“We are hoping to expand pan India. Already started into markets of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka”: Mahadev Srivatsa, Vice President of Marketing & Brand Strategy, Practically

Mahadev Srivatsa, Vice President for Marketing and Brand Strategy, Practically

The EdTech platform Practically launched its first-ever brand campaign ‘Bring Learning Alive’ a few months back. The campaign garnered over 32 million views on YouTube. This has been the highest by a company in this category without any celebrity endorsement. Talking about the company and campaign, Mr. Mahadev Srivatsa, Vice President of Marketing & Brand Strategy, Practically, adds “We have seen a 3x growth in the number of installs and are now at 360k installs.”

An avid marketer with a keen eye for consumer insight, Mahadev has been associated with reputed organizations such as Vodafone-Idea, ASUS India, H&R Johnson India Ltd. among others. At Practically, Mahadev’s role is to lead all aspects of Marketing, Brand Strategy & Insights, PR, Media, Events & Experiences leading to customer acquisition and management.

Read the exclusive interview with Media Infoline here:-


Q) Please tell us something about Practically.

Practically is an intelligent, interactive, and immersive learning app for students of classes 6 to 12 with a focus on STEM learning. It was launched in 2020. As a lot of players are already in this field, let me first underline our USPs. The app uses Augmented Reality (AR), Simulations, and 3D videos for an enhanced learning experience. We also offer Live classes, Coding ++course. The app offers dedicated mentors to kids, guiding and acting as their philosophers through various phases. Practically is the only such product in the world that combines game engine, immersive learning assets, and AI-assisted study buddy all in one compact cross-platform app.

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So you see we have everything a child needs in terms of universal academics for the kids. The app covers a universal curriculum across Math and Science for 6th to 12th grades. Over 200 schools across India and the Middle East are using Practically to enable online classes during the pandemic and this number is growing very fast.

From a pricing perspective also, we are the first to introduce a monthly subscription package as low as INR 1,300 per month.

Q) What was the strategy behind your first campaign, ‘Bringing Learning Alive’?

This was the first brand campaign from Practically launched in December 2020. It included ATL – TV & Print targeted at AP and Telangana while the Digital & Social Media Marketing legs had a pan India focus. The rationale behind this dual-pronged strategy was to drive awareness and consideration in the home market and also test markets at a pan India level to gauge the brand traction. It was essential to outlay future expansion plans for both brand and business using digital outreach. Hence the focus of ATL was majorly to establish the brand & drive awareness, while digital was a mix of awareness building and performance.

The ATL included a 2-week Associate Sponsorship with Big boss, Telegu alongside a couple of rounds of print ads. Social media messaging had company features, and campaign-led communication amplified throughout the campaign period of December 2020 to February 2021. The entire communication was seamlessly woven to deliver the brand proposition of ‘Bring Learning Alive’. The campaign was also amplified using relevant PR activities.

The main focus region for this campaign was Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The digital campaign ran in the top 40 cities in the country with a greater emphasis on Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Chennai.

Mahadev Srivatsa, Vice President for Marketing and Brand Strategy, Practically

Q) What kind of response you received from the campaign?

This entire 360-degree burst of TV, digital, social, and print have translated to spikes in installs. While performance marketing had set target KPIs, the trend seen in organic installs has been equally encouraging. We have seen a 3x growth in the number of installs and are now at 360k installs. Registered users on the platform have also gone up and with all these users coming in, the rest of the app user metrics are also showing spikes.

However, to reiterate our main objective through this campaign was to primarily drive brand awareness. The installs which are a good indication of initial adoption/consideration have been a welcome bonus.

“The main focus region for this campaign was Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The digital campaign ran in the top 40 cities in the country with a greater emphasis on Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Chennai.”

Q) How are you planning to reach Tier 2 and 3 cities?

It is predominantly metros and tier 1 cities leading the traction. This could be because e-learning is more widely accepted here thanks to high-speed internet, mobile penetration, awareness of the medium, a digitally savvy audience, and affordability. Markets that are traditionally education hubs also showed greater affinity to the brand. Having said that we will be performing more ATL and BTL activities for more brand awareness.

Q) Branding, Marketing, and advertising have changed their concept due to pandemics. What do you think about the statement?

Earlier, the challenge was to convince the consumer about a particular product by brand. But now companies have to differentiate themselves among others. Several brands are out there serving the same set of products as yours. Today dynamics have changed and so changed the markets. The market is cluttered dealing in the same product and service. In these scenarios, customers will only come when they perceive you as a brand and recognize your strength. So companies want to seem like the biggest brand and this reflects on the kind of media spend they do. To create themselves as a brand better and different than others, companies are buying the best properties across all mediums. They are endorsing through the best celebrities/ influencers whether it is sports, films, or any other product. It is very clear that there is a directional shift to become a brand and we want to get the mindshare which helps in getting market share ultimately.

Q) How is it going to affect the EdTech industry in the long run?

We are witnessing new revolutions occurring every 5-6 years. When demonetization happened a few years back, we weren’t prepared for that. It completely changed the existence of e-wallets. Now this pandemic has changed the dynamics of EdTech industry. People are now very much comfortable with e-learning. I believe blended learning is here to stay. Though there will be challenges with such a large number of players in this sector. This entire sector is going through a revolution with consumers being more educated and selective. It is an exciting phase as we will also learn from this juncture.

” I believe blended learning is here to stay. Though there will be challenges with such a large number of players in this sector. This entire sector is going through a revolution with consumers being more educated and selective.”

Q) As per reports, Digital advertising might overtake television advertising. What is your opinion on this?

Digital advertising is here to stay. In fact, there is no way you can reach a consumer without investing in digital marketing. While building a brand a mix of digital and television is important with a pinch of print advertisement. Digital advertising will dictate the advertisement segment in the future.

Earlier radio and outdoor were also a vital part of advertising. But because of the pandemic, these sectors have been affected, especially outdoor advertising. Later on, brands may want to invest in outdoor in the regional markets. But TV and digital will be the frontrunners even when things get normal.

Q) Based on this report, which medium are you targeting/ focusing on for now or might consider in the future?

In the future, we will go with a mix of both television and digital advertising. As I said already, if you are building a brand at the national level, television and digital should go hand in hand. So we’ll choose a good proportion of TV and digital as a medium.

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Q) What are your marketing strategies in 2021?

It’s a great start for the brand. We were able to pull off the entire TV campaign with a production partner. The execution was spot on and we achieved all our goals. This is a dream for any brand manager especially when you are launching a brand and we managed to do it right at the start of our journey.

The success in our home/pilot market has given confidence that we can replicate the same nationally. The plans for 2021 are aggressive as this is a hot sector and rapidly growing. For the rest of the year, the brand objective is to make Practically known to every Indian household. And eventually, achieve the goal of being the most loved and trusted e-learning brand by Bringing Learning Alive!

Q) Tell us about your expansion plans.

As of now, we have a presence in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. But we are hoping to grow our footprints and expand pan India. We have already started in the markets of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, considering the fact that South and West India would be our main focus for now. The prime cities include Chennai, Bangalore, Mysore, Coimbatore, followed by Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Pune, and Thane. We hope to have grown a significant presence across India by end of the 2021 financial year.




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