Why help in branding and marketing is vital for growth-stage startups to scale up
This article is sponsored by Brand Launch Centre.
Maple Shelters, a company that has been in the residential and commercial construction business in Maharashtra for two decades, wanted to venture into building houses for the less affluent section of society. Their dilemma – how could they reach out to potential customers?
Sachin Agarwal, CMD, Aapla Ghar, a startup under the aegis of Maple Shelters, says, “We needed to understand our potential consumers, and what exactly they were looking for.” That’s when he got to know about the Start-Up Launch-Pad accelerator from Brand Launch Centre (BLC).
Sachin was one of the startup founders in the first cohort of the programme. “BLC’s consumer co-creation process played a big role in creating Aapla Ghar, and giving it an identity,” he says
He explains that the BLC team spent a substantial amount of time on ground interacting with consumers and digging out significant insights which helped the Aapla Ghar team understand the market, consumers as well as the competition.
Sachin says, “Sometimes, though you have a good idea that aims to address a social problem, you still tend to waver due to factors such as market trends or what your competition is doing. Working with BLC not only helped keep our vision intact, it also got us to focus on being consistent in delivering our promises. This made it easier to increase our customer base. We also learnt why a personal touch was imperative to connect with customers, especially in the segment we wanted to cater to. Armed with these learnings, Aapla Ghar organised events such as house possession ceremonies, which were appreciated by our customers.”
It’s these kind of success stories that the programme has been working on since it kicked off last year. Brand Launch Centre by Seagull is an initiative to build a robust ecosystem for individuals or organisations aspiring to build a brand, not just a thriving business. Seagull is an award-winning integrated advertising agency working in the areas of brand strategy, brand consulting and digital marketing for a decade. Seagull's strength lies in nurturing powerful ideas and building successful brands across sectors and stages.
Sameer Desai, Chief Strategy Officer, BLC, “Building a successful brand is a very complex process and requires intellectual capital from all stakeholders. We are spearheading this initiative to create an entire ecosystem required to successfully launch brands in the current dynamic environment. The Brand Launch Centre by Seagull is for those businesses and startups who are ready with their product or ideas to be launched in the market. The Start-Up Launch-Pad Accelerator Program, is one such effort, aimed at helping startups in the go-to market phase.”
The BLC Start-Up Launch-Pad Accelerator Program has been specifically designed to help customer-facing, revenue-generating startups that have gone beyond the idea and incubation stage, and are now ready for growth. The intensive and comprehensive year-long programme offers indepth mentoring and execution assistance across multiple areas. This accelerator has pre-determined timeframes for individual milestones like planning and strategy, pilot launch execution, learning, modification and follow-up and growth.
Talking about why the programme has been structured in this manner, Sameer says, “The journey of any new venture is a treacherous one. Many of these companies set lofty goals to achieve over the course of a year or 18 months. If this goal isn't broken down into smaller, achievable targets over shorter periods of time, it is almost certain that the business will fail to achieve its larger end goal.” He says that the milestone-based programme specifically addresses this concern. Milestones represent smaller, achievable goals spread over the course of the year, which helps the business keep track of their progress and builds the team’s confidence.
A key focus of the programme is helping startups overcome challenges during the scale-up phase. Flavors of my City was one such startup looking to accelerate growth, after having a definite proof of concept in place and generating consistent revenues. The e-commerce startup brings authentic regional sweets and savouries from cities across India to people’s doorsteps.
Preeth Padmanabhan, Co-founder at Flavors of my City, says, “We started this venture based on an idea, remodelling and adjusting the idea along the way based on feedback from customers and partners. That approach changed once BLC got involved. BLC enabled us look at Flavors of my City as more than a just a startup providing a service or filling a market gap, but as a brand. Also, instead of just basing our business decisions on a few opinions, we began to analyse them using statistical tools. Through constant research, we began targeting our offerings based on emotional quotient which helped customers relate to us.”
Today, Flavors of my City has clear expansion plans – doubling their sales in the next three months from the current 500 orders a day. The startup is also working on redesigning the website and app to make them more appealing to its target audience.
With mentors from the industry and through partnerships with niche organisations known for their expertise in areas like finance, business, communications, and media planning, the participants of the accelerator are sure to gather a wealth of learning which will help their organisations at every stage of growth. And, with angel investment networks, VC and PE funds connecting these entrepreneurs with professionals, there are multiple opportunities for startups on the funding front.
BLC is known for its expertise in branding and integrated marketing, so the programme has a strong focus on helping startups capitalise on branding, media engagement and integrated marketing. This enables startups to engage with the right target audience and increase their customer base. A case in point is BLC’s association with Tork Motors, a startup that develops electric motorcycles. During its pre-production stage, BLC helped Tork Motors understand its customer and the emotions that could be attached to its flagship product – T6X, India’s first electric motorcycle. This, in turn aided the startup plan customer interactions while unveiling the product. Tork Motors says BLC’s mentoring and guidance was critical across several areas. It helped them improve their visual branding, build a brand identity, gain brand recognition and, most importantly, connect with audiences not just in India but also globally. In the startup’s words, ‘We realised that our product was born global.’
BLC has carved out a hitherto unoccupied space for itself by creating this programme with an unwavering focus on go-to-market aspects, and building an entire ecosystem based on this.
If you are a growth-stage startup looking to grow, learn more about the BLC Start-Up Launch-Pad here.
The last date to apply is March 15. The first batch starts in April 2017. Apply now.
Register for YourStory BLC meetup
Date: 23 February
Time: 6.30 PM – 8:00 PM
Venue: Hyatt, Kalyani Nagar, Pune
Key highlights of the meetup: Discussion on emerging opportunities in India and the current scenario. A panel discussion on 'The right time to scale - Did you scale too soon?’ will focus on the dos and don'ts while scaling up, preparations required, the challenges involved and how collaboration between different parties can help overcome hurdles in growth.