Prasun Kumar,

On this episode, we speak to Prasun Kumar about what it takes to market a business like where customers look for information and content online and then go visit the physical spaces to complete their journey!


Saurabh:  Hey, this is the marketing connect podcast, a show where we get up close and personal with some of the most celebrated marketeers in the country. We talk to them and discover the Art and Science of marketing. After all, we are shown for marketeers by marketeers, listen in. 

Today’s guests ladies and gentlemen are with a special person Prasun Kumar who is the marketing lead at Magic Let’s join him as he talks to us about his long and illustrious career and along the way we’re asked him. What does he do at on a day-to-day basis

listen in.

Prasun:  Hi everyone. This is Prasun Kumar over here. I am chief marketing officer at presently and a career Market here. I look forward to sharing lots of interesting stories and tips with you. I hope it will be useful for all.

Saurabh:   Thank you Prasun, we are so glad you could take out the time, you know your time and give us valuable inputs. 

The first question too soon that I happen to every guest is if you can take us through your journey, you know from the time you passed out from a B School during the you are just taking us on a chronological Journey from that place from the tank. 

Prasun:  Alright, quite interesting and roller coaster journey. I had so I passed out from these B schools in 1998 and then I had two options in my hand: either I could have joined a traditional FMCG organization. In sales, or I could have got into advertising now when I was doing my MBA advertising was something that I was fascinated with to no end and this was something that I definitely wanted to try at least once in my life. And so I thought why not start with h itself jump into the river and learn to string and figure out you know, what this is all about and all the great stories over a period of time and during the India is that one has been hearing all creepy studies the passion for building a brand and great advertising, you know, all of that was so do creative on my young mind and had left seven friend. I decided to jump into advertising. I got into advertising and for the first eight years of my career. I was in advertising now and it hasn’t quite stopped that every time I have made progress or progression in my career. I have been very fortunate to have been able to experience all sides of the spectrum and it was so was the case in advertising as well when I you know joined it was you know, just getting the bundled as in as a full service agency as yeah, you know a lot of my young friends may not know but advertising in good old days was one single service provided by a company. And it is Media research and all other kinds of services that you know agencies to provide was you should be provided Under One Roof, but then sometimes around early or mid 90s after liberalization had happened the defunding of salus has started and advertising also started getting T bundrant and media became a specialized function and we had Independent Media agencies which started operating, you know, creative remain separate function and we had set 3D vision sees some of the you know agencies branched out as direct marketing agencies, like no other specialized Services. We are so very very fortunate in the first eight years of my career. I experienced, you know, all these different spectrums of advertising that had to offer very very good experience at McCann Erickson, which was a World’s one of the largest advertising conglomerates and at Madison, which is India’s largest. The Communication company and worked on a variety of categories and plants very, you know, very very good experience on America’s plans, you know work donation CG, you know where I was working on record think is a so worked on Brands like Detol and you know other brands that the kids had worked on grass in gravier General Motors delayed fashion apparel Brands, you know, which was Mother of God. Isn’t that kind of time in France? Peter England Lucilla promotional in Solly and all very very exciting days. Lots of learning all the fundamentals over there, how to think of a consumer, how to keep consumers at the center of everything that you do, go to develop discipline and habit of looking at data and letting Data Drive your inputs and decisions and not one night. Right fancy thinking out rigor into all the work that goes in learning Conventional candles over there. Some advertising is really a place which in a way prepares you for any kind of challenge that might come first. It’s such a high pressure environment that we operate in because you are always running against deadlines and always have last minute changes. You always have that last thing to look after and into it, but a lot of things that you are doing are not going in the wrong direction and everything has been a tick mark and so on and so forth. So it really gives you an eye for detail. It really prepares you for managing the last-minute deadlines If It prepares you to work in a very very high pressure cooker environment, it wears you to really be humble because being on the sunny side of the business you are always at the mercy of your client and you know, you have to therefore be always prepared, you know you To be nimble to be able to take all kind of criticism standpoint of use in your stride at the same point of time. You have to have the quality of being able to put your thoughts across and to sell the product that you have in your hand. So it kind of prepares you, it makes you an all rounder and that’s what I presented to me and very very exciting there as care initially and then I moved on to medicine as a full-service media agency. So, you know after seeing that It’s the servicing and other side of business. I got into pure chlamydia and at Madison I worked on picking automobile accounts one day and II was General Motors and then after Madison, I got an opportunity to get on to the business side. And so they made a move. I joined Levi’s, Levi’s is the world’s leading denim brand as all of you might be knowing. Why don’t you guys trust Bangalore? And you know, very very exciting Journey were there Levi’s as a company was going to transformation and it was trying to change his skin for being a product company to a retail company it wanted to move away from just being a supplier of denims to large retailers to becoming a retailer by itself and support, you know, the time that I spend at Levis was full of exciting store opening, you know, we spoke opened close to about 200 or two stores in a very very short period of time and driving footfalls to those. Looking at consumer pride close to it how product assortments are working and you know, what are the things that are considered is so getting attracted to and so on and so forth. So a lot of exciting things done at Levis device is also as all of you know is a sexy brand to work on and you know it purely from a brand marketer particle. That was a kick because you could do a lot of edgy stuff. We are and our wedding Youth and And and so, you know, very very interesting thing Levi’s was a great journey at that point of time obviously telcom was booming in India. Those were the good old days of you know telecon, you know service expansion and you know Mega budget marketing and advertising and everything else in 10 and we had lots of new players entering the market and India becoming one of the most hotly contested Telecom Market in the world. More supported one thing that I had missed till then in my career, which was ability to manage scale of operations while and that was one of the biggest draw for me to get into Telecom after that and I got into MTS and that was a double sort of benefit for me because what only I was looking at managing scale and building stay I at Point a green field operation. So obviously You know whose parent company was the Arc Russia system. I had entered Indian market in partnership with Chantal Akerman India and Europe had a time when lots of you know operators had entered including etisalat Aunt Eleanor and all those kinds of things. Yeah, and the job was to launch the brand in India here. I was getting an opportunity after ten-odd years in my career to actually work from scratch, build a brand and launch it and its data and you know for any Market and never do miss that as a marketeer. Very very lucky to have got that opportunity when I joined that company. I was about seven or eight employer-employees to join that company. And when I left that company we were about 5,000 strong and we had launched our services in about 15 seconds or a state of India and we had you know more than 10 million consumers. So MTS was a complete transformation for me as a professional is It gave me an ability to look at business very very up close, you know at MTS a marketeer right from designing the first visiting card of the CEO of the company scaling it up and making it up and in the operator launching multiple million dollar campaigns and everything. 

Saurabh:  I was at the helm of all of us and so it was actually launching a multi-million dollar campaign. So there is very, you know, very, you know range of work you’ve done a damn thing is obviously so that’s pretty cool. 

Prasun:  Yes. I was lucky enough there and and you know, it was transformative for me because I was not boxed for a moment. You know, when you are advertising you are looking for business from a certain perspective and complication is what is in your mind and consumers and brands are voltage in the mind. You’re not bothered about it. You know, how do you not fail looking deep into other aspects of business and Levi’s I did have that opportunity. But you know, my my area of operation was slightly different and so I had limited exposure but at MTS I look at everything very very closely and with the minutely and you know at one point of time, you know, Telecom operators used to have this stores for the recharges in all is this Aritel and Jio still has a store and do stores and subtract. Yeah one point of time, you know, those stores that India was opening were also under me as a business unit. And I know, my retail experience as Levi at Levi.Very very handy and I diversified experience in two years. I built the you know, I got my real digital transformation at in tears because those were the days it was, you know, early 2007 2008 2008 onwards, you know, those were the days when internet was just about kind of taking off in India and pose when the days of not Facebook, but those were the days of haircut yeah. Yeah, and I don’t know how many of my young friends would know or could but it was the first social networking, you know. I’m that way in our lives. And so those days I want the exposure and opportunity to build a website. So he has website was completely built by mean from scratch and huge amount of learning there because that was a new thing for me to learn and you noted that got into social media marketing tip time over there, you know, kick-started a lot of stuff, you know got into payment Gateway Integrations and whole lot of other stuff, you know, Digital so it give me scale until gave me a green field, you know work experience in MTS gave me my first career brand launch experience MTS gave me my first digital learning experience. So I had lots of faster dresses. So that was enriching. So, you know as I told you in the beginning I have been lucky lucky enough to get all sides of it. Experiences whichever industry got into and same thing happened to me with Telecom as well. I got into Telecom, you know telephone to typically has two sides of business one is the operator or service provider side. And that is the equipment manufacturer or the device or the OEM site right here. A lot of smartphone brands are smart when players operate. Okay. Now I got an opportunity to get on to the other side of the business and it was MTs was a CDMA of this. The Telecom operators are of two types GSM service providers and CDN service providers. These are M different distinct technology platforms. Now if U DM has a technology platform used to have a concept called bundle handset life. So you are not to be buying a sin or a single connection used to buy the entire package including iron set. Okay here now so that was happening in MTS though. It was not directly into my life to you, but I had an indirect experience of that I moved. Smartphone smartphone brand from MTL and I joined Sony Sony when I joined it was a joint venture between Sony Ericsson and used to sell as Sony Ericsson. The Sony Ericsson phones in the future phone era before smartphones that happened first. The number two brand in the country after Nokia. Well, it was a large brand but by the time I had joined it No, there was this wave of smartphones that had entered in the Samsung had already launched its Galaxy series of smartphones and all those kind of things and when I joined Sony Ericsson, I joined the Mandate of launching and building the smartphone business and so I joined Sony and I launched the experience of smartphones in it . Wow, and only expect there was this was my second launch experience and Sony Xperia business was launched. We launched that brand and we know many handset propositions many spots on propositions undergrad and Sony was also a very enriching experience because again, there was a first in my career that I experienced which was ma which was mergers and Acquisitions. Yeah. Now listen decided to sell its part of the state to Sony and we became a hundred percent subsidiary of Sony and already had a different business in the operating with the Sony electronics where the catalyst In the Bravia television and the laptops and everything else. Yeah. So our vision was to merge with Sony and we went through that entire process. So as a business professional, I got that learning of you know, you know see up close and front immersion and acquisition activity and what were born and how it happens and so on and so forth. So that was a, you know, very very enriching experience again now after module, after merger Sony change in the strategy and the focus was Innovation staying away from Emerging Markets like India to more established Market LG rope and us and our more margins are not so globally there was a shift and so I decided to you know, join go get back onto the operator side of the business and tax one Reliance happened and the ones communication was, you know, the third largest operator in the country important hundred million. Subscribers and I joined reliance as CMO of back around 2012 and Reliance was again a bit of a rollercoaster ride because while this was a very very strong brand and branded on this scale and you know you stop lines going for it was facing severe challenges in the market because Airtel Vodafone and stealing a lot of market share away because Reliance was looking late in getting onto GSM as a platform and completely as a country had moved to GSM as technology and relaxing pose a CDMA technology provider initially when it was initially by Dherubhai Ambani days during the webinar today is as relaxed and and because you know, the brand was late, we we had severe challenges in terms of keeping up with competition and that was really The the challenge of there. So I had you know some interesting roller coaster ride over there some good some bad some memorable some not so memorable and solve. So that’s how the Reliance story continued. So when it was going on, you know, I was already looking Beyond Telecom because telephone in India and started to struggle in a way this we had a lot of controversy related to the 2G wavelength a location that had happened at that point of time and Supreme Court had decided to cancel all the licenses for a lot of players, you know, we’re coming new in India and all so there was an absolute chaos and you know difficult times that the industry was going to and you know internet was emerging as a sunshine industry because of you know, the increasing internet penetration and or A lot of smartphone adoption I decided to look at you know internet as my next destination. I’m interested in work and that’s when I hit upon Magicbricks. This was an extremely exciting opportunity because real estate, you know, not a lot of people know real estate and construction contributes to about seven percent of India’s GDP and massive industrial and it is one of the largest employers of informal labels. 

And I know and just aggregating this industry structure in this industry bringing all elements together onto a platform helps was a massive task and Magicbricks has been one of the Pioneers in the industry and it was the leading aggregator of demand and Supply in real estate. And you know, there was much growth in here And you know for the industry, so Matt is an opportunity was an absolute again because opportunity coming my way and and so I’m here is been for years with magic weeks now and we can some very very exciting work. So as you see Michael Ian has moved from being a service provider to being a solid C curve from advertising on the client side, you know, and and you know, whenever I have been doing things I have been lucky enough to get opportunity to see all sides of this. And he has an idea of things. So all these things have enriched my experiences and you know a lot of things during the course of the discussion today. I’ll be happy to share some lovely examples from there. 

Saurabh:  Wow. So what a journey and I have make some 20 questions from this journey itself, which are not plan of my you know, which I didn’t plan to ask and when you ask a couple of questions, which I’m super curious about so from your MTS days I will you know the logo and the design language of MTS was super International, right? Everybody went there large, you know deep meaningful things and from what I recall MTS. Just I think of my wide oval shape in a red box. If I’m not right. What is absolutely no memory serving. Absolutely. Like I think it’s a I think I think it’s because I saw those stores next to my place as well. So how did that decision, you know, come out because that looks very very unconventional right than you? Nobody will even sign up for that or did you move you know sign up for that? What was the thought process? 

Prasun:  Okay. So, you know lots of stories. They are 0 for 1 come to want of time. Probably would share a few. Yeah. See MTS was a very very unique challenge because you know while it was a green field operation in the India, it was already the largest network of tests while Russia and CSS is CIS countries and Eastern European countries. Okay? Okay. So when it came to India it already was a big service, you know all Telecom operator in that part of the world. Okay? Okay, and we’d already had its own identity including the over units and color schemes and everything else. Okay, but when it came to India, it gives me as a 14th player. Okay? Yeah whooping here to enter that market Young and the one of the first challenges that I had to think about was the brand personality was often leader. We’re going to the leader in the market that was affected and if you are entering as a challenge How do you make a balance between the okay, you know those who understand brand and brand marketing the brand of Ensure an architect. So, you know people who understand brand marketing and you know, branding Concepts, you know, archetype model of building a brand so that if you have a certain archetype as a leader, okay that archetype, you know is kind of rigidly defined and you know, your personality has not. As of last night and you didn’t begin that personality. Okay. Yeah, so there was a there was a leader archetype personality that the brand hand in the market that it was operating in. How do you want that in India? Because we had the Big Daddy’s of Airtel Vodafone ideas of the world again and so on and so forth, right? Yeah, and so you couldn’t behave like a leader because you are not a leader. Okay. Now that was the first major work at where our brand architecture I have to Define the mentality eye-to-eye on a lot of things. I put that in logo you mention about that Loop. There’s a very interesting story of their writing that logo, you know, as you know was a red box and inside the box. There was an oval shaped white ship oval shape. Okay? Yeah, and you know, I think that logo takes Consumer Testing in India. Okay, and while there were not too many glass negatives against those interesting things that are coming out, there are a lot of consumers, especiallyJust looking like an egg. Yeah, we are a vegetarian country. This will never be accepted and they will box around it. So that could be non vegetarian being able to yeah, solve lots of interesting anecdotes here and huge amounts of debates used to happen internally. Is that the unit that one is to go ahead without shooting crap something as in fact, we actually designed a lot of other variations and we put all of that to Consumers. Testing and yeah, 

Saurabh:  but the funny thing is, you know, I am from the generation when we had these 14 15 players. I mean, I remember every real estate company would suddenly go buy the license and create a telecom operator of their own rate. I mean those were the days now I do not recall a single logo. I mean apart from Airtel Vodafone the big ones I don’t recall any of the logos but you know the red box because that’s so distinct. And so, you know, how do you clean this like it? The Stick man that gives it will also perform an attempt. I do not know what it gives you the back you have since you got that.

Prasun:  That was the reason Saurabh actually launched and ultimately figured out that the logo was so distinctive. Yeah, and it was unlike anything else in the market. Yeah, if you wanted to really and for a 14th player in a cluttered environment the last thing and being a red color fan, we’re all you have already had a little motor with red color brands. The last thing you would have wanted is to look like them. Yeah, and not to have your phone have distinct memorable structures. Okay. Well and that’s one of the major reasons why I decided to launch a lot of that logo and yeah, so that’s that’s the story behind that logo, you know that you ask for. 

Saurabh:  So a lot of my listeners soon are people who are about, you know, middle level managers in marketing roles and they often look at that, you know, what do I do so that tomorrow in three four five ten years that I become a CMO. So if you were to give some dough for some, you know insights to those people what could be those few things that you think you did differently to have really reached the CMO level? 

Prasun:  Well, that’s a very good question. Saurabh. I’ll try to answer this question by giving you a few examples from my own career . Absolutely. Listen when I was empty as I was about 10 years into my career and you know, I was at that senior you know, kind of level, you know, very very eager to, you know, make my strides into Senior Management. Yeah, and and grow now one of the things that I obviously learned and would want to share with your listeners one thing that you must learn as you grow into a senior role is to look at your business, your output, your function, your strengths and your talent. It is very dispassionate because what happens is when you have grown up in your career, you are lovely, you know becoming a function specialist. Okay, but as you grow further demand is to grow from being a specialist to a generalist and look at multiple other aspects of business as well and and the least at the very least you get to appreciate other aspects of business as well. Okay, and if you one of the first thing that you need to be learning you need to become dispassionate about Your own function your bone inputs for say okay, you know and and you know, for example, you know at MTS when I was launching it we’re spending about you know, what can you know about three million dollars every month, you know, 10 crores worth of marketing money every month in launching the brand and so on and so forth after about a year of doing all this activity year and a half of doing that all that all that activity. One moved into the you know stability face of yeah, and that’s where a lot of maturity you sink in. So when you are launching you are in a different mode, you are always operating on the fifth degree are you know, you are always in an action mode, you know, what almost most of the times you are acting before thinking, you know, and you are the your kind of, you know inner inner you have you become a go-getter professional. Okay, but when you get into the system of stabilizing part of the business when you have to You know run a you know, and when you have to manage a running business. Okay changes of businesses are very very distinct. Okay, and this consistent demands from is official is very low so when you’re moving from a mid senior to a senior profile, this is one of the things that will come here where you’ll have to change your skin and you will have to become far more steady in terms of you know, your business thinking in terms of you know, your your contribution in terms of how you see things as your outlook is to become little more long term. And your outlook needs to know, become little more outside in then inside up and to be some of the you know changes that one experiences when one grows up in career. And this is one of the things that probably a lot of my friends would also experience as they move up the ladder and they’ll have to match.

Saurabh:  Got this, amazing. So I will now move to the part where I talk about Magicbricks per say, right because there’s a lot to cover there as well. So the first question is obviously what is a typical day in the life of you know, a CMO at Magicbricks talking to me about you know from the time you wake up to the time you go back to sleep. How does your day look like what you do? You know, what are you doing? Who do you fight with what other departments within magic tricks you talk to things happen to drop the dev team to talk to you. Seriously. So talk to me about a typical day at magic links for team shows. 

Prasun:  Sure internet business has very different demands. And the internet is a business. It is in Perpetual acquisition mode. And so the first thing in the last thing that we worry about is consumer acquisition for the day, okay, and this is true for all internet businesses almost stopped and my peoples notice my thoughts, you know early morning and after All about you know getting ready for work in prequel days. It was all about getting ready to go to the office right now is all about getting ready to get into your home office and sit in front of the laptop. Late night now. Yeah, so you do get ready for that and we have Team Hustle that happens over video call at 9:30 in the morning. Well, and we spend about 45 minutes, you know, an hour discussing the challenges in front of us on the table. And what are the things that I’ve lined a line of code for that particular day. How is one going to go about it if they are? The challenges that need to be mitigated for that. What does one do work on that and so on and so forth and we kind of you know sitting in our own homes all my team members, you know, we all motivate each other and we start are day in that fashion and it is about, you know, senior level leadership management reviews happen where we look at the business, you know from the very top and look at you know, how to you know build or rebuild business and what aspect to look at and where to intervene and what is to be done and then it’s all about, you know, individual, you know projects and you know, some functions requirements. There is a video Hustle that immediately happens or through WhatsApp also firm, which as you know means of communication when you use it at any point of time, so the whole day gets structured in various ways. Kinds of meetings meetings for different projects meetings for the within the team no four different sets of challenges or different sense of you know work that people are working on and and you know, and and almost, you know the entire day kind of passes in this fashion, and we again have a double for about half an hour in the evening hustle about at about 6 o’clock. We all come together, but we do not discuss business. We have believed you only discuss, you know, the fun aspects of life. We discuss things in general, what’s happening of covid the you know what’s happening with the lockdown and then what will happen, who’s doing what and so on and so forth. So we kind of tend to discuss two realities and relax each other. They have to pay and you know, prepare ourselves for catching like again mixed during the day, also one of the important aspects of the day. Is to go to various MISS, you know is very very important to keep a track of progress, you know, and and in during these times, especially when you are unable to meet, you know, people want to one so it’s very important to have strong Mi SS in place so that you have a clear view of what’s happening on a project or in a business. That also occupies a lot of time, you know as marketing remains at the center of the business. So we are almost aligned with all teams including Product, you know technology or sales, you know it if there is a requirement for support functions to be you know, alignment which includes HR or finance and so on and so forth. So we almost on a daily basis aligned with all these things and you know, and because you know, we work we have a very startup culture and a very hard up, you know value system. And so we work, you know on a very project project basis. 

So there’s a lot of Projects that go around in the company and each project has cross-functional teams to interact with lots of things, you know, what during the day for different projects and that’s how you know, the day goes by.

Saurabh:  Amazing. So now that we’ve jumped onto covid directly. I want  to talk quickly to understand the recent campaign that you’ve done right? I mean ghar Baithe kar ghar dekha toh just tell me. How did your campaign come about, especially in the time, you can’t show the film, you can talk to people when you get to do a lot of things. How did this campaign come about? What was the thought process? And how did you agree to this 

Prasun:  Well that there’s this. This is extremely in case, you know, exciting to share the challenges of lockdown and pull it and the resultant business challenges that everyone is going through makes it imperative for Brands to really rethink their strategy. Yeah. And we are obviously not Untouched by it. And you know, we also have to or have had to rethink a whole lot of initiatives or whole lot of ways of doing things there. So I would say that this crisis has forced all of us as professionals to reset a lot of buttons and to reimagine a lot of things are okay ways of working which otherwise would have been a standard.Doing a thing. Now. The thing is a fortitude and anything has to prove that because you’re forced to relocate and that is while it’s a challenge. There are a lot of hidden opportunities there and you know, if you really, you know, come to think of it and and and if you really are very very Solutions or they’ll get it would you know what the problems are there, but you would not end up just you know, kind of getting bogged down by the problem or keep reading about the problem, but you try to find a solution. Okay and And that’s always been our approach and that’s that’s one part of the story. The second part of the story is that magic needs is the leading brand in the academy and therefore in many villages. It is our responsibility to care for the category , right? And so brand, you know, it’s a kind of responsibility to take the lead in The Academy and you know and do a lot of switching off little kind of fast in the category and you know, that’s also a mindset that we have as a marketing framework with Gooden in magic. And so that was the second part of this talk. Now the third part of the stone is looking at, you know, the first two things, you know, it was positive that we did not want to sit idle. Okay and leave the crisis play out the way it plays out. Okay. Yeah while we know we did a lot of consumer tips tricks, you know in the period forced to sit at our home we reached out to our consumer base. We asked them. What is happening. Are you sleeping in the market? I just still looking at you know, purchasing a home you postpone your decision. You know, what is happening? What is it that you’re looking forward to and so on and so forth? The first thing that we did is understand the consumer mindset of a legal way that isn’t humorist and and you know, therefore as a leading man, the next obvious step for us was to do some meaningful steps. Okay? Okay, and one of the things that we definitely wanted to do was not You said I do. Okay. We wanted to take the crisis head-on and to reach out to Consumers because 2/3 of the consumers told us in our research that we are still in the market. We still want to buy a home. Okay, you know I’m in covid may have pushed our decision by three months or six months, but we will still be buying homes. Okay, we are not moving out of the category and we are not totally Europe canceling my decision to a lot of heart and If consumers are so positive as a brand we have to be doubly positive, okay, we decided to therefore reach out to Consumers proactive and I’m not going to wait for Revival signal to happen to us or or you know, long time to get over and get back into offices and businesses then try to do something and so on and so forth we should get so what is your in the lockdown now the table is to you know bleeding hands in difficult times handhold consumers. They show the way to the correct way to Consumers and what we should be and so we decided to, you know, do multiples and interventions again, because the challenge that was in front of us obviously was that we did not have a production budget to survive prices. So, you know, everything was recent and we will be working from you know on a zero-based budgeting and so we said we can find it. We don’t have money. What do we do? Right and we will die and then you know one fine day, you know, we just we’re sharing our experiences as I told you that every day in the evening to share our experiences. You just sharing my experiences just came about that recently sitting at home or are able to now observe our for very very, you know, kind of upfront and and we all are feeling that listen Even, you know, you also have to work from home with your children. If you have children your children have to do their schooling from home, you know, there are e-classes happening and stolen So, you know, there’s a lot of pressure on this small space and the home was not really designed for all this activities. Okay? Yeah, and so you have to really read your home at this point of time to make one corner of your home become an office for you to make another corner of home because my schooling, you know, a place for kids where the kid can get into e-learning and so on and so forth. All these things require zero separate spaces and Then you have your regular things at home. Some of us have parents at home, some of us. I said, you know larger families and so on and so forth. And so it’s rather difficult, you know to manage a lot of these things sitting at home. And so all of us have felt that listen. Oh, I wish I had that one extra room that I didn’t convert it or I wish I had up with a balcony, you know exercised and you know, I could have, you know taken my daily dose of oxygen they are you know, I wish I had a third room where you know something or other larger kitchen, for example Because there’s a lot of pressure on kitchens right now, you know everyone at home the demand for food and the demand for you know, kitchen to be open is almost Perpetual right now all 24/7 time. It was not the case, right, you know people used to go out with kids to school, people to offices and kitchens. You should relax for sometime. I cannot relax through that experience and I’m thinking these things right. We said well, you know, you know and this is something which is a consumer to attend to. An experience that everyone is going through in life right now. Yeah, if we as a you know, considered a brand or a property brand has to intervene this story could be you know, and this is extremely contextual something everyone can relateable with this is something that van can take on as an active. We are sure consumers that aren’t there are good days, which are going to come okay and as and when you are ready, he has Magicbricks are there to help you find that perfect home that will be looking at in future.

That Was the Genesis of this and with this idea we went forward with this Insight. We went forward. The next step obviously was to give it a shape and produce it with no production budget. The thing that obviously one had to look at was to crowdsource it somehow we’re Partners after the agencies are digital agencies are other factors and so on and so forth. Yeah, you know production houses and you know people that you have to work with over a period of time that if you’d listen this is an idea we have but we don’t have money. Okay, we do think this is a very very good intervention consumer space to be done right now and be kind enough to contribute on a volunteer basis. Okay, and I am glad to let you know, share that all partners are now blinking their eyelids. Yes, we will do okay. Okay.

Saurabh:  I do have the power of an idea right if the idea is such a strong population than everybody wants to be on that note take that ride along.

Prasun:  Absolutely. It was part of the idea and everyone wanted to contribute. And that’s how it happened. So if we count shows, you know that the images that you see in that film have been crowdsourced from about 15 different places. Okay, including US and Dubai this is all friends and family and relatives of our employees or our partners and their employees and so on and so forth. Ok, so all of these out to all our Network and said, can you just capture yourself a candid moment of your day in life, you know a day of your life today at your home. Yeah. 

Send it to us because multiple entries we selected the you know few that we thought were appropriate for the narrative powerful narrative written by uh, you know, I one of our copywriters in our agency, you know, the voiceover that you here, there was contributed by one of the partners that we you know, particularly work with and improve regular voice over services to us and in the video editing Etc was done all sitting at home, you know. Action house that we have over a period of time work with and so everyone had sitting at their home kind of put into it technology was of great help flying everything together. And so you have the familiar world is

Saurabh:  Amazing. Continue the question right here. This brings me to two questions. I do not know which one do we want , but I want to answer. I want answers to both. So one is if I was on a research on Magic clicks per se right the soon and idolizes, you know piece of These are peace that comes from magic tricks his Innovative if I can use the word Innovative in communication and marketing reports seem to be a new fur industry first per say. I want to understand that. You know, what is the process behind it? They can understand that, you know, your team does hurdles and they provide you with each other and you try to look at inspiration. But is there a process? Is there a method to the madness with which you keep creating these Innovations over and over again, so that’s the first question and the second. You know about something in that field for you guys, right? I mean, I don’t see her. I mean I was doing research and I could not find a failure from the Magicbricks theme. I mean there has to be a you can be God’s like you would have been admissible. So yeah. 

Prasun:  Yes. You know, I’ll give you an exact, you know, very very interesting stuff that we’re doing which failed about three years ago. We decided to get into an offline mode right now. We are an online brand that decided to get into a framework. Okay, and you know, we were looking at consumers very very closely and you know, we start at one of the pain points that consumers had in the industry in this category. You wear when you are looking for a home or properly you have to do a lot of side effects. Okay 110 project for another project or other project if you’re looking at a sample flat. So you looking at other stuff, you know, this is an essential part of the home buying process and often you have to divide your weekends because you know during Builders you will not hit time. So often you are devoting all your sadness and Sundays in you know, visiting different different places, you know, if you are a serious buyer and am trying to make a decision. In part why you know, can we use technology to ease it out a bit for a consumer? Negative easy as before. Okay, so that they do not have to do so much of running around. Okay. And so we said why don’t we launch a concept called Magicbricks with these experience centers ? Okay, and this experience symptoms would use Innovative technology futuristic technology. Like what is augmented reality and holding hologram projections and so on and so forth were a chance to experience a project without visiting the project. Okay, okay. And so it will give consumers a chance to really shorten the list and who is assigned to visit only when they’re very very sure that this is what they were looking for but not to Blindside with us. Okay, and we thought we had Hit Upon a very good problem statement there and a very good solution for that problem statement also analyzed this entire idea from the customer side the first 0rr people who are going to pay for this idea. We said we reached out to developers and was right, you know. You as a developer. I am completely dependent on the football that is coming on your site. Okay on that item is it and you’re trying to convert a certain percentage of that footfall into actual sales for yourself. Absolutely. Yeah, but a footfall can only be limited. Okay. Yeah definitely the funnel is very small there. 

Saurabh:  And especially with the project is a little little distance than who to go to. I know you prefer to buy a property and kilometers from where I live and so?

Prasun:  We said that listen you can just increase the top end of the funnel and and get so many more. People can experience a project just by using technology. Okay not force them to come to your site. Okay, and so we are opening these Magicbricks experienced centers. I don’t invest, you know if you know, making those virtual realities for us or those stuff for your project and we will put it up there. But you know, you reach out to many more consumers. Okay, we’re those, you know, in whose consideration set. You’re not even part of that. Yeah. We were full of this idea. Okay, and so it’s a lot of these things we launched this experience symptoms all this in – fall areas. So we launched this at airports. We launched this at mouth, you know and and multiplexes and what we would call I think the sunnis are extensive. That was one of the reasons why it didn’t work out and eventually, you know, so we said we have to get into a captured, you know captive in Because wasn’t already there because you cannot make a consumer comfortable experience Centre to fulfill the project I can pull will do that is he has free time in hand and the Technologies in front of okay. So the objective was to take the technology for the consumer and make color come to that in college. But and so we opened this in this – fall areas that listen if you’re in an airport, and if you’re just filling time you have 30 minutes to board or one art is dead. You could just walk into the Experience Centre and experience all of this okay, or you are in a mall and you know, Typically the male audiences which is the largest set of audiences in real estate. You know, I mean, you are not interested in shopping and window shopping. And so you are looking for avenues to pass your time. Whereas other members of family or your better half is engaged in, you know, shopping or window-shopping per se and Eclipse IDE 

Saurabh:  At these – areas. Anyways, you’re the TG that a builder wants to reach out to his right the G button right 

Prasun:  And somebody would pay to have enough money to sort of. We selected these real estate very very carefully. And and so we said, you know, this is a very good position and let’s just watch it. And so we launched it and you know initially we got some, you know, very good responses with the because there was a novelty Factor there was a curiosity and and one this experience internal about and there was a lot of Technology because more and Tenzing done inside it so people are with you just to come and experience and and virtual reality, you know is something that is not too many Indians have experienced per se and and so for to sit down And do we put up that VR headset and and you know do that in here to where it says your Noble experience, you know, and so initially the response was very good, but then it tapered off and we figured out that it was not really adding a value to the consumer. Okay. I told us later that we would listen. I mean it was a very good experience to see these projects and so on and so forth. So it’s not a useful result, but if not eliminate my need to do a scientist while investing a crore of rupees, I wouldn’t think Doubly sure and I would still want to do that side. It wasn’t right up here of pain to you. For me, it’s a city, but I would not so the reason why we failed and and so that was the experience, you know, our failure at Magicbricks, but very proud of that area because the product that works it was Kick-Ass but and and we do believe that with enough tinkering and future with a different proposition. We are now able to bring that product back for this now.

Saurabh:  Yes, I am so sorry. I’ve been like trying to interrupt you for the last normal is it? Because technology for us is very new because we were still clunky about three years ago. Now obviously we have come to a point where come to a point in PR is far far, you know commercial is it because you were afraid of the time is it generally customer said that they still want to go and visit the house like you said, it’s a necessity.

Prasun:   Well, I see one thing I have learned in life is there is nothing called being ahead of time. Okay, if you are using a real problem for a real consumer and you are providing a real Have that concerns color then matters when a technology which is distinct or of or backdated. Okay, you know that I can be failled because we were not solving a real problem. I think it ‘s wrong just so the first question that we get asked a Saurabh was about Innovations. I love another thing is, you know, we take pride in tragic dicks as you know for our Innovation and our Innovative DNA. They’re always perpetually encouraged to innovate and sale and you know, the experience Centre explains Apple that I shared with you was also now if there is an example of innovation and we didn’t feel but there are many other issues when you have succeeded with and and we do keep to doing these Innovations and and you know new things in our scheme of things now when it happened you ask me which is there a method to this madness. Yeah. Yes. There is a method and Magicbricks so I had launched. Marketing philosophy about four years ago and I had joined what I call as heartbeat marketing token and heart beat marketing is nothing but looking at you know sharp consumer problems providing a real solution to a consumer. Okay narrating in a very warm storytelling manner. And use a lot of data science. Okay, your narrative, right? Okay. Okay. Now we follow this method whenever you know, we are ideating. We always look at whether we are trying to solve a real consumer problem, you know, whether we have a zero exciting and fruitful solution in our hand. The first part of it is the second part of it is to if then we look at a lot of data and a lot of insights coming out of data. And we try to be idiot-proof and fullproof. Concepts using data, you know, sometimes it’s secondary data, sometimes it’s you know, conducting consumer research to collect primary data and so on and so forth because we are a platform and a very popular app. We capture consumer Behavior through zillions of data points every day, you sit on a huge pile of data and you know, we have a very strong data analytics team which shares or validates. Shares validates a lot of hypotheses that we have then we get into the final length, which is converting the proposition in one, you know storytelling narrative. Okay, and there, you know a lot of brand elements come into play which is you know to really have that consumer truth to really have that, you know input tnf amount of sympathy for consumer in your narrative have that emotive angle in that it is and to have an execution which touches your heart. So if you have seen if you if you analyze our communication historical campaigns are campaigns have always told a warren- to consume never being very product, you know, first kind of communication come okay never said listen, you know come to my side and do this and you can sell your property you can buy your property and and of course that’s part of the narrative right but our story Is not about that other stories always about a consumer to it’s always about you and me is solved is it will appear to you as if it’s your story? Okay, just put this part in the film that we have just discussed a little while ago. Then you will go with we have launched now a  much award winning campaign for “Pta badalta hai toh bohat Kuch badalta hai” and we have for the first time engaged with celebrities and go Aayushman Khurana and kriti sanon and Center and through them. We have narrated this story of Changing and address can change your face. Okay, whether it’s upgrading whether it’s moving from a rental accommodation to a wound accommodation, you know, whether it is moving from a small town for a big town and getting the PG accommodation wherever whichever leg of business you look at. They are imported one stories because you know what, we do not experience walls and cements. We experience stories. We experience life in those photons and we as a brand always try to tell that story of a life within that form, I’m not out there for one, you know that for all just four walls those four walls just Kind of a setting of the story. I sort of set in asking inside a home or around the home, but the original they’re very warm. They’re the stories that you would relate. Right and that is that is how over a period of time we have become, you know, a very very relatable plan and and we we get a lot of preference, you know, you know as a brand when it comes to you know, Brand cracks and couple of other consumer film that we capture so, you know, they is obviously a letter to this dancer that we do. It’s an extremely structured one. It goes through its own steps and processes, but the method is developed to ensure that the final product that we have in our hands is something that you know stays true to that concept of hardwood Market Eagles amazing to believe so.

Saurabh:  Next question. It’s a tough question. A lot of other guests feel pain too and fumble when I told you that, you know, this is going to be your last week at the Magicbricks and I haven’t asked by, you know, the the management to find a replacement for you and you need to find and you can find somebody from your team or you can get somebody outside. The question is actually that you know, what kind of questions would you ask that person? What qualities would you look like in him or her and what kind of you know, what would make you decide on a certain person to replace you at Magic? 

Prasun:  Okay. I will try not to fumble here. The First Quality I would look at in the person is whether the person is an ideal person. Okay, in our business, it’s very important to constantly ideate solutions for consumers and constantly IDL and improve our experiences of consumers on a platform built on our website or on our app. It’s a chance on and so forth. First of all, you have to be an ideas person and that’s very rare, you know quality. The second thing is you have to have a flair for technology and the technology business and every solution that we provide is through using technology in others. Okay, and so you have to have a flair for technology and you know, you should be comfortable with technology. There’s a second I would you know third of thing I would look at is your ability to manage complexities. Okay, you know the business that we are in is extremely complex to the extent. You know that Stop, you know as a marketeer you our always you know taking care of two different kinds of consumers for and and that is sounds you know, very often were released fact, you know, what happens is you are trying to straight to do as a brand to your end consumer the person who is looking for a home the row index finger for buying or whatever. Okay, but your source of Revenue source of income. Is a customer who’s either a developer or a broker or an individual who’s willing to sell his home or you know, a landlord who’s willing to put his home on time. Now these two have very very different need States. Okay, they’ll become very different and their approaches will be okay. Now, this is a complex enough problem to solve because you are not you are not at Liberty. You don’t have endless resources to be at Liberty of targeting consumers and customers and we going to be as and all those kinds of things right now. Every time you are giving marketing info at least pass through the filter of  and talking to both the stress of consumers. That’s part of the complexity that it is. Most of our Solutions are very cross functional Solutions. Lively not about marketing working in isolation and they will do something and launch something, even a campaign for that matter. Okay. We need to constantly work with products. We need to constantly work with technology teams to constantly work with our operations team, our sales teams and so on and so forth really, you know, present one solution to a consumer. However small it may be okay. Okay, because even if there is a marketing campaign, which can remain in a pure marketing domain that has to be integrated on our platform, which is where a product and Captain would come into picture. Okay. The cabinet has to be taken forward in our apps as well. Okay, because you would not want Consumer experience. I think you know from an offline communication to an online experience, okay. Move your campaign to you know work for you know your partners who are your customers who are people who are paying you. Okay, so there is a bit of a sales input that is always, you know involved in everything that you do. Okay, and and so, you know, every single activity of marketing goes through multiple stakeholders, goes through multiple functions and has its own challenges within marketing itself. So the ability Is all this complexity and yet arrived at a solution within a targeted timeline because it’s kinda is this is something that is again an ability to probably catch and learn and that’s the third thing that I would look at in that Pursuit. And of course, you know that the last but not the least is of course the credentials of the person, the kind of work the person has done over a period of time and you know the kind of Brands businesses consumers. Solutions challenges failures that the person has gone through in career all these things come into picture. So last thing I would look at is the credentials of the person and what kind of gentle person has gone through in terms of businesses Brands. What kind of challenges one has had in career? What kind of solutions one has worked at the failures very very importantly and so on and so forth. And so this would probably be for things that I Look at foreign my replacement. 

Saurabh:  So close an conversation. It’s a few questions to end. I want to talk to you. I want you to talk about a couple of things when I was reading about you. You are a huge huge advocate for storytelling and you also spoke about it when you spoke about this heartbeat marketing piece of yours. So maybe we talked to my audience about you know, storytelling piece that you think Believers that you look at you know, in terms of what consumers know how to reach to Consumers, right? And then your advert used vertical video vernacular and voice to these are two things that I wanted to talk about and then we’ll slide the screw connection. 

Prasun:  So you are really sure to select the storytelling one. Yeah, you know. You are correct. I have been a big advocate of Storytelling you can you can say that you know this because you know, I started out in advertising and you know, I have a DNA of a Storyteller therefore in advertising. All you’re thinking of is converting business propositions into stories for Consumer and so probably one learned that typically there but then the point remains that that’s a fundamental truths type and and it’s not something is unique or I’m saying something which probably one doesn’t know about the brand since time Immortal and will try anything tell stories to Consumers has been trying to sell stories, you know, and great brands that you see what I have always been good storytellers, like, you know being a Coke or you know in the same Tata as I rotate it. Deal example, you know or you know, if you have to take example of say Volkswagen or you know, you’ll go on a BMW any of the auto demands. So if you look across categories hands have always been storytellers. They are BMW never tells you that listen my car has you know this technology and so much of the engine red bar itself. Just hygiene, tells you a story of a you know, Sports lifestyle and and and and you know, a Mercedes doesn’t tell you a story of you know, the technology in the car. It tells the story of the Finesse and luxury like this and so every plant over a period of time are Tata, you know, whenever it reaches out to all this tells the story of trust and you know why you should be trusting attack and phone. To put it so , friends inherently are storytellers. Okay, and marketing pursues a marketing job to tell relevant students. These stories are of course very very different from you know, otherwise generally understanding of stories that one may have ADD because the stories have to be very very action. If you have to be very very relevant and these stories have to be very very contextual for the consumer. But I swore to destroy and so storytelling is an art as much as it is a science. You know, the Art of Storytelling is all about your ability to convert hard numbers or hard technology or hard product ideas into a narrative and making the consumer believe that this is something you know that one identifies with as a story and therefore. One would wish to hold it needs to work, you know at that level and you know, come to think of it think of a consumer the consumer and me as a consumer when investing the any single Dollar on any particular product team at least somewhere down the line in our subconscious mind heard the story of that product and the story that they’re buying it. I’m not so much into products that could add in any category. There’s a smartphone in lot categories. There is actual parity at the product level. There is nothing that differentiates smartphone brands from spots from Grand Prix when it comes to features and performances. But why do you want to own brand and not Brandy correct? That’s because you believe in the story that Brandi has told you yeah. So storytelling is very important. I think every Market has zero need to learn this Art of Storytelling. The science part of storytelling is all about thinking to the consumer Insight is trying to you. What did I have to tell you? Yeah, and not letting your story kind of get out of that certain wavelength in which it has to operate and for data helps you data science helps you in keeping that story with Will within that wavelength where you want your brand or product to begin. So interesting, you know damage there which is why Market is often left brain and right brain boat. Yeah. That’s how you got to take it forward. 

Saurabh:  So I have last set of questions but Prasun obviously we are in the middle of the covid-19 crisis and you are a business that actually sits back in the middle of construction activity is getting installed people’s houses. So what kind of impact do you see, you know covid bringing around us as you know, what would change for businesses? What potential Brands what kind of pain will Market your plan to look at again? You wanted for quite a few of these already in the campaign and talked about what it is. Especially General chat. 

Prasun:  Well, I would talk about how positively is going to impact us. Okay. Now let’s have a nice is all right, but every face is an opportunity and I do see lots of opportunities opening up because of this crisis the biggest party in my category 9 industry that is going to open up is massive digitization, you know, it has been a brick and mortar industry. Okay and develop a ends has not been you know at the Forefront of adopting technology covid crisis will now faster in the process of digitization of the category of the industry and we’ll all place of the ecosystem adopting or adapting to digital very very fast, you know, just to give you a small example a developer today consumers are not want to go far side widget for example for fear of phobic. Okay? Yeah. Now, how do you do? Therefore give consumers a chance to have a look at your property. You will have zero for example Solutions involving, you know, life life costs or you know, or you know live sessions happening there for consumers using previous technology platforms right now, all of a sudden we will see developers and other players of the ecosystem starting to use a lot of technology. So the first benefit in the first Major Impact of covid that the industry is going to any movement digitization and Technology will be adopted at large scheme and has a positive impact in the positive impact that it will happen because of this is consumers are going to you know, look at newer value propositions. Okay. Now we will look at Birth of new ideas in construction. Okay, and in limiting so for example, we already have few Developers. We’re talking about certain, you know, bandwidth of data as an offering along with now, this is all keeping in mind that the future home is going to be a connected home. Okay at any point of time someone will have to work from home at any point of time. You know, they have to be ready for he’s pulling and they’ll be in demand for banking. Okay now instead of therefore depending on a service provider and an individual to each other service provider and take you know services. You people need these kinds of positions to get into the construction itself. And this is a picture of you know, a home on offer. Okay, so there’ll be lots of new things. I mean, they could be a proposition where someone might want to build a, you know, a co-working space inside the apartment complex and gated communities. Okay, instead of building a safe Clubhouse. Okay, why are a lot of people going to work from home and you know, all the time is not comfortable working. From home for a lot of people you would just want to know to pop into the co-working space within your own Society complex higher up ways higher seed four five four five hours and go and work. There is peacefully and coming back. Okay, so their position that will come out in the market and we would be very very excited for consumers and you know last but not the least, you know, the positive change would be that you see, you know real consumers. Coming into the market and a lot of speculative Investments that used to happen in real estate. Those particular people’s speculative Investments throughout the process already started the democratization and I think of it as just going to complete that process. A lot of speculative investment real estate was going through which used to flare up. The estate prices is going to go out on the market and become a little end up in the user market and that will work very well for the Stream So, I see a lot of positivity and a lot of positives coming out of Crisis and you know, we as a brand would you know, obviously work on lot of these. 

Saurabh:  So the last three questions is very very short questions. What is that one question that you always wished you were asked in an interview like nobody’s asked this question, but you want to answer that question.

Prasun:  Have you ever won an award? 

Saurabh:  What is the answer? So that is one second is you know, what else? Some informational ways to get inspired word marketing live. Another guest says that he watches a lot of movies and takes inspiration from those. What are some unconventional ways you can learn marketing?

Prasun:  Oh I love to learn marketing by looking at data and those endless sheets of excel, you know, are are my playground and I’ll get my lot of my ideas by just looking at how data is trending.

Saurabh:  Got this super and the last question that I have as part of my research is that you know, if I told you that person you need to throw open a marketing challenge to the listeners of the podcast and this could be a personal beef that you have with the world or it could be a Magicbricks and it is challenging. What would that be? 

Prasun:  Well, this is a one that requires a bit of thinking in his help. I think one of the challenges that I would want to give to anyone who’s getting over to probably work on anything of Magicbricks. Work on propositions to make consumers become aware or make consumers invest in emerging real estate opportunities which are what we call fractional ownership its concept emerging in the end State. We are going to own the entire real estate, but you only own a part of it as if you the value only thing share market, yeah and fractional ownership as a concept is something that I would want anyone to take up as a challenge and freedom consumers, you know, primarily because the problem statement is that if you’re saying that listen I am of I you can you have a chance to invest in a upcoming mall or Marketplace or a large building. Okay without owning a real estate piece of clear in that. Okay, you know how would a consumer be able to understand investing in real estate without holding a piece of Real Estate? And I think a good problem to solve and that’s that’s one of the challenges.

Saurabh:  You just heard Prasun Kumar from we want if the skirt doesn’t Kumar from magical I hope you had as much fun listening to the conversation as much we had recording it. Please write us what can we do better at marketing podcasts!

You just heard the latest episode of the marketing connect podcast. A show for marketeers by marketeers the show was brought to you C4E and The podium .

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About Marketing Connect

In this podcast we get up close and personal with some of the most celebrated marketers in India.


Saurabh Garg is an entrepreneur, writer, and an adventurist. With The Podium, he wants to learn the method in the madness from other entrepreneurs, creators, and adventure junkies.


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