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Mobile CompatibilityThe world has gone mobile, literally speaking! How mobile? Stats suggest that the bulk of the Internet traffic, including browsing, happens through mobile devices like smartphones, phablets, and tablets. And that gap is seriously widening, seriously fast. This is what the distribution currently looks like:

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Data source: gs.statcounter.com

For education institutes, the implications are clear. Their websites need to be mobile compatible – which means they (1) have to be configured to be viewed optimally on a mobile device and (2) be viewed quickly.

We would have thought that universities in India have solved this issue – since more than 50% of their website traffic comes from mobile devices.

However, a recent analysis on Google tool – University Mobile Web Rankings at https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/ – suggests that Indian universities are seriously lagging behind on the metrics for mobile compatibility of their websites!

Google suggests two metrics: (1) Mobile Friendliness and (2) Mobile Speed Score. And Indian universities are found to lag behind their US counterparts.

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Even in cases where a university scores reasonably well on the mobile usability scale, it most likely scores very low on speed …
… when compared with global benchmarks …
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… or with desktop website versions

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In the analysis by E-Squared, 76 out of the 84 Indian university websites analysed scored below the globally accepted minimum of 85 on mobile speed.

Given the erratic data speeds achieved on mobile devices, it is vital that websites offer not just accessibility and readability, but also ease of loading. You wonder how vital is speed of loading?

Consider this fact: As page load time increases from 1 second to 10 seconds, the probability of the user leaving the website increases 123%! After all, alternatives are always available.

To check how your institute website fares, log on to mobilespeedranking.com/
Google will also provide a free report suggesting how to improve speed and compatibility on mobile devices.

About E-Squared

E-Squared is an innovative digital media firm with direct focus on the education sector.

Working with top-tier education institutions in India, E-Squared delivers high-impact results in digital branding, online PR, content creation, design, student recruitment, and alumni and corporate engagement.

Actively tuned to the wants and needs of the younger generation, E-Squared has been instrumental in helping education institutes in India to recruit students using digital media methodologies and mediums.

E-Squared was recognised as the ‘Most Innovative Digital Media Agency’ in 2015 at Indian Management Conclave for adopting leading and innovative ideas to break through the clutter in digital space.

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Ed branding
Education institutions are increasingly facing competition to acquire quality students. The usual response has been to opt for traditional forms of branding and marketing:

• New logo and new-look website
• Bigger print and digital ad spending
• Hiring full-time marketing head and team, tele-callers, and others

Result? Almost abysmal.

Institutions and marketing teams investing in these initiatives have usually come out with dismal reports, failing to derive any meaningful outcome.

Honestly, haven’t we already heard enough of the tall claims of 100% placement, best global faculty, #futureproof, #classroomtoboardroom, industry exposure, and all of that by almost every second education institution?

So, is it safe to assume that marketing for education institution, the way we have known it, is dead? The answer is both Yes and No.

If you are aware of the trends, a new form of branding and marketing has been taking shape for a while now. The approach is simple. Almost like going back to the tried-and-tested technique of spreading a message via people who have been there, done that. It is about telling your brand story, consistently, through your own stakeholders.

How does this work:

(1) Think Holistically

Here major stakeholders –students, faculty members, and the alumni – get included in the brand building process. Not that simple. For instance, quite often we hear faculty members of an institution refusing to take to the social media to showcase their thought leadership and passion for teaching or to engage in mentorship conversation with students. This requires a cultural change!ir passion for teaching or engage in mentorship conversation with their students. This requires a cultural change!

(2) Encourage Participation

Students and alumni, whose lives have been transformed by the institution, don’t shy away from sharing instances of how the institution has positively influenced them or provided an amazing learning environment. For instance, the Twitter campaign by SPJIMR alumni – #iamspjimr – has trended nationally.

SPJIR, twitter trending

The ‘stories’ from these stakeholders are not casually brushed off as marketing tricks. The ‘stories’ create an ‘imagined world’ for prospective candidates.

Here it is vital to create the right enabling environment for alumni and student participation.

Let’s take the case of an institution which managed to do this. When Dr. C.N. Narayana became the Director of Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies (KIAMS) in early 2015, he faced a daunting task – the Harihar-based institution was facing fierce external competition and was not able to fill its 180 PGDM seats. Dr. Narayana quickly set things in motion. He decided to stay away from the traditional approach to branding – he refrained from expensive advertising, expanding the admissions team, getting new logo, etc. Instead, he used his own social media assets to highlight the legacy of the Kirloskar brand: achievements, student life, faculty accolades, initiatives being introduced by his team, and so on. Soon faculty members joined him, followed by students and the proud alumni. Gradually KIAMS was able to bring about a cultural shift to create a strong ecosystem of brand ambassadors out of each one of its stakeholders. They came forward to happily share, via social media, their transformational experience at KIAMS. Result? KIAMS closed the window to its 180 PGDM admissions by March, with 100+ students in the waitlist. How about the Cost per Lead (CPL)? Well, with a mechanism like that in place, insignificant.

So, words of advice for all institutions considering spending more on advertising, logos, and new websites: pause, reflect, and rethink. The new approach to brand building will take slightly longer to implement and would require a cultural change within the institution. But once you build this formidable culture, there is no looking back!

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Gunjan Aggarwal, co-founder of Esquared Inc. has been selected for the “WOMEN SUPER ACHIEVER AWARD” by the WORLD HRD CONGRESS, which will celebrate its 25TH SILVER JUBILEE YEAR IN 2017.

The award will be presented at the Congress’ celebratory event on 17 February, 2017 at Taj Lands End, Mumbai. Sponsored by Femina, the objective of this significant evening is to recognize and honor the potential of ideal women leadership both in national and global context. The Award recognizes individuals in various award categories with the further objective of benchmarking talent & HR practices.

Previously, Gunjan has also received the ‘50 Most Talented Social Media Professionals of India’ citation from the prestigious CMO Asia & Youth Marketing Forum. This honor is meant for a Digital & Social Media Leader, mentor and master collaborator whose work has earned them exceptional repute, and whose contributions, ingenuity and commitment pushed Social Media to new levels of excellence through outstanding achievements.

About the World HRD Congress 2017:

The Congress will be an Executive Level Retreat in which participants will review Evolving Trends in HRM that could change their paradigm on leading people at work. It would provide an opportunity to acquire skills to maximize competencies and become a more knowledgeable contributor in the organization. Besides networking opportunities, the conference offers unique in-depth approaches to understanding important workplace issues that affect an organization’s viability in today’s fast-paced business environment. The WORLD HRD CONGRESS is governed by Global Advisory Council which guides the strategic intent of the congress to its logical success.

About E-squared

Esquared is an innovative digital media firm with a direct focus on the educational sector. Working with top-tier educational institutes throughout India, E-Squared delivers high-impact results in digital branding, online PR, content creation, design, student recruitment, alumni and corporate engagement. Actively attuned to the wants and needs of the younger generation, E-Squared has been instrumental in helping educational institutes in India to recruit students using digital media methodologies and mediums, such as Facebook and Twitter.

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Gunjan Aggarwal, Co-founder of E-squared was a panellist at Shiv Nadar University (SNU), School of Management & Entrepreneurship’s (SME’s) Annual Management fest MOQSH 2016.

The CorpTalk 2016 event was held at SNU’s campus on 20 November, 2016. The topic of the panel discussion was “How business today is changing and how their organisation is responding to the change”. The other panellists apart from Ms. Aggarwal were Apurva Chamaria, VP and Head Corporate Marketing HCL, Ravi Swaroop, Principal, Bain Consulting, and Mr Kamal, Entrepreneur. Dr Shubro Sen moderated the discussion.

In relation to the topic on hand, Ms. Aggarwal spoke about how the definition of an office for a business is changing in light of the prevalence of the sharing economy. Apart from highlighting many interesting trends in freelancing or on-demand work, she also spoke about her experience in running Esquared Inc. using shared experts in the areas of content, technology, and design. She also spoke about the evolution of Design Thinking and how it helps to understand and develop creative ways to solve specific business oriented issues.

The panel discussion provided participants with many interesting insights into how students should be adapting to the changing business environment of today. The gathered experts discussed how students need to be more careful about choosing career paths given the prevailing volatility as well as dynamic career paths that are available. Organisations on their part have to learn to deal with volatility. With the kind of opportunities that suddenly present themselves and disappear just as suddenly, businesses may need to change business models at a very fast pace. In light of this, the skills that will be most valuable are creativity, innovation and execution.

While taking advantage of new opportunities, the importance of the right values in selling were also discussed. This is especially relevant in light of the kind of frauds that the corporate world has been seeing lately. An ethical, consumer centric approach to business that creates the right customer experience is a timeless recipe to success was the conclusion of the discussion.

The discussion proved valuable by providing real world insights for attending faculty members, SME administration, and students.

About Gunjan Aggarwal

Gunjan Aggarwal is the co-founder of E-Squared. A teacher at heart, Gunjan has been invited to train online editors for Times of India and performed multiple workshops for executives in digital media analytics. Additionally, Gunjan is the co-founder of the 9.9 School of Convergence, India’s top-rated College of Journalism. While there, she has been instrumental in launching India’s first Post Graduate Diploma in Digital Media Communication.

Gunjan is a Chartered Accountant and MBA from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. She has worked in advisory roles for Arthur Anderson and Citibank and helped assist Fortune 500 companies to develop business strategies for entering the Indian market. She has also served as a consultant for the Indian School of Business and helped the institution to establish its Corporate Relationship team for North India.

Gunjan has received the ‘50 Most Talented Social Media Professionals of India’ citation from the prestigious CMO Asia & Youth Marketing Forum. This honor is meant for a Digital & Social Media Leader, mentor and master collaborator whose work has earned them exceptional repute, and whose contributions, ingenuity and commitment pushed Social Media to new levels of excellence through their outstanding achievements.

About E-squared

Esquared is an innovative digital media firm with a direct focus on the educational sector. Working with top-tier educational institutes throughout India, E-Squared delivers high-impact results in digital branding, online PR, content creation, design, student recruitment, alumni and corporate engagement. Actively attuned to the wants and needs of the younger generation, E-Squared has been instrumental in helping educational institutes in India to recruit students using digital media methodologies and mediums, such as Facebook and Twitter.

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E-squared is an award-winning firm that specializes in education consulting and digital and content marketing.

Typically, our client’s reach out to us to help them create stronger digital brands and engagement with their TGs. Their goal, and ours, is to ideate, strategize, conceptualize, design and execute campaigns that engage students more effectively.

JD – Social Media and Content Marketing Associate

This is one of the most important profiles for E-squared. We expect this person to be somewhat of a wizkid:

  • Be mature enough to interact and impress vice-chancellors and directors at universities with your knowledge of what is happening in the education sector, marketing and social media
  • Be cool enough to connect with college students to come up with creative solutions for digital marketing campaigns. Say, ideating, planning and executing a student-featured video, which can go viral on social media or a Facebook campaign!
  • Be a humble team player. We understand that it’s not possible to have all the digital marketing expertise with one person, so you will be working with senior journalists, seasoned coders, and cool designers to let your digital marketing campaigns see the light of day.
  • Have a sense of design and revel in writing. These are the two most important survival skills at E-squared. Can you critique two design pieces? Would Red go better than Blue? Do you enjoy reading and can you easily differentiate a well-written article? Do you like struggling till you come up with an engaging Twitter or Facebook copy?
  • Have a keen eye for detail. Design and content are as much about creativity as they are about spotting the finer points. Unfortunately, this talent you either have or you don’t and we test it in the interview stage!
  • Be driven by creativity. We swear by creativity. We feel creativity is one percent inspiration and ninety nine percent hard work!
  • Be open to traveling. Our clients span the breadth and length of the country. Be open to sit at the beach and taste some yummy seafood, or taste the favorite picks of students across various cities.
  • Additional skills that will also be handy at E-squared: Photography, Videography, Designing, Coding, Copy-editing, Blogging, Cooking, and, among others, watching the Friday release first.
  • Ideal Work-experience: 0 – 5 years

To know more about us, visit: www.esquared.in

Do send in your resume to gunjan@esquared.in or call +91 9717999612

Working @ E-squared

We promise that our work culture is unlike one that you would have experienced before – it may not necessarily be better, but it is different.  As founders, we are not sticklers for processes, we don’t monitor office timings, and we are big advocates of delegation. But we like our team members to surprise us with out-of-the-box thinking, creating something interesting out of the mundane and being one up on client expectations.

We have grown fast, but we have resisted increasing our team size and we outsource a lot of our work. So, anyone we hire in the firm is quite special and we expect them to make a real difference.

 


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Which is that first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Apple? Innovation, isn’t it? What would it be when you think of Gucci? Style. Mercedes? Dependability. So what do you want your aspirants to think when they hear your school’s name?

Of course the USP of the school… and how do you ensure that happens? By showcasing it meaningfully and strategically.

With the admissions season hitting once again, make sure your Admissions campaign is strongly anchored on what you think you want to highlight about your school. The world should know your USP, constructively.

SCMS Cochin School of Business, after undertaking a brainstorming session, narrowed down on an important theme – How Academic Rigour was leading to Placements for its students. That was there theme for 2014 admissions. They kept this campaign consistent in all mediums of communication. They named it as #AcademicRigour @SCMC Cochin

Check below for illustration:

Facebook post on theme- #AcademicRigour @SCMC Cochin

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Emailer on #AcademicRigour @SCMS Cochin

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Placements Landing Page on @AcademicRigour @SCMS Cochin

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Text e-mail high on visual appeal are the answer!

Text e-mail high on visual appeal are the answer!

Disappointed with a low Open-rate on your e-mailer campaign? Even when you know your admissions team is using Genuine database of CAT/XAT/CMAT / GMAT test takers?

E-mailer campaigns can give you the best results. But it is important to know how to do them correctly!
The story of e-mailers can clearly be described as one that of rise, fall and rise again. In 2009, when bulk text e-mailers entered the market, education institutes made it an instant favorite. Soon, institutes graduated to e-mails high on graphics as they told by their agencies that aspirants will only open and respond to emails that are visually appealing. But then every institute started doing the same.

The fall-out has been that most institutes now get very low open rates on their e-mails. Graphic e-mailers have been giving the following problems:

• Many of them would just not open being wrongly coded
• Smartphone users (in the Indian context) often do not have internet plan to support such high data consumption
• Another lot failed to catch attention because of poor designs and awful photo-shop
• Few of them clearly went bizarre (or may I say, astray?)
• Most of them had the same clichéd message to send, over and over again
• Remaining, became victim of utter boredom

Few reported as low as 0.2% open-rate.

So what’s the smart way of doing e-mailer campaigns?

In 2014, e-mailers are again showing potential of giving the best results. Here is how:
Some phenomenal successful e-mailer campaigns recently indicate that the solution is: Smartly designed text mailers. These mailers have texts designed in such ways that they look graphic designs as a whole.

While you go about designing the e-mailer strategy for your upcoming admissions cycle, refer to few samples that have received huge open rates in the higher educational domain:

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How do we know we are speaking the right things?

How do we know we are speaking the right things?

Of course you and I know what potential lies in Social Media sphere today. Just right now, more than 70% of your aspirants are browsing their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blog, Google+ accounts, simple trying to figure out who is “happening” in the education space. Time you get down to design your social media engagement, prudently.

Every school is on the social media space- bragging and boasting about themselves. So how do you keep your head above the water at this point of time? Make sure your social media post meets the “triple E” test:

1. Is it educational?
2. Is it entertaining?
3. Does it prompt engagement?

Once your posts meet the criterion of these three, they are bound to hit the nail in the correct place.