A compelling insight is the cornerstone of a transformative solution. At Wolfzhowl we don’t limit our minds to our client work. We take our everyday observation of brands, people and life and turn them into actionable insights, better called #wolfSIGHTS

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Performance Marketing 2.0

Brands have been waiting for the lockdown to end to start pumping money back into creating conversations and building engagement. They’re saving up the annual budgets for later, hoping that market gets back to normal & consumers start purchasing in order to justify ROI. With a lot of stock stuck in the pipeline, there’s going to be an almost frantic rush of brands trying to grab the consumer’s attention and push him/her into buying. And most marketers will turn to digital marketing to get quick returns. Yes, that’s where performance marketing comes into the picture. However, it’s not the old way of running automated campaigns and bidding on the keyword that’s going to be enough. There’s going to be a demand for Performance Marketing 2.0 – Strategic, human behavior centers performance marketing and not just data and platform led. 

Here are our predictions on the future of performance marketing post Covid-19:

  1. More integrated sales funnel – Most brands have multiple systems that run in silos – the CRM tool, social listening tool, retail store sales data, eCommerce sales data but there are very few companies that have integrated these. As life returns to normal, tool integration will remain in focus. Brands would want to measure the efficacy of their spends as accurately as possible by integrating them with metrics like Brand Preference Scores. Vanity KPI metrics will go away for better and more accurate tracking. However, for this, a lot of brands will need to invest in technology that allows them to do this. For the brands that are growing, it may be an easy call but for the brands who are pinching their pockets, this may still be far away. 
  2. Increased spends on digital – As media becomes expensive, tracking becomes imperative, and hence more marketers turn to digital. Digital advertising is going to see a boom in India post Covid-19 lockdown ends and India limps back to normalcy.  This is because the content formats allow for quicker turn-around of the advertisements with accuracy in measurement.
  3. Increased investment in programmatic buying – Programmatic advertising was gaining popularity before Covid-19 struck. Our prediction is that it will pick pace if vendors decide to lower the guaranteed spends required.  However, what remains a challenge with programmatic is the need for understanding data. Unless brands hire resources, who can understand and analyze data, programmatic will remain under-utilized. 
  4. Newer ways of calculating ROI – CPC, CPV, and CPM are redundant measures for calculating ROI. CAC scores were popular only for eCommerce sites. Marketers and brands will now start measuring ROI in terms of actual sales, repeat purchases, duration of conversion and how quickly did people move through the different levels of the conversion funnel. 
  5. Agencies working on a “Conversion Guarantee fee or free” model – With such stiff competition in the market, a lot of agencies will start offering promises of guaranteed results and work with revenue sharing models. A lot of start-ups were anyway using ‘skin in the game’ to get their agencies to work for them and get paid for delivering results. This will now percolate even to the bigger companies, which will increase pressure on the performance marketing agencies and growth hackers to deliver results.

However, if everyone aims to pump in monies towards the end of Q1, there’s bound to be advertising clutter. How do you break this clutter? How do you ensure maximum impact and higher ROI? Let’s take a look at what we think digital marketers should focus on.

  1. Targeting: Targeting has always been about demographics + in-market segmentations at best. But now, marketers will need to segment their audiences with more than just age, gender, location & interests. But this is not the most foolproof method since all your competitors would be doing the same thing. Here’s how we recommend you segment your audience base:
    1. Start by segmenting your audience based on usage and attitudes towards your category. Understand the innate reasons for these attitudinal patterns
    2. Add a layer of demographics on top of these segments
    3. Create personas by identifying barriers for conversion for each of the segments
      Why do we think this is needed? When the same set of audiences is seeing the ad for your brand, your competitor’s brand, and 10 different categories, you need to get the best returns on your investment and that is possible only by identifying the most profitable segment for targeting. Remember, what’s huge in quantity may not be the most profitable. You may spend more on targeting a niche segment but if the conversion for the cohort is higher, it’s money well-spent. 
  2. Content: This becomes one of the most important elements for running your ad and has multiple elements that you, as a marketer will need to consider. 
    1. Messaging: In the post-COVID-19 world, when all of us would have faced content fatigue, messaging will become of utmost importance while serving an ad. Unfortunately, the most over-looked part of the performance marketing strategy is messaging. Due to the character restrictions and the sheer number of pieces that the copywriter has to write and the designer needs to creates (sizes, formats etc.), messaging always gets the stepchild treatment. However, there’s a far more deep-seated reason why the messaging is always cliched and not very impactful – not knowing the audience. Until we’ve identified everything about the cohort & understood their barriers, only then can we identify the trigger for conversion. If as marketers, we are not able to work on the messaging of the ad copy, the conversion rate will remain poor, no matter how many segments and personas we create. Remember, each segment, each persona, each sub-persona will require a separate message. Do not shy away from the painstaking process of creating multiple copies & creatives and running test campaigns to get better results
    2. Content Types: Yes, digital marketers and platforms have been pushing us to keep trying newer forms of content and encourage us to create dynamic content. Yes, Content is King but the content type is what gets you the attention. Be present in as many content types as possible. Create videos, audios, static images, GIFs. Use Facebook canvas and carousels. All forms of dynamic content give you more space to tell your story but remember, if your story is not strong, no content type can save you. 
    3. Do not ignore SEO. While the paid game has to be strong initially, organic growth is what brands should be aiming for. Think SEO with a filter of performance. Write your content based on what your end consumer will look for. Look beyond category keywords and think like a human being searching for your category for through various stages of the conversion funnel and write content accordingly. 
    4. Go Local: Regional Language advertising is the best bet for quicker conversion. Invest in building a team of copywriters who can write effectively in local languages. Do not get English copies translated. Translations do not work. What we’d suggest all brands get into DCO (Dynamic Creative Optimization). Invest in tools that will help you churn this out faster. 
  3. Media Platforms – Marketers are genuinely spoilt for choice when it comes to media vehicles to choose from. There are OTT platforms, social media apps, gaming apps, emailers, audience networks, independent blogs and websites, eCommerce stores… The list is endless. How do you choose the right platforms to advertise on? Here are a few questions to ask yourself before choosing the media mix:Are you blanket bombing on all platforms where your audience is present and hoping that they will see it and click on it? Is this the best solution always? Don’t diss this, at times it works
    1. Are you present on a platform that is not related to your category directly but if the communication is crafted well, the platform can work for you?
    2. Is the platform seemingly expensive but has a better quality of audience that has a higher chance of conversion?
    3. Which platform will be the anchor platform for which part of the marketing funnel?
    4. What is the platform journey? How can you use the platform to work for you instead of you working on the platform?
  4. Marketing Funnel – The funnel of conversion will change post-COVID-19. How? Well, wait for a separate blog on this to find out.  

What can brands, who do not want to invest or have not yet invested in Martech and who do not have data analysts on-board do in such times?

  1. Do an in-depth & continuous competition analysis. Competition is already spending a lot of money on identifying what’s working and what’s not. Use their intelligence to serve yourself better. However, also identify space for yourself and your brand. Mimicking is the worst possible thing you’ll do in all this content clutter
  2. Go beyond the obvious. As a strategy consultancy, we’ve learned that the answers lie with the consumers itself. Deploy quick and innovative solutions like marrying social listening with category semiotics to arrive at search insights and content strategy.
  3. Find a partner to help you collate ALL your data and make sense out of it. It may sound expensive but it actually ends up saving costs for you in the long run. Most of the insights are sitting in your resource library, waiting to be opened up and read in conjunction with other reports. Get partners, who are experts are reading human behavior, to go through the data and provide instigations
  4. Collaboration. Bring your creative team, media team, marketing team, and sales team on the same table. Having facilitated quite a few of these collaborations, we have seen some amazing results being delivered when everyone is involved and there’s a sense of ownership towards the same goal. 
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Retail Wars: Part Deux – David’s move

Like we discussed in our previous post, small retail companies currently have an advantage in terms of distribution and sales. Their swiftness has trumped the slow-moving giants. These companies are aggressively eating into the share of Big Retailer Cos. The Big Cos are back devising a strategy to regain the consumers they have cultivated over the years. Soon, the wave might turn against the smaller players as they lose their grip from the consumers’ minds and wallets.

What can the Small Retail Players do in order to maintain their position and permanently arrest the shift away from Big brands? The critical strategic play here is ‘Memory Embedding’. Here are some Strategic Instigations by Wolfzhowl about how smaller brands can create bigger memory structures in the consumers’ minds. Check out Wolfzhowl’s deck on Brands and Memory Structures

1) Be thankful – Gratitude goes a long way. Thank your Customers for trusting your brand in these tough times. Incentivise them, giving a smile or a sweet memory works too.

2) Don’t forget to leave a mark – Big players have the digital prowess and footprint that a small player might not have. Make sure the brand leaves behind a token visual mnemonic at every possible interaction with the customer.

3) Reaffirm Product Quality – Smaller brands often face the consumer perception issue cheaper price = low quality’. Therefore, they need to explicitly highlight high-quality control measures and establish that their product is at par, if not better, than the products offered by bigger brands.

4) Seize the opportunity for Product Innovation – With steady revenue coming in and big cos still left handicapped due to the lockdown, smaller brands have the opportunity to turn their focus on creating, hyper-local, consumer-centric, tactical product innovations. With some extra effort, this move can set your brand apart from other products and hence accelerate adaptability and memorability.

5) Increase basket-size with product bundling – Make hay while the sun shines. The more space the brand occupies in the consumer’s mind, the longer it remains in the consumer’s memory structure. Once your brand has entered the Customer’s wallet, make the most of it. If the brand has any other complementing products, bundle them with your fastest selling products via offers.

6) Create product consumer rituals – Effective long-term memory for brands can be created by associating the product with an action or a ritual. Invent a product consumption ritual via packaging, advertising or by gamification of product and its consumption. Eg. KitKat, Kinder Joy, Oreo etc. Create a unique, tangible mini-experience around your brand & product.

7) Unite to Fight – Evaluate Cross-category tie-ups with small manufacturers of other products to get into households with combined weight to tackle the post Covid19 onslaught of the big guns.

8) Underdog Advertising – Admitting that you are smaller player can feel like shooting yourself in the foot. But it’s a counterintuitive way to reach the consumer’s heart and be remembered for good. Smaller Cos are faster, cheaper and equally effective in the times of need. And just because they don’t have the strength of the big players, they work doubly hard to provide the best they can. This is an endearing way to embed your brand in your consumer’s mind and win some well-deserved brownie points.
Brilliant case of effective Underdog Advertising – Avis

9) Discount the Product, Not the Brand. Build one afresh – Brands that have been built in adversity have stood the test of time. Now is the best time for a smaller brand to lay the foundations and build a strong purpose from the ground up. A classic example of this is Dove.

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Two titans join hands for disruption. What does this mean for the rest?

Facebook invests in Jio

Facebook Inc announced its investment in Jio Platforms, making it the largest FDI for minority investment in India. At a time when the global economy is grappling with the impact of Covid-19, this is good news for India.


Let’s look at how this investment impacts various industries

  1. Indian Economy: A welcome sign, this investment brings back the investor confidence which was shaken up by the collapse & bailout of a few banks in 2019. This investment shines the spotlight on India once again, making it a favourite haven for a lot of technology, manufacturing, and automobile giants. It gives a strong signal to the world that India is back in business despite being in a 40 day lock-down. Here’s what it could mean to us:
    1. Rising consumer confidence could help in recovering the GDP growth rate from the abysmal 0.5-1% as predicted by the IMF.
    2. It could pave way for more FDI and FIIs, which, if done in manufacturing, can lead to the creation of jobs and higher tax collection by the government
    3. It gives hope to the retail investors to keep investing in the stock market, mutual funds and SIPsince it’s a sure shot sign of revival
  2. Retailers & Merchants: Mr. Mukesh Ambani specifically spoke about how this deal will disrupt the retail economy. This partnership will push Jio Mart, Jio’s retail management service for Kirana stores and enable financial transactions through WhatsApp money.
    1. An opportunity for social commerce will allow merchants to increase their network of sales beyond walk-in customers, making it easier for them to track orders and receive payment
    2. Better analytics to the retailer– Customer profiling through merchant services app, enabled with Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp will mean that the merchant is able to track and predict what the customers will need and when will they need it. This will take care of their inventory management as well as credit limits with distributors
    3. Amazon and Flipkart will now find it difficult to onboard smaller retailers & merchants. Using Meesho, which is an innovative three-way marketplace enabling resellers, SMBs, and micro-entrepreneurs across India to connect with potential buyers using social media along with Reliance’s logistics & supply chain, Amazon and Flipkart will have to put in more resources to onboard smaller merchants and get them the desired visibility
  3. Hyperlocal Delivery: Apart from tapping into the merchants and grocery store owners, this collaboration allows Reliance an entry into the homes of the consumers directly. They already have Reliance Smart and Reliance Fresh. Social commerce of Facebook and WhatsApp pay can enable them to take orders and deliver groceries home, without spending too much on building a new logistics chain. This means that Dunzo and Amazon Now are at peril of losing their business to Reliance
  4. eCommerce Market across categories: A strong on-ground network along with superior digital connectivity disrupts the eCommerce market. Through Reliance Trends, Vimal, Reliance Digital, Reliance Jewels, Reliance footprint, Ajio, Project Eve, John Players to premium brands like Diesel, Dune, Armani Xchange etc, Reliance can assure quicker deliveries and faster payments across the board.
  5. Agriculture: WhatsApp is already the most popular tool used by farmers across the country to stay in touch, exchange information, share tips, etc. WhatsApp groups like “Hoy Amhi Shetkari” (Yes, I am a Farmer) that started out in one small part of Maharashtra has over 100 different groups that give out weather updates, information about insect attacks and the rates for fruits, vegetables and other produce at mandis.
    1. Enabling an ecosystem through digital payments: WhatsApp payments, Social Commerce, and Facebook groups along with superior connectivity, logistics of Reliance through its retail chains like Reliance Smart and Reliance Fresh could look at disrupting the supply chain for agriculture.
    2. Farm to home models now become even more feasible for farmers with the technology and connectivity offered by the giants.
  6. Fintech & NBFCs: It is no secret that Facebook has been trying to enter the Payments market in India for a very long time. This investment makes it easier for Facebook to launch WhatsApp payments and get more people hooked on to it. What does Reliance have to gain from this deal? Well, they can use Facebook’s data to add a layer of social credibility before deciding the credit-worthiness of the end consumer for their businesses like Reliance Money which offers loans to SMEs, Microfinance, Personal loans, etc.
  7. B2B: Covid-19 forced a large number of companies into experimenting with work-from-home models and this experiment has been quite successful. A lot of companies are considering implementing the WFH model even post lock-down. This means that there will be a higher demand for productivity apps and very good internet connections. While Jio takes care of the internet connection, by launching Work from Home plans, dongles, and Fibre to Home connections, Facebook offers productivity apps like Facebook for Work. One can safely say that if the trend of working from home catches up and becomes a reality for most of India, then this investment by Facebook Inc will pay off.


Beyond categories, what is the larger impact of this investment?

Reliance actively growing their IoT and Surveillance business. The added layer of Facebook Inc.’s social platforms that are widely used in India (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp) means that the companies together sit on a wealth of data. They not only know what the consumer is buying and where he/she is buying it from, but they now will also know what his/her social preferences are and how they interact with these categories and products in everyday life.

  • This will help them analyze and predict demand for categories much before the consumers can actually use them.
  • Selling the data to marketers to create a revenue stream for both the companies would become far easier
  • Inventory management and logistics for all the on-ground businesses become far easier
  • Product innovation through identifying latent consumer needs will help Reliance always stay ahead of the curve


Of course, there are a few possible conflicts that can arise from this investment and that could create a slight dissonance between the companies but those can be resolved to create a wider impact on the end consumer such as:

  • Payments – Jio has Jio Payments while Facebook has been trying to establish WhatsApp Payments in India for a very long time. Getting the two platforms together can help increase penetration into the market, cashing in on the ease of usage of a platform that all of us are already acquainted with – WhatsApp while Jio enjoys the trust and credibility that it earned with providing seamless internet at dirt cheap rates not only during the time of launch but also during the pandemic when many of us were forced to work from home.
  • Edutech– Facebook has invested in Unacademy while Reliance owns Embibe. Together, the brands can be a force to reckon with. While Unacademy focuses on the wealth of knowledge (with the number of courses it offers), Embibe takes pride in being an AI-driven platform for learning. Understanding consumer needs and offering far more number of courses makes this a go-to-choice for consumers.


What does this mean to the consumers?

  • Consumers can look at getting highly customized service  across brands and product offerings when these 2 giants come together
  • With both of them working towards net neutrality, consumers get a wider range of internet-based products & services to choose from at far lesser costs as opposed to any other telecom brand in the country
  • Consumers’ needs are met even before they arise, creating consumption frenzy and increased conspicuous consumption


How can brands compete with Facebook & Jio?

  • Brands need to build an emotional connection with their target audience. Emotional connect will always drive loyalty.
  • Invest in identifying and living your brand purpose. As more and more Gen Z get into the market as consumers and buyers, they seek out brands that are not vulturistic. They want to associate themselves with brands that serve a larger purpose. Brands can cash in on this need of Millennials and Gen Z.
  • Be agile and invest in innovation & design thinking. Brands need to evolve over a period of time and need to meet consumer expectations. If done well, brands can weather any storm and sustain it.
  • Identify the threats beyond just competitors and find out how you can solve these. If you can solve real-life needs of your consumers, they will never leave you.
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Feeling festive with Moti Soaps

Before the akash kandil makes it way into your balcony/window, before you even start thinking of Gujiyas and Besan laddoos or Chakli and Chiwda, Moti Soap announces the presence of Diwali in your household. 

This is a statement that will resonate with all of Maharashtra and Karnataka and parts of Gujarat. Don’t believe it? See the interest this soap has generated in the last one  month on Google. 

Source: Google Trends

What’s so special about this soap?

Well, before we explore this, we need to understand the festival of Diwali (focusing on the day that this soap is used the most). On the first day of Diwali (Naraka Chaudas or Choti Diwali), most Maharashtrians and Gujaratis have, what they call, the first bath or Abhyanga Snaan. Abhyanga snan or the holy bath is a tradition wherein everyone in the household wakes up before sunrise and massages their body with scented oils. This is followed by the application of uptan or utane or uthnah, which is a mix of spices with gram flour. After this application, they use Moti Soap to wash away the uptan. 

It’s only after this that one can don new clothes and officially start the celebration of the festival. 

Why is Abhyanga Snan celebrated?

Naraka Chaudus is a day when Krishna killed the demon Narakasur. As a symbolism of good killing the evil, the practice of Abhyanga Snan was started. The early morning bath is of significance because the holy water symbolises the end of the evil powers. Since abhyang snan is taken before the sunrise it is considered as holy as taking bath in the river Ganges.

So the question remains, why Moti Soap?

Well, to answer this, let’s look at how Moti Soap positioned itself back in the day. 


If one looks closely, you can see a woman getting ready for the Abhyanga Snan and uses the ‘pure’ sandalwood scented soap – moti. The name itself symbolizes purity! Moti, tied the essence of “Utna” into its positioning with advertising in print and on television. The ads portrayed a young woman lighting a lamp, praying and using the soap. Within no time, there was an equation set in the minds of 90s women that Moti soap is to be used in Diwali. 

Those 90s kids who are now all grown up, naturally prefer Moti since it has a huge nostalgia associated with it! And it can be seen in posts like these




Today no Diwali is complete without a soap that you do not see any other time in the market! Isn’t it interesting? Share this on Social Media is you found this interesting! And yes, Wolfzhowl wishes you a very Happy Diwali!