Almond's last-mile-engagement solutions built on four key pillars: Abhinav Jain

Almond is a veteran digital marketing agency based in Jordan, Amman, that has made its impact felt in the web industry loud and clear.

Aanchal Ghatak
New Update

Almond leverages AI and data, enabling brands and organisations to augment engagement and revenues in urban, rural and rurban India. Connecting India’s 1 billion mobile phone users in internet-agnostic ways, ALMOND offers custom technology solutions, enabling brands and organizations to augment engagement and revenues.

Abhinav Jain, CEO and co-founder, Almond Solutions, An ATechnos Venture, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:

DQ: What are last-mile engagements and why are they important?

Abhinav Jain: In any business to customer (B2C) or business to business (B2B) journey, the phase of one-to-one interaction or the experience between the two parties is called the last-mile-engagement. In a traditional marketing funnel, a last-mile engagement takes place closer to the final action (purchase or an association decision).

Take university admissions for instance; a student does extensive research for educational opportunities before finalising on a few and gets down for a deeper comparative analysis. With an even tighter list, they approach the chosen universities for a personal counselling session where the counsellor gives them something to read, something to do, something to ponder upon – this is an example of a last-mile-engagement. Last-mile engagement, owing to being personal and customized in nature, is an extremely critical part of CX (customer experience) and building a community.

Another simple example of last-mile engagement could be when a company engages its distributors, retailers or product buyer to enrol them in a sales promotion program and uses the power of one-to-one interaction, personalization, content, rewards. Through this program, the company creates a community of loyal ambassadors of the product, while increasing the revenue in the parallel.

At Almond, our last-mile-engagement solutions are built on four key pillars – Digital Communities, Measurable Mediums, Hyperlocal Content and E-Gratification.

DQ: How does technology play an important role in it?

Abhinav Jain: As a primary focus, technology facilitates last-mile-engagement with scalability, efficacy and building customization/personalization. Secondly, technology helps data management and analytics that can consequently provide actionable business intelligence. Technology can also be intimidating and cumbersome sometimes, but in this case, technology brings – ease, simplicity, and a sense of comfort for the end-user that makes the engagement efficient.

DQ: What is the O2O2O model?

Abhinav Jain: O2O2O refers to online-offline-online or offline-online-offline, and in today’s chaotic world, it’s of significant importance for brands with a physical product. It’s a brand engagement model that takes the consumer from an online platform to an offline platform, and back to the online world, or the other way round for a comprehensive brand experience.

For better understanding, let’s consider these two scenarios: First, a consumer gets introduced to a brand online, visit the store where she buys/experiences the product, and finally, she goes back online to engage with the brand, or talk about it. Second, a consumer finds a product at a store, goes online to know more about the product - consumes branded content online, and comes back to the store to buy the product.

Today’s customer journey is not linear; it spirals like a box of noodles. There are multiple touch-points, some online, and some offline, and each touch-point is crucial in building brand image and salience. It’s important for a brand to ensure that every interaction point delivers the same kind of high-quality interaction and experience, and traversing from one to another is seamless.

For instance, a consumer in a modern-trade-outlet comes across a sampling program for a healthy protein drink, he enrols, tastes the product and is given all possible information - but he is still unsure of the quality.

He sees a QR code at the sampling desk and scans it to go to the website where interactive content explains the product in detail with videos from influencers and experts and a game. He plays the game to win a prize code. He goes back home, talks about the product with his friends and gives the code to one of his friends – who eventually buy the product at a discount.

The O2O2O model, in this case, is a combination of an offline sampling program with data and QR code, leading to the online portal that delivers code for an offline purchase. The data can be further used for sustenance engagement.

DQ: What kind of clients do they have?

Abhinav Jain: Clients range from well-established brands and conglomerates to organizations to multi-brand retail players to NGOs working to create educated and informed digital communities. Previously, under the ATechnos banner, ALMOND has catered to some of the marquee clients, including Nestle, RB, Hindustan CocaCola, Udaan, Future Group, Svarochi, Airtel, Jio, UnoMinda, Modi Enterprise, RBL, NACO.

DQ: What are your future plans?

Abhinav Jain: The future includes two step-plan:

* Creating "PaaS - Platform as a service" products for a last-mile-engagement that can be used by brands, organizations, NGOs, and even government bodies.

* Innovating in the category with new and upcoming technologies and in the parallel open new international markets for the company.

DQ: How does last-mile engagement drive action?

Abhinav Jain: Last-mile engagement, unlike advertising, is built to drive action because they work on the principle of interaction, experience and feedback. The task at hand is not just to show or share a message, but to get the person to perform the desired action.

The gamut of actions is wide and fortunately, even no action is an action. In fact, last-mile engagement starts with action because a consumer/customer has to show some kind of interest to participate. When a user is engaged, he/she is given a choice at every point of the interaction – and every choice is an action.

DQ: What are dark mile engagements?

Abhinav Jain: Even as India moves towards a robust digital-first economy and companies like Jio taking internet to every part of the country, there are some remote areas where data, media and probably TV doesn’t reach, and even if they do, they have minimal impact. However, these communities still have the power of a mobile phone. They use a mobile phone to access features like IVR, SMS, CRBT (call-back-ringtone), DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) and community radio.

However, they still are active consumers of daily essentials and hyperlocal entertainment and information. For brands and organizations, this community is so large, it can’t be ignored. Dark-mile engagements involve such communities through the use of man and mobile, educating, engaging and rewarding them for engaging with a brand or an organization.

DEC D BA AD D FA E FC Abhinav Jain, CEO and co-founder, Almond Solutions