14 January 2016 13:22:45 IST

Riding the start-up wave

The latest ad series by Indigo Nation has struck a chord with young entrepreneurs. Here’s why it worked so well

There is a buzz in the air in Bengaluru and an energy that is palpable, as the city hums with activity. Young executives with stars in their eyes, chuck high-paying jobs to start-up a technology company or develop apps, even as Venture Capitalists keep a close watch on the ‘next Flipkart’, and loosen their purse strings.

Entrepreneurs are getting younger as we speak and represent a new era of entrepreneurship where entry barriers seem only in the mind. It is a great time to be young, hopeful and tech savvy, and nothing can stop one from being the boss if she applies her mind to it. Not for nothing is Bengaluru being referred to as the start-up capital of India and the next Silicon Valley.

It is precisely this mood of excitement, uncertainty and energy that a brand from Bengaluru has tried to capture in its advertising series. Wishing to tap into the tremendous interest in start-ups, and their funding and valuation (It seems to be the preoccupation of not only the central characters in the start-up ecosystem but also the media), it has devoted entire sections of their ads to the exploits of these nouveau riche entrepreneurs and their unique and differentiated stories.

The company is Bengaluru-based Indus League and the brand is Indigo Nation.

Subject to change

Indigo Nation has consistently been talking to the young executives who are in their late twenties or early thirties. They are different, willing to push the envelope and are open to change just about anything, be it a job or a partner. They have strong views on everything, and hate the status quo.

If they want to keep unearthly hours at work, they would like to do it for themselves, not just for a fat pay check. They know the rules of the game, whether it is presenting to the VC with passion for funding or building a team of talented professionals who happen to be classmates or friends. It is exactly this that the new Indigo Nation campaign depicts.

Realising that this restless audience is more online than in traditional mainline media, the series of commercials are primarily designed for the social media, where entrepreneurs and prospects could possibly feel “Hey! This is about me!” and share it on their walls and timelines.

Take a look at typical situations in a young start-up’s life, be it is crazy, unearthly hours or a team of people cracking jokes even as they get ready to meet the VC; or doing just about anything to fuel their dreams — even work. Click here , here , here and here , to watch the ads doing the rounds on social media. I am sure you will relate to them as well as I did.

Advertising is not easy

One of the main challenges that advertising agencies face is creating campaigns for apparel that strike a chord with the consumers. There are no distinguishing or unique product features, though brands still try to differentiate themselves in merchandise with either an ‘Upper Crest’ or a ‘Swoosh’. Whilst people like the design and texture, they still buy into the imagery of the brand. And that is why advertising is so critical.

Almost three decades ago, Alan Solly had come up with a breakthrough campaign called ‘Friday Dressing’, as they advocated executives to loosen their collars and wear casual clothes to work at least one day of the week. The timing of the campaign was right as well, since it captured the mood of the consumer who was getting bored with his plain shirts, boring ties and pin stripes that were a part of most people’s wardrobes.

The campaign came like a breath of fresh air, struck a chord with the consumer and was interesting enough to run for years. This is the Holy Grail that apparel brands try to create and so rarely achieve. But ‘Start-Up Nation’ has the potential to have such a long-term impact.

Here is one of Alan Solly’s earlier campaigns.

Brands should address aspirations

Another important requisite for a successful brand campaign is that it should address consumer aspirations, whether stated or otherwise. The Indigo Nation campaign, set as it is in the context of today’s start-up world, does precisely this, as everyone and his brother-in-law wants to be an entrepreneur.

The challenge, excitement and possible risk appeals to most youngsters. The attitude of not being unduly bothered about the environment and risks is embodied in the clothes. And that is what Indigo Nation portrays and presents in its stores.

We live in an interesting and challenging time, and brands need to constantly innovate to catch the fancy of their consumers. Start-up Nation is one such experiment and what makes it interesting is the timing of the campaign. It seems just right and that is perhaps the greatest thing that is going in its favour.

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