don’t really have a TV film around this, but there is definitely a huge mention of degrees in all our TV campaigns that we will be doing subsequently.

Q] Great Learning recently launched its new logo. What was the insight behind the rebranding move?
A logo is always close to everyone’s heart, and it’s also the toughest piece of creativity. Great Learning is an eight-year old company. Now the logo we have created essentially conveys what the company stands for – cutting edge skills. If you look at the logo, it is a combination of rounded fonts, but very sharp. And that is really how our approach is. And if you look at it, it’s got a movement and an arrow – it is all about new age, being futuristic, dynamism in movement and cutting edge skills.

Great Learning is an ed-tech company for professional and higher education. It offers comprehensive, industry-relevant programmes in collaboration with the leading academic institutions like Stanford University, MIT, IIT Madras and IIT Bombay among others. The brand has impacted over 1 million learners from 160 countries till date.

Social media agency:Interactive Avenues
PR Agency: Aim High Consulting

Aparna Mahesh is the Chief Marketing Officer at Great Learning. She is responsible for the brand’s global marketing strategy, development and delivery of brand communication, strategic marketing partnerships and user engagement. With over 20 years of experience under her belt, Mahesh has led marketing initiatives for several new-age brands like BankBazaar, FreshMenu and Quikr.

The share of the heart is something that will become increasingly so important that it will be at the centre of everything that brands do. So every marketer should look at whatever the brand is doing through the lens of empathy.

Q] What are the changes that you have implemented in marketing during the COVID era? How are you leveraging the growing demand in the current scenario?
We talked about COVID-19 in 2020 and then came the second wave. And we’re still in the situation, and it is going on much longer than any of us expected. The nature of how we’re going to do things has changed completely. And therefore, the sort of change that you have seen, the skills that you need to be able to participate and thrive in the future workplace is also drastically different. And clearly, there’s a huge widespread acceptance of that fact. Currently, our number of learners has just crossed 1.5 million. That’s the number of learners that we’ve upskilled and across 170+ countries. So that’s the kind of reach and that’s huge. In 2020, we brought an array of programmes – we now have UGC recognised degree programmes, we brought certificate courses and PT programmes. Then there is also Great Learning Academy, which we had launched in 2020, when COVID struck, which is basically a platform where you have access to thousands of free courses. And you get a certificate at the end of it. And that is where we have also seen a huge amount of traction. So the way consumer behaviour has changed has made everyone aware that we need to keep learning.

Q] At a time when the educational system is at a crucial juncture due to the pandemic, how do you see the future of higher education or professional courses through e-learning as compared to conventional forms of learning?
It’s been a huge opportunity, especially if you talk about college education or professional learning. It has just suddenly opened up the floodgates. For instance, if you’re in a relatively smaller town and aspire to do a certain course, you probably would have settled for whatever was available to you. Any kind of limitations that were there earlier are not a problem anymore. Earlier, your choices were often a little more limited. Now, you have accessibility to high quality education across the board, you have flexibility, which is the big advantage of online higher education and access to top quality faculty. So now, you can decide and choose a course based on your ambitions, you can pick the right kind of course, because the city or location no longer matters.

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