Established in June 2017, LiftUp Marketing has carved out a niche for itself in the sphere of advertising in residential elevators. The company claims to be the country’s first entrant in this field, and has paved a new dimension in the world of advertising. The concept was almost unknown in India of which LiftUp took leverage and decided to channelise its resources in this regard. The idea was to reach out to a large base of target audience by captive advertisement with the aim of unparalleled brand recall. It is a brand new venture from the owners of the Sunrise Retail Group of Vasundhara at Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.
The idea turned out to be a success in just one and a half years as Lift Up emerged as a great way of promoting the image of a brand through the unique concept of lift or elevator advertisement. To find out more on the concept and its evolution, we at, Sign & POP World met Tanuj Garg, the brain behind the company, who was later joined by his brother-in-law, Shivam Dharohar Garg to support him in the business. With this belief that they have created an important link between the business and the customers, ensuring brand loyalty and recognition, the duo shared their journey and success story. The excerpts are here to follow:
How did this idea originate in your mind?
The concept is not entirely new. It is already there in commercial spaces including malls, but was yet to be introduced in residential societies. I experienced this for the first time while I was abroad, which I decided to replicate in India. As of now, we are the only service providers of lift advertisement in various regions of Delhi-NCR including Indirapuram, Vaishali, Vasundhara, Noida etc., reaching out to more than one lakh people.
How did you materialise this concept?
With only a rough blueprint in my mind, I started working on the concept in June 2017. Initially, I went for a market survey exploring ways to enter into this business. There were a lot of challenges as we did not have a base and we didn’t know what all to talk about. In the process, we had to tackle guards, maintenance offices in residential societies by explaining the concept to manager, and finally convincing him to get a breakthrough to the RWA.
On my way forward, I faced a lot of questions, to which we ourselves did not have the responses. At one point of time, I almost gave up considering that it will not be a dream come true. However, the businessman within didn’t allow me to rest and provoked me not to let the opportunity go. Though we already have an established business in the name of Sunrise, I wanted to start something new and innovative. I picked up again from where I left, and this time with full determination. Finally, we got contracts from two societies, which gave a push to our morale and we got motivated to take it ahead.
What do you offer to these societies and brands?
Once convinced, we normally pay the societies a lump-sum amount for a year in lieu of advance booking. For brands, we suggest them to offer something extra or exclusive to the residents of that particular society. As we all know, a lift is a place devoid of mobile network, and therefore, there isn’t much to do for commuters who on an average spend two minutes in lifts on a daily basis. Since the ads remain there for a minimum of 30 days, it brings much higher recall than the road side hoardings.
Why do you think it is better than the roadside hoardings?
Hoardings on the road side are seen hardly for a few seconds, which is not enough to read the text or the offers highlighted therein. However, one can’t avoid to see an ad in the lift at least for the time she/he is in it, which obviously is more than 30 seconds. Also, the space is very limited and bars the commuters to take away their eyesight anywhere else. So, for brands wanting to send across a particular message or showcase their offers, lift is a very good medium. It is almost like the brand is sitting within the house of the target customer, and it guarantees response. You place an ad today, and the response is there by the evening, especially for food brands.
What is the size of the ad and how do you get them glued to the lifts’ walls?
We use high-quality double-sided tape to fix it as the frame is very lightweight. Earlier, we used to apply sunboard on the back of the frame for gluing purpose, which was only adding to the weight of the frame. So, we are improving the quality of the output with each passing day. Now, we use four screws to keep the print fixed to the frame. Earlier, we used to print 12×18, which has now been extended measuring 13×19. Usually we design the ads ourselves and if the brand has its own ad, we just edit it a bit.
How has the experience been so far?
It was more like an adventurous one as there came quite a few ups and downs. In the first instance, we installed frames in the lifts, most of which got broken the very next day. It was a severe setback and we started introspecting. After that we decided to upgrade the frames from wooden to aluminium.
What is the next in terms of improvement?
We are exploring ways, for instance, to digitise the boards. For this, we are looking at quality lighting products that can last long. Also, we are trying to grab a few ads from the Government side. Moving ahead, we now plan to offer hoardings to be put over the gates of the societies. Though, it’s not new, but we want to diversify based on our contacts in these societies. This is simply because brands today ask for a complete promotional package that includes hoardings, TVCs, print ads, etc. besides lift advertising.
What is the minimum duration for the ads?
We normally take the project for 15 days but the clients want to go for 30 days. Moreover, it is also difficult for us to replace ads after every fortnight. Even when we get a deal for two months, we offer or rather insist the brand to change the visual after a month with some changes in design or another product of the same company, for which we charge very nominal. For our clients, our motto is to make things cost-effective and help them get better response rate. For this, we ask the brands to offer something special for the residents of that particular society. Brands sometimes give unique codes, using which the members of that society avail the discount, which eventually help the brands count their recalls and responses from that particular society.
What challenges did you come across?
The challenges were bigger than anticipated. One such challenge was to ensure that the ads stay in the lifts at least for a month. The printed material we use is good quality paper, but even then, there is a possibility of it getting torn. To keep it safe, we apply flexible covering to avoid any kind of distortion. Taking more steps to remain on the safer side, we added screws in the frame so that it doesn’t open and print doesn’t get distorted.
Another challenge was to manage the ads. It was actually very tough as being residential societies, there are kids who might break the frames or scratch the prints. This leads us to take extra care. Eventually, we included it in our routine to make at least two visits in a week to these societies, especially where there’s no CCTV installed in the lifts.
Since then it’s a successful journey, except for a few cases of breakage here and there. Today, we have been associated with over 120 societies offering more than 1400 lifts for the purpose.
Which kinds of brands are using this medium?
This is good for both – big brands to reach to their target audience and smaller/local brands which can’t afford to put a hoarding or even distribute pamphlets. Lift branding facilitates them to create a brand image without incurring much investment. Being scaled down to about 70p to one rupee per day for any brand, it emerges out to be the most cost-effective way to promote. Even leafleting costs around Rs.2 – Rs.2.5 per day with no guarantee of returns.
What are the categories of brands you do the ads for?
Generally, food brands are getting the highest response rate. Brands like Zomato, Dominos, Pind Baluchi, Swiggy, Yellow Chilli, etc. have repetitive ads with us. Besides, there are renowned brands including Titan, Raymond, Apollo, SBI, More, Sanfort, Jawed Habib, Shree Rathnam, Sleepwell, Chroma, VIP etc. which have been making good use of this platform for enhancing their brand recall.
How do you offer them the area/society for advertising?
As I mentioned, most of the ads are localised and are designed for that particular society. For now, we have an inventory of more than 1400 lifts in 120 societies. It is, therefore, up to the client as in which area(s) he wants to advertise. Usually, promotion is done in two ways – either the company wants to promote one of its showrooms located in that particular vicinity or it wants to advertise its brand(s), and accordingly goes on selecting the societies and number of lifts for the purpose. For instance, brands like Zomato and Swiggy advertise in about 700 lifts.
What about the expansion of the market?
We are getting emails from southern region including Kerala, Karnataka, etc., while we are yet to expand our wings in north India. For now, apart from Delhi NCR, we want to explore residential societies in cities like Jaipur. Recently, we have added Delhi to our list of target audience and now we are looking forward to opportunities in Gurugram.
What about competition?
Though we are the pioneers, a couple of rivals have entered the fray of late. These new players are not doing it properly and effectively. They are simply spoiling the concept. For instance, if any ad gets distorted, these new players do not take pain to replace it. This way, they are unable to maintain and thus fail to meet the promises. This is creating trouble for us as when we approach the same brand, we face a lot of questions about the credibility of this medium. We are very careful about expanding our clientele.
Where do you see the brand Lift-Up in two years from now?
We want to give your brand a lift. My father always said that name should define you or justify your work. We want to encompass 300 kms area from Delhi NCR. Accordingly, we are targeting areas with a minimum number of 200 lifts within the radius of two kilometers.