We want to continue our digitization journey in 2019, Suvodeep Das, Sodexo
Suvodeep Das, Vice President- Marketing, Sodexo BRS India, talks about the repositioning of the brand, their integrated marketing strategies and plans for 2019.
Initially known as a ‘meal voucher company’, Sodexo, over the years, has re-positioned itself as a digital-first brand, catering to the millennial workforce. In a conversation with exchange4media, Suvodeep Das, Vice President- Marketing, Sodexo BRS India, talks about the repositioning of the brand, their integrated marketing strategies and plans for 2019.
Sodexo has re-positioned itself as a digital-first brand, catering to millennial workforce. Tell us more about this transition?
Sodexo has been in India for 21 years now. We have transformed from being a meal voucher company to a 100 per cent digital solutions company. We have a huge base of clients, consumers and merchants. Sodexo has 11,000+ clients and 3 million consumers. What is unique about our meal products is that we have a proprietory merchant acceptance network. The network is present across 1500 cities and 1,00,000 points of acceptance. Since we work with largest IT companies, millennials are a large part of our consumer base. They are extremely tech-savy and prefer transacting on the app. They were using our paper vouchers but have quickly adapted to our digital offerings now.
Earlier this year, you said that Sodexo will re-define the way companies deliver employee benefits. Tell us more about the ways in which you are going to achieve it?
One is through employee benefit solution offerings. Apart from meal cards, we have several gift offerings. For this festival season, we launched different cards for the consumers and we are offering more and more digital solutions. Secondly, we have made administration easy. As far as our clients are concerned, the Sodexo app is very user friendly. It has one dashboard and people can place order of their choice very easily. We have something called virtual gift cards. Today we are not constrained by geography or time.
Sodexo is adopting an integrated marketing communications strategy to reposition itself as a digital first brand. Tell us more about that?
As I said earlier, we have 11,000+ clients and whatever ways we are communicating through should be very niche. These are people who like personalised communications. The pillars of our communication are: one, digital marketing, as it allows various targeting tools that help us understand the target audiences and send personalised messages to them. The second one is experiential marketing. Sodexo CxO food walk is an example of that. Then we have one to many communications in a closed environment like breakfast meetings, where we have an intimate audience of 20-22 people. We speak on subject of their choice or bring them to speak about the subject of their choice. We have one to many larger formats. We participate in conferences and invite resourceful speakers to talk on subjects of relevance. The final one is that we have deployed Augmented Realty to engage with the audience. We are reinforcing the fact that we are digital-first brand, not just for the product but also in the way in which we are leveraging digital technology.
Sodexo launched limited edition gift cards for employee gifting this festive season. How was the response?
We started the campaign in August and received an early-mover advantage. The first question we faced was why so early as Diwali was then three months away. From our experience from the past, we knew that closer to any festival, product companies and e-commerce sites offers huge discounts and offerings to consumers. So consumers order a bulk of things and the courier companies get choked up. And so the products might not reach the consumers on time. We got a clutter-free environment, so the consumers could order in advance and the product could be received on time.
We received qualitative feedback on the user experience on our app. We got 87 per cent excellent rating on our app.
For the past few years, Sodexo’s focus has been on enhancing customer experience. What are your plans for 2019?
We want to continue our digitization journey in 2019. One of our biggest challenge is that in large companies, meal benefits are optional. We have to make sure that employees opt for our meal benefits. We are doing a lot of social media campaigns to reach out to our consumers.
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