Along with rebranding, we aim to grow our market share by 20% in near future: Hemanth Vasudevan

In an exclusive interaction with, Hemanth Vasudevan, Head of Marketing, Ninjacart, explained the rationale behind the eight-year-old startup's decision to rebrand, its renewed vision and mission and the marketing mix it will be leveraging to ensure the same hits the chord with its various stakeholders and much more

Shreya Negi
New Update
Along with rebranding, we aim to grow our market share by 20% in near future: Hemanth Vasudevan

Hemanth Vasudevan

Launched eight years back with the sole mission to revolutionise the overall agricultural ecosystem in the country by harnessing technology to bridge the gaps between farmers and retailers, Ninjacart has decided to rebrand itself.

This comes at a time when the Tiger Global, Flipkart and Walmart-backed B2B supply chain startup expanded its business from providing a marketplace for fulfilment to providing a marketplace for both commerce and credit.

As part of this, Ninjacart also launched two new verticals- Commerce Discovery Platform and Fintech Credit Platform in the past one year in addition to its primary business i.e- fulfilment.

Talking to about the startup’s rebranding, Hemanth Vasudevan, Head of Marketing, Ninjacart, shared the viewpoint that since the agritech player had forayed into new marketplaces, the nature of the business and the personas it catered to also grew from farmers and retailers to include traders, importers and exporters, hence fuelling a brand identity revamp.

“When we decided to undergo the rebranding exercise, we spoke to our consumers, i.e- farmers, retailers, traders, importers and exporters extensively about what are their ailments, what are they looking for as partners in the ecosystem and how can we help them because for us, what’s important is having a consumer-first approach,” he said.

Moreover, the Head of Marketing explained that Ninjacart interviewed its internal stakeholders including employees, to understand the DNA of the organisation by getting a sense of what they think about or perceive from the company and what impact they feel Ninjacart has on their lives and in the lives of the customers.

It was after getting both these perspectives that the startup identified a new identity, vision and mission for the organisation which resonated with both the consumers and employees of Ninjacart, he said.

“At the culmination of the exercise, the vision that resonated the most for all of us was better lives for every agri-citizen. Secondly, trust is a major criteria for doing any transaction in the ecosystem, which in our case is highly inclusive, but always worked in pockets and never extended to end-to-end agri-landscape in India along with other existing inefficiencies,” he stated.

It was owing to the aforementioned three findings that Ninjacart identified and wanted to build on that gave birth to the new mission which is to partner with the stakeholders and build a trusted, efficient and inclusive agri-trade network built on the foundation of trust.

To ensure that the thought behind the rebranding exercise is communicated effectively to the employees, Vasudevan stated that the startup compiled a behind-the-scenes video, primarily for people to understand the process, realise what the various sets of stakeholders are and take their conventional and unconventional viewpoints into account.

 BTS video-

“While Ninjacart is referred to as a B2B company in normal parlance, I do beg to differ there at times because it has got a mix of both B2C and B2B because at the end of the day, the startup also deals with consumers like you and me along with the farmers, traders, retailers, etc” Vasudevan opined.

With this, he also mentioned that since brand affinity is one of the driving factors for having loyalty among the customers, to build that bond Ninjacart decided to take a more emotional route to make its consumers understand why the company is what it is and why consumers are important to them and vice versa via its campaign- Behtar Kal Ka Saathi.

This commitment extends to their affiliated brands: Ninja Mandi, which employs technology and innovation to drive growth in the reseller ecosystem; Ninja Global, serving as a dynamic hub for secure global trade, bringing together buyers, sellers, freight forwarders, and financial partners; Ninja Kirana, dedicated to fast-tracking the growth of small business owners, and Ninja Kisaan, focused on enhancing the lives of farmers through innovative solutions.

“We needed to eliminate the primary fear of our stakeholders and apprise them that we're not going to replace them but rather partner with them in the ecosystem and play to your strengths with our legacy expertise in digital-led technologies to drive distribution across all personas. This will help them have a better tomorrow which we're talking about in our campaign,” Vasudevan said.

Further, he also pointed out that since there are not many players in the market today who talk about all the stakeholders in the agri-ecosystem and hero them, Ninjacart also decided to take a unique position because all the stakeholders are very critical cogs when it comes to food reaching our plate.

“Middlemen, essentially traders, are often missed and if not missed, not really shown in good light in terms of how important they are in the entire ecosystem and in our campaign, we wanted to call that out whilst building empathy specifically because all of them are heroes with their own struggles and sacrifices to ensure we get the food on time,” he mentioned.

Commenting on the marketing approach for the same, the Head of Marketing of the startup headquartered out of Bengaluru stated that for launching the first brand film post rebranding Ninjacart will leverage a 70-30 mix between online and offline marketing channels comprising od conventional elements such as PR, digital, social, outdoor, print, OTT, etc.

Because the startup wants to be very sharp and targeted in terms of the activities that it does, he emphasised that the agri-tech company would curate very persona-specific campaigns and choose the affinity bucket closer to the persona it is targeting digitally.

Similarly, Offline, it will leverage more marketing activations as compared to marketing campaigns in and around catchment areas such as the mandi, the absolute hubs for farmers, traders and retailers. It will also be using regional print and radio at certain places.

He also extended the credits for the rebranding initiative to Ninjacart’s creative AOR, Publicis Business, who played a fundamental role in working with the company to identify and rebrand the whole brand identity and conceptualise the new brand campaign.

Here is a link to the brand campaign-

Commenting on the revamped elements of the brand which has a legacy of eight years in the agri-tech space, Vasudevan mentioned that the startup wanted to use a mix of the old and new elements in a way that the change doesn’t look drastic and there is the sense of familiarity in the seamless transition.

The first element that Ninjacart looked at, in his opinion, was the logo and made it visually circular to showcase that the brand now deals with the end-to-end value chain in the agri ecosystem and to showcase the community that it will be building in the coming times.

“We wanted to identify a shape that is very common and something that people can relate to, and in the field of agri-tech, a circular object is something that people deal with on a daily basis, be it the tires of a car or tractor or the water tank itself. But primarily we wanted to look at the end-to-end connectivity which is why we used a circular unit comprising of different flows which represent our various capabilities- Legacy, Tech Capabilities, People, Domain and Industry Expertise, and Partnerships,” he said.

Additionally, the startup also realised that the agri-space business which is predominantly represented by the green colour is not just limited to green but actually comprises a myriad of colours, reflecting nature's elements and the promising future of the agri community alongside emphasising interconnectedness in the food supply chain, in its new logo.

Along with this, Ninjacart also used a Montserrat font in its logo to mention the brand’s name for it wanted to be very simplistic whilst looking a little lean and modern.

Commenting on the marketing objectives that he’s eyeing to meet with the launch of the new brand film, Vasudevan mentioned that the idea is to not just drive brand awareness, adoption and retention but also educate people on the tech capabilities.

In fact, the aim is to increase the market share of Ninjacart from less than a per cent to 20% in the coming times as most of the agri-tech industry is majorly unorganised and there are only a very few organised players like the startup itself which goes across the end-to-end value chain.

Concludingly, he also pointed out that the agri-tech startup is poised to grow at roughly around 68% and become a profitable organisation that reaches out to 1 million agri-citizens by 2026. However, the shorter goal is to hit the gross merchandise revenue in the range of Rs 4000- 5000 crores by next year.

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