#Interview Ketan Kulkarni, Blue Dart’s logistics & marketing funnel that helped growth

Ketan Kulkarni

The delivery service chalked out a specific communication & marketing plan to uphill brand trust among its consumers during the pandemic. Blue Dart’s Ketan Kulkarni explains how…

During the festive season, business usually propels across verticals and Blue Dart claims to be seeing the same pattern this year, only on a much larger scale. We speak to Ketan Kulkarni, CMO and Head – Business Development, Blue Dart to know more about the delivery services’ blueprint to cope up with the COVID-19 havoc, strategy to keep consumer engagement going, festive season marketing, and its stance on social media.

Edited Excerpts

Firstly, how did you strategize to leverage the festive fever to bulk up the reach?

With people being put up at home, the need for shipments to be picked up from or delivered to your doorstep has never been more prevalent. Addressing this concern, our Contact Less Delivery service (CLD), to provide customers with a hassle-free experience, has been a big hit across our customer base. CLD allows our customers to send and receive their parcels, completely eliminating any form of contact. We have also enabled payment through 14 digital wallets, Netbanking, Credit & Debit Card, UPI (BHIM) as well as QR Code to serve the purpose.

We have also launched the Diwali Express Offer- #CelebratewithBlueDart, providing our customers with a special discount on all Diwali Gift shipments weighing between 2 kgs and10 kgs for both domestic as well as International. The Diwali Express Offer was one of the few ways of showing customers that we want to provide you with a premium festive logistics experience at an attractive price point.

What are the campaigns initiated or in-process and the kind of budget allocated for the marketing activities for the festive quarter?

With digital media marketing becoming the new trend of this decade, it is a given that every brand is keen to mark its dominance on such a platform.

Blue Dart believes that even in a tech-based world, the essence of relaying your brand’s story to the customer with an individualized touch is what will differentiate the brand’s trajectory. We have, therefore, recently launched our TVC with a multimedia approach across traditional and digital mediums with the goal to highlight Blue Dart as the preferred logistics brand for critical shipments, e-commerce & Temperature Controlled Logistics – #WeMoveSoYourWorldCanMove, #BlueDartIt.

Life comes to a stop, whether it’s an operation theatre or an office when something critical to their working hasn’t arrived. Hence, a clear straightforward messaging without ambiguity: ‘If it’s important, BlueDart it’. To bring forward our communication and offering strongly.

The TVCs have been rolled out across multiple business & news channels and have been digitally activated on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube &Hotstar as well as new age media such as Inshorts to ensure extensive reach.

Delivery services took a big hit when the pandemic was at its peak. Now in the unlock phases, what has been the strategy to get operations in place and how?

Blue Dart has been operational from the very first day of the pandemic enforced lockdown; we ensured that the mission-critical supply chain remained functional for every customer across the country as well as across borders. From PPE kits, ventilators, and COVID testing kits and samples, to important loan documents and passports, we made sure that our customers know their needs will be taken care of, no matter what, at Blue Dart.

With the Unlock phases being rolled out, we did see a good many commercial customers get back to business as usual. The unlock has certainly given the economy a boost and we have started seeing green shoots emerge across industries.

Blue Dart leveraged the power of technology to enhance customer experience during the pandemic with our Contact Less Delivery feature. The Application Programming Interface (API), integration-based solutions has been enhanced for exchanging manifest at detailed levels to ensure an automated and seamless supply chain, from pre-pick up to post-delivery- 24×7. Whenever there is a lockdown or containment zone which is unserviceable temporarily, the shipment is retained at one of our facilities or retail counters. The Hold At Location parcels can be physically collected by the customer or we deliver it once the restriction on the pin code is lifted.

Also Read: #Interview Chandni Kohli Dhall on how the carbonated drinking water brand has paved its way into pop culture through social media

When the lockdown was implemented many brands underwent a shift in their marketing and communication strategy. How was it for Blue Dart and what is the current scenario like?

When the lockdown began, Blue Dart continued to thrive with a team that aligned itself with our parent group, DPDHL’s Strategy 2025 – Delivering Excellence in a Digital World.

We ran an internal communication campaign; one of them being ‘Thank You, You Inspire us’ which appreciated the efforts and courage shown by our front-liners who were working and reporting on the field every day of the lockdown. For us, our people have and will always be our USP and we leave no stone unturned to communicate and make them feel valued and treasured. It forms a major part of all our strategies.

The digital medium has become a key part of our marketing and communication strategy and we rely on our own social media channels to relay developments about the brand to our audience.

Please take us through your media mix. How much of the total pie does digital occupy?

Our media mix is a well-calibrated mix of a traditional and a digital approach. For an industry like ours, we also rely heavily on word of mouth. Our NPS is 88% which is the highest possibly globally (NPS: Net Promoters Score (an independent measurement matrix by Bain & Company) measures how many customers are promoters for a company, how many are likely to recommend you, and what percentage are detractors for a company.)

While we don’t usually provide a breakup of our digital pie, a trend that we have observed over the last few years has been a significant increase in our investment portfolio in the digital space, as well as on OTT, Radio, and Television, etc.

Please brief us about Blue Dart’s social media strategy. How are you leveraging the new age medium to garner leads and implement marketing plans?

The organization’s Social Media strategy is based on a vision to build an essential connection between the business, the brand, its advocates, influencers as well as current and prospective customers to spark conversations, inspire sharing, and nurture an engaging experience to drive business results.

Our presence on social media has improved Market Intelligence, given us a quick solution to complaint resolution, increased brand awareness & reach, provide customers with instant feedback and suggestions on our products and services, increased customer engagement leading to higher involvement & retention. It helps us build a personal relationship with our customers and help improve Blue Dart’s affinity.

I would even go so far as to say that COVID-19 has propelled the growth of digital marketing in India which is now serving its time as one of the most cost-effective platforms to promote a brand.

We also used Social Media to reach our customers and stakeholders during the pandemic conveying to them safety measures we were undertaking, missions, and causes we were partnering with, etc.

What are the templates, content formats, communication hooks being used on digital to prevent misinformation and simultaneously educate the consumers about the company’s policies and services?

Over the last few years, the concept of creating images that visually appeal and rope in the consumer has been on the rise. This includes Fleets, Stories, Tweet Threads, and GIF’s/short videos. Blue Dart is thoroughly enjoying using this platform to our advantage as it provides ample room for creativity and innovation, two qualities Blue Dart encourages.

The platform helps communicate a message to a far greater audience than email marketing or traditional marketing ever could; it also allows us to cater to a consumer base across geographies and mediums (Social & Digital).

For example, we launched a ‘Did You Know’ series to further educate customers about the services we offer. Another example is our ‘Stay Alert’ campaign that helped customers avoid trusting adversarial elements claiming to be Blue Dart.

Used intelligently, Social Media is a powerhouse of a tool. Blue Dart continues to leverage the power of this very tool coupled with the power of our people and technology to achieve the best results.


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