Yashraj Vakil, COO Red Digital Talks About Mongini’s Foursquare Campaign

Yashraj Vakil, CEO Red Digital Talks About Mongini's Foursquare Campaign

Recently Monginis collaborated with their social media partner Red Digital and introduced a Foursquare Campaign across its 447 outlets in India. We had covered the story and with that we had raised a couple of questions regarding the reach and visibility of this campaign.

Yashraj Vakil, Chief Operating Officer, Red Digital was ready to share his thoughts and resolve our queries. The email interview we did with him is shared below:



1. Red Digital has recently implemented a Foursquare campaign for Monginis. Can you share the campaign experience and the objective behind it?

Over the years Monginis has created a big fan following through its network of retail shops and being a part of many special occasions. As the world becomes increasingly tech savvy, Monginis has to upgrade itself and allow its fans to express their feelings for Monginis and its products in the online space too.  Red Digital has been managing Monginis’ Facebook fan page which boasts of over 40 thousand fans. With Foursquare, Red Digital is taking Monginis a step ahead in the digital world where no brand has ventured on such a large scale in India as yet. We on behalf of Monginis are doing exactly what the fans desire. The national launch kicked off with special offers across 447 Monginis outlets across India. This is the largest deployment of foursquare in India and Monginis is hoping to latch on to the location based social networking bandwagon already prevalent and successful in the western world.

Red Digital will help Monginis manage their foursquare presence, along with other social media such as Facebook and Twitter, in order to engage customers and build brand loyalty. Monginis coupled with its 40K Facebook fans, will provide the impetus to grow foursquare check-ins.

Foursquare has rapidly emerged to become one of the hottest platforms to promote a brand on social media. It can do wonders for retailers and brands, as their customers end up becoming their loyal brand ambassadors and indirectly influence friends, peers to follow the same.

Foursquare is supposed to have crossed 10 million users in June 2011. The growth in India cannot be estimated in figures yet, but the sign of geo-social applications becoming a slow and steady phenomenon is quite inevitable.

2. Being a fan of Monginis, how am I going to benefit from this campaign and what can I expect when I check in one of the outlets?

Users, fans and customers can list their favorite food items and also add tips to the Monginis outlets they have visited. Frequent visits to Monginis outlets can help customers earn points and also achieve the title of ‘Mayor’ for that particular location.

Mayors are the most loyal customers a brand can have, which is why Monginis has rolled out rewards for the Mayor of each outlet and is also in the process of introducing check-in deals. Foursquare helps in gamification of a loyalty program, adding to the fun of collecting points by making the information public.

It gives loyal customers bragging rights and an ego boost when they walk into a store where their loyalty is valued.

Are you Going To Check In

3. I am not being skeptic but infrastructure problems and lack of knowledge among users would be a challenge for this campaign. What do you think?

Until now, the major chunk of users on foursquare is mainly from US (about 60%), while the rest 40% are divided internationally. Indian brands, yet haven’t been accustomed to the geo-tagging marketing and its impact. However, in a country where mobile internet usage is exceeding the PC broadband, this platform is due to catch up soon.

As per a recent info-graph released recently by Foursquare, the number of check-ins as per categories of businesses clarifies the scope for marketers and helps realizing the consumer preferences in real-time. The businesses and brands can effectively use this platform for getting more recognition.

Coca-cola in Australia and McDonalds in the U.S have utilized the service for bringing in people to their outlets which is what we at Red Digital are trying to reproduce for Monginis all across India.

I think Foursquare can add a lot of value to the local brands. Even the Foursquare team expects to make a profit by getting into partnerships with local businesses and offering more recommendations. The true potential of such geo-social tagging services is in discovering businesses and letting them benefit from the attention through people’s tips and regular check-ins.

To educate store managers Mongnis has set out material showing them how to identify a mayor. Each of the 447 outlets also have a window cling next to the door handle informing users that the outlet is foursquare activated. Besides foursquare as a platform is available for all Android, iOS, Symbian and Blackberry devices.

4. Security has been an issue and concern among users whenever they have used location based services. How are you going to handle this situation?

Security has been a perennial security risk on all social networks, including Facebook. Ultimately its upto the users how forthcoming he wants to be with his location. Foursqaure allows users to hide their location or not like the same to their Facebook and Twitter accounts. The User Settings allows the user to see the privacy controls and options regarding the information one would like to keep private and the information one would want to share.

With further developments expected on the Foursquare platform, one can expect it to get better and more secure in the times to come.

5. Finally, what would be your advice and tips to SME’s who would like to claim their page on Foursquare and attract fans for their business?

Targeting the right kind of people for the right kind of engagement should be a priority for any brand venturing into Foursquare. Popularizing the location by means of letting people share their neighborhood stories around it, can drive more people in by inducing a common feel of belonging. Brands should be able to make themselves part of such stories and get the local attention.

Devising the idea of games on this platform will create the curiosity and excitement. The more the noise created around a spot, the more popularity it can gain. Captivating the online action space and using it offline can result in being one of the first elements of the social web that makes people go places. Using that information for creating real footfalls would be advisable.

Choosing the right giveaways for the foursquare campaigns, tracing every movement for every check-in and trip can act as an excellent psychometric and demographic research tool. And since the actions in the offline space can be measured, it makes this tool even more effective.

Integrating with the social web by posting every activity on other platforms, namely Twitter and Facebook, will get the not only the people but also the brands more visibility.


Thanks Yashraj for sharing your thoughts.  One of the things that excited me is that no Indian brand has tried location based service for now apart from Café Coffee Day which only rolled out in Bangalore. Today the challenge for bigger brands like Monginis who have an amazing social presence is to tap customers other than Facebook and Twitter.  Hence, the campaign looks exciting and the idea to tap in the customers at retail outlets is quite cool. Incentives that Monginis is giving for now is alluring but it would be too early to judge the success or failure of the campaign. Maybe Monginis can set a benchmark for Indian brands that may want to try out location based marketing.

I don’t use Foursquare anymore as apart from sharing checkins with the Twitter world, I don’t find any benefit and neither have I found a point. However initiatives like this might give me an incentive.  Do you think such incentives would be enough for you to use location based services?