Stone Soup: Harnessing Consumer Insights to Forge Effective Strategies in a Digital World

Disha Vaswani, Pranay Morarka & Rahil Sayed,Co-FoundersIn today's world, the success of marketing is determined by a company's ability to connect with a consumer with the right message, at the right time, and at the right place. Digital marketing has fundamentally transformed the way businesses reach out to their audiences to influence purchase decisions. Organizations that had not jumped onto the digital bandwagon prior to Covid-19, were quick to realise that they had missed a trick! 2016 was one of the turning points for the Indian digital ecosystem, with the launch of Jio and the implementation of Demonetization, India had quickly transformed into one of the world's largest digital economies. With the prospect of 1 Billion new customers (most of whom were largely untouched by branded communication), there was a flurry of Multinationals that entered India too.

Amidst all these changes in the media landscape, corporations have constantly been on the lookout for partners to help them navigate through these unchartered waters. While the benefits of digital marketing are easy to identify, finding the right approach to avail them is easier said than done.

With traditional agencies, consultancies, digital agencies and a host of tech startups claiming to have the best formula to succeed, companies can often be left dizzy about whom to partner up with. Moreover, companies are on the lookout for partners that possess a holistic understanding of the workings of a business, and not just marketing.

Enter Stone Soup, a creative solutions agency offering fully integrated solutions to their clients. Founded in 2018 by three college friends who loved problem solving and storytelling, Stone Soup ensures that both the form and function of a campaign is taken care of. The agency develops objective driven strategies based on behavioral insights, and backed by creative ideas. Stone Soup takes on every kind of project within the marketing gamut from Branding & Identity, Brand Strategies (Digital, Social or 360°), Social
Media Management, Growth Hacking Campaigns, Media Planning & Buying, Content Writing, Design and even Production.

Stone Soup ensures that their clients perceive them as partners instead of vendors by bringing research and data to the table. The team ensures that the first step is inevitably defining a clear brief document, often working alongside clients to chart out objectives depending on the stage of the company. They start by speaking directly to prospective consumers to understand their relationship with the category, followed by dissecting the competition, listing out benchmarks to emulate and finally, charting out a clear way forward for the client. "Our starting point is always the consumer. The research and analysis that we bring to the table, ensures that we're bringing objectivity to a subjective field. Only if you empathize with a consumer, can you really influence their behavior and create effective content," signifies Rahil Sayed, Co-Founder at Stone Soup.

Problem Solving through Creativity
Brand communication has gone from being a creative playground to a strategic one, given the fact that there are so many brands and content creators. Every platform is getting saturated with content, brands require a laser like focus on each piece of content, as every company is fast realizing that it isn't just a quantity game anymore. Any message that a brand communicates has to have a reason to go out, there needs to be an answer to the why along with the what.

Stone soup develops objective driven strategies based on behavioral insights, and backed by creative ideas

Disha Vaswani, Co-Founder at Stone Soup, highlights how a deep understanding of the consumer and the category can lead to campaigns that truly affect the bottom line for businesses.

"During the launch of a Niacinamide Serum for Dot & Key, an emerging skincare brand, we knew that both men and women conduct a lot of research before applying any new product to their face. And so, every campaign in the category ended up focusing on product ingredients along with its benefits. This led to extremely undifferentiated communication in the category. Taking this insight, we flipped the formula on its head! Through a series of blind influencer tests, a product with a hidden label and a limited edition pre- launch sale, we introduced hype into the market. By not revealing any information about the product, we unleashed the curiosity of our audience. Not only did we sell out 100 bottles during the pre-launch phase in under 18 minutes, when we finally unveiled the serum, we had a captive audience waiting to buy it. It became the highest selling SKU on Nykaa for 3 consecutive days."

Stone Soup also works with various initiatives and NGOs such as Coexist by Alia Bhatt, Here Comes the Sun by Shaheen Bhatt, World For All and Mahindra Open Drive (A Philanthropic Music Festival where all the proceeds were donated to charities). "One of our goals for Stone Soup has always been to drive cultural change. We want to ensure that our skill sets can be utilized to impact the world for the better. So far we're pretty pleased with our progress, whether it's eradicating taboos around menstruation for a women's wellness brand like Nua, sparking conversations around Mental Health for Here Comes the Sun or driving digital adoptions for stray animals for an NGO like World For All," concludes Rahil Sayed.