India gets the lion's share of our brand building expenditure: Abhiraj Bhal, Urban Company

In a conversation with e4m, Bhal highlighted the brand's need to rebrand, its foray overseas, media mix and focus for the upcoming year

e4m by Anjali Thakur
Updated: Feb 3, 2020 8:58 AM
Urban Company

Leading home service app UrbanClap has rebranded itself as Urban Company on Friday, January 31. As reported earlier, the new umbrella brand will focus on company’s ambition to be a horizontal gig platform with an aim to expand its global footprint and achieve a leadership position across service categories like beauty, spa, repairs, cleaning, painting, etc.

We were curious to know what triggered the rebranding exercise and posed a question to Abhiraj Bhal, co-founder, Urban Company. He explained: “When we started, we were only in one country and in just one or two categories. Today, Urban Company is present in multiple categories, like carpentry, appliance repair, cleaning services, painting services, pest control, makeup, fitness at home. Initially, we were present just in India, now we have expanded our presence in UAE, Australia and Singapore. So, with these changes happening, we thought it is time to have a mother umbrella brand, which will be called UrbanCompany for the rest of its life, anywhere in the world wherever it goes, whether Australia, Singapore, UAE, India or any other market that we'll launch in the future.”

He adds, “Therefore, it should be a simple straight-forward, universally-acceptable name across markets. And it should be a name that lends itself to a brand architecture that allows for sub-brands like urban beauty, spa, cleaning and painting, which continue to have the same attributes of the core brand- around trust, quality, safety, standardization, reliability and sincerity. But, at the same time, they should have their own unique individualities and national identities they developed. So that was a simple thesis. We thought this allows us to have a much more sustainable brand architecture, which can have a sub-brand strategy. And it's a name that is globally and universally much more acceptable and repeatable,” he explained.

Launched in 2014 in Delhi by Abhiraj Bhal, Varun Khaitan and Raghav Chandra, the startup has expanded its operations to 17 Indian cities - Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, Ludhiana, Lucknow, Vadodara and Visakhapatnam. It is present in four international markets - Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sydney and Singapore. The company launched its Singapore operations on January 17.

On asking about the brand's reception outside India, Bhal shared, “I can talk about UAE, where we started operation two years back, and now we are the leading players there already. In a short span of two years, the reception has been phenomenal. We're fairly a household brand right now. In Singapore and Australia, we have just entered, so it's too early to comment.”

Talking about their marketing and media mix, Bhal told us that it will be a mix of radio, TV, digital and print. “You will see many summer campaigns with our brand ambassadors Kriti Sanon and Ayushmann Khurrana. We advertise on Facebook and Instagram through celebrity influences, especially micro-influencers. We have lots of celebrities talking about us, but we also have micro-influencers that we keep partnering with.  And in many cases, these are not paid gigs. We largely rely on word of mouth.”

“India gets the lion's share of our brand building expenditure right now, while international is also catching up,” Bhal pointed out.

People still have their favourite salons that offer luxury and also good deals, how does a service like Urban Clap get that clientele? “More than the salon, what people do is they want to go for the same beautician in the salon. Sometimes, we see that if the beautician changes the salon, they also change the salon with her. Now on Urban Company, we give you the option to rebook the same beautician, while trying to certain that there is standardization across all beauticians. So, 37per cent of consumers chooses to rebook the same beautician, while 63 per cent decide to go with what we call UrbanClap auto-assist,” Bhal told us.

Its rebranding notwithstanding, Urban Company stays true to its commitment to offer reliable and affordable services for users at the comfort of their own home. It's clear about its vision for 2020 -- to empower millions of professionals across the world and deliver the best home service to users. The rebranding is only a step closer to this mission.

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