In the series of interviews with market leaders, change-makers, and innovators, we bring our next interview with marketer par excellence, industry expert, and branding lover, Mr. Adithya Venkatasen, Head Of Marketing- India, GoJek.
Adithya is a logophile and history lover with a keen eye on how technology shapes human behavior.
Gojek is the largest mobile on-demand service and payment network in Southeast Asia, with an annualized gross transaction value (GTV) of more than US$ 9 billion and an annualized transaction volume of 2 billion by the end of 2018 across all markets. The company’s leadership in payments and food underpins this success. The GoPay ecosystem processes an annualized GTV of US$ 6.3 billion, while GoFood processes an annualized GTV of US$ 2 billion, making it Southeast Asia’s largest food delivery service.
- How did you join Gojek & how it came in your journey?
Earlier my idea of GoJek was very limited where I knew that it is a company that takes things from point A to point B. Later I came to know they had a strong engineering presence in India and it got me more curious to find out what exactly they do in India. Then I researched and found out that it is just more than a transport startup. That is how my GoJek Journey started.
- Gojek is one of the biggest startups in South East Asia. Let us through what Gojek is all about?
Launched in January 2015, Gojek is now a major player in the region in key areas of digital and mobile consumption. The company has evolved into a super app that acts as a transactional ecosystem connecting millions of customers on its platform to millions of drivers, merchants, and service providers. We can easily say, GoJek is a platform of 20+ apps. We keep testing new products, we keep experimenting with it.
- Being the first Unicorn of Indonesia, How has been the expansion of Gojek to other south-east Asian countries?
Indonesia gave us an impetus and we can delight consumers in another market. It allowed us to expand to South East Asia. By Southeast Asia, I mean Thailand, Singapore & Vietnam. In 2019, We recorded 10 million rides in Singapore in less than 6 months. In Vietnam, GO-VIET gained an estimated 40% of the two-wheeled transport market share within three months of launch in August 2018. GO-VIET’s food delivery service has become the leading player among comparable food delivery services within only two months of launch in Ho Chi Minh City and recently in Hanoi.
- Recently, Gojek did a video with The Viral Fever (TVF). How does this kind of video help and do they help on employee joining?
We have one disadvantage as a brand in India as we don’t have a product right now. If we do pitch to engineers, designers, or managers we can’t show the product. In our markets such as Indonesia and other countries, the promotion is all about offers and deals but in India, our promotion is all about the core aspects of the product and the culture of our brand.
For example, when you think of Airbnb design and aesthetics come into your mind. When you think of Netflix, it’s all about pop culture. In a similar manner, we want when people talk about GoJek, they think that great engineers, product designers, managers work there.
Such collaborations are not for just hiring, it is also for announcing the product to a mass segment. TVF has no defined audience segmentation but it gives you mass appeal.
- What change has Digital Media introduced in terms of brand communication and customer satisfaction?With the introduction of Digital media, Smaller players have got access to more customers. The smaller businesses have tools to reach their consumers which were very less in older times. For example, A local cookie seller can reach out to their consumers with all the tools available online and has better communication with their consumers.
I still believe that Offline or traditional means come with premium benefits but it’s not measurable.
Digital media has empowered businesses and given them more visibility but I wouldn’t negate the power of offline media.
- In today’s world, How important is ethical branding, and should brand avoid fake promises?
Of course, Brands should avoid fake promises. Once mass campaigns that have fake promises reach social media, you see a lot more people calling out brands for their dishonest ads. This results in the customers losing trust in brands and nobody will like to associate themselves with such a brand.
The dishonesty might reap results for you in short term but it will affect the brand image and it is bad for the long run.
- We have seen a trend of brands getting involved with big sporting events, IPL being one of the prime examples. How does this benefit startups and what is the ROI in such a huge event?
In these times when the majority of India is not traveling during this time and that includes the premium 1 percent of the Indian population. The 1 percent population is very important for all these brands advertising in IPL.
For example, When CRED started the IPL campaign, questions were raised as the Credit Card market in India is not that much. During the pandemic, Credit card usage is growing and CRED has launched a loan facility. We have no idea of the product journey but now whenever Credit Card is mentioned, people will talk about it.
IPL is a mass-market event for marketers and it helps you reach so many eyes. When you have such a huge event, marketers don’t shy from creating the campaigns. In India, we don’t have any such big event next year. IPL gives you a platform where your brand is mentioned for 40 odd days and has such a screen time.
- Any branding/marketing tips for our readers?
Few tips I have for people are-
Reading is very important. Never stop reading. Don’t only read about marketing, read across genres, and niches.
Do keep notes. Writing is a whole different ball game. People don’t write enough and writing has a positive change in your thought process.
Be curious and aware of the industry. Follow the numbers and keep a tab of things that might not even be from your industry. To be a good marketer you have to be curious.
Team Next Big Brand extends heartiest wishes to Adithya and the amazing team at GoJek. Kudos to them for such an amazing and insightful interview.
You can check our other interviews here.