We reached out to Rajiv Srivatsa and Manu Prasad from Urban Ladder. We got some fascinating brand insights and a behind the scenes view of what goes on behind building a brand. Read ahead, as the Urban Ladder honchos get candid with Team Mad Over Marketing!
Q. What does the brand ‘Urban Ladder’ stand for?
A. We look at our brand in three ways – the classic ‘Why’, ‘How’ and ‘What’.
So why Urban Ladder? Because we believe that fundamentally people are happier in beautiful homes. If you see over time, India has started eating better, we’ve started dressing better – roti, kapda and makaan, right – it’s the turn of homes. While exteriors have gotten prettier, beautiful interior is still mostly a thing of the upper class. Time to change that.
How? By getting futuristic products for the Indian use case and giving the kind of service Indians expect and deserve.
With what? A fantastic array of products available online. So, yes, that sums up what the brand ‘Urban Ladder’ stands for.
Q. How is Urban Ladder as a brand, differentiating itself from its other online competitors, FabFurnish and Pepperfry?
A. So firstly for us competition would be the entire category, and not just other online players. For us, execution is our differentiator. We strongly believe that we are very heavily invested and involved in the whole process. We have a strong focus on delivering what we promise. First few years, we were just focusing on getting basics right. The last 10-11 months were about scaling up. Over the next 18 months or so, we’re going all in – we just want to reach out to everyone in India, and we’re committed to that
Q. What were your apprehensions before committing to your first TVC, and what is the core proposition that you want to communicate?
A. Since we are so keen on scaling up, the sheer nature of the TVC medium made us really excited. We wanted to basically test the waters quickly. We didn’t want to sit on finalizing a creative concept. We focused on hitting the market in good time for a first launch. The TVC drives home our philosophy that wonderful things will happen in beautiful homes. Our OOH and Facebook strategy mirrored this. No apprehensions, but we want to assess the impact of the TVC and learn from it.
Q. How difficult is it to convince a customer to buy furniture online, without touch-and-feel? Especially in categories like “Sofa” where comfort is the primary purchase factor.
A. So firstly, customers have evolved hugely. I think two things really work for selling furniture online. One, primarily furniture is a catalog product anyway. You go to a store and see fifty sofas on paper and find 45 of them mediocre. As opposed to that, you see glossier “catalogs” online with nicer products and better descriptions. Two, the easy of shopping for bulky furniture online – everything at your doorstep! So, online furniture shopping is very much here to stay.
Q. Social Media is being seen as the next big thing in Marketing – how are you planning to leverage this now and in the future?
A. Having a Facebook page for a brand is like drinking water daily. The kind of data and target audience connect you get here; offline can NOT give you that. We were one of the pioneers in using Facebook, in fact Facebook India mentions us as one of their top 3-4 clients. But Facebook has evolved. Everything was about likes earlier, now it’s about engagement. Less likes, more ‘real’ likes. ‘X friends like this’ is way more impactful than ‘100x people like this’, you know. Our plan is so keep pace with the changing content, changing customers and changing medium. So, ya – do the effort and use the platform.
Q. Given the revolution of smart phones, and high traffic that e-commerce websites get through their mobile apps, how far do you think we are from being an App Only venture?
A. Well it’s definitely a part of the strategy. Every player worth their buck knows that mobile app is crucial. Sustainability, right. Cost of media has quadrupled when it comes to your common online channels with no guaranteed accurate reach. So, app, email subscribers come in here – strong pull and close to zero cost.
Q. Are you Mad Over Marketing?
A. Haha, yes! We were the ones doing those Mad Ad events in school. So the marketing bug has been with us since forever.
Q. If you had Rs. 100 to spend on advertising for Urban Ladder, what would you do and why?
A. That’s a tough question. At this point, we’d want to spend 50% on just awareness – so Rs. 35 on TV, the rest on OOH, Radio, Print whatever. Rs. 50 would be all digital. We’re in a visual category, digital is super important!
Q. What’s your favourite ad from all time? You can even tell us your least favourite one!
A. There was this ad, Sony Ericcson I think. A lady talking on the phone. A man approaches thinking she’s talking to him. But he missed the tiny phone in her hand. The ad was for a small phone Ericcson had launched. It was quite effective for me.
Stay tuned for more such brand insights!