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‘It’s difficult to win trust by mere advertising’

KRUNAL MEHTA
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Mr Krunal Mehta, Vice-President (Branding & Corp Communications), Angel Broking
Mr Krunal Mehta, Vice-President (Branding & Corp Communications), Angel Broking

In stockbroking, word of mouth works the best, says Krunal Mehta.

Krunal Mehta, Vice-President - Branding & Corporate Communications, Angel Broking, began his career as a marketing manager at a full service interactive marketing agency where he worked with clients such as Hyundai, Kwality Walls, Nestle India, Cadbury, Kellogg’s, LG, Samsung and Pedigree. A career spanning over 13 years also saw him handling channel sales, distribution and creation of market demand at Elf India Ltd. His love for the stock markets made him join India Infoline, where he drove consumer marketing strategy and brand management. The World Brand Congress & World CSR have recognised him as one of Asia’s top 100 CMOs.

My most memorable

marketing initiative

This is a highly fragmented category where trust and heritage influence an investor’s decision. Most people avoid investing because of the risks involved. People look at equity as a means of gambling where you’re more prone to losing money than gaining wealth. However, there are groups which are still attracted by the opportunities that this category can offer, which means they wouldn’t mind stepping in if they were to be supported by a partner who not only adopted their interests, but also educated them on making the right decisions.

One of the most memorable marketing initiatives was a very strong one of reaching out to mass investors and to empowering them with financial literacy. To reach the masses and be much closer to the actual investor, we found the need to reach them personally, just the way they like it. We recognised the need to gain their trust by not only advertising but also engaging with them directly and addressing their concerns. Investors don’t have a proper channel as to where they can clear all their queries and be convinced that the trading market is not a gamble but a means to add to their wealth.

We conduct programmes all across the country, keeping in mind the growing need to upgrade the knowledge and competency levels of clients and channel partners.

My first product launch

It was one of the most fascinating projects I have ever worked for. I was then working with this agency called Trojan. The team was handling the pre-launch and launch of Hyundai Santro cars in India. That was an era where Maruti was synonymous with the word car, its look and feel. One fine morning, at all the key petrol pumps, a car of new design was displayed, without any details, for a few days. This really made people take notice.

After a few days, we came up with the concept of a test drive. This was the first time a company offered free test drives. After that, there was a flood of enquiries and that is when the car was launched formally in India.

A setback I have learnt from

I feel the more the setbacks, the stronger the personality you become.

In my early days the perspective was more theoretical. Based on that, we had launched a consumer programme/initiative, completely discarding the ground reality. When we launched the initiative across the country, we were shocked with the feedback, which was exactly the opposite of what we anticipated. Now I ensure that there is no gap between the perceived value and the real offering.

My marketing idol

It is none other than Dhirubhai Ambani. He used to say that all your dreams are achievable, because these are the products of your own mind and heart. I believe he had the best marketing mind and the uncanny ability to handle any situation. He was also an amazing innovator and was ahead of his time.

Where I get my insights from

From experiences undergone and lessons learnt Another area where I get my insights from is reading. Reading inspires me to take insights from various scenarios and also empowers me to built the most likely scenarios for every possible situations. It gives me the required stimulation.

How B-School has helped me in my career

It has helped me get a solid foundation. I have learnt how to communicate with people of different backgrounds, to multi-task and shine at it, and the most important: people management. I was able to smoothly implement the theories in real life. My confidence definitely improved. I learned to take chances, take ownership, and not be afraid to speak out but also learnt how to work in teams and adapt to different people’s styles.

Marketing stock broking services

Stockbroking services are high-involvement, as they involve hard-earned money, expectations and attendant emotions. It is critical as a marketer that at the end of the day your customer has the best ‘value of experience’ from the brand, making him a happy customer, which makes him refer the brand to others.

Also, the broking industry is viewed with a certain amount of scepticism and it is difficult to win people’s trust people by mere advertising. In fact, people are most comfortable with word-of-mouth recommendations of those with first-hand experience.

While trust is an important criterion, the real driver of the industry is expertise. Compared to the broking sector, the others, such as FMCG and lubricants are far more distribution-driven as there is less consumer involvement. Broking is a far more involved space which is driven more by relationships and experiences.

The broking industry by its very nature operates on the knowledge gap that exists between the broker and the customer. By believing in the virtue of investor empowerment, we partner the consumer rather than talk down to them. This philosophy makes the investor trust the brand naturally.

(This article was published on July 26, 2012)
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