#SSIPLWatch upGrad’s association with IPL 2020 is driven towards brand awareness: Arjun Mohan, upGrad

Arjun Mohan

In conversation with Social Samosa, upGrad India’s CEO Arjun Mohan speaks at length about the company’s association with IPL, objective behind the decision, and expected returns.

Season 13 of IPL is underway; the country is hooked to their TV screens and so are the advertisers. Featuring next in Social Samosa’s #SSIPLWatch series is Arjun Mohan, CEO- India, upGrad where he sheds light on the edtech startup’s strategy to leverage IPL as a platform to gain momentum and make an impact.

Mohan explains how the sports association helps the brand reach audiences on a larger level and takes Social Samosa through their strategy of calculating RoI on this big budget association.

Edited Excerpts:

What was the insight behind your association with IPL 2020?

There are many players in the edtech space who present a plethora of online options for the learners to choose from. upGrad provides industry-ready online programs. We also, help our learners with steadfast mentorship and career guidance to help them achieve the desired outcome.

Therefore, our association with Star India for IPL 2020 will enable us with the right platform to prepare ~550Mn viewers for a future-ready career. Moreover, this is our first major sports association and we will also be providing “Free Career Guidance” to help viewers overcome the COVID-19 impact.

What does the overall marketing plan for the season look like? What kind of a role will social media play?

Considering that the IPL is a platform that is coming after a long time to reach their target audience, we expect a large number of brands attempting to tell their story during IPL 2020 and hence there will be a clutter. Our focus has been on building a great ad film that connects to our audience and hence will help in breaking the clutter. At the end of the story, we believe we have a strong CTA which will entice our customers to come and visit our website and the App, thereby motivating them to take their upGrad journey ahead.

Moreover, to amplify the impact, the plan is to do a 360-degree campaign that makes upGrad visible to our target audience everywhere and throughout the IPL season. We are attempting to become a mainstream brand and attain a pan India appeal with this campaign.

On social media, recently, we launched a social media campaign #DontBeAChaatu, to get the youth talking about upskilling and getting a specialized degree and to not use ‘licking’ to climb up the ladder of professional success. The activity also included a YouTube release, ‘How to Impress Your Boss’ in association with the YouTuber, ‘Be YouNick’, which highlighted a stark difference between types of professionals in a cheeky way.

The ad campaign has already garnered over 5.5 million views and we will further engage with the viewers by providing “Free Career Guidance” during the T20 tournament. We will also be engaging with our learners and IPL audience through our social media channels which have over 550K followers across Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Also Read: #SSIPLWatch We will use IPL’s reach to drive message around financial credibility: Trupthi Shetty, CRED

Please take us through your media mix. How much percent of it is reserved for digital? 

At the beginning of the year, we announced a budget of INR 175 crore for marketing. We will be largely present on TV & Digital. However, the sudden pandemic outbreak has confined people to their homes, and we are now expecting an overall surge in the television viewership. This will also impact/increase the co-viewing window.

Therefore, keeping the current situation in mind, the idea is to look at more mass media such as TV and accordingly shift our spends towards the same, supplementing it with digital.

While we will continue to advertise targeting the metros due to new launches that we have in the pipeline, the consumers and prospective learners will now see upGrad more active in the smaller towns. For instance, our newly launched Ad campaign – ‘Sirf naam kinahin, kaam ki degree’, is now available across 50+ TV channels and is a result of a well-structured marketing strategy. It isn’t a short-term change, but a conscious shift to align with our business objectives, in the long run.

What are the parameters to calculate ROI on your IPL marketing initiatives? Do you think it will be difficult to recover the investment amidst the pandemic crisis? 

upGrad’s investment in association with IPL 2020 is driven towards brand awareness and not towards hard performance metrics.

Given we have a strong CTA, we expect a surge in our website visits & app downloads. The objective here will not be to recover the cost but to build salience amongst our audience.

What are the consumer trends that you foresee keeping in mind IPL 13 and festive season around?  

Our key objective for the Dream 11 IPL 2020 is to reach out to Bharat and the ~550Mn viewers who will be enjoying the IPL season from the comfort of their homes. Given the glitz and glamour of the T20 League and excitement for a live cricket tournament after months, we feel it is also the most opportune occasion to reach out to individuals reminding them about the urgency to upskill and prepare themselves for the forthcoming competitive world. Every IPL viewer will know about upGrad and the importance of upskilling and Lifelong Learning by the end of the tournament.