Benita Chacko & Yash Bhatia

Shark Tank Pros on how to best capitalise a swim in the dreaded Tank

  • Brands leverage their Shark Tank appearances for marketing opportunities, offering discounts and using it in branding to maximise exposure.

  • The surge in sales post-Shark Tank is short-lived, typically lasting for a few weeks, prompting brands to strategise for sustaining long-term growth.

  • Brands focus on offering discounts to drive trials and repeat purchases, with varying success depending on the category and distribution strategy.

  • Some brands are capitalising their Shark Tank success through meme marketing. 

A brand gets its 15-minutes of fame on Shark Tank. The trick to benefitting from an outing in the Shark Tank is to make the 15 minutes count. 

Recently, Koparo, a natural home and hygiene products brand, offered its products on a discount of up to 68% on Q-comm and E-commerce platforms during its appearance  on Shark Tank India. A Little Extra, a handmade jewellery brand, conducted a watch party on its social media pages when it appeared in the business reality show. Twisting Scoops, an ice cream brand, runs clips from its appearance in the Tank on a display board outside its stores. 

These are just a few examples of how brands that have featured on the Sony show have milked the opportunity. Most brands that have made it to the show make it a point that they use the show’s name in their branding to gain extra mileage. Some brands, after securing funding, run social media ads showing their clips from the Tank or showcasing their products with messaging like ‘As seen on Shark Tank’ or ‘Approved by the Sharks’.

The show presents them an opportunity to showcase their products and their brand journeys on a Hindi GEC channel at primetime and remain for posterity on an OTT platform’s content library (Sony LIV). Edited clips are also available on YouTube later. 

A brand featuring on Shark Tank India typically witnesses a surge twice — first when the episode airs and second when its clip is shared on YouTube. These spikes, though, are short-lived. While some brands, like make-up products brand Recode Studios, experienced it for the first 12-24 hours, others, like coffee and snacks brand VS Mani and Co. experienced it for up to two months. How can brands sustain spikes and ensure long-term results? 

Samriddh Dasgupta, a fractional CMO, says the show serves a dual purpose for any brand. Firstly, it generates top of the funnel traffic as millions see the product and are enticed to give it a try. Secondly, it yields a lasting impact, allowing the brand to effortlessly attract customers over an extended period, nurturing the top funnel at minimal cost. “The outcomes are evident in both traffic and the enhancement of brand equity,” he says.

Twisting Scoop's Ahmedabad store with a display board showing its Shark Tank appearance
Twisting Scoop's Ahmedabad store with a display board showing its Shark Tank appearance

Offering Discounts 

Highlighting the brand’s distribution strategy during her pitch, Simran Khara, founder of Koparo, mentioned that its products are available on Q-commerce and e-commerce platforms. Interested consumers searched for it on these platforms and were delighted to find them on deep discounts. It immediately lead to many conversions.

Many other brands, like QuirkSmith and A Little Extra, also offered discounts, but not as deep. The quantum of discount largely depends on the category. Unlike the jewellery category, Koparo’s category (home and hygiene products) have a high repeat rate. Offering products on deep discounts ensures trials and eventually leads to a higher percentage of consumer acquisition. 

Quirksmith's Shark Tank offer
Quirksmith's Shark Tank offer

“In a landscape where digital acquisition costs escalate, a surge in traffic prompts a desire for more trials,” Khara says. “My category thrives on repeat purchases; we all have daily chores like dishwashing, laundry, and floor cleaning. If my product resonates with you, you'll return for its value proposition. The current focus of the business is acquisition.”

“For the beauty category, the distribution model post-show isn’t as seamless. It can become seamless for FMCG brands,” says Dheeraj Bansal, founder, Recode Studios says.

However, Dasgupta cautions against excessive discounting, as it can create unfavourable habits for the brand. “The show allows for premium pricing, providing opportunities for upselling. A moderate discount of 10-15% is recommended for maintaining a healthy business balance, especially if the brand is funded. In cases where funding has not been secured, larger discounts may be considered to drive traffic.”

Khara says the key is in ensuring that the products discussed in the pitch are made available at an attractive pricing on the day the episode airs and the weeks after that. Koparo’s products will remain on discount until four weeks after its Tank appearance.

“Channels vary in response, weekdays differ from weekends, and time matters. Post-11pm, Q-commerce slows down, but websites thrive. One needs to adapt their strategy for weekday evenings, focusing on product, pricing, value proposition, and consumer understanding,” she says. 

However, not all brands ride on their Shark Tank success.

VS Mani and Co., a brand that appeared in the show’s last season, had also offered discounts on Amazon and its own website. It carried the Shark Tank branding on its online stores for at least two months. However, as it went into offline trade it dropped its Shark Tank badge. GD Prasad, its founder, says the show’s viewership is comparatively lower in the states that it focuses. 

“We have seen other brands gain visibility in offline retail post-show, but we refrained from it. Shark Tank viewership is low in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, our core markets. Moreover, continual referencing felt overused among emerging brands. Rather than dwelling on past glory, we decided to shift our focus,” he says.

In hindsight, Prasad said he would have capitalised more on the PR and social media aspect.

“We've learned that some brands collaborate with meme marketing agencies to create content around their episode release dates, amplifying their brand story. Utilising Shark Tank as content fodder could have broadened our reach. We missed that opportunity,” he says.

a little EXTRA offers special discount for Shark Tank India
a little EXTRA offers special discount for Shark Tank India

Tank and Beyond

Bansal says the show didn’t significantly impact its growth in the cosmetic industry, where brand loyalty is steadfast. It credits its growth to its own independent strategies rather than the show’s influence.

Last year, in an afaqs! interaction with Bansal said that the brand will earn Rs 5 crore of business after appearing on the show. A year later, he says, “While Shark Tank was once estimated to bring in Rs 5 crore business, our actual growth now comes from partnerships like Nykaa, which approached us after our appearance, significantly boosting our business.” 

Dasgupta suggests that brands can make the most of their Shark Tank appearance by continually building on the brand story. “A brand features on the show with a story of the founder and the brand. The brand should build on that story. A brand’s narrative and brand positioning should be the same after the show as well,” he says. 

If the brand secures funding and gains Shark endorsements, it can utilise these partnerships for distribution, content creation, and building the brand persona. “For example, a brand can incorporate product insights from the sharks and even launch specific product lines endorsed by individual sharks. Additionally, explore avenues such as co-hosting podcasts with the Sharks and discussing the brand’s journey,” he adds.

Have news to share? Write to us