When a brand picks usual, carefree, raw, desi and natural instances from their customer’s daily lives and gives it a tangible and humorous appeal, the end result is bound to create shockwaves. However, what could be challenging is to engage and hook your TG with the same for a long time.
But one brand that has clearly mastered the art of being fun, quirky and out-of-the-box through its content and product design is Delhi-based, Happily Unmarried.
‘Anti’ established in 2003, the company was born without any vision or business plan. The sole motive for the young, fresh B-School graduate founders was to fill the gap in the market which, then, had nothing special to offer to young Indians.
The brand, which had its beginning as an offline store, today generates 50 percent of its revenue from online channels and is in process to recreate success with its male grooming product brand- Ustraa.
We speak to Rajat Tuli, Co-founder, Happily Unmarried on what were the initial challenges, how they scaled up the brand using the power of social media, blogging and content creation and how different is their grooming brand from others in the market.
Take us through Happily Unmarried’s journey so far. Tell us about your major milestones, and how have they shaped and influenced the company’s growth?
‘Happily Unmarried’ started without a plan; we were fresh out of B-school and based on our experiences, we realized that no company in India was targeting the young Indian. So we set up building a youth brand. At that time, we had no clear idea of what sort of products we would end up doing. So the name had to be something, which could connect to the target group (TG), without being too specific. Happily Unmarried was apt for our TG.
Our milestones have been varied from the first product, to the first store, to the time we decided to pivot and become an online business, our first funding and probably the biggest of them all – launching Ustraa; our male grooming products’ brand.
Though all of them have not gone exactly as we had planned, but they have certainly helped us grow. Our company culture is a result of all our ups and downs.
When you started back in 2003, malls and social media were not so prevalent. How hard was it to promote the brand then?
I would say very. We had to depend on word-of-mouth only; there were no means to reach out to customers, apart from them coming to our store. Things took that much more time, but once something gets popular it sticks with consumers.
How did you get your first 1000 customer?
Honestly, I don’t have a count, but we got a lot of customers from our first store in Goa. We counted people from 91 nationalities who visited and bought stuff from that store. We really did not keep a count, but let me tell you, they didn’t come easy. The sale numbers that we do in a day today would take us a couple of months to achieve way back then.
What marketing platform has been best to reach out to your target customers?
Facebook and Instagram.
You are known for your desi and quirky content both on products and marketing channels. What role has content marketing played in the business success?
Happily unmarried is a content-driven brand. When we are not putting content on our products, we are probably doing it on social media. Our intention has always been to engage with our customers.
We view all the content that we put up on socials like other physical happily unmarried products, and spend as much time in creating it. We have also used our blog traffic as an audience and targeted them on Facebook. It usually leads to conversions at much lower costs.
Ustraa, launched in August 2015 has already made waves both in terms of profitability and sales. What was the thought behind the brand?
We started when we felt there was no one doing desi designs. So we filled in the gap. As the brand got bigger we realized that a lot of customers were males; and apart from the quirky stuff there should be more products that these guys would want.
A lot of brainstorming led us to the idea of men’s grooming. We noticed, not much was happening in this category as well. While men had evolved, the products that were being offered to them by mass brands were not as progressed. They were at least a decade old. We did a lot of research and took almost 18 months to fine tune our offerings.
Even in our wildest dreams, we didn’t expected such a response. We went crazy trying to meet the demand.
Traditionally, grooming market has been heavily promoted via celebrity endorsements. However, you have not done something like that yet for Ustraa. What strategy are you planning on taking?
Most brands take a celebrity because the product does not have that much to talk about. For us, our product is the ‘hero’ so we have pushed that. Our strategy is simply to be the grooming partner of all our bros (sic) out there. We will keep on introducing products that will help them do that.
How do you strategize for your blog on the website? How does business blogging help?
We have an in-house content team, which keeps identifying trends, things people talk about and then we try to generate original content around these. Our blogs drive a lot of traffic to our site and we use analytics to re-target them.
Over the last few years, brands like Chumbak, and Quirk Box, amongst others have entered the segment you are catering to. What’s your take on the competition?
A lot of people say that and we keep saying that we are being clubbed together because the market is small. As the market develops you will see, all the companies are very different. Competition is healthy it keeps you on your toes and helps the customers.
In your market segment, what marketing trends will rule the roost in 2017?
I see a lot more action on Instagram, more videos, more customer-generated content; more brands will take initiative to engage in giving back to the society in meaningful ways and not just lip service. The customer is going to rule like never before.