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Crazy & Innovative Marketing Ideas That You Can Steal From Indian Startups

One major factor that helps businesses stand out from their competitors is a strong marketing strategy. An effective strategy does more than just promote a product or service. It tells a story, it engages the audience, and above all, it drives conversions.

Indian startups, known for their ingenuity and resourcefulness, have recently executed some incredible marketing strategies that have not only increased their market share but also gained significant mindshare. They’ve broken away from the traditional mould and created campaigns that are smart, innovative, and that strike a chord with their audience. This article will explore a few of these strategies, providing you with inspiration for your own marketing efforts.

1. Dunzo’s “Real-Time Marketing” Campaign

One of the most innovative marketing campaigns was from Dunzo, an on-demand delivery app. Recognizing the power of the now, they created a real-time marketing strategy that utilized social media effectively. Dunzo capitalized on current events, pop culture, trending topics and memes, creating content around them in real-time. This made their brand relevant, relatable, and engaged their target audience in conversations that mattered to them. Dunzo’s witty and timely social media posts have made them a favorite amongst the millennials, helping the brand capture significant mind share in a crowded market.

2. PharmEasy’s “Humorous and Engaging Advertisements”

PharmEasy, an online pharmacy and diagnostics brand, decided to veer away from traditional, straight-laced pharmaceutical advertising. They chose humor and engaging storylines to talk about serious health concerns. With characters from daily life that audiences could relate to, their ads became memorable, creating a substantial impact and earning them a sizable customer base. This strategy beautifully blended the elements of humor, empathy, and education, building a strong, loyal customer community in the process.

3. CRED’s “Quirky Celebrity Endorsements”

CRED, a credit card bill payment platform, executed a unique marketing strategy using celebrity endorsements. But, they didn’t just stop at signing on famous faces. They reimagined these celebrities in never-seen-before avatars, garnering curiosity and piquing interest. For instance, they ran a series of ads featuring former cricketer Rahul Dravid as an angry, impatient character, in stark contrast to his real-life calm and composed persona. This quirky campaign, along with a clear message of the perks of using CRED, made the audience sit up and take notice.

4. Razorpay’s “Immersive Web Experiences”

Razorpay, a financial technology company, created an immersive web experience as a part of their marketing strategy. Understanding the power of interactive content, they created webinars, interactive infographics, and quizzes that offered value to the user. This not only generated interest but also increased engagement and resulted in higher lead generation. The interactive content turned passive readers into active participants, making the brand unforgettable.

5. Unacademy’s “Leveraging User-Generated Content”

Unacademy, an online education platform, maximized the power of user-generated content. They invited their users to share their success stories and learning experiences on various social media platforms. This strategy built trust and authenticity as potential customers found real user experiences more convincing than company-generated content. This campaign humanized the brand and strengthened the bond with its user base.

6. Wakefit’s “Sleep Internship” Initiative

Wakefit, a sleep and home solutions company, introduced an innovative “Sleep Internship” campaign where they offered to pay individuals for sleeping. This unusual and exciting initiative created a lot of buzz and significantly increased their brand visibility. The underlying message was to stress the importance of good sleep for overall well-being, perfectly aligning with the brand’s core values.

7. Zomato’s Hyperlocal Advertising

Zomato, the popular food delivery service, took a hyperlocal approach to advertising. They created localized outdoor campaigns that reflected the food culture and preferences of specific regions. Not only were these campaigns visually striking, but they also connected with the audience at a personal level because of the regional touch. This hyperlocal approach proved effective in driving app downloads and increasing brand recall.

8. Chumbak’s Instagrammable Stores

Chumbak, a lifestyle brand known for its vibrant and quirky products, made its physical stores Instagram-friendly. They designed their stores in such a way that customers would want to take pictures and share them on social media. This strategy effectively turned their customers into brand ambassadors, increasing brand visibility and customer engagement.

9. Bira 91’s Consumer-Involved Product Launch

Craft beer brand Bira 91, instead of a traditional product launch, turned their customers into stakeholders for their new product, Bira 91 White. They launched a crowdfunding campaign asking consumers to pre-order the new brew. This unique approach created a lot of buzz and anticipation for the product and fostered a sense of ownership among customers, making them more invested in the brand.

10. Prega News’ Emotional Storytelling

Prega News, a pregnancy detection kit company, used emotional storytelling in their ad campaigns. Their ads revolved around the journey of pregnancy and the joy it brings to a woman’s life. The emotional connect resonated with their target audience and helped the brand create a strong impression in a market that’s often seen as clinical and impersonal.

11. Licious’ Edutainment Content Marketing

Licious, a fresh meat and seafood brand, incorporated an edutainment approach in their content marketing strategy. They created engaging and informative content around cooking techniques, recipes, meat trivia, and more. By providing value to their audience, they were able to increase brand engagement and customer loyalty.

12. ShareChat’s Localized Content Marketing

ShareChat, an Indian social media platform, made waves with its localized content marketing strategy. They offered their platform in 15 regional languages, filling a significant gap left by other social media giants. ShareChat effectively catered to the non-English speaking demographic of India, thereby capturing a significant user base.

13. Cars24’s Influencer Marketing Approach

Cars24, an online used car marketplace, leveraged the power of influencer marketing to a great extent. They collaborated with popular content creators and celebrities who resonated with their target audience. This not only elevated their brand visibility but also brought authenticity and credibility to their brand, increasing consumer trust.

14. Urban Company’s Servicification Campaigns

Urban Company, a platform for home services, initiated servicification campaigns as part of their marketing strategy. They made the spotlight fall on their service professionals, showing their journey, struggles, and dreams. By personalizing and humanizing their services, they created an emotional connection with their audience, thereby strengthening their brand perception.

15. upGrad’s Content Marketing Strategy

upGrad, an online higher education platform, leveraged content marketing to its fullest. They created a series of webinars, podcasts, and blogs featuring industry experts, offering valuable insights to the audience. This initiative positioned upGrad as a thought leader in the education sector, attracting a substantial number of users to their platform.

16. Meesho’s Women Empowerment Campaigns

Meesho, a social commerce platform, employed women empowerment as a central theme of their marketing strategy. Their campaigns showcased real-life success stories of women who have become financially independent by using their platform. This strategy resulted in a substantial increase in their user base and elevated their brand reputation.

17. Zivame’s “Fit is My Right” Campaign

Zivame, an online lingerie store, initiated a disruptive campaign called “Fit is My Right”. They used body-positive language and imagery, challenging conventional norms surrounding lingerie advertising. The campaign encouraged women of all sizes to demand the right fit, emphasizing the brand’s commitment to inclusive sizing. This progressive approach significantly boosted their brand image and customer loyalty.

18. Furlenco’s Outdoor Activation Strategy

Furlenco, a furniture rental platform, surprised Bengaluru city with an unusual outdoor activation. They placed their branded furniture at unexpected public places, including bus stops, and invited people to sit, relax, and enjoy free Wi-Fi. This guerrilla marketing stunt not only caught the eye of potential customers, but it also created buzz on social media. Furlenco was successful in creating a memorable experience, which translated into increased brand awareness.

19. Boat’s Lifestyle Marketing and Brand Building

Boat, an electronics and lifestyle brand, ventured into a saturated market dominated by giants like JBL and Sony. The brand, however, carved its niche by positioning itself as a ‘cool’ and ‘youthful’ brand. The company used heavy social media engagement and endorsements from popular Indian celebrities and sports personalities. Boat’s Instagram page is a testament to their lifestyle marketing strategy with vibrant, youth-centric content, and user-generated photos. Their approach has made them one of the leading players in the consumer electronics segment in India.

20. OYO Rooms’ “#AurKyaChahiye” Campaign

OYO Rooms, a hotel booking platform, launched an innovative campaign titled “#AurKyaChahiye”. The concept was to highlight the added benefits and conveniences that come with booking an OYO. The campaign featured a series of humorous ads and social media posts portraying situations where customers get more than what they asked for, ending with the tagline #AurKyaChahiye (What more do you want?). This campaign resonated well with the audience and effectively communicated the value proposition of OYO Rooms.

21. PolicyBazaar’s Personalized Marketing Campaigns

PolicyBazaar, an insurance aggregator platform, used personalized marketing to their advantage. Based on customer’s previous searches and interactions, they offered tailored insurance recommendations. This created a unique and personalized experience for the users, leading to higher customer satisfaction and conversion rates.

22. Paytm’s Gamified Cashback Strategy

Paytm, a digital payment platform, incorporated a gamified cashback strategy to engage users. They introduced games that users could play to earn cashbacks, discounts, and other rewards. This innovative approach not only increased user engagement on the platform but also improved user retention rates.

23. Swiggy’s “Voice of Hunger” Challenge

Swiggy, a food delivery platform, launched a unique Instagram campaign called “Voice of Hunger”. The challenge involved participants sending direct messages to Swiggy’s Instagram page, making weird and crazy shapes, letters, and symbols using the voice note feature. The more creative and complicated the shape, the better the chances of winning a year’s worth of food vouchers. The campaign quickly went viral, leading to a surge in Instagram followers and increased brand awareness.

24. Flipkart’s “Kidults” Campaign

Flipkart, a leading e-commerce company, introduced a creative ad campaign featuring children (Kidults) acting as adults. This imaginative concept not only added a touch of humor and nostalgia but also successfully illustrated the ease of using Flipkart. The campaign was well-received by viewers, which led to improved brand recall and customer engagement.

25. Practo’s “Life Mein” Campaign

Healthcare platform Practo launched a quirky campaign called “Life Mein”. They released a series of videos showcasing funny and exaggerated situations of people self-diagnosing their symptoms. This effectively highlighted the importance of consulting with a healthcare professional, thereby promoting the use of their platform. This humorous and relatable approach grabbed the attention of viewers, leading to increased brand visibility.

These campaigns show how Indian startups are leveraging creativity and innovation in marketing to make a mark. They have successfully demonstrated that understanding your target audience, staying relevant, being engaging, and delivering value are paramount to capturing market share and mind share.

The key takeaway here is that your marketing efforts should resonate with your audience and evoke an emotional response. That’s when they pay attention, and that’s when they remember you. So, draw inspiration from these ideas, but make sure to tailor them to suit your unique brand and audience. Happy marketing!

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