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Aptech hopes facelift will click with GenNext

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Education and skill training major has a new look these days. The company now has a fresh symbol - that of a tiger paw -with a human imprint inside, along with a new tagline - ‘Unleash your potential’.

Aptech launched the rebranding process on the back of findings that the brand was being perceived as outdated and serious. The need for rebranding was also because of the popular perception that Aptech works in the space only.

“We felt that we were being perceived as an old brand. We are a 25-year-old company, but we cater to a young demographic and we realised that the look of the company has to be in sync with the audience we serve,” says Ninad Karpe, MD and CEO, Aptech.

“The idea was to be contemporary and modern so that we appeared more appealing to students. Also, the new campaign had to reflect the company’s identity as more than a computer training institution,” Karpe says. Besides computer education, the company now has offerings in verticals like language training and aviation.

After the reorganisation, all verticals come under the Aptech umbrella brand name.

“The strategy is keyed into the fact that there will be a lot of focus on the development of international operations,” Karpe explains.

At present, Aptech has 825 training and education centres in India, along with 270 centres in China and 150 centres in other foreign countries. The company wants to open over 100 more centres this fiscal. Also Aptech operates in a total of 40 emerging and developing countries at present.

Aptech, which is BSE-listed, plans to shore up the contribution of international business to its overall revenue from the current 35 per cent to 50 per cent by 2015. Currently, 75 per cent of Aptech’s ‘190 crore revenues come from the retail segment.

Interestingly, the entire promotional campaign was undertaken only at the digital level. The company depended on a microblogging website and a Facebook page to arrive at the final logo design.

“We decided that the logo change would be run past consumers. So a microblogging website was set up and we announced that if the new logo got more dislikes, we would revert to the old logo. However, within 20 days we have almost 17,000 people liking the logo,” says Shrutidhar Paliwal, Vice President.

The rebranding, however, excludes the company’s flagship computer training brands Arena Multimedia and the recently acquired (MAAC).

According to Aptech, the idea is to have a two brand strategy under which both Arena and MAAC get heritage brand specification.

A heritage brand is one that has a big consumer base with a strong brand recall capacity, having its basis in track record, core values and particularly in the belief that the brand on its own has history which is of significance.

“Both MAAC and Arena have a strong brand connect and consumer identification capabilities on their own. Also, both have their own positioning. They do not need the Aptech support”, Karpe said.

Analysts however raise doubts about the success potential - if not the very feasibility of such a strategy - given the fact that there is a certain overlap in the target audience for both brands.

“This might not be the right strategy if two brands are created which fight with each other in the same target audience space,” said Krunal Mehta, Vice-President, branding, and corporate communication at Angel Broking.

According to Mehta, this kind of a strategy sees a measure of success only when two brands are catering to different audience groups. A classic example is various Hindustan Unilever brands under the mother brand.

Aptech executives argue that while the consumer base at MAAC and Arena does have some overlap, the offerings are quite different.

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