“We are sitting at the intersection of content and commerce”

NEW DELHI : Samriddh Dasgupta joined pet care brand and retail chain Heads Up For Tails as Marketing Director in October of Bombay Shaving Company. The pet grooming and products company recently bagged ?? 277 crore in its Series A fundraising cycle. It has 40 offline stores in seven subways, in addition to an online presence. Dasgupta said new age consumer companies are creating unique manuals to market their brands. Heads Up For Tails relies on organic consumer posts on social media platforms and seeks to engage pet influencers as it enters new markets. Edited excerpts from an interview:

What is your tenure at the firm?

We’re here to make life for pets and pet parents so much easier. It is a very happy journey. I’m a pet parent myself, so I’ve been on this trip for the past 39 years. And one thing I realized is that you never have the most relevant knowledge or the products that make this journey easier. The mandate here is really to try to influence people to come up with the best way to do it. We are sitting at a crossroads of content and commerce, we sincerely believe that we have the opportunity to raise awareness, to engage with people in meaningful ways where they are able to learn.

We have 14 years of experience… and we are also able to predict many trend lines. Therefore, we create products that are a little ahead of time, but become extremely relevant the further you go. We are also extremely omnichannel. In fact, we have our own stores, so the whole experience is in our control. The mandate is therefore also to ensure that there is a technological layer in addition to our omnichannel integration, and to truly have a unified customer experience and a journey through our points of contact.

Who is your target consumer?

CES (socio-economic categories) and age groups are old-fashioned formats for classifying clients. We rank clients in terms of aspirations and life stages. Anyone who has a dog or a cat, anyone who loves animals, is our audience. This is an extremely large and diverse set of age groups that we are solving. We solve emerging markets, so it’s not just the top five cities, we are entering the top 15-20 cities on a regular basis.

This is also how the market has developed over the past 18 months. Two or three things happened. There has been a demographic shift that has allowed the younger ones to adopt dogs and cats, and really start to share the wallet. We also see a growth curve between the 18-24 age groups, which were previously 24-45 years old.

Tier II markets, which are basically people who have returned home and now work from home, but they are used to the kind of products they got when they were in big cities, which again has resulted in an influx of accessibility. And the third element is that many couples and singles have adopted dogs as companions during this time of the pandemic – this is another area of ​​emerging growth as well.

What is your overall social media strategy?

The brand is built organically. We didn’t have too many influencer engagements. Our influencer engagement is actually user-generated content. We are first and foremost a very creative brand, where, for us, each person who buys our product is a creator.

People buy and talk about it because they like it, they come back to us and if they don’t like it. For us, the social consists in listening to them. If you browse our Instagram, you’ll see that every comment receives a very thoughtful response: 95% of our direct messages are answered within four to six hours. However, it might look a lot different as we go along because we are entering new markets. We’re looking at emerging influencers and pet parents who are influencers and we’re trying to see if there’s a way to co-create content with them.

What lessons do you draw from your collaboration with new-age brands?

My first foray into the internet was around 2015 when I was running (marketing at) Dineout. This accessibility of technology, no-code solutions and an ecosystem, which combine to drive better engagement and better access to products and choices for the end customer, I think has become extremely prevalent and easy.

It is not very difficult to overlap an internet driven business with an omnichannel business.

I don’t think the ecosystem has changed — what has changed is consumer preference behavior. We are now able to follow the consumer through the channel, and then we have a unified view of how you buy and how you behave. So the difference is that today’s marketers are armed with a lot of data that allows us to deliver more relevant products.

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