#SMLive: Karan Shroff shares insights into Unacademy’s marketing strategy

SMLive Karan Shroff

In conversation with Schbang’s Harshil Karia, Karan Shroff talks about the way Unacademy approaches marketing and branding efforts.

The lockdown has brought about a significant change in the way students, as well as professionals, look at education and upskilling. Much of the process has turned online due to movement restrictions. In a situation like this, edtech brands like Unacademy are witnessing a surge in consumer interest, something they need to address with marketing initiatives in order to be a preferred choice over their competitors. Karan Shroff, VP-Marketing, Unacademy talks more about these efforts, conversation with Harshil Karia, Founder & MD, Schbang.

Product at heart

Shroff starts the conversation talking about the core of Unacademy’s stance as a brand: To democratise access to education and nurture students. He explains how this is consistent across their vision, offerings, marketing and branding efforts. After all, at the heart of success is a good product.

When asked about the way marketing budgets are allocated, Shroff explains, “Whenever we spend from our marketing budget, the idea is: How to reach out to the students? How to provide them with the best and fulfil their aspirations?” The team sticks to the core values of the product, consistently, in communication across channels.

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Let agencies take ownership

Dwelling on the relationship shared between brands and agencies and how it affects the way things shape up on the branding front. Shroff believes magic only happens when the custodians on the agency end consider the brand as their own baby. On the end of the brand, they must look at the relationship as a long-term partnership.

Brands must allow agencies the space to feel they own the business just as much as the brand and work accordingly. “Agencies carry the weight of the efforts and they are partners in the journey. It’s critical for it to be looked at as a long-term partnership and not a client-agency relationship,” he says.

He adds how some of the most important aspects of Unacademy’s branding efforts like getting celebrities onboard for promotions happened because agencies were invested in the brand’s progress.

Clarity in communication

Shroff stresses on the importance of digital when it comes to access to quality education across demographics. This is something that is consistent in Unacademy’s communication. They want to reach out to aspirational students and provide them with the tools to get better. However, does this mean they can an alternative to formal education?

Whether replacing offline classes something Unacademy aims to do eventually was an interesting point raised by Karia. To this, Shroff explained, “The intention is not to eliminate physical classes, I think both will co-exist. Unacademy wants to democratise education and provide it to those who don’t have access.”