Decoding Dunzo’s marketing playbook

Few months ago, I had a fascinating conversation with Sai Ganesh, Brand Lead@Dunzo 

It was a masterclass on how to build digital first brands. Here are my top takeaways from our conversation- the underlying principles that make Dunzo one of the most loved brands of our times.  Here you go:

1. Know the medium

Every person in our brand team understands the digital medium beyond a general view or a cursory understanding. Be aware and accept that a person who has a hundred thousand followers on Instagram, or someone who has racked up a million views on a TikTok video knows more about these channels than any brand manager sitting in an office, struggling to get 100 views on a brand related Insta post. Each channel has its particular velocity, a style of content suited for consumption, and a shelf life, too. 

One of us in the team is on social media all the time, an unfortunate fallout of a job like ours. But this also ensures that anything that we come across as interesting or worth discussing is shared within the team immediately and applied if found relevant and useful. 

When we started marketing it was to people who are like us - urban, working professionals. But as Dunzo scales up we will have to reach more and more people who are not like us, people we many not know as well as we knew the initial cohort of customers we acquired. This is one of our current challenges.

2. Make sure everyone in the teams understands the metrics

There is a general perception that creative people don’t know, and don’t need to understand numbers, but I don’t believe that. As a content creator, if I don’t know what worked and what didn’t, and how it worked, and how it didn’t, how am I going to create content good enough to be shared in the future? When we talk about metrics, the creative people in our team are also made aware of it.

3. Don’t play by the Goliath's rulebook

Advertising as we know has been defined by the Big Boys, the FMCGs, the MNCs with deep pockets and an ability to be seen and heard everywhere. They have been instrumental in defining advertising as being consistent, subscribing to one view, and a certain tone or look. 

If they were Goliath and we were David, we can’t apply their rules to us. Firstly, ubiquity is not something we can achieve, so we have opted for versatility. For brands like us, consistency is a luxury; it’s to Goliath’s advantage. So one of our ways to break through the clutter is to put out variety. 

Social media is different from mainstream media in the sense that everything about a person is out there, not just what we want others to see. As a person I might post my view on a topical issue, then follow it up with a selfie from my vacation, or the brewery I visited over the weekend. These are different facets of my personality, but they are all still the same person - me. A digital brand can be the same - showcasing different aspects of its personality, provided that the core, the tenets that bind it, are stable and consistent. 

Secondly, we have to have a point of view. This is undoubtedly a challenge for any brand, given how polarised society is today.

4.  Stay Fresh

In my experience, people who have a life outside of work are able to subconsciously marry learnings across spheres and create ideas. Our designers are well known illustrators outside of their jobs, the writers take on other writing gigs, and I am a quizzer on the side. This is how we stay fresh, and are able to constantly think new.

We also get together once in a while as a team to ideate, just talk about things other than Dunzo and our work. Like the talking equivalent of jamming in a band. Hearing about things we don’t know, wouldn’t read about or watch ourselves can be another spark for interesting content. 

5. Don’t forget the not-so-glamorous parts

I want to use this space to highlight the not-so-glamorous parts of creating good content. Planning is very important, probably as important as the content itself. Anyone who has had consistent success on social media will tell you that they plan well in advance, what they are going to say, how they are going to say it, and so on. 

Also, prioritising frequency over everything else is the only way to stay relevant. This is the reality of the medium, and we need to understand and accept it. We may not agree with this principle, but that’s the way it is. Knowing how these systems work, and then figuring out how to make it work for you, is the way to go. 

(Link to highlights of our conversation:

Author: Gurudev Prasad

March 9, 2021