‘If we do not evolve with the millennials, then we  are  dead’

  • We talk to consumers in a language they understand. Millennials are very impatient, and if we don’t evolve with them, then we are dead:  said Aman Gupta, co-founder and chief marketing officer of boAt

Varuni Khosla
Updated13 Dec 2021, 06:45 AM IST
Aman Gupta
Aman Gupta

Consumer technologies brand boAt, owned by Imagine Marketing Pvt. Ltd, has carved a niche as a cool online wearable brand. The company has tied up with a clutch of celebrities, including Kiara Advani and Diljit Dosanjh, to promote its brand. “We talk to consumers in a language they understand. Millennials are very impatient, and if we don’t evolve with them, then we are dead,” said Aman Gupta, co-founder and chief marketing officer, in an interview. Edited excerpts:

How were your sales during the pandemic?

During last year’s nationwide lockdown, when only essentials were being allowed to be sold, headphones were not classified as essentials. In the second wave, e-commerce was allowed. But the supply chain was a bit of a nuisance because everything globally was hit by covid, and there was also the chipset manufacturing issue globally. So, there were more supply chain constraints than demand-side constraints.

What are your learnings from the pandemic? Are you still sourcing from China?

We’ve started keeping more inventory because one never knows when the supply chains can get disrupted. Also, we’ve started expanding production to other countries. We went to Vietnam for our production. We also started buying from India. In fact, we’ve done one million units out of India already. We are expanding in India. Apart from this, we’re moving away from being dependent on one country in terms of supply chain management.

You use young celebrities such as Masaba Gupta, and Diljit Dosanjh. Does it build consumer connect?

It’s a strategy that we adopted a few years ago—having a multi-celebrity, multi-platform and multi-distribution model. Our marketing campaigns never go overboard. Instead, we look at what’s been working, and if something works, we double down on that. Our growth over the past few years has also been because of acceptance from consumers. In fact, a lot of brands are now copying what we are doing.

I always say the chartered accountant in me brings up the RoI (return on investment) question before the marketer whenever I start spending. RoI is very critical; we’ve been profitable from day one. We don’t like to burn money. We like to earn money.

Any interesting brand tie-up you can talk about?

The current one is with singer A.P. Dhillon. He’s a global sensation in Punjabi music. This was the first time he was touring India, and we brought him here along with BookMyShow.com.

As a youth-centric, millennial-focused brand, we know that stars keep changing for young people, and that’s why they like Dhillon. I was surprised to learn that all his shows were sold out, even in Hyderabad and Goa. I’ve never seen such a good response on our Instagram and Twitter pages when we ran contests around him, which have done well. Prior to this, we did another campaign which was ‘What Floats Your Boat’ with actors Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani around the second phase of the IPL in 2021.

Do you also engage online influencers?

Influencers are very critical today. So, if you don’t work with influencers, you should shut your brand and just do something else. They are important to brands such as ours. Celebrities are also influencers—just that they are macro-influencers. So, all of these people come under influencer marketing. Some of the non-celebrity influencers have even better traction than celebrities themselves. So, I don’t know if one should call a celebrity an influencer or an influencer a celebrity.

Do direct-to-consumer brands have a story to tell?

Absolutely, without a purpose, without a story, a brand is just a commodity. We are working in an industry where there are more than 200 brands. Every day, an old brand dies, and a new brand comes in. So, unless there is a story, and a compelling story, why will people pay a premium for us over other brands?

Our story also resonates very closely with the consumers we are working with. We talk to consumers in a language they understand. We are where they are.

Whether they are shopping on Instagram or Facebook, we are there. If they are on Nykaa, we are there. We keep bringing fresh talent to the marketing team, which can keep guiding us to evolve. Millennials are very impatient, and if we don’t evolve with them, we are dead.

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First Published:13 Dec 2021, 06:45 AM IST
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