Content & Coffee: Vaishali Gupta decodes the mCaffeine marketing blueprint

Shamita Islur
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mCaffeine’s Vaishali Gupta

mCaffeine has tapped into consumers’ love for caffeine with an extensive content strategy. Vaishali Gupta shares the D2C brand’s marketing footprint.

For D2C brands, a factor contributing to the industry’s growth comes from the convenience of setting up online stores. However, building an entire brand on social media with an audience of around 700 million active internet users requires one to stand out from the crowd. 

Launched in 2016, the personal care brand, mCaffeine has become synonymous with coffee, despite not being a coffee brand. They instead tapped into consumers' fondness for coffee and introduced a distinctive offering of a single-ingredient product in the skincare and haircare industry. 

Caffeine first caught one of the founders, Tarun Sharma’s attention when a friend recommended he apply a green teabag to reduce the inflammation under his puffy eyes. As a country, it’s a norm to make use of natural ingredients with medicinal properties available at home to get through ailments. 

Fascinated with its anti-inflammatory and strengthening properties of tea and coffee, the team of founders started studying it in detail to find that nobody in India was actually buying products with caffeine as the core ingredient. This is what gave birth to mCaffeine, says Co-founder and Chief Growth Officer, Vaishali Gupta

Building A Psychological Foundation

As a brand, Gupta feels that mCaffeine has a very strong psychological connection to consumers wherein they feel more rejuvenated, lively and it makes them feel up for life.

“Based on its core benefits, we feel that the brand stands for delivering a unique experience to your senses. This is where our tagline ‘Up For Life’ came into the picture in our recent campaign.”

Since caffeine is present in coffee, tea and chocolates, the brand has relied on these three ingredients as pillars of content. 

Their communication tactics for the three, however, defer with the coffee range taking an energetic approach, the cocoa range going for indulging the consumers, and so on.

“We are an experiential brand that delivers experiences via the texture, fragrance and design of the product. We strongly indicate experience via all of our campaigns along with the functional benefits.”

Social Media Footprint

  • Instagram – 457k followers
  • Facebook – 130k followers
  • LinkedIn – 59,428 followers
  • Twitter – 1,826 followers
  • Youtube – 21k subscribers

Content For Awareness 

While delivering experiences through their products is the central communication theme for the brand, some of the challenges that the D2C brand often faces is gaining consumer trust and retention. 

Sharing how D2C brands can address these challenges, Gupta said, “Firstly, a brand needs to be real. I think we have to be very organic and relatable in the way content is being made. Secondly, the frequency of the content is also something that impacts the trust of a brand in the consumer's mind. Having the right balance is key. Third, social media are actually looking for the key opinion leaders.” 

She also spoke about the following three Es in marketing - Ethos, Efficacy, and Experience to win consumer trust. 

Further shaping up these three E pillars of marketing, mCaffeine, for their part, has expanded their channels of communication with two core things in mind - the platforms their consumers are present on and which channel will do justice to what brand wants to communicate. 

Gupta mentioned that when they first started out, anyone who was discovering products was sitting on Instagram and Facebook by default. Building awareness about the brand through these platforms has become a key element especially since Reels have increased viewing time for audiences. 

Blending this with snackable, humorous and often informative content, mCaffeine has been banking on the fundamental idea of providing experiences.

“Picking the right content matrices, building your brand and communicating your message in the most simplest and organic way possible is important for the brand to engage the consumers,” continues Gupta.

Content Differentiation

The changing content consumption patterns of users have eventually led to the brand moving on to other platforms. While YouTube as a platform used to be known for long-form content, Gupta observes that the viewership is shifting to short-form shorts and stories really quickly.  

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She says, “You need to be differentiated and provide engaging content that provides value to the consumer in the first three to five seconds.”

Keeping this in mind, their YouTube content generally lasts only a few seconds to a minute. 

Following social media, D2C brands have been moving on to traditional platforms like television and eventually entering retail markets. Gupta mentions that they started going for television and connected TV as a marketing medium only nine months ago. 

They are also present in close to about 25,000 + retail stores along with key modern trade outlets like Shoppers Stop. She says that the consumers have communicated their trust and this has led to their expansion across mediums.

Content With Influencers

Gupta is of the opinion that consumers won’t believe a brand story if there’s no key opinion leader taking charge of the communication. With relatable content and the expansion of mediums, they eventually roped in the right set of influencers to build trust. 

This included celebrities and influencers like Malvika Sitlani, Ileana D’Cruz, Radhika Apte, Vikrant Massey, Sanaya Irani, Sanjeeda Sheikh, and more. 

Currently, the brand has been collaborating with actress Alia Bhatt as the brand ambassador for a year. When asked about the reason for choosing her, Gupta said, “I think she relates with millennials, is candid and they respect her choice of content. The main reason we picked Alia was that she believed in the brand, and its fundamentals of being a clean, sustainable, zero-plastic footprint brand.”

For a D2C brand that started off in the competitive personal care segment, mCaffeine has carved a niche with their core ingredient, created a craze for coffee scrubs amongst internet users, and expanded into retail by building differentiation and building consumer trust. 

Vaishali Gupta mCaffeine Alia Bhatt mCaffeine ambassador mCaffeine brand mCaffeine founder interview mCaffeine marketing