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Tough times make the best one shine: BharatPe CMO Parth Joshi

In an exclusive conversation with, Joshi also spoke about the recent campaign and the principles marketers should stick to in the changing times

Parth Joshi

While any type of controversy can have an adverse impact on the brand image, the public fallout and ensuing exit of a Co-Founder from a company is surely a nightmare for most. In March, after the successful run of the first season of ‘Shark Tank India’, Ashneer Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain of BharatPe were accused of financial irregularities.

BharatPe took stringent actions against the Co-founder and came into the limelight for the controversy. However, as per BharatPe’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Parth Joshi, the brand came out stronger.

Speaking on the case of BharatPe vs Ashneer Grover, and what brands should do in such a crisis situation, Joshi said, “Tough times make the best one shine. And we have come out stronger.” spoke to the marketer on the recent ad campaign by the fintech player, the principles that marketers should follow while marketing in these changing and challenging times, and the future of BharatPe.

Before the recent campaign, most of the TVC campaigns by Bharatpe were centred around educating the consumers on using the UPI services. However, this campaign is more about providing an emotional touch to the audience. The TVC has a voice-over by actor Naseeruddin Shah.

Speaking on the campaign, Joshi said, “We started ideating towards the end of last year and at that point of time the brief was clear. We have built a large business, but somehow, we didn’t keep up with the stature. So, I think the job was to really elevate that and how you do that was the question for us. We looked back and recollected what we stand for, who we are, and how we add value to our consumers? We realised one thing as a start-up we have many investors, the fundamental to that is belief. And we are perhaps in the same business with a lot of small shopkeepers. We are who we are because we believe in them and their dreams. And that was the idea behind the campaign. McCann built the concept for us and is the agency behind the campaign.”

“Mostly we had done a lot of transactional campaigns, transactional conversations have a smaller shelf life. And we wanted to give a long-lasting impact. We had Naseer Sahab on board because people relate to him. Many viewers had goosebumps while watching the film. The reception is good, let's hope it helps to have a conversion in the hard business,” he added.

Time and again has raised the issue of a changing landscape for marketers when it comes to catering for the evolving consumers across sectors. The UPI payment industry is also evolving with citizens getting used to online payments.

Marketing in this industry requires a different approach as the companies have to gain the trust of users since their bank accounts get linked to the platforms. 

So, what are the qualities which a marketer should possess in these changing times or what should be the right approach in marketing such products? Joshi said that principles don't change, but what has changed is the speed at which marketers have to operate now.

He said, “The principles that a marketer should follow are still the same. They are - 

  • Know your consumer and target audience, get under their skin, empathise with them and work on that core. You need to break the clutter and there is a lot of content so you have to choose that critically
  • Businesses can't just do lip service; they need to deliver. If they only do lip service people might come once but they will never come back 
  • Businesses need to look at the evidence in their decision-making.”

Joshi exerted on the usage of data and believes that it is one of the richest sources to tap into the consumer’s mind. He said, “Marketers should use data, it has become supercritical to use data for both planning and analysis. There is an ocean of data that is available for companies like us to do better marketing. It helps us to understand consumer behaviour, and this data gives you agility.”

“Data is the new oil. Most people mean it just by value but there is a hidden meaning behind it that I don't think most people get it. When you take oil, you have to refine it. So, businesses should refine the data and produce the fuel they need out of it,” he added.

With a plethora of options available in the payment category, users can often get confused about which UPI service to use. BharatPe mostly caters to the merchants and the small businesses across the country, and it strongly believes that small businesses have the utmost potential to create a positive impact on the country’s economy.

Therefore, with this factor in mind, in all of BharatPe’s ad campaigns, the main character is the small merchants and business owners.

Joshi also said that they are a lending company, they are not only about payments. Lending forms the core of their business. They help merchants with financial services which helps them in their growth. 

He said, “I think the difference between us and others lies in the audience that we talk to. The second difference is how we talk to them. A lot of these platforms come with huge media budgets. However, we as a start-up have a limited media budget and we inspire to do the best with this budget. Recently we became number 3 in the UPI ecosystem. We overtook one of the companies. Staying true to our DNA, we are about the merchant, we will continue to talk to the merchant, when it comes to BharatPe, we will continue to nurture them, understand them, create great products for them and then sharp shoot them using data.”

With many guidelines coming up from the government, marketers have to be very smart with their communication with the consumers. He said, “Brands have to be very responsible when they advertise. Every advertiser has the responsibility to not represent poorly, but if you misrepresent, you’ll be called out for sure. If not by the government, then by the public.”

BharatPe was founded in the year 2018, it is still a relatively new player in the industry but it has captured a sizeable market share. However, every business has some challenges to deal with and when you are in a business where there are already established competitors, how do you make your way to the consumers? “I won’t call it a challenge, but an opportunity,” Joshi said.

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