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Hero Vired will not invest in traditional mediums as we were born digitally, says Sushma Bharath

Discussing how the newly launched edtech platform seeks to invest purely in digital channels, Bharath, Head of Programs and Marketing at Hero Vired, talks about its IPL spending and plans to increase investment in content marketing. It also plans to invest in programmatic channel-based ads to become a lot more transactional in the near future

Sushma Bharath

The Covid-19 pandemic has given tailwinds to the growing edtech sector, which is now expected to touch $3.5Bn by 2022. Bullish on the sector's long-term potential, Hero Group has invested $10 million in its edtech venture Hero Vired, which aims to disrupt the highly competitive sector with its premium, personalised and high-engagement learning experiences.

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Sushma Bharath, Head of Programs and Marketing at Hero Vired, told that it plans to stick to digital mediums only for all its marketing activities.

“We are not looking at investing in traditional television or radio, but investing in OTTs, digital audio through collaborations with Saavn, Gaan.  We are a digital company, born digitally and our audience is also going to see us digitally since they interact with the world digitally, especially in this time. We really want to just stay digital for the time being and maybe in the future, we will see how things evolve,” she said.

It has invested in the Indian Premium League (IPL) for the brand’s launch ads and has a strong focus on content marketing.

“We plan to build a lot of very relevant content, which involves interviews and short- and long-format videos. Because I think, ultimately, that is how you build a brand. Paid marketing can only take you to a certain place to give you the scope and the spread. But to really build a brand that stays in the minds and the hearts of your consumer, you have to reach them in other ways. Content is critical to finish the sale, and that's something in which we will definitely invest a lot over the next couple of months and years,” she said.

Sharing the brand’s overall marketing strategy, she said it plans to take communication directly to the learners, to really make it about the individual rather than making it transactional in nature. Later, it will become a lot more programmatic, channel-based and may become a lot more transactional in nature.

The platform is looking at 1,500 students at the beginning with its premium priced programmes. In a space that is already dominated by players like Byju’s, Unacademy and others, it aims to carve a niche for itself through the legacy of Hero and expertise for professionals it promises to bring forth.

“We understand that there are already a lot of edtech platforms in the space. However, they are technology companies that are in the business of education. If you were to ask me who is more capable of understanding the gaps in industry and deliver the exact skills and learning, I would argue that kind of insight would more likely come from someone like the Hero family, which is in multiple domains like MotoCorp, Electronics and FinCorp. Because of the number of people we have with us, we believe we are uniquely placed to understand the gaps in the industry and the skill sets required,” she said.

Discussing more about its differentiating factors, Bharath said Hero Vired has the industry-relevant focus with domain knowledge.

“We are very confident that our expertise will translate into what industry requires. And that's really coming from our own experiences. Plus, with our premium learning experience with well-known international brands, we aim to provide an international learning experience that is really superior compared to what other people may offer. Our learning experience has been developed not just by following or copying what others are doing but we do think it is important to provide that level of personalised and high engagement learning experience, which is tailor-made for a user. We provide overall professional development and a true measurable transformation,” she said.

Asked how challenging it was for the brand to venture into the space amid the pandemic, she said that the decision was absolutely bang-on in the middle of the pandemic.

With pandemic accelerating the adoption of online learning, the brand found an opportunity for itself. 

“The second thing that happened was the NEP (National Education Policy), which gave a lot of liberty in terms of how we can structure programme offerings, and talked about the academic banking of credit. I think both of these were real game-changers for us and signalled to us that this was absolutely the perfect time to enter the market. This is the time when people have realised that online learning isn't just possible, it can be effective also,” she said. 

It plans to make online education effective and impactful at the same time.

She had a piece of advice for marketers who plan to venture into the same space. “Don't just jump into edtech because you think it's interesting. Really think about what you are adding to the mix. What are you going to do that is really different from everyone else? And if you really feel that you have cracked a pedagogy or a learning methodology, which is different from everyone else's, this is absolutely the time to do so because everyone is suddenly understanding that education can be delivered with impact, efficiently and effectively online as well.”

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