You have worked with multiple successful startups in their early days, especially on the Product Design side, where you were instrumental to the success of those companies. How does it feel to work in the biggest Indian airline company? What helped you make this decision?
I have seen all three generations of internet platforms. The privilege of witnessing the growth of most lovable digital platforms and startups is a big blessing. Being part of the journey of building the startup from concept to launch and then scale the same to get the market leadership position is a rewarding experience both on the professional and personal front. I loved building Quikr, Yatra, Naukri, Indiatimes, Rediff, and Bharti. I like to craft a loveable experience for consumers through usable and straightforward products. I am honoured to lead Digital Practices for IndiGo. Before my stint at IndiGo, I created Indian centric platforms, but with IndiGo, it’s a global offering. My canvas is much more prominent here. Leading Digital Transformation for the group is very fruitful and enriching. The impact which I can make through Design Thinking is tremendous at IndiGo. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to be part of the great global brand.
Indigo has been scaling very fast in the recent past with almost 49% market share. How are you evolving to address the opportunities in his space?
IndiGo has 1400+ daily flights with 237 fleet. With 56 domestic and 17 international destinations, we serve close to 6.5 million customers every month. We have a tremendous global opportunity, and I feel that it’s going to be a great success. We are committed to serving our customers with the best product and service offerings. We are going with the iterative approach and improving the experience to meet the high customer expectations. Digital platform experience plays a critical role in winning the customer. Our industry is changing very fast. We can keep up with and be part of the changes, or we can resist changes and let others pass us by. We decide to lead the change with customer empathy.
What do you see as the role of technology in marketing? Where do you think it is creating the biggest impact?
Technology is an enabler for better targeted and contextual marketing. The meaningful communication with consumers, which makes the decision-making process easy and help in handholding, can be crafted by technology. It can also play a significant role in customer-centricity and empowerment. Every aspect of technology is evolving, and staying on top of changes is key for future growth. We need to stay current with trends and technology through iterative innovation. The self-service for our category is unavoidable and will create a huge impact. If necessity is the mother of invention, our necessity was growth. We used technology and design across all key functions, channels and processes to gain the lead over competition.
Social media is fast becoming a boon and bane for brands in India. How do you balance and effective CRM and brand love in this era where consumers speak to you directly via social media.
We have to acknowledge the power of social media. It’s easy to communicate with your customers now and thanks to social media and digital platforms for the same. Though many brands still don’t have functional CRM capabilities. One can use social media to have meaningful conversations and address customer queries at the same time. The right mix of tools and strategy helped us achieve the desired results. The DNA of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is completely different compared to Linkedin, Tripadvisor, Quora, and Glassdoor. Brands need to have a phase-wise approach to cater to different segments and solve users queries with the help of social media. Too much or too little both results bad outcome. A balanced and a direct approach is required when it comes to communicating with customers digitally. I would say the final evolution of the social landscape will take a few years. We have nurtured this channel very well for our brand.
In a strictly ROI driven market like flights, what are some of the challenges that you face in your marketing campaigns?
Yes, you are right. Flights come under highly ROI price driven market. But, very few players have cracked the code. Every brand marketer faces different challenges. In my view, customer retention and delight is more important than acquiring new customers. Also, marketing campaigns need to be designed as per user segments, journeys, and personas. One fit for all doesn’t work anymore. Building customer loyalty is one of the most significant challenges which brands need to solve for in this vast and competitive market. The greatest satisfaction is to make customers happy with the best in class experience. For us, storytelling has solved many key challenges. There is a lot of focus on digital. It is easy to measure, and allows quick feedback. Evolution of digital media and marketing campaigns has made our brand proposition stronger. Turning your marketing into an even more effective revenue generator is a continuous task. Brands continuously need to work hard through 360 degrees campaigns to grab the attention of the users. It’s virtually impossible to hit the mark every time. Even the very best brands still produce mediocre campaigns from time to time, but you have to strive for nothing less than excellence. Sometimes, simply releasing great campaign just isn’t enough. Segment audiences and reach the right people you want for your brand becomes the top most priority in your digital strategy.