One rare brand success story is that of Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal's Snapdeal. Now a million dollar daily deal portal, it had its share of struggle. The Indian between the years 2002-2008 was gradually coming back into its own after the great dot com crash. Once a couponing company named Money Savers, Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal launched Snapdeal in 2010. However, the backdrop for this launch was wrong as the internet was still just taking baby steps.
Snapdeal was offering consumers heavy discounts on entertainment, dining, lifestyle products and services along with similar other medium and heavy ticket consumables in exchange for increased visibility and increased consumer base to merchants. Though initially the business model looked correct, the venture was probably ahead of its time. Convincing merchants was difficult, as they could not grasp the concept of giving away heavy discounts. Another challenge was that the prospective consumers were not okay with the idea of online transactions using credit cards, fearing misuse and could not trust the quality of goods sold online without first seeing it in tangible form as they conventionally did when they purchased goods at the shops over the counter.
This is where we came into the picture. As their ad partners, the responsibility was on us to strengthen the brand's foundation. We started from the very beginning, from how the brand should be presented, in a market of conservative consumer and merchant base, to building trust and ensuring its acceptance in the market.
Though, much alike other start-ups the funds were less, we realized the potential of Snapdeal and galloped ahead.We got to work on Snapdeal’s brand position and to radically change the way people viewed it.
We tackled the problem from two sides. Convincing sellers to see the promise and potential behind the brand and what it had the capability to deliver We shot success stories and testimonials all over India and brought them all together in multiple presentations, collaterals, EDM and videos to portray the promise, which the brand held. The response was great. Merchants were now convinced, looking at real life examples to invest in Snapdeal. Offers and deals were pouring into Snapdeal. We went from deal to deal. From one deal a week to one deal day, to particular deals in each city and its surrounding towns in India. In a short time, Snapdeal was the go-to brand for the best deals, therefore bringing us not only to advertise different deals in different cities but also different deals for each half of the day too, sometimes.
Indian consumers were still in favour of tangible goods. Now we needed people who were open to experimenting - youngsters. They also start trends. Although we initially started a heavy online campaign on websites, portals there was still need for something that would create more traffic towards it. We analyzed the gap to understand that we not only had to promote an online model but also garner attention through offline mediums. Social media back in 2010 was not as popular as it is today. Youngsters were more tuned to channels such as MTV for entertainment and channels like TLC and NDTV Goodtimes.
We picked the very popular 'Roadies' show on MTV, which had a lot of young viewership to promote Snapdeal. This was among the first reality shows. The host Rannvijay introduced Snapdeal as a new, young and exciting portal where there were great deals waiting to be grabbed and highlighted it further by giving the team of 'Roadies' a task around Snapdeal. The exposure that Snapdeal got on 'Roadies' was immense. We went on innovating relentlessly and promoting Snapdeal in each city day and night. An tiring production schedule to match the airing of the show could not put a dampener on our spirits to build the brand perception just right. Snapdeal is one of the biggest success stories today.