Being a purpose-driven brand sets us apart in the ride-hailing industry: inDrive’s Avik Karmakar

As inDrive launches its latest campaign starring Vikrant Massey, BestMediaInfo conducts an exclusive conversation with Avik Karmakar, Senior GTM Manager for South Asia at inDrive. He delves into what differentiates inDrive within the competitive ride-hailing landscape and discusses the brand's 360-degree marketing approach

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Archana Raj
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Delhi: A purpose-driven brand has to be more than just a trendy marketing term. It encapsulates the core reasons for your company's existence. It encompasses the messages you prioritise, the services you offer, and the commitments you make to customers, employees, and shareholders.

Going beyond purpose-washing, one brand that has integrated purpose into its core product is inDrive, the ride-hailing app. Avik Karmakar, Senior GTM Manager for South Asia, told BestMediaInfo.com that this is a key factor that differentiates the brand from competitors in the ride-hailing industry.

He said, "By being a purpose-driven and people-oriented brand, we believe that people will eventually recognise the impact we make.”

According to reports, almost 80% of consumers are more loyal to purpose-driven brands, and 64% choose, switch, or avoid brands based on their stand on societal issues. 

“Karmakar further noted, "I don't believe any other players in the ride-hailing market are currently pursuing this approach. While profit-making is not inherently wrong, we are choosing to operate differently. A significant portion of our budget is allocated to non-profit organisations and purpose-driven projects that allow us to contribute to society.”

He spoke to BestMediaInfo.com on the back of the brand, announcing the "12th Fail" actor Vikrant Massey as its first-ever brand ambassador and unveiling the new campaign “Ab app ki nahi, aap ki chalegi!”

The campaign is built around the brand’s key concept, Value for Money, and inDrive’s USP, “Offer Your Fare,” which gives people the freedom to decide the fare of a ride and even bargain with the driver directly within the app. With the inDrive app, people can either offer a fare for their ride or choose one of the driver's offers amongst many on the basis of their vehicle model, driver rating, and arrival time. Through its brand film, inDrive has captured the daily hassles faced by Indians in the ride-hailing space and portrayed how inDrive solves them.

Pavit Nanda Anand, APAC Communications Lead at inDrive, commented, “As a brand, at inDrive, our mission is to challenge injustice, which is very much connected to our history. This campaign, “Ab app ki nahi, aap ki chalegi!” aims to reiterate our efforts to provide fair pricing opportunities to as many people as possible across different countries around the world.”

 

Karmakar explained that the campaign's central theme centres on 'Value for Money' and its USP, 'Offer Your Fare,' which initiates users to set their ride fare and negotiate directly with drivers through the app.

The primary target audience for the campaign consists of young professionals in the early stages of their careers, as well as families, he stated.

Massey commented, “I am looking forward to being a part of inDrive India’s campaign as their brand ambassador. I appreciate the service that inDrive provides to its riders and drivers. inDrive is fair, where instead of the app, the people decide the fare among themselves.”

Karmakar said that inDrive, which was formerly known as inDriver, is promoting the ad campaign on JioCinema during the IPL. 

In October 2022, inDriver rebranded and became inDrive, transforming into a group of companies.

In addition, he said that inDrive is planning to run ads across various platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. 

Billboards have also been placed in Delhi, Chandigarh, and Kolkata.

“Moreover, we're concentrating our 360-degree campaign efforts on six key cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi-NCR, Mumbai-Kolkata, Chandigarh, Pune, and Bangalore, spanning diverse media channels," he added.

In March 2024, InDrive secured $150 million from General Catalyst to bolster its product and market expansion plans. This was the second round of funding from the General Catalyst. It had earlier raised $150 million from General Catalyst for marketing and growth, including expansion into new verticals in February 2023. 

When discussing how the platform has leveraged this to acquire and retain customers and sustain its growth momentum, Karmakar explained, "With this huge investment from our longstanding partner, General Catalyst, our primary focus will be on advancing development and technology to enhance our product and provide a better experience to our users."

He outlined that a portion of the funds will also be allocated towards marketing initiatives and expanding the team to launch new markets. 

Additionally, he highlighted, "We have also forged partnerships with various companies to help in customer retention efforts by offering promotional codes and providing subscriptions for free."

Furthermore, Karmakar mentioned that various campaigns are conducted throughout the year to support its driver partners at inDrive. These campaigns include:

  • Driver’s safety 
  • Driver’s meet and greet 
  • Driver of the month 
  • DrivingNaari provides equal opportunities to women in the field of driving as a career. 

Highlighting the platform’s primary objective for the year, Karmakar commented, “We are aiming for a threefold increase in Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV), ride growth, and user growth while also expanding inDrive services to 5–6 new cities."

He, however, did not disclose the actual GMV and subscriber base the company has at present. Karmakar said inDrive is present in over 15 cities, including all four metros.

The company has operations in 46 countries and provides scope for direct negotiations between drivers and passengers for rides.

"We have seen a 200% growth in rides year-on-year. Rides are in millions in India. We are constantly growing our driver partners and focusing more on adding electric vehicles to the fleet.

"At present, we have over 50,000 registered driver partners in metros and 15,000–20,000 drive partners in non-metros," Karmakar said.

He concluded that InDrive is a profitable firm and doesn't follow a cash-burn model.

InDrive
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