Media Samosa traces the journey of Your-Space to understand how they built a brand that caters to college students looking out for accommodation, a key factor in deciding higher education prospects.
Living in a place that feels like home is an important aspect of a student’s growth when they move out for higher education. Economic challenges and safety concerns are major decisive factors.
“After undertaking in-depth research, we realised that students were either forced to stay on-campus accommodation that didn’t meet their requirements or at a locally run paying guest accommodation, which is typically operated by the family residing at that house,” says Karan Kaushish, Co-founder and Head of Marketing, Your-Space.
Thus began the journey of Your-Space.
Begin at research
In January 2016, Your-Space team conducted market research, conducting surveys across colleges, hostels and PGs to understand the requirements of a student. Demographics were mapped and requisite buildings that fit the bill were identified over several months. The process was led by the promoters, who then hired personnel for key roles, developed SOPs and launched the brand. Eventually, the first hostel was ready in 2016. The next step executed by the team was to get into a tie-up with a college.
The delight factor
The experience a brand provides to the consumers is the most important aspect of marketing for it leads to word-of-mouth promotions as well. This is extremely important in the case of students hostels as the stakeholders involved tend to trust testimonials the most. On their end, Your-Space tries to match the residents with fellows who are pursuing the same course and have tie-ups with nearby emergency amenities to create affinity for the brand. In the digital world, they have launched a Your-Space app where consumers can check tailor-made insurance programs.
Engagement and leads
When it comes to leads, the website works best for Your-Space, followed by the brand’s Facebook page. Students typically search using keywords when they are looking for accommodation. This is the most effective way to push relevant content pertaining to the student community, testimonials and property photographs. For Your-Space, conversations are driven best via Google Adverts, Facebook and Blogs. Most queries revolve around pricing and amenities and prospective clients are directed to the website where they can sign up for trials and scheduled visits.
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The brand’s multi-phased marketing plan comprises of flyers, adverts, movie promotions, contests, free auto rides from metro stations to the hostel, pick and drop from the college, marketing at colleges via existing consumer base, referral programs, hoardings, mass emailers and strategic tie-ups. Your-Space has a tie-up with Sugarbox that gives the student residents access to video content they may otherwise find an exuberant spend. A tie-up with a movie like Super 30 was a relevant part of their brand communication.
Learn from experience
It is important to look at existing brands to learn from their stories of scaling up. Kaushik tells us about the key lesson takeaways from the Your-Space experience:
- Drive home your brand’s message and the core values you have set for your company. For us, these were safety, comfort, community and health. We wanted to add value to the way students live when they study away from home.
- Create a strong vision statement that convinces consumers that your brand would be a game-changer. We knew that parents trusted local PGs. Hence, we instilled confidence in parents to trust us with their children.
- Add value to the sector you are entering as a brand. We tried to bring credibility and standardization to a previously unorganised sector.
- Understand the audiences that you are catering to. The parents are our clients for they fund their child’s stay at the facility. However, the student is equally an important client to us.