ibibo: bucketful of success?

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The ibibo commercials seem to evoke a mixed response: either you hate them or hate them a lot!

Most of my friends’ reaction is ‘yuck’ or a squint of the nose. ‘Balti’ (a bucket) as a concept (someone who does not talk) is very ‘dilli’ and may not be understood by all. A lot of bloggers have also panned it. But lets look at the larger picture – they have achieved brand salience in double quick time. Today, ibibo is a familiar brand name in India…forget the actual usage for a minute. Yes, they had to invest huge amounts in media and take the expensive route, but I think it has paid off. You can watch the commercials here.

A lot of social networking brands have been built on the strength of a good product, smart use of viral marketing and loads of luck. For every Google or Facebook which have grown without spending anything on paid media, there are several virtually unknown brands on the net which have adopted a similar approach. A good, differentiated product is also not a guarantee for success. There have been several document sharing (which is a great idea) brands on the net that have not got the momentum that others have. Also, building a brand on the back of viral marketing has a possible downside: it is a slow burn approach. It takes a lot of time to build momentum and hype.

The real test for ibibo comes now. Having crossed the hurdle of brand salience they now have to make it appealing and sticky. Apart from blogs which is a plain vanilla product they have interesting products in sawaal (Questions) and photo sharing. Even in blogs, they seem to have roped in Ravi Shastri who blogged from Australia and doubled up to answer your sawaals.

ibibo has the potential to be huge success in India. Or will they become a bucket case…I mean, a basket case?

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