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BharatPe is evaluating sports and brand integration in movies: Abhishek Shah

BharatPe, an offline payment gateway, launched their TVC campaign during the first half of August featuring Bollywood actor Salman Khan. The tagline of the campaign is ‘Ab Dukandar is King’, which highlights that the customer is often the beneficiary of digital payments at the cost of the merchant or neighbourhood kirana store. The TVC went live on August 3, appearing on ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’.

BharatPe’s proposition to merchants is simple. Join their network of 1.3 million+ merchants and drive transactions through their BharatQR code, which will accept UPI payments from any payment’s platform. Based on a shop owner’s transaction history, BharatPe will develop a credit score and offer merchants pre-approved loans at no processing cost and paperwork, quickly and easily. The repayments of the loans will happen via daily EMIs that will be deducted from the transactions facilitated through BharatPe itself.

Ninety per cent of the $700 billion Indian retail market is comprised of kirana stores and Abhishek Shah, Chief Marketing Officer, BharatPe, believes there is room for every business in the market. “The TG we are communicating to does not have easy access to banks and that is what we are offering. The category right now is really cluttered with discounts and cashbacks. BharatPe is the only brand in the market that exists to serve the shop owners.”

At the same time, Shah emphasises that focusing on the transactional benefit of the service is not the way to connect with kirana store owners. “We want to rise above this relationship and build an emotional connect with the merchant. We want to position our organisation in a value centric way not just in a transaction centric way. The campaign speaks to shopkeepers in their tone of voice with the words they use on a daily basis. Every detail in the communication including the choice of brand ambassador speaks to Bharat not just India.”

BharatPe has clearly differentiated its communication from competitor PayU’s #KaamKaNaam campaign. PayU communicated to the rationale of the customer by offering a solution to their problem. But BharatPe’s communication spends most of the time establishing the problem itself. Their choice of brand ambassador also adds to the impact.

A budget of Rs 35 crore has been allocated for their marketing efforts till December. The pan-India campaign will be visible across the largest TV, print, radio, digital, and social channels. According to Shah, “The campaign is divided into phases. In Phase I, which will conclude at the end of August, we are focusing on our positioning. In Phase II, we will return with varied communication on how you can actually increase your business with BharatPe.”

Television will be the mainstay of the campaign, says Shah, since BharatPe is targeting the bottom of the pyramid shopkeepers. “We have not advertised malls or other upmarket market section retailers that you see in other ads.”

When asked what’s next in BharatPe’s marketing plans, Shah admitted, “We are still evaluating, but there are a few properties that you might see BharatPe associate with. Sports and brand integration in movies are what we are looking at.”

On August 26, BharatPe raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Ribbit Capital and Steadview Capital, according to media reports.

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