Monday, January 18, 2016

Riding the start-up wave

The latest ad series by Indigo Nation has struck a chord with young entrepreneurs. Here’s why it worked so well

There is a buzz in the air in Bengaluru and an energy that is palpable as the city hums with activity as young executives with stars in their eyes chuck up high paying jobs to start-up one technology company or the other or develop one app or the other, even as VCs keep a close watch on who could be the next Flipkart as they loosen their purse strings. Entrepreneurs are getting younger as we speak and represent the new era of entrepreneurship where the barriers to entry seem only in the mind. It is a great time to be young, hopeful and tech savvy and nothing it seems can stop one from being the boss if he applies his mind to it. Not for nothing is Bengaluru being referred to as the start-up capital of India and the next Silicon Valley. It is precisely this mood of excitement, uncertainty and energy that a brand from Bengaluru tries to capture in its advertising as it wishes to tap into the tremendous interest in start-ups, their funding and valuation that seems to be the preoccupation of not only the central characters in the start-up ecosystem but also the media which is devoting entire sections to the exploits of these nouveau riche entrepreneurs and their unique and differentiated stories. The company is Bengaluru based Indus League and the brand is Indigo Nation.

Subject to change
Indigo Nation has consistently been talking to the young executive who is in his late twenties or early thirties. He is different, willing to push the envelope and open to change just about anything whether it is something as mundane as a job or something as exciting as a girlfriend. They have strong views on everything and hate the status quo. If they want to keep unearthly hours at work then they would like to do it for themselves not just for a fat pay check. They know the rules of the game whether it is presenting to the VC with passion for funding or building a team of talented professionals who happen to be classmates or friends. It is exactly this that the new Indigo Nation campaign depicts. Realizing that this restless audience is more online than in traditional mainline media, the series of commercials are primarily designed for the social media where entrepreneurs and prospects could possibly feel “hey this is about me” and share it in social media.  Take a look at typical situations in a young start-up’s life whether it is crazy, unearthly hours or a team of people cracking jokes even as they get ready to meet the VC or doing just about anything to fuel their dreams, even work. Here are the ads which are doing the rounds on social media. I am sure you will relate to them as well as I did.


Advertising is not easy
One of the challenges that advertising agencies face is to create campaigns for apparel that strike a chord in the consumer’s mind. There are no distinguishing or unique product features though brands still  try to differentiate themselves in merchandise with either an ‘Upper Crest” or a ‘Swoosh’. Whilst people like the design and texture they still buy into the imagery of the brand and that is precisely what they are buying and that is why advertising is so critical. Almost three decades ago Alan Solly had come up with a breakthrough campaign called ‘Friday Dressing’ as they advocated executives to loosen their collars and wear casual clothes to work on one day of the week at least. There too the timing of the campaign was right as it captured the mood of the consumer who was getting bored with his plain shirts, boring ties and pin stripes that were a part of most people’s wardrobes. The campaign came like a breath of fresh air, struck a chord in the consumer’s minds and was interesting enough and had enough legs to be run for years. This is the Holy Grail that apparel brands try to create and so rarely achieve and ‘Start-Up Nation’ has the potential to have a long term impact.

Here is one of the earlier campaigns.


Brands should address aspirations
Another important requisite for a successful brand campaign is that it addresses consumer aspirations whether stated or otherwise. The Indigo Nation campaign set as it is in the context of today’s start-up world does precisely this as everyone and his brother-in-law wants to be an entrepreneur. The challenge, excitement and possible risk appeals to most youngsters. The attitude of not being unduly bothered about the environment and risks even is embodied in the clothes that these youngsters wear with pride and that is what Indigo Nation portrays and presents in its stores. We live in interesting and challenging times and brands need to constantly innovate and keep trying stuff to catch the fancy of their consumers. Start-up Nation is one such experiment and what makes it interesting is the timing of the campaign. It seems just right and that is perhaps the greatest thing that is going in its favour!
Who knows what you might start-up?

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