Mrinal Mohit, COO and Head of Marketing, Think and Learn Pvt Ltd (Byju’s) talks about Byju’s journey from CAT entrance classes to becoming a successful ed-tech company, its USP and its aim of growing a deeper connect with audiences across geographies and age groups
BY DIPALI BANKA
Q] What has been the marketing focus of the brand from its inception till date? Can you take us through the brand journey?
It all began with Byju’s classes which was named after the founder Byju Raveendran, who after cracking CAT started helping his friends for the same exam. Being a CAT topper, word of mouth spread and more and more people started attending his classes. In fact, I was one of them. Very soon, a class of 30 became 100 to more than 1,000 students at a time. We observed that the reason why students came for these classes was the content. In an auditorium with 1,500 people sitting for Byju’s class, the boy sitting in the corner was not even able to see him. He could just see the screen and hear the audio. But he was there because of the way the subjects were being taught. We saw that our brand offering was about content, and our marketing has always been around that. Even when we moved from a regular classroom to VSAT, we always believed it would work because people were able to access the same content sitting in Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore. That is what encouraged us to launch the tablet and finally the mobile app.
Q] You have signed up Shah Rukh Khan for your recent TVC, which again talks about content and way of teaching. How does Shah Rukh Khan fit in?
One, the whole essence of the ad is to make kids fall in love with learning, and in India, there is no better mascot of love than SRK. Logically, Maths and love are two different worlds altogether, but we as a brand have always believed that if the content is good, you can make kids fall in love with learning. In this ad, kids like Maths so much that they are performing Maths! Two, we believe that this way of learning should be mainstream learning. Until now, technology enabled or aided learning was considered complementary or extra learning. Shah Rukh Khan will help us change that.
Q] Your target audience is children; however, parents and teachers are the ones who will pay for the product. How do you ensure that your brand resonates to them as well?
Most ed-tech companies have been trying to offer things to make a teacher’s life easy. For the first time, we have a product which is very student centric. We want to make the life of student easier, rather than that of a teacher. So even though the buying decision is made by parents, the fact is that students are primary users and our most important influencers. As long as students like us and we can communicate this to parents, the purpose is solved.
Q] If we were to do a SWOT analysis of the brand Byju’s, what would you say for each point?
Strength: From Day One, our strength has been the content. The way we explain a concept, the amount of research, time and bandwidth we spend in arriving at the best ways to explain a concept is our USP and one of the biggest strengths. After that, now the amount of data that we have and the way we are personalizing the learning experience is our huge advantage. Apart from that our branding has been our strength. We have been the biggest brand in this segment for the last one year. Our sales team, the way we understand students and their needs and talk to them, is our strength.
Weakness: Talking about weakness, today I think we are missing out on a huge segment. We have products starting from Class IV. But we need a product for the lower grades too, because Internet adoption for these students is also very high. Mobile usage is very high. That is one place we want to cover up as soon as possible.
Opportunity: The same thing will be our opportunity because the number of students who are in Grade III and below is a huge number for us.
Threat: India is a diverse country with so many States and so many languages. Our challenge is to keep evolving and creating different products for different people. We do not have language products right now, but we are working on it. We need to keep working on the product. That is the biggest threat we have.
Q] What has been the media mix that has worked for your brand so far? What’s the mix for this particular campaign?
We have been using Television. We want to talk mainly to the kids, mothers and fathers. So we are very heavy on kids and infotainment channels. We are also there on news channels. We started a Print campaign recently and are going to start with Radio and OOH soon.
Q] How much of Digital media are you using for your brand?
Being an educational brand, we use Digital for a very specific purpose. One is to establish the brand authority and we do so by providing relevant content to people. Whether students have used our app or not, and are searching for some particular content, using our Digital marketing, we ensure that we provide the best possible content to him/her digitally. That helps establish brand authority. Second is the loyalty. We have seen users who engage with us more tend to become the ambassador of the brand.
Q] How do you plan to take your brand to smaller towns of the country?
For us, the acceptance across various locations has been very high. We will spend more on the TV campaign, where we will target specific channels, keeping in mind that it goes to smaller towns. We are also trying to create more student connect centres where students can come and experience the product. Thanks to Jio, in the last one year the reach of the Digital medium in smaller towns has also increased a lot. That is helping us make inroads at a higher pace.
Q] Are local classes your competition?
We are not trying to replace them actually. Teachers and classes play a specific role in the whole education system. If a student is not able to understand a concept properly in school, he goes to tuition centre so that his doubts are solved. That is just one part of learning. The actual learning depends upon class room training and self study. When the student comes back home and starts learning circles and triangles that is where we come in. If a student has not understood a particular topic, using personalization and adaptive learning we will ensure that he understands the concept in whatever state he is in. That is why the students like us. So we are on the students’ side and not on the teachers’ side.
Q] Where do you see the brand Byju’s in the next couple of years?
We would like to be the most loved brand for kids. That is where our aspiration is and I am sure we will reach there in couple of years.
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