Traditionally, brokerage firms in India have always focused on the middle-aged and financially Indian male as its audience. The pandemic and startup-induced IPO frenzy in India, however, changed the overall market outlook with more and more millennials, along with Gen Z, investing in the financial markets.
Amid the heightened interest in the financial markets, Angel Broking, a leading brokerage player, decided to undertake a rebranding and repositioning exercise to make its platform more broad-based and appealing to a new set of investors.
Angel One, as the fintech platform is now called, has become a one-solution platform for every financial need, ranging from mutual funds to insurance, loans and others.
Talking about the strategy behind this rebranding, Prabhakar Tiwari, Chief Growth Officer, Angel Broking, said the word broking in the brand name wasn’t resonating with the new-age investors and it was important to create a holistic brand identity.
“Two to three years ago, the average age of equity market customers was between 35 years and 40 years. Now the average age is below 30 years—there's a big generational shift. So fundamentally, you also have to change and correct yourself to be aligned to that kind of market and hence there is no choice but to change,” Tiwari said.
Talking about the marketing budgets for rebranding, he said, “There would be an increase of almost 20% in its ad spends. We have upped our investments in TV and digital. We are also planning to increase our budget on content marketing.”
What was the objective behind the rebranding?
Firstly, the re-branding was all about positioning ourselves as a fintech organisation because we have really transformed from our traditional full-service brokerage house to a fintech house. However, the larger perception about us had not moved to the fintech positioning. It was critical for us to kind of get that right. Secondly, for our target segment of Gen Z and millennials, ‘broking’ as a word, which was in our brand name, doesn't ring a bell. Broking was not only losing traction, it was also seen as an old word and not as new-age. So it was important for us to drop that word ‘broking’ from our name. And thirdly, as an organisation, we have multiple products and services to offer. So we want to give a super app and a single customer journey for equity, loans, insurance and mutual fund customers. Also, two years down the line, we will be getting into AMC business, so it was critical for us to have an umbrella term that can do justice to these multiple offerings. Keeping these things in mind, we decided to rebrand ourselves to Angel One. This has a lot of saliency, a lot of familiarity and a lot of positivity. So we adopted this strategy in consultation with our advertising agency, that core (Angel) Plus One would be a good strategy. Investment wise, I would say it is more about the kind of thinking and planning that has gone into this.
For a traditional platform, changing its identity is a difficult task given its existing credibility and acceptance. How are you overcoming this challenge?
The bigger challenge when you do something of this sort is not only convincing your existing client that not much has changed, and things are moving for better. But the bigger challenge is new customers or people who are considering Angel Broking and how do you convince them that you are the same company that has a legacy, the trust of the 5.5 million customers. Our business is showing quarter on quarter; month on month we are acquiring customers aggressively. So there is a lot of positivity around the brand Angel Broking. We started a lot of efforts on PR around it. We started using the platform to start seeding the information about rebranding, after which we started a teaser campaign on social media with #OneForAll.
#OneForAll on Facebook:
Tell us about the One item on your bucket list that you want to achieve via Investments in the comments or tweet your answers. Don't forget to tag us— Angel One (@AngelOne) August 2, 2021
and use the hashtag #OneForAll in your comments and tweets.
T&Cs apply*: https://t.co/sr5fU2W8yh pic.twitter.com/611s8JRVtG
We put it in on all popular digital media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. This was very well picked up. We showed a lot of innovation around the word ‘One’, including our employees changing their surname on LinkedIn with One. So those were very well received. After that, we started our campaign on YouTube and OTT platforms, did a roadblock with Twitter, and again doing with MoneyControl now. We have made very nice three creatives for this campaign, which are on air now. Our website homepage has changed. These kinds of investments have gone behind it. There are other companies whose businesses have dropped by 35-40%. However, as we are still in this journey, our numbers are looking solid at the moment. I think either there'll be a minor drop, or we'll be doing as good a business as last month. I believe we will be able to do good business despite this big change in name.
How do you plan to take your rebranding communication beyond metros?
We do a lot of specific app campaigns. We work on App Next, WeWay; we also track the device users, the geographical dispersion, and language dispersion. All these take us to the deeper part of the country to tier two, tier three, tier four. Even YouTube and OTT now have footprints in tier two, tier three, and tier four.
What is your marketing budget for rebranding and what mediums are you focusing on?
Eighty per cent of our budget will go to digital and with the rest 20%, we will experiment with traditional platforms, including TV. We want to do an innovation on radio also because we have not tried that in the past. There are some towns where we want to create a property but we have not yet decided that.
Overall, our marketing strategy doesn’t have TV this much. This (re-branding) was a major campaign for us. All things said and done, TV, if not reaching out to the right set of customers, at least creates word of mouth. Many influencers find their inspiration from TV. We want queries from possible customers and new customer prospects around the name change resolved. We don't want people who are supposed to be experts in the market to not know the new name.
There's no significant increase in the ad spends because we kept aside a budget in the beginning of the year. We have kind of leveraged that budget with some 20% increase, which is insignificant compared to the quantum of the work that is required for the change to happen. But thankfully, we have been able to come up with the right creative, video creative, static creative, which actually eases your job.
Was pandemic the right time to undertake the rebranding?
This sector fundamentally has created a positive vibe in the pandemic, so the investment in it is justified. Also, if you look at the way we are growing, we are adding almost half-a-million customers every month. So in nine to 12 months, we will add more customers than what we had in the past. We are not so much bothered about how many people have come to us in the last 25 years. We are bothered about how many new customers will come to us in the next one or two years. This is a wise move in that way. We have to give the right perception about what we have to offer, which is beyond broking. By changing our name, we allowed people to re-establish our relationship, reignite the passion around the brand and this will help everybody.
Two to three years ago, the average age of equity market customers was between 35 years and 40 years. Now the average age is below 30 years; there's a big generational shift. So fundamentally, you also have to change and correct yourself to be aligned to that kind of market and hence there is no choice but to change.
Do you also plan to revamp your website and application?
We will go sequentially about it. This name change is just a step in the right direction. Within a quarter, you will see a big change in our website. Within two quarters, there will be a big change in our app.
How will you build a strong connection with the new-age investor?
Fundamentally, our customers are looking at a simplified journey to open a Demat account. They want the simplified guidance in making their dream come true in the stock market, whether they are long-term investors or traders. So by delivering on that promise, we are giving them a stable relationship. What was lacking is the newness and the excitement in the name, we were sounding very old-fashioned. So now with this new name, we stayed true to our promise on the financial investment side, but we have also been a more exciting brand to be seen around. That's how we strengthened our relationship.
How many more customers do you plan to acquire by the end of this year?
5.5 million is our overall customer base and we're adding nearly half-a-million every month. Last month, we added 4.5 lakh. But we are not chasing the number, to be honest. We have been a profitable company for the last 25 years and we don't look at things in the short term. We will remain in the top three in the acquisition rate.
How important is content marketing for Angel One?
We have spent a lot of money on content marketing for almost like one-and-a-half years now. Whether it is Smart Money, which is our educational platform, or Smart Buzz, to keep track of the stocks, the quality of blogs, YouTube videos and Reels, we are best-in-class. We are producing this content not only in Hindi and English, but in six other languages. We're giving this content in multiple formats. The whole idea is that we should simplify the customer journey, make information available at their fingertips and will do everything to make it palatable for them. In the next two quarters, there will be a lot of content from us on mutual fund, loan and insurance business as well. In the coming times, we will increase our investment on the content front by at least 100%.