One such brand story of success is that of Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal’s daily deal portal Snapdeal. Now a million dollar daily deal portal, it had its share of struggle.
After the great dot com crash, the Indian market in the 2002-2008 period was limping back to normalcy. From a couponing company named Money Savers, Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal launched Snapdeal in 2010. However, the backdrop for this launch was all wrong as the internet was still just taking baby steps.
Snapdeal was offering consumers heavy discounts on dining, entertainment, lifestyle products and services, similar other medium and heavy ticket consumables in return for increased visibility and augmented consumer base to merchants. Though the business model looked correct, the venture was probably too advanced for its time. Convincing merchants was difficult, as they could not grasp the concept of giving away heavy discounts. Another challenge was that the prospective consumers were wary of online transactions using credit cards, fearing theft and misuse and could not trust the quality of goods sold online without first seeing it in tangible form as they conventionally did when they bought goods over the counter.
This is where we came in. As advertising partners, the onus was on us to cement the brand’s foundation. We started from scratch. From how the brand should be presented, in a market of conservative consumer and merchant base, to building trust and ensuring its acceptance in the market. Though, like any other startup, funds were scarce, we realized the potential of Snapdeal and plowed ahead. We got to work on Snapdeal’s brand position and to radically change the way people viewed it.
We tackled the problem from two sides.
Convincing sellers to see the promise and potential behind the brand and what it could deliver
We shot success stories and testimonials all over India and put them together in multiple presentations, EDM, collaterals and videos to showcase the promise, which the brand held. The response was huge. Merchants were convinced, looking at real life examples to invest in Snapdeal. Offers and deals were pouring into Snapdeal. We literally went from deal to deal. From one deal a week to one deal day, to particular deals in each city and its surrounding towns in India. In a short time, Snapdeal was the go-to brand for the best deals. So much so that, we would not only advertise different deals in different cities but also different deals for each half of the day as well.
Turning around the way consumers judged the brand
Since Indian consumers were still in favor of buying tangible goods and services over the counter and wary of online transactions, we needed people who were willing to be open to new and evolving concepts. When it comes to the new and the unknown, youngsters are always more willing to experiment. They also start trends that snowball into changing opinions for everyone else. We initially started a heavy online campaign on websites, portals; however there was still need for something that would create more traffic. We analyzed the gap to infer that we not only had to promote an online model, we also had to garner attention through offline mediums. Social media in 2010 was not as abuzz as it is today. Youngsters were more tuned to channels such as MTV for entertainment and the niche SEC A preferred channels like TLC and NDTV Goodtimes.
We picked the very popular ‘Roadies’ show on MTV, which had a lot of young viewership to promote Snapdeal. This was a first in the history of reality shows. The host Rannvijay introduced Snapdeal as an exciting new, young portal where there were great deals waiting to be grabbed and highlighted it further by giving the team of ‘Roadies’ a task revolving around Snapdeal. The exposure that Snapdeal got on ‘Roadies’ was massive. The concept had fit in beautifully in the show. We went on innovating, and kept going and promoting Snapdeal in each city morning and evening. An arduous production schedule to match the airing of the show could not put a dampener on our spirits to build the brand perception just right. Today Snapdeal is a colossal success.