This week, we feature, Mrinal Mohit, Chief Operating Officer and Head of Sales & Marketing, BYJU’s The Learning App . In this role, he has worn multiple hats – from heading business development to developing business strategy for the creation of new products in the education industry.

What does it take for brands to stay competitive in today's dynamic economy and market?

The world is transforming at a pace never seen before. Earlier, people’s behaviour changed every 20 years. Then, it started changing every decade and now, it is changing every five years. For a brand to be successful, it needs to ensure its product caters to the current needs of consumers and brands need to be ready to adapt and evolve. Because of people’s exposure to social media and the barrage of content it brings with it, the right message for the right product on the right channel is key. As a marketer, the many platforms today to connect to the audience emerge as both a pro and a con. The key challenge is to rise above the clutter and ensure your consumers notice you. A combination of channel and content strategy strengthened using technology and data is the key to staying relevant and competitive.


What are the three secrets to successful branding?

These are the necessities than secrets in marketing;

First, the focus on customer experience as a marketing vehicle. The generation today takes its time to experience things in order to create a perception. And once the perception is created, it is difficult to change it. To ensure they understand your brand in its entirety, it is important that they interact with it in the most experiential and wholesome way possible.

Second, the message - it should match the customer requirement and their needs in the most relatable way possible and it must be consistent. Multiple platforms and channels must not lead to different messages being broadcast to the same audience.

Third, ensure you use the right technology and data to reach out to the audience in the most impactful way possible.

What do you need to win in the marketplace - better technology or better ideas?

Today, the whole world is digital and if you focus on our segment - then the whole experience itself is digital. I don’t believe any company is in a position to choose between these two. You need a very strong idea backed by very strong technology.

Can a one-size-fits-all approach work in a differentiated market such as India?

India is very diverse and neither the product nor the marketing technique can ever take a one-size-fits-all approach. We operate across India’s 29 states. Each has a different curriculum, with a different level of difficulty and we ensure from our product to our conversations, everything is customised to the needs of our diverse audience.

Mrinal says…

a) One strategic change we plan to execute by 2020

Today, we have created the most loved learning app. When we launched, learning was not actively taking place through digital media, even though children were browsing on the internet and watching videos online. This medium was not viewed as a reliable learning source. We have managed to change that and have created and established the ‘app learning’ segment. Our vision is to now be viewed as not just a ‘digital learning’ medium but the leaders of the ‘learning at home’ segment. By 2020, we would like to transform into a learning at home platform. Everything a student needs to learn at home, BYJU’s will be able to provide that.

b) My top three marketing mantras

Content, number of channels and analytics

c) Three concepts/words I believe define a hot brand

Authenticity, innovation and emotional connect

d) A powerful ad campaign I liked

The Apple ads that say, “The picture was taken on an iPhone", was an innovative campaign and rich in content. The selection of media – primarily outdoor – worked very well. It was user-generated content, easier to connect with and the campaign was inspiring.

How does your brand approach the Southern market when it comes to branding and consumer engagement? What is unique about the South Indian market? Do you see any difference in consumer behaviour from the North in your category?

Within the Southern market itself we are talking about 5 states that are highly diverse. To market to them, it is important to understand the consumer behaviour across each of these states which is bound to be different from each other. It goes beyond just the language. Content is the key and at every stage it needs to demonstrate passion and authenticity. It should have an emotional connect with the audience, and for this to happen, a mere Southern market strategy will not work. It needs to be customised for every region or state.

When it comes to the differences, again, every state has its uniqueness. Every state has its own symbols, rituals and belief systems and in the marketing language we feel there is huge consumer behaviour difference.

Have millennials and GenZ transformed the way businesses approach marketing?

Drastically! Their behaviour patterns are very different from adults. And as a company, we understand it very well because our students who download and use our apps belong to class/grade 4-12 - a mix of millennials and GenZ. But their parents are a different generation. However, it is necessary for us to understand both of them. We have seen a huge contrast in their respective behaviours and in the way they react to marketing. Because GenZ and Millennials are socially active, they have a habit of consuming a lot of content. This results in them forming strong opinions and long-lasting perceptions about their ecosystem - including the brands they engage with. They have their own, self-derived ideas and conviction about products and its potential impact on them. For example, parents we interact with get influenced by the reviews of five other parents. However, in the case of our students, they take time to build an opinion and trust their own judgement the most.

What are the best ways to connect with and to sell to this audience?

Before thinking of selling to them, it is of utmost importance for the brand to be convinced that they are offering something which fulfils the needs of this generation. GenZ and Millennials don’t really care about the product you are offering - they care about the problem your product is solving for

them. The most effective way of selling to them is by highlighting the solution to a problem in an experiential way. This is not a generation that will buy a product based on words alone, they need to experience it themselves. Another key is consistency. We have established that this generation is naturally consuming a lot of content through various digital channels, therefore the need for consistency in communication has never been higher. Consistently showcasing a solution to a problem in their ecosystem is the most effective way of selling to this generation.

What are the specific technologies that have driven these changes?

The increase in the usage of mobile devices has created a big impact on consumer behaviour. Today, a person is connected to thousands of people on social media, but he/she might not ever be physically connected to them. The opinion a person creates today is massively influenced by digital conviction. According to me, mobile technology and the way consumption of content is taking place on the mobile has created the biggest change.

This article is part of a brand initiative by The Hindu BusinessLine to profile marketing professionals from across India.