Inside: Chalo’s attempt to stay relevant with live passenger tracking & cashless payments

Chalo marketing strategy

We take a look at how Chalo is evolving its marketing strategy to stay relevant to users through the pandemic and in the new normal.

Chalo is a technology-driven transport solution company that operates in over 20 cities including Bhopal, Agra, Kochi, Mathura, Guwahati, and Vijaywada. To combat the impact of the pandemic and offer services in sync with the needs of the consumers, they have amped up their services, including a live passenger indicator and cashless payments. Here’s how Chalo is evolving its marketing strategy to keep up with the needs of the consumers through and post-pandemic.

“When the lockdown was announced in March, public transportation was completely halted. Our first response was to urge our users to support the lockdown and to stay at home. We put up messages on our social media platforms to inform and educate our user base about the same,” says Dhruv Chopra, Chief Marketing Officer, Chalo.

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During the lockdown, the team’s main focus was to ensure a steady flow of information between all stakeholders. Chopra explains, “We kept in touch with all our City Manager on a daily basis to get all the updates and broadcasted these updates to all our users regularly so that they are well informed.”

As bus services resumed for the public, the focus of the communication was shifted to educating users about the importance of safe bus travel and the steps they must take to ensure the same.

Crowd Control

As a means to help users make better decisions about travel, Chalo is upgrading its Live Passenger Indicator. With this, the app lets users know how crowded their bus would be. They can then choose whether to board the bus or wait for the next one.

“Going ahead, the biggest challenge for us would be to keep track of the continuously shifting information, which we have to collect and display on our app for consumers to make an informed choice,” Chopra tells us when asked about the challenges they expect as more cities go through unlock and the number and type of restrictions change.

Going Contactless

From a product and operations perspective, Chalo is prominently promoting and advocating for its offering that would help facilitate contactless payments. “Eliminating cash transaction from the buses could reduce the risk of contamination by 95%, making bus travel 20x safer. Therefore, we stressed our efforts on making cashless payment options available to our users via mobile ticketing and Chalo Card,” Chopra tells us.

Going forward, expanding this service to more cities is one of their biggest challenges. It is a result of the rising demands for the feature from stakeholders such as the government, city authorities and passengers.

Chalo Digital Strategy

While much of their communication is through the app, Chalo heavily relies on coverage mass media publications to build on brand advocacy and raise awareness about product usage. They prominently share such coverage on social media.

Also Read: How Bangalore based Yulu emphasises on a layered marketing strategy to keep people moving

Profiles that deal with local city-centric communication are also leveraged to help spread the word. Communication in Indian languages is key to their overall marketing strategy.

Most of the communication put up by Chalo on social media is same across platforms. However, Twitter plays a key role for they are able to amplify organic conversations and resolve queries around their offerings. This includes communication put up by government authorities as well as users.

The brand routinely conducts on-ground events in various cities to raise awareness about their products and help familiarise people with the brand. Lucky draws are often used to incentive participation among locals.

Chalo often puts across and amplifies their thought leadership on social media. Through the pandemic, on various occasions, the brand highlighted how the team was grappling with the lockdown, together. On-ground activities were also amplified as part of corporate communication.

Chalo documents and amplifies all their marketing initiatives on social media. The communication prominently includes the strategic events they conduct on-ground, helping them augment the reach of such initiatives. The way they use regional media helps inspire confidence and expand their potential customer base.

Focus on corporate communication is also a plus as it’s bound to help while negotiating with civic authorities in regards to permits, routes and more. All of this, coupled with product innovations, is likely to help them stay afloat in the post-pandemic world.


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