What do you do when you’re bored and want to chat with your friends? Are you thinking about BBM or Whatsapp.. Naah, that’s passé!! We now have Hike messenger in the arena to help you do that and in the trendiest way possible.
There was a time when we all sat together to chat (I’m guessing 80’s), then came cell phones (Nokia 1100 ..lol) and we spoke on conference for hours to chit-chat, not so later came Orkut to help us do that through its scraps, then we got our ever famous Facebook and just when we got addicted to it, we got BBM (Blackberry messenger) which managed to reach great heights but ultimately took a hard fall, then lately we had Whatsapp which became the most talked about thing after Facebook and now finally we have found Hike here to fulfill our basic need – chitchat.
So what exactly is Hike? Hike is a cross-platform instant messaging for Smartphone’s (huh??) Now to convert that in English, it is like this cool messenger app used mainly for chatting, with funky and killer stickers instead of the boring smiley’s of the good old days.
When the world was busy chatting with each other on Whatsapp & Facebook, we had Kavin Bharti Mittal (yes you read it right, son of Sunil Mittal, Bharti Airtel) making something more trendy and cool! And then within a blink of an eye his baby (Hike) was born on 12-12-12 (Interesting!)
Here onwards started the process to become the “In Thing”.
HOW HIKE BECAME THE “IN THING”!
So Hike Messenger App got launched globally on 12-12-12 and was made available in more than 100 countries. Now it is not an easy task launching in 100 countries, a lot goes into managing and followed by maintaining that, but hats off to them, they pulled off the greatest hurdle of their path.
Since then the growth of Hike has been tremendous and they have managed to stun each and every one. Just a few months after the launch, the traffic unexpectedly increased so much that their servers crashed, which obviously was fixed immediately, but this in a way was an indication of the forthcoming traffic. So they started preparing themselves for the same.
By February 2013, the App had started catching hold of everyone’s eye and it shook the hell out of competitors when it was rated the #1 App on Android Playstore, iOS Appstore and Windows Store with a 10X growth WoW(that’s week-on-week and not wow!). It was no surprise when they announced the most annoying news for their competitors that they had reached their 5 million customer mark with 60% of the base being in India and the rest from Germany, the Middle East and elsewhere.
This made Kavin realize that it is time for them to be backed financially to stay firm in the market. It is then, when they raised funds worth $7Million from Bharti Softbank (BSB), collaboration between Bharti Enterprises, owners of Airtel – a mobile operating service provider & SoftBank – a Japanese telecom company.
A sharp minded person that he is made sure all the money is utilized well and majorly for the betterment of the product. Soon in June 2013, Hike launched STICKERS, to increase user engagement. Now these stickers are no ordinary ones … They were really interesting and catchy and made sure that they got the attention of the youth. Now with these stickers introduced, they also had their really cool emojis and emoticons in place which added to the attraction. (And they gave even more ways to girls to make faces)
Now, till then Hike didn’t have any marketing strategy in specific and they majorly relied on Word of Mouth (which actually worked in their favor). But once the attraction was in place, it was now time to launch a digital campaign and go big! In August 2013, they launched their first ever digital campaign “keep close friends close”. If you watch the ad, as funny as it looked, it became a hit!
As they were growing, they very well knew that they are at a developing stage and the best and the only way to succeed is to make sure the customer is happy, so they did! They started a co-creation exercise with users wherein they took real time feedbacks from their users for the development of their product.
While that was in progress, Hike tied-up with Airtel and launched a new strategy, if the user had an Airtel postpaid connection in India then they would provide free data for 3-months for the use of the messenger (so that is why there has been a sudden rise in couples). This worked really well in their favor and gave a huge boost to their customer base.
To keep up with the fast changing market, they also launched two-way chat themes giving a new reason to the users to get attracted to the messenger (see, couple oriented). And as expected, due the recent changes and unique marketing strategies they managed to gain a base of 15 million loyal users in February 2014, soon after they became one year old.
This was the right time for them to raise more funds. They now needed to be more focused and at par with their service and strategies, so they again managed to raise $14 Million from BSB in April 2014. With the word spreading at the speed of light, in no time hike crossed the 20 Million user mark and lately they reported that they have reached the 35 Million user base with over 10 billion messages and 3 billion stickers handled per month..
You wouldn’t believe me if I said Hike has also recently managed to raise funds worth $65 Million from Bharti SoftBank which was led by Tiger Global (I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a shocking announcement)
REVIEW ABOUT THE APP & ITS STRATEGIES!
Now looking at the speed at which Hike is growing, there is no doubt for it to be the #1 in the near future and give a fierce competition to its competitors. Apart from what Hike has done in the past, there are many other reasons for hike to become the new trend and over power Whatsapp. For instance, the marketing strategy used by Hike is commendable and unique from others.
Apart from the tie-ups with brands such as Dominos, CCD, Pizza Hut for discount coupons, lately it also launched a new marketing technique to attract more customers wherein Hike-to-Hike messaging with other phones is globally free and unlimited; Second, you can communicate with other Smartphone users who don’t have Hike via SMS (India Only) and finally, you can message any other phone user via SMS.
To add to that, if you are a Hike user you get 100 Free Hike SMS every month to message those friends who are not on Hike, which gets refilled each month and in case any friend joins the app on your request via SMS, you get 10 Free SMS extra and the company will also be awarding each user with 50 free SMS per month for each friend they have invited to Hike.
If that was not enough to lure the users, the App offers such unique features that make a point to grab the attention of the youth. These features include group chat and photo and video sharing, emoticons, chat themes, emojis, stickers, meme and bollywood characters, hidden last seen, message delivery status, nudge, voice chat, etc. but to top it all, Big File Transfer’ – where the users can share all file formats, from Docs, PPTs, PDFs to MP3s, etc., of up to a 100MB each, which currently no IM app or even email client is capable of.
With what Hike is offering and the pace at which it is growing, I don’t see any reason for Hike not be a globally #1 App.