Decoding the era of IPOs and stock broking in the new normal

Angel Broking is one of the largest retail broking houses in India in terms of active clients on NSE, as of June 2020. It is a technology-led financial services company that offers broking and advisory services, margin funding, loans against shares (through one of the subsidiaries AFPL) and financial products distribution to clients.

In conversation with Adgully, Prabhakar Tiwari, CMO, Angel Broking, speaks about IPO marketing in the digital era, revamping the stock broking experience for the Indian Millennial, benefits of social media influencers and much more.

How does marketing help in building business efforts from a fund raising aspect?

While maintaining and caring for current customers is always the target, marketing efforts allow you to expand on that and reach new customers. Little efforts go a long way when it comes to engaging potential customers. Marketing informs your customers about the products or services you’re offering them.

From a fundraising standpoint, the supply is the ‘issue’ and the demand is the ‘investment’. There are several factors that you need to take care of in terms of business efforts. First and foremost, any information or communication must not be beyond the DRHP. It literally becomes the bible for the business. Secondly, you have to communicate the value to each and every potential investor. This includes the retail investors who are putting their hard-earned money into the organisation, as well as the institutional ones who have their reputation at stake.

Again, this is also a challenge since you cannot cross the line of DRHP for any communication. But I feel it also takes you to a unique creative space that tests your true marketing capabilities. Thirdly, you have to facilitate a seamless interaction between various departments. Everything passes through multiple layers of checks and cross-referencing, wherein the marketing department has a major role to play. You also have to identify the pockets of investors so that you reach the right audiences that might be interested in the IPO. Your marketing function is responsible for staying on the pulse of the ever-evolving media environment and building strategies that ensure audiences are reached the right time.

As a marketer, what kind of challenges do you face while marketing during the IPO stage?

Unlike regular brand communication, which is meant for consumers, IPO communication is meant for investors. The targeting strategy and the kind of value proposition you talk about are vastly different. It is more of a corporate value proposition. One is not trying to sell a service or a scheme, but the entire organisation and the value that it creates and it can create in future. Within the marketing guidelines set around IPO, one tries to communicate that the company is financially solid and investing in our IPO would be beneficial for the investors over the long term.

When it comes to our regular marketing, we use a mix of television, print and digital. However, in case of IPO marketing, Gujarat and Rajasthan are critical geographies for us as a lot of investors are concentrated there, who may not be digital-savvy but are an extremely important target for our IPO. That is when even print becomes extremely relevant for us to reach out to all possible targets. The biggest challenge, I believe, is ensuring that no communicated information goes beyond the DRHP.

How are you getting the brand’s perception to change with regards to digitalisation and new market penetration?

Digital is the cornerstone of nearly every major project flagged off over the past few years. Angel Broking launched D-KYC to process account opening with just a fingerprint sans any further documentation. Using newer platforms like TikTok, JioChat and others, we were successfully able to penetrate into hinterlands of India.

Angel Broking has always been at the forefront of innovation. This includes innovation in terms of tech through digitisation, as well as in terms of approach with new market penetration. Both of them came very naturally to us. We have remained true to our mission of helping every Indian realise their financial dreams.

Digitisation was something that came naturally to us and so did new market penetration. We launched our Mobile App for broking services in 2011. We were also amongst the early adopters of e-KYC. This holds not just in the broking industry, but also in the horizontal market. Angel Broking further began complete client onboarding via electronic and digital medium in 2016. We have thoroughly remained ahead of the curve.

Our digital edge also becomes evident with several cutting-edge solutions, including rule-based investment engine ARQ, Angel BEE and Angel SpeedPro that has truly enabled us to extend preferential prices to our customers. With Angel iTrade Prime that offers flat brokerage charges, we empower all of our investors to trade smartly. The new market penetration is a part and parcel of our superior digital presence. It made us more accessible across all geographies. We dived deeper into the Tier 2, 3 and 4 cities and generated high investor engagement. We have leveraged some of the most unconventional channels, including influencer marketing and dedicated platform-driven campaigns, to further strengthen our brand perception.

What is the Importance of Digital Marketing during an IPO process for any brand?

Digital marketing allows you to compete with your competition by exposing you to a wider audience on a much smaller advertising budget. When managed effectively, it gives businesses laser-focused control over where and how they spend their money. When you have this kind of control and the data to support decisions, you make smarter ones. It is only prudent that a once-in-a-lifetime move such as an IPO involves the optimal utilisation of all branding opportunities. Moreover, the extent and speed with which Indians are gaining access to the Internet is unlike anything seen anywhere else.

A huge chunk of modern-day investors are either tech-savvy or follow market updates on smart phones through basic levels of digital literacy. Today, digital engagement with prospective customers can occur in the future and what brands must do to get the right message across. However, we understand that an IPO presents a different situation. Since it is about a value proposition, we have a significant focus on all mediums to speak about the company’s achievements.

How can a robust branding strategy maximise the IPO stage?

During the IPO, the brand needs to be an even more powerful beacon, telegraphing something unique and interesting to investors. A company’s brand needs to stand out and create a level of excitement and enthusiasm. Your branding strategy is what defines the IPO stage ultimately. Within the kind of set of guidelines, you have to position yourself as a financially solid organisation and how investing in our IPO will be beneficial for the investors over the long term. IPO audience that is quite different from your typical audience. So, you have to position the brand accordingly.

Our customers have strong digital maturity, as they seek an uncomplicated, self-service investment experience. Our new campaign, “Smart Sauda”, is designed around young India’s aspiration to transform their lives. The kind of value proposition that you talk about is vastly different. It is more of a corporate value proposition. The branding exercise needs to be conducted accordingly. It adds thrust to your IPO stage. The world has gone completely digital, and this requires meticulous planning and strategy development to pull off a perfect IPO launch digitally. A brand strategy for an IPO can be deemed successful if it gets oversubscribed and delivers good returns to the investors.

How has Angel Broking revamped the stock broking experience for the Indian Millennial in the digital broking era?

At Angel Broking, the approach has always been simple and effective. In 2011, we launched our mobile app which has had more than 4.39 million downloads as of June 30, 2020, which enable our clients to avail our services digitally. Similarly, we developed ARQ based on the Modern Portfolio Theory and alpha-generating algorithms that consider multiple fundamental and quantitative factors. It helps our millennial investors to outperform benchmark indices without dedicatedly analysing the market.

SpeedPro is also a cutting-edge application trading platform that enhances a clients’ trading experience further. Using it, clients receive instant calls, alerts, and advisory from Angel Broking in real-time. They get to place multi-leg and bracket orders, and track stocks with the help of in-built technical charts with over 70 indicators.

To make investments easier and cost-effective, we further came up with Angel iTrade Prime Plan that charges Rs. 0 for equity delivery and flat Rs 20 per order for all other segments, including F&O, Commodities and Currencies. With more millennials and young professionals entering the workforce every year, and India undergoing a demographic shift, a young country such as ours needs services that are a match the best in the world.

Millions of professionals are tech-savvy and eager to learn about new avenues for investments and profiteering. Increasing number of new millennial investors also come from smaller towns and villages and this requires information dissemination in local vernaculars. We further have Angel BEE, a digital platform, developed with an aim to fulfill the financial requirements of our clients, with a focus on millennials. It inculcates investment discipline and providing avenues for independent financial management for the millennials.

What is the importance of influencer marketing in IPO?

A key benefit of social media influencers is that they have a solid understanding of the platforms they are using, and how to create impactful and engaging content which can build more awareness for your brand. These influencers have often spent years growing their audiences, and maximising that sense of affiliation and inclusion within their groups.

With their refined presentation and storytelling skills, they know how to forge effective relationships with their audiences and tell your brand story seamlessly. Connecting with influencers in your field is intended to increase interactivity and trust in the product. Top influencers in the field can help you reach out to more targeted customers. They can lead people to believe in your brand by connecting you with people, who care about them. This is emerging as a whole new serious marketing avenue, considering that the engagement is in millions, with individuals across industries having garnered followers over the years.

IPO launches are a time when all communication channels must open up for companies, as the only way to generate interest in the offerings is by speaking about the legacy and accolades and their future journey. Influencers’ success is determined by their area of expertise, average time spent by followers on his/her timeline or channel, and their skill to communicate the message across. Influencer marketing is an indispensable factor to promote the brand of business and increase the trust for the customers about your store.

How are marketers infusing unique initiatives to make BFSI relevant for users?

The BFSI sector has been at the forefront of implementing digital services for its consumers. Most of the marketing innovations we see today have been in reducing expenses and maximising returns. This has taken place largely through the integration of technology into the marketing sphere as well. While the process involved learning and unlearning so that more robust and efficient products are made, brands are seeking digital means to entice potential customers. Both marketers and BFSI players are integrating AI and machine learning based solutions to reach their target audiences.

What are the innovative tools/ channels that have helped Angel Broking achieve significant userbase during the lockdown?

We had witnessed an unprecedented surge in new accounts during the lockdown months. We manage Rs 132,540 million in client assets and over 2.15 million operational broking accounts as of June 30, 2020. Some of the tools, channels, and services that have been instrumental in opening new accounts are as follows:

  • ARQ Advisory: It is an advanced tech-driven subscription-based system that provides customised advisory services across diverse asset classes. Based on algorithms, it gives customers advice according to market trends, ratings, revenues, etc. through an easy-to-use feature on the mobile app.
  • Angel Broking Mobile App: With more than 4.39 million downloads, clients are able to maintain comprehensive portfolio management with ease. It enables trading in equities, futures, options, currencies, commodities, IPO investments, and mutual funds with the click of a button.
  • Smart Money: Educational initiative has helped us enhance client engagement and experience through application of technology. This is a platform with an exclusive collection of educational modules that help investors and traders with varying levels of expertise to understand the markets better and add value to our customer’s journey.
  • This is Angel Broking’s web-based platform for trading across all investment classes. Backed by ARQ, clients can manage investments, track stocks, trade real-time across stock exchanges such as BSE, NSE, MCX and participate in IPOs.
  • Angel BEE: Angel BEE is another mobile app platform by Angel Broking that focuses on the millennial generation. The idea is to develop investment discipline in young professionals, which shall help them manage their finances independently. Even Angel BEE is powered by the rule-based investment engine, ARQ.
  • Angel Speed Pro: It is an application trading platform that enhances clients’ trading experience further. It quickly monitors positions across exchanges like NSE, BSE, and MCX for investments in multiple asset classes, sending real-time notifications.
  • NXT: Known as the next-generation platform, it enables authorised persons or sub-brokers to be a part of the digital ecosystem and utilise opportunities that arise through various initiatives.

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