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The importance of being a responsible employer in the times of social media

Delivery partners are not employees on payroll for players like Swiggy, they are representatives of the brand and in a world where online ostracisation is rampant, it is important to take into account criticism and act upon it in time

Click on the image to watch the Video.

All hell broke loose for Travis Kalanick, former CEO of Uber, when a dashcam video showing him verbally abusing a driver partner surfaced. The resulting storm meant Kalanick would have to step down from his position as CEO.

In today’s time of instant flak and instant love, it is not just important for brands to be good to customers, it is equally important for them to be seen as responsible employers who look out for their employees.


Also read: Building brand affinity ‘thought leadership' way

This need to come across as a brand that is committed to the well-being of their employees is a lot more crucial for brands such as Ola, Uber, Swiggy, Zomato. Their driver/delivery partners are not names on a payroll, they are also direct brand ambassadors. When an Uber driver complains about being paid less (the video featuring Kalanick had an Uber employee complaining about less pay), it is a direct reflection on the brand. When a Swiggy or Zomato employee walks around with heavy bags in punishing weather, it is a reflection of what the brand stands for.


Swiggy, the food delivery app, recently celebrated its four-year anniversary by launching a new campaign that is an ode to their delivery partners.

The video is a montage of Swiggy’s delivery partners and highlights moments from a day in their lives, capturing their spirit in keeping consumers hunger-free, come what may.

The film has been conceptualised and produced by DentsuWebchutney in association with Artisan films.

Laying emphasis on how important delivery partners are for Swiggy and the thought behind the ad film, GD Prasad, Client Services Director, DentsuWebchutney, said, “The delivery partner is an important stakeholder in the Swiggy ecosystem, and our attempt was to make a heart-warming film; one that would put a smile on your face at their relentless spirit.”

The ad film comes on the heels of Swiggy getting some flak on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook for their over-worked and over-burdened delivery partners. Last year, a blog post had surfaced, whichamong many things spoke about Swiggy’s treatment of its delivery partners.

Replying to that blog and calling its allegations bogus, Swiggyreleased an official statement, which also talked about how important their delivery partners are for the business.

“Swiggy has been known for its quick and reliable delivery. With over 12,000 active restaurant partners across eight locations, this has been made possible through our intense focus on building and sustaining our delivery services – the largest in India, and an indispensable part of our business. Providing for a high earning capability, the right training and development (personality, behavioural and communication skills), due rewards and recognition, and financial assistance is key to our engagement with our delivery executives. We also understand that our delivery executives are our brand’s face to the consumers and we take great care in selecting them. Every Swiggy Delivery Executive undergoes background verification before they are hired. All delivery executives are provided with medical insurance for the family and a personal accident insurance coverage, which is borne by the company,” said the official statement attributed to SriharshaMajety, CEO, Swiggy.

Click here for the complete official statement

Siwggy currently has 40,000 restaurant partners.

Commenting on why it is imperative for a brand like Swiggy to focus on their employees, brand consultant CajetanVaz, said, “Swiggy is a great brand idea (sic). However, the face of the brand is mainly the delivery person. Paid and trained well they will deliver, else consumers will tolerate them as long as the discounts, special offers and freebies roll. The brand has to focus on the former. The consumer treats all partners as equal. The delivery partners and the outlet are both up for flak if there is no value in the equation. Currently, it's 'savings' and 'convenience' that are driving the business. The 'service' part can make all the difference in the long term.”

Apart from this, in this competitive category it would also make business sense for a player like Swiggy to hold on to their delivery partners and keep them happy.

"In an era of the intermediary, such as a delivery partner, the product is the service! What Swiggy delivers is not goods from a Truffles Bakery. Instead, what Swiggy delivers is quick, prompt and reliable service. It is not even delivered by the Swiggy backend app. It is physically delivered by the faceless delivery partner. In such businesses, the delivery partner is more important than any of the entities involved. Therefore the respect.And therefore the film. This is more than being a responsible employer. It's about being a savvy employer and knowing who brings in the moolah," said Harish Bijoor, Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.

According to media reports, food delivery apps like Swiggy and Zomato have hiked the salaries of their delivery boys. While they were earning somewhere between Rs 10,000 to 25,000 last year, it has been reported that this year the number has shot up by at least 30%.

Another reason for this renewed emphasis on driver/delivery partners by brands (Uber too has done a campaign on their driver partners), is the changing attitude towards work and ethics.

Millennials, unlike their predecessors, are looking for meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with their employers. A great example of the changing expectations from a job is the viral video featuring Naveen Polishetty eschewing the idea of staying in the office till late to prove a point to employers.

The video found instant fame on social media sights with many associating with the theme of the video and sharing the same sentiment.

At the end of the day, the message is simple. In a world where online ostracisation is rampant, it is important to take into account criticism and act upon it in time.


Client: Swiggy

Creative Agency: DentsuWebchutney

Client Team: AshishLingamneni, LohithRamachandra, SwarnenduMandal

Creative: PG Aditiya, NinadGawhankar

Business: GD Prasad, Keerthi Kumar, Rahul Bajaj

Agency Producer: Meharunnisa Sahib

Production house: DentsuWebchutney + Artisan Films

Director: BibartanGhosh

Music Director: Subhajit Mukherjee


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