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Brand Engagement goes Social: Brandandme

Team YS
12th Apr 2011
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Startup by IIT-IIM alumni

What is Brandandme?

Brandandme.com is an innovative brand engagement platform which provides brands an incomparable engagement with users. This platform uses innovative quizzing and social conversation to engage the users with brands. Through this platform brands would get undivided attention of users, a superlative engagement, an entire clutter free online real estate for an inexpensive price and in-depth analytics.

It is a brand engagement platform. Consumers always perceive advertising as intrusive and non desirable. Advertisers have no medium which provides undivided user attention, brand user engagement, enough media space to promote brands and inexpensive channel of promotion. We offer the advertisers all the points mentioned above and that is why we are so different from any traditional and online media.

How did the idea for Brandandme come about? How did you zero in on the name ‘Brandandme’?

To answer this I need to give you some background.

Traditional media - TV and print media - is intrusive, expensive, non-interactive, immeasurable and non-engaging.

The evolution of online medium has transmogrified into various delivery modes. The industry started with CPM – Cost per mile. CPM is just like an inventory sell which provides absolutely no engagement. For CPM, click through rate is .1% which created problems such as banner blindness and intrusiveness. The industry realized that it has to give more value to the advertisers. Just eyeballs wouldn’t matter and hence the industry moved towards CPC – Cost per click. However, the problems still persisted. Bounce rate became too high and the average time spent on the website became lesser. As a consequence industry then moved on to CPL - Cost per Lead. Lead is defined differently in different context. For some it is as lowly as someone downloading the brochure, for some it is filling up form and for some it is online transaction.

Today the industry is moving toward actual engagement and advertisers are asking ad-networks and media buying agencies to come up with innovative platforms and various other engagement models. Our platform is a disruptive way of bringing users and brands together in the form a tight engagement unlike any of its predecessors - CPC, CPM or CPA.

We were looking for a name which emphasized the brands, the users and engagement. Brandandme was a natural conclusion and portrays a personal touch to the brand engagement concept.

How much capital was required to implement the idea?

We have already invested 3 lac and are in the process of raising our angel round. Currently we are self funded and are looking for funds. We are in talks with few angel investors.

Background of the Founding team?

Surjendu Kuila: Surjendu is a 10 year international veteran in technology marketing and sales. He has previously worked for many startups in USA and was recently heading Rediff's ecommerce platform. He holds a BTech from IIT, Roorkee and an MBA from IIM-Calcutta.

Neeraj Jain: Neeraj is a first generation serial entrepreneur with 10 years of experience in software, financial services and in various other industries including investment banking. He has founded companies in financial consulting and internet domain. He holds a BTech from IET, Lucknow and an MBA from IIM-Ahmedabad.

Mani Jagadeesan: Mani is a passionate geeky entrepreneur with 10 years of experience in creating software products in USA and India. He holds a BTech from IIT-Madras and an MBA from IIM-Lucknow.He had previouly worked for companies such as TribalFusion, Virtusa and Thomson Reuters.

Let us know about the tie-ups that you have (if any). Is there acceptance for your concept? Can you give us some incidents to illustrate the same?

We have tied up with Networkplay to represent us in the industry. Networkplay is acting as our sales arm. Networkplay is India’s leader in the digital ad-network space catering to audience engagement, optimum reach, and innovative branding solutions through convergence. Since the inception of the idea(which would be not more than 2 months) we have seen a huge traction of this concept from ad networks, advertisers, media buying agencies and ad sales team in India and abroad. All of them loved the concept; so much so that some big ad-networks were willing to fund us even before the product launch.

We are currently in the process of bringing on-board many advertisers.

Anurag Batra - Managing Director, Owner and CEO for exchange4media, a 200 Crore media, advertising related publishing house - has accepted to be on our board which is a great testament of our acceptance.

What is Brandandme's revenue model?

Our revenue model is simple - We charge the advertisers only per engagement. Our pricing is also innovative and cost effective. We follow CPE – Cost per engagement. Currently engagement is defined by us as someone who logs on to brandandme.com, engages with the brand in the form of interactive quiz. We charge the advertisers only for the number of users who have taken the particular brand quiz.

As an entrepreneur, what are your joys? What are the challenges?

First joy is to have the requisite freedom to work and solving daily challenges. It gives us immense pleasure when we solve an intractable problem on the web - be it user acquisition in a cost effective way or solving various chicken-egg problems.

Challenges are many - How to operate efficiently within the budget, How to convince the advertisers, How to raise funds etc. Challenges are immense, but these challenges get us going everyday.

Team BrandandMe?

Currently we are just 3 founders but are looking at hiring and expanding the team.

Expansion plans?

We are in the process of building innovative games, social quizzing, adver-gaming as other engagement solutions and also plan to use Bollywood as an engagement platform. We are also in talks with a Canadian ad network to expand globally and make Brandandme a global success.

Once we receive our angel round of funding we are looking at expanding aggresively - both in terms of human resources and also geographic footprint.

Anything else that you want to tell our readers?

The site is getting launched on 15th April and we are in a pre-launch phase now. Even then, we have seen immense traction amongst users. We already have 10,000 registered users, close to 5000 facebook fans and we are adding users at a rate of 150 per day.

Visit us at www.brandandme.com and also visit our facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/BrandAndMe/135755166489985

YourStory wishes the very best to Brandandme, definitely they have a strong pedigree to their advantage, but how the market receives them and their innovative solutions, we will have to wait and watch.

We will continue to update you on this story, meanwhile check out Brandandme.

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