The upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) isn’t only bringing in advertising monies for Star India and BCCI but it would also be a big opportunity for other content creators to leverage the event.
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Likely to be one of the largest TV events this year, IPL definitely presents a remarkable business opportunity, feels Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Co-founder & Director, Wakefit.co.
In a freewheeling conversation, Ramalingegowda talks about the overall advertising expenditure India’s media and entertainment ecosystem is likely to see. He also talks about the increasing relevance of digital for brands.
How do you see your category doing this festive season?
The festive season presents the perfect opportunity to boost demand for a consumer-focused brand like ours in the online sleep and home solutions segment. At Wakefit.co, our endeavour has been to cater to the ever-evolving consumer demands in the most intuitive and cost-effective manner. With people's dependence on e-commerce increasing more than ever, this festive season promises to be conducive for D2C brands that offer significant value to customers in their changed lifestyles.
Since March 2020, we have seen a surge in the adoption of e-commerce brands across categories. As a digital-first brand, we believe that the stage is set for disruption in traditionally unorganised segments. While operational costs and higher marketplace commissions pose some challenges, brands that can continue to offer affordable products without compromising on quality will most likely see a surge in demand during the festive season.
Your category makes up a larger chunk of advertisement expenditure in India. But with the pandemic, what impact has it left on your ad expenditure?
We believe that bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to advertisement expenditure. While it is important to have a dedicated budget, our spending is essentially driven by innovative ideas and rich content, eventually resulting in brand awareness. At Wakefit.co, we work towards generating content that is cost-effective yet innovative, and will also help us connect with our customers.
For instance, during the lockdown in April, we launched our ‘Open Letter Campaign’ where we showcased people expressing their gratitude, fears, and resolve to deal with the sudden onslaught of Covid-19. Similarly, on Mother’s Day, we did an evocative social media campaign #MaaTeriLori, celebrating unconditional love and hope when many were away from their mothers due to the lockdown. The overwhelming response to these efforts has prompted meaningful conversations, further strengthening our brand presence.
What are the consumer sentiments in your category this festive season?
The home is no longer just a home — it doubles up as the office, school, library, entertainment zone and relaxation space. With ‘working from home’ becoming the norm, we have seen a substantial surge in demand for ergonomic furniture at home such as work desks, coffee tables, bookshelves, wall shelves, sofas, TV units, wardrobes, shoe racks and more. People are inclined towards investing in the homes of tomorrow, while cutting down on lavish spending. Multi-functional furniture, as well as home solutions that facilitate health and well-being, is likely to see a major uptick. We believe the festive season will play a pivotal role in shaping the future disruption.
In order to cater to the growing demand for safe and comfortable home and sleep solutions, we invested almost Rs 20 crore in Capex so that we now have six backward integrated factories spread across Bengaluru, Jodhpur and Delhi.
Do you think ad spends would slow down this festive season?
Ad spends are expected to be subdued in some categories but others such as home solutions, home entertainment and digital services are likely to ramp up innovative campaign planning to woo customers during the festive season. We are already seeing brands go back to drawing boards, reassess their priorities, and reboot their marketing plans to deal with a unique festive season when most consumers are indoors.
Which of the mediums (print/TV/digital) would witness a slowdown or a high trajectory in your category?
During the last quarter, digital ad spends accounted for the majority of total adspend worldwide. In the current scenario, the trend is likely to continue, with traditional media channels witnessing a slowdown. However, we expect consolidation across channels, with digital and OTT seeing significant growth. We estimate a rise in demand for news portals, news apps, OTT platforms, social media and original and creative video content, while podcasts will slowly but steadily gain prominence.
How is your brand, in particular, cashing in on this festive season? What are your expectations?
Traditionally, the festive season has done well for our category as consumers want to invest in creating a better home during this supposedly auspicious period. Lifestyle changes triggered by Covid-19 have put the spotlight on health and wellbeing. Given the amount of time that is being spent at home, consumers today are more inclined to spend on sleep and home solutions that cater to their existing needs. At Wakefit.co, we expect the festive season to accelerate our steady growth. Tier-2 and tier-3 markets are likely to contribute significantly to demand.
Throughout the festive season, our focus will be on continuing to offer more value to our customers. For instance, we recently launched a unique initiative called ‘Wakefit Rewards’, in partnership with over 20 popular brands, such as Gaana, Cleartrip, Bombay Shaving Company, Ajio, 1MG and Parentlane, among others, to offer value-added benefits to customers purchasing from our website. The collaboration – based purely on goodwill without any commercial considerations – is one of the many initiatives we are pursuing to create organic demand for our solutions across India.
What sort of growth is your brand and category as a whole expecting with this festive season?
We recently set foot in the home solutions space and introduced an array of affordable products. Given the festive season just around the corner, consumer focus will likely be on wanting to make their homes look appealing and comfortable. Ergonomic home solutions, including furniture, bed spaces, digital accessibility and entertainment, have become important priorities for consumers. We expect these categories to drive the festive season sales to the tune of 2.5-3X of a normal monthly volume.
Are there any new offerings you'd be betting on?
Our foray into home solutions has received positive customer feedback, with offerings such as work desks and bookshelves seeing a surge in demand. We are confident that our sleep solutions range will continue to capture consumer interest while the newly-launched home solutions segment will pick up by virtue of consumer word-of-mouth.
How are you allocating your spends on different mediums (digital/TV/ print)?
As a D2C brand, digital will continue to be a major part of our marketing spends this festive season. But within digital, we will be going ahead with multiple mediums, including video, audio and text.
As a smart spender, what can brands do to get maximum visibility and reach with minimum spends?
The key to maximum visibility and reach with minimum spends is studying the evolving mindsets of the consumers and aligning your ideas accordingly. Brands that listen to their customers will be in a position to innovate meaningfully – whether in terms of their product offerings or marketing initiatives. All communication should be contextual, creative and entertaining. All three are essential features.
Do you think IPL being broadcast during the festive season will sabotage the interest of advertisers and viewers on other networks (where it won’t be telecast)? Do you see IPL as an opportunity?
What drives IPL advertising in India is the distinctive place that cricket holds in our collective consciousness. As one of the most eagerly awaited mega-events, IPL presents a remarkable business opportunity. As a widely viewed and discussed extravaganza, we expect content creators across media channels to leverage IPL as an opportunity, from news channels to OTT players to YouTubers and many others. Brands will have a huge opportunity to capture consumer interest for the festive season during this year’s IPL. While other platforms may see a dip during the telecast, the rest of the day will see normal traction coming to these other channels and platforms.