To avoid the pain of visiting exchange4media site I am copying the interview here.
Next week, Brand and Me will be launching their brand engagement platform, which can be accessed from www.brandandme.com/. The company has created an engagement model, which brings together quizzing, social connect and brand engagement to create a platform, which the founders feel will offer a strong value proposition for brands.
The two founders are both IIT and IIM alumnus who have worked in the digital media field for many years now, and Surjendu Kuila, one of the founders, spoke to exchange4media about how the new platform will work.
He said, “Brand and Me is a brand engagement platform which will provide brands an incomparable engagement with users. A type of engagement with which, neither the traditional media nor the online media can match up. On the other hand, the platform rewards users handsomely for engaging with the brands.”
The idea is to present a platform which will display only one brand a day at this point, with a full microsite experience, including video and brand information. Users are incentivised to visit and consume this information by building a quiz around the information provided by the brand – one winner is selected from those people who give the correct answer, who will win Rs 2,000 in prizes, while everyone else who gives the right answer will be given “points”, to redeem against online stores. Kuila said that the company was in talks with Rediff and Infibeam, and that this feature would go live within a month of the website’s launch.
On the brand front, Brand and Me has tied up with Networkplay for an exclusive six-month contract. Kuila said, “Networkplay will act as our sales arm, because they have a strong presence on the ground and our goals and their vision fit well together. Our focus will be on the product, on getting people to the website and interacting with the brands there.”
To do this, Kuila is hoping that the viral effect through sharing on social networks will be a strong growth driver, while he also said that the site was seeding this through paid traffic. He said, “We are working on Facebook and doing below the line activities, and getting paid traffic as well, which is going to start the userbase, but based on what we’ve seen of the sector, we believe that we’ll be able to add users at a steady pace. We’re already adding 100 to 150 users each day, before the site has even launched.”
Kuila also said, “We are appealing to the user through incentives, because that is a reason for them to visit even when there isn’t a strong community. But what we believe is that we will be able to reduce this incentivastion in time, as users start to become a part of the process. Until then, unless the brand is related to Bollywood or cricket, we have to incentivise the visits.”
What’s different here?
Stage one of Brand and Me is very similar to, in fact, Contests2Win, 15 years ago. However, Kuila feels the comparison is not very accurate. He maintained, “We are not going to be just about the quizzing, that is just our starting point. We also have a layer of brand engagement on top of the quiz, with users able to provide feedback to the brand in a neutral manner, and with other interactions also built into the system. Besides that, we will also be innovating and adding a lot of new products.”
He added, “When we signed with Networkplay, one of the things that we promised is that we will be able to bring a new product to the public every quarter to maximise engagement.”
While this offering is still limited at this point, it is the new products, which Brand and Me promises to roll out every quarter, that could be very interesting potentially. The company had been talking to a number of ad networks, Kuila informed, to fine tune their future offerings to better suit the requirements of clients, and one early change would be the addition of channels on the site.
Kuila further said, “Some other quiz and contest sites that are popular are also very cluttered. We have focused on one brand at a time because we want to present a clean interface. But at the same time, if a user is not interested in books and we’re doing a promotion with Penguin, then they wouldn’t be interested in a prize, which is a collection of Harry Potter books. So, we’re going to create channels, for automotive, for Bollywood and other areas of interest.”
The company will also be creating more advergames, and will, for example, be looking at creating full movies, booking and merchandising experience by partnering with companies in those areas as well. These future innovations could provide enough value to users to truly bring about a viral growth phase for the company, and drive future growth for them.