OTT and YouTube are the main elements of upGrad’s marketing strategy: Arjun Mohan

“UpGrad’s television presence has been limited because we know that television cannot reach a certain niche population despite its ability to reach a larger audience. Rather, OTT and YouTube are the main elements of our marketing strategy, ”says Arjun Mohan, CEO of the Bangalore-based high-tech brand.

Arjun Mohan was the keynote speaker at the e4m 2021 conclave which was held virtually Monday afternoon. In his “Scripting New Marketing Practices” session, Mohan shared the upGrad success story. The company started its journey in 2015 and has an annual turnover of INR 1,200 crore and is considered the largest high-tech brand in Southeast Asia for a short period of five years.

upGrad is an international leader in online higher education offering more than 100 courses in collaboration with leading global universities such as Deakin Business School (Australia), Duke CE (United States), Michigan State University (United States ), Liverpool Business School (UK), IIT Madras (India), IIM Kozhikode (India) and others. The edtech major has reached over a million total enrolled learners in over 50 countries around the world. upGrad ranked # 1 in the LinkedIn Top Startups India 2020 list.

He said, “We conducted in-depth interviews and surveys with learners to understand the problem statement and come up with a solution. We have positioned ourselves in the skills education market with the “Naam Ki Nahi, Kaam Ki Degree” campaign to emphasize that the diplomas of the namesake have no value. Another powerful campaign was “Specialization is right, so the future is bright,” explained Arjun Mohan, highlighting upGrad’s argument that specialists are valued more than generalists.

He said the company’s campaigns created a mass awareness campaign around online higher education among employees and recruiters.

In his energetic presentation, Mohan said, “I would like to divide Grad’s trip into two parts. In the first part, from 2015 to 2019, we focused entirely on building our products. We tested several iterations before contacting customers.

The upGrad has worked with over 100 content creators to create high quality and relevant content with them, produced web series and originals with the aim of breaking the stereotype around the word ‘education’, especially the online education.

“The placement of our content in influencer content was very, very organic so we got good traction. There has been a 100% BDO increase on some content like that created by FilterCopy and Dhruv Rathee which has helped us engage with very attentive consumers. Three fiction and comedy videos contributed to BDO’s rise. There has been a 90% increase in our Youtube subscribers from 2020, ”Mohan told the audience.

“UpGrad’s content-driven marketing focuses on social media, TV, OTT and PR in A&M magazines. We have partnered up with the OTT show ‘Shark Tank India’ which has a strong resonance with the brand. It will start on December 22. Our TV presence is limited unlike other big educational brands in India. We have a clear strategy on what we want on TV (advertising) and which cohorts we want to reach, ”Mohan explained.

In the second part of our journey, we thought that instead of going through influencers, let’s create our own IP. We collaborated with BeYouNick and created an “office canteen” campaign on youtube, Mohan said.

He featured a few powerful brand announcements, one of which shows how a woman improved her skills with online courses and became a patron of her own classmates who made fun of her and education in line.

“BeYouNick’s office canteen campaign has struck a chord with consumers. The three-part web series, which was a humorous take on workplace canteen situations featuring top influencers, garnered 8.2 million views, a huge increase in search impressions and sales ” Mohan said, adding that the same theme was used in TV commercials.

“We used a donkey to present the lighter side of office politics, even though we stayed focused on our core business which was skills improvement. Today, our consumers only choose personalized courses.

Mohan says, “TV advertising is the most premium among all verticals and the medium also has a wider reach, but TV cannot reach some niche consumers. Therefore, the company focused on TV commercials for huge properties like live sports as we know it will give us more reach as our audience follows these sports. upGrad is one of the main sponsors of cricket championships such as IPL, ICC World Cup, Wimbledon and the UEFA Championship. Mohan says that upGrad has focused on data-driven marketing across all platforms.

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