Scaling people for a #SuperApp
Everything we did to market GOJEK’s Super App in India to hire the best talent in the country
This post details out some of the mediums we used to brand and market GOJEK’s Super App in India — a country without a product presence, but the best engineering talent available.
You can read the first part of this story here.
Breaking down our assets
We wanted to ‘launch’ the campaign with something that was cocky, arrogant and had to explain our size.
The Super App video was done in collaboration with two important people. An agency, who worked on the animation. They were incredible. A kick-ass narrator with whom I co-wrote the script. This was the most challenging part of all. We needed the voice to be spot on. It had to convey arrogance, attitude, a character that has the voice of a snob — because hey, you can’t ever built this. Not now, not ever. 😈
The video and the script went through a dozen iterations. It wasn’t easy. Collaboration never is. But the final output was pretty spot on. I can always nitpick, I wanted a few things differently, but overall, the love we got for the video was 🔥.
Considering we don’t have a product, we couldn’t really ‘launch’ anything. With some help from YourStory, we decided to have an event that would act as a launchpad of sorts. But if we were doing this, we had to do it GOJEK style.
What does that mean? It needs to be unique, out of the box, fun, interesting and unconventional. So… We put a 10-foot cardboard archway of superheroes, we built a custom-VR game, we distributed SuperApp T-shirts and built a concept maze of a stall with the GOJEK story. We were LIVE.
Fun fact: The illustrator who worked on the cutout lost all the files 14-hours before the event. We had to recreate everything from scratch. Ah, what fun. Not. 😂
The VR-game was built in about 15 days. We’ll now have a special GOJEK VR game at every conference we visit, adding some element of fun in the dozen+ conferences we attend.
We also had a bunch of interesting hoardings we displayed in airports, buses…
At this point, I must add — our entire campaign was structured to increase and improve GOJEK’s brand awareness. We wanted people to know GOJEK first, but we also wanted to emphasise how engineering is cherished here.
Some of our ads are intentionally geeky and can only be understood by a few — and that’s alright. We want engineers, and even if some don’t get it, but are curious enough to research it, we hit the sweet spot of people we want to work with.
The Mythical Man month hoarding, the Clojure hoarding with open parentheses are all meant only for a few. The majority might not get it, but that was a conscious call and one I personally stick by. You don’t always have to pander to the lowest denominator in a campaign, and if you want to make EVERYONE happy, you might as well not do any creative work 😉
Before we ran these campaigns we beta-tested every medium with super small amounts, from multiple radio channels to DailyHunt, InShorts, Uber ads in cars etc… This gave us a good sense of what works, what’s likely to do well etc… Overall, it was elaborate, exhaustive and we were finally able to pull it off.
But, what next? Results?
At the start of building this out, we wanted to ditch the usual vanity metrics. Impressions, views, shares, comments — these are all elements that can be bought by pouring gasoline over money. Our metrics were entirely different.
We looked at 2 key ones: Cost Per Developer Resume (CPD) and Cost Per Hire (CPH). As of now, our pipeline looks pretty insane and we’ve been able to get some interesting folks to apply to us. What’s important: Track these numbers and see how effective our marketing spends are.
On the day we kick-started the campaign: Radio-silence. All the hardwork was done. It was an uneventful week. The next week — I packed my bags to Uttrakhand for a trek. That was a bare one week into our biggest ever campaign in Bangalore. How? I was that confident that it was done and dusted. Now it was time to sit back and see how this takes shape.
I was fortunate to be given the complete control and autonomy to do creative work — for this, a big shout out to Sidu Ponnappa. You’ll find many preachers on twitter, very few practitioners. Sidu once tweeted this out:
This entire campaign was possible because of the Reverse-Spiderman rule. Sidu cut down all barriers and trusted us with work, then took up the battle of fighting for finances, approvals, keeping the cynics and nitpickers at bay.
We moved fast and made this all happen. And for that, you need to be lucky enough to have a boss that trusts you enough to see it through. To others without good bosses: Good luck, you’ll need it. 🤪
Before I end this long rant, if you’re ever curious to know what the RoI on all of this was, watch this space. Safe to say this: We painted Bangalore green and when we put a job ad in buses, tech parks, cycle stands, we got frantic calls from companies complaining to builders and vendors to remove some of our ads. Yeah, true story. 😂
Special thanks to important people who guided, helped us: Piotr — For his guidance and eye to detail, Kartik — Who wrote the GOJEK Clojure code for two of the ads, VJ Anand — Who pushed us to close things, hustled with us and helped us nail the video, the Magikbox team — Our external design agency (Special call out to Amritha who has designed everything for us and is an absolute rockstar), the Tenet team — who manages internal comms and is ever so patient with all our whims. Fantasy Factory Films — Who made a killer video. Team YourStory — Who pushed us ‘launch’ the campaign (Special thanks to Alok), Larry and Team — Built a one of a kind walktrough maze overnight, Team AutoVrse — Who made a gorgeous VR game.