Practically is an interactive and immersive learning app for students of classes 6 to 12 with a focus on STEM learning. Practically combines game engine, immersive learning assets, and AI-assisted study buddy all in one compact cross-platform app. Recently, the brand has launched its first-ever brand campaign around the theme – ‘Bring Learning Alive’.The campaign has garnered 3x growth, and the app has crossed 330,000 downloads to date.
In conversation with Medianews4u, Mahadev Srivatsa, VP – Marketing and Brand Strategy, Practically spoke about the insight and communication strategy behind the campaign. These factors differentiate Practically from other players in the Indian EdTech sector and more.
Speaking about the ‘Bring Learning Alive’ campaign and the insight and communication strategy behind it, Mahadev said, “ We launched the campaign in December 2020. The campaign has garnered 3X growth, and the app has crossed 330,000 downloads to date. The TVCs have garnered over 32 million+ views combined on YouTube. They have notched above average and consistent view rates even two months after launch, indicating relevance and popularity of the campaign among the target audience. This has been one of the highest by an EdTech company in India, without celebrity endorsement. This was an integrated marketing campaign with the impact property being a two-week Associate Sponsorship deal with Bigg Boss Telugu Season 4.
Along with multiple rounds of print, the ATL campaign was released in the priority markets of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The digital campaign ran in the top 40 cities across the country with a greater emphasis on Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Chennai. Social media messaging had company, features, and campaign-led communication amplified throughout the campaign period of December 2020 to February 2021.”
He continued, “The rationale behind this dual-pronged strategy was to drive awareness and consideration in the home market and test markets at a pan-India level to gauge the brand’s traction. Hence, the focus of ATL was majorly to establish the brand and drive awareness, while digital was aimed at building awareness and performance.”
“Our major objective was to create awareness in this cluttered EdTech space, and since AP and Telangana is our home market, we focused our efforts on this geography. Since the launch was to drive brand awareness primarily, we choose to focus on our USP, which is experiential and immersive learning. The campaign thought – “Bring Learning Alive” originated from this product advantage. Our communication highlights and plays to our strengths to give people what they need and showcase the unique features that drive our USP. These include simulations, 3D videos and AR experiences which brings learning out of the books. Our AI-based mascot – Proton — which can help resolve queries 24×7, SMEs/teachers who conduct Live classes, especially after school coaching and a new coding course – Coding++ was also launched during the campaign. All of these essentially serve as RTBs (Reason to believe) to the main brand proposition. The results have been reassuring. There are enough indications for us to gauge that brand awareness has gone up considerably in the region. The performance KPIs have also been encouraging,” added Mahadev.
As a startup, Practically is focused on maximizing the budgets available.
“We began our integrated marketing efforts only in late 2020. As a young 1-year-old brand in a competitive space with incumbents with deep pockets, we have seen one of the best ROI and growth in the EdTech sector in India thus far, especially without a celebrity push. Our recent pre–Series B fundraise of $4 M has given us the critical push to invest in marketing. And as we gear up for a Series B fundraise in the next few months, we will be going full throttle with our marketing efforts,” said Mahadev.
Elaborating on the measures deployed to gauge performance for the campaign, Mahadev said, “The one visible change we see is our sales team. CET (Customer Engagement Team) teams are spending less time breaking the ice in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, thanks to the campaign. There is already a considerable change in the level of awareness seen in the TG’s mind. The average time spent in conversion has reduced. Parents and children have heard of Practically, so there are more incoming queries and more demos.”
During the campaign period, the brand witnessed encouraging signs on Google trends, especially in AP/Telangana.
“We were in the top three in pure search volumes among the EdTech players in AP/Telangana and emerging as a strong challenger brand for the incumbents. Standard view rates in the industry are usually 30-35%, measuring digital media to understand likeability and the message cutting across and reaching the TG. In contrast, we have been constantly above 50%, with the initial one being around 70% for our TVCs online. We have a combined 32M views for both our master TVCs on YouTube. The messaging and jingle have resonated with the audiences. The messaging and jingle have resonated with the audiences,” said Mahadev.
“This entire 360-degree burst of TV, digital, social and print has translated to spikes in installs. While performance marketing has set target KPIs, the trend seen in organic installs has been equally encouraging. We have seen a 3x growth in the number of installs and are now at 330k installs. Registered users on the platform have also gone up, and with all these users coming in, the rest of the app user metrics are also showing spikes,” he added.
Speaking on the factors that make Practically unique among the already crowded Indian EdTech sector, Mahadev said, “Practically is an immersive and experiential solution for students, parents, teachers and schools. We have amongst the largest content library of thousands of world-class 3D videos, AR experiences & simulations. Practically has a competitive pricing strategy based on a freemium-subscription model, with subscriptions ranging from INR 1300 to INR 3000 per month based on usage. Our mentors are highly qualified individuals from top universities with decades of teaching experience and are experts in their respective fields. We also have stellar after-sales support that ensures every student is getting the best out of Practically to suit their unique needs.”
He added, “Practically also has a cutting-edge product ‘Practically School Solution’ catering to school teachers. The solution from Practically enables teachers to conduct their virtual classes free for designing and delivering content with teaching material, streamlined by topics across STEM subjects for classes 6-12. The solution with its don’t just Learn, Learn Practically approach enhances student engagement in a physical classroom or a virtual format.”
Practically has come up with this unique tool that gives teachers AI-based insights and helps them come up with alternative teaching solutions such as a pop-quiz or playing a subject related, simulation videos, thereby making learning fun, interactive, and distraction-free.
Over 200 schools and 18,000 teachers across India and the Middle East are benefitting from Practically School Solution.
On the emerging trends in the EdTech marketing space
The EdTech sector in 2020 had experienced phenomenal growth with startups raising enormous funding to achieve decacorns and unicorns ranking. 2020 will always be remembered as a milestone year for the sector, with the Covid-19 pandemic pushing students and parents to adopt e-learning. Although classroom or face-to-face teaching will continue to be essential for learning, the blended form of knowledge will continue to dominate the space in the future. With the implementation of the New Education Policy, people have started focusing more on upskilling and reskilling curriculum. While students cannot attend physical classes, the EdTech applications are bringing teachers and content online to provide seamless education to the students learning from the comfort of their homes.
As we are experiencing the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is highly unlikely that the schools will reopen anytime soon. Keeping the current situation in mind, we can expect more schools to adopt technology to make the education system more tech-friendly. Demands for new age curriculums like Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Machine Learning, IoT will lead the EdTech space. Going forward, media spending will dominate the space, and investment in branding will play a critical role. To stand out in the cluttered EdTech market, it will be essential to clearly define the USP of the platform and what it is as a brand.
On marketing and advertising plans for 2021
The recent campaign was a great start for the brand. We managed to establish brand awareness and drive initial consideration in our home market. The campaign also helped us figure out other regions where there was traction. It showed a natural affinity for the brand to determine the business expansion strategy for the company in the next 6-12 months. Taking learnings from the digital campaign and given the way the business is expanding; we have begun expansion in the West and South of India.
The success in our home/pilot market has given confidence that we can replicate the same nationally. The plans for 2021 are aggressive as this is a hot sector and rapidly growing. For the rest of the year, the brand objective is to make Practically known to every Indian household and eventually achieve the goal of being the most loved and trusted e-learning brand by Bringing Learning Alive!
“Our objective is to make Practically a household name in India this year. While our focus so far has been on Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states in India, Practically is working on expanding pan-India in 2021 starting with the West and South regions and adding over 2,000 employees by December 2021,” said Mahadev.
“2021 will also see us entering the K-5 segment. Outside India, the Middle East is our focus market as we have received very positive responses to our product, and we will be partnering with many more schools there in 2021. We are also looking to move to one more international market by the end of the year. Although the near-term plan is to expand into other English-speaking countries globally, we are also exploring partners in countries where there is a need for content in other languages since Practically’s immersive animated video content can be easily localized,” Mahadev concluded.