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Great Learning places a great bet on the IPL

The ed-tech firm hopes the Virat Kohli ad will help attract new users to its professional courses

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NEW DELHI: The outbreak of Covid2019 has turned out to be a watershed moment for the ed-tech sector, encouraging brands to acquire new subscribers and expand their business verticals. Both professional and school-level courses have witnessed a spurt in takers during the lockdown period.

Currently, all ed-tech players are trying their best to leverage the situation and are focusing heavily on different marketing funnels geared towards new customer acquisition. A recent report revealed that popular Indian ed-tech firms have lined up a massive advertising warchest of Rs 500 crore which is being spent on various media outlets to lure and attract new customers for their courses. 

Ed-tech platform Great Learning has placed a big bet on cricket by signing up with Disney+ Hotstar as a digital sponsor of  the IPL. It launched its first-ever TVC campaign ‘Power Ahead’ in August, highlighting the importance of lifelong learning. The ad film showcases how upskilling in a defined field at the right time can help professionals power ahead in their careers.

In a big win, Great Learning also roped in Virat Kohli as its brand ambassador who has been featuring in a multi-ad campaign based on the ‘Power Ahead’ theme. The ad tagline reads, ‘Jo Seekhta Hai Wahi Aage Badhta Hai (He who learns, forges ahead)’.

Great Learning co-founder Hari Krishnan Nair shares that the "Power Ahead"  campaign is playing out on  digital as well as TV and it will not just be limited to cricket. The ads are set to be  hit  40 national channels across categories such as sports, entertainment, news, and music to expand the ed-tech platform’s reach to new geographies and newer audiences.

Explaining the rationale behind associating with the cricket tournament, Nair describes that the pandemic has fuelled digital and TV viewership, and experts are confident that IPL 2020 will be the most-watched season ever. “Betting on these estimates, we believe this is the right time for us to communicate and consolidate our leadership position through impactful brand communications,”, he says.

Over the last few years, there has seen a shift in how brands assign their budgets to different mediums. Nair explains that IPL will bring the same ROI for brands because its digital viewership will rise multi-fold. “Depending on the audience one is looking to target, one can find the right balance between TV and digital. We feel that ROI will be leading the strategy as everyone will want more bang for their buck.”

While a host of ed-tech players are pushing hard to reach the masses, ad creatives  are helping them break through the clutter. The audience for each one of them is not the same, and Great Learning’s target user comprises working professionals and students. “We believe our message of powering ahead and the relentless pursuit of excellence will resonate with our target audience, especially when delivered by our brand ambassador Virat Kohli. We believe he will encourage learners to chase career excellence and inspire them to achieve their goals through high-quality education provided by Great Learning,” says he.

Over the last six months, the ed-tech firm has seen growth in the learner base on its platform with the launch of the Great Learning academy. There’s been a rise in demand for courses like AI, management, digital marketing, machine learning, cloud computing, and analytics as professionals and students of all hues look to find their footing in the new environment.

The brand has also launched the Great Learning corporate academy for working professionals, and 700+ companies used it within the first month of its launch to train more than 10,000 employees. Some of the biggest names in the industry – Maruti, UST Global, HDFC Life, BPCL, ONGC, BHEL, HPCL, EcomExpress, EXL and Tech Mahindra – have flocked to the service to train their workforce.

Nair shares that the pandemic has reinforced the importance of learning new skills more than ever before and has offered an opportunity to people to test the waters and see if online education works for them. During the lockdown period, the company registered a 5X growth in its learner base. And it’s just getting started.

“We expect the surge to be even bigger over the next few months. It would not be an overstatement to say that the sector is all set to produce multiple unicorn companies over the next few years.”

According to a media report, there was a 200 per cent increase in Great Learning app downloads in the month of April and May.

The seven-year-old ed-tech startup has over 5,00,000 users from 140 countries across its post-graduate programme in FY20. Great Learning claimed that customer satisfaction rates remained over 90 per cent across 45 million hours of learning courses.

It is stepping out from the shadows; hopefully like its brand ambassador Virat,  it will see its efforts being hit out of the park - for a six. 

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