'The core of our strategy will always be our employees and our customers'

Ketan Kulkarni, CMO and Head– Business Development, Blue Dart, shares insights on gearing up for vaccine roll-outs, challenges during pandemic, evolution in marketing, key learnings and more

e4m by Ritika Raj
Updated: Jan 27, 2021 5:44 PM
Ketan Kulkarni

One sector which played a significant role in the on-going pandemic is the logistics sector that ensured timely delivery of supplies at a time when most people were home-bound. In the background of transport halts and supply chain disruptions, the focus for major logistics player Blue Dart was seamless business operations by sticking to its core values of Passion, Can Do, Right 1st Time and As One.

Ketan Kulkarni, CMO and Head– Business Development, Blue Dart says, “Our Blue Darters stepped up as essential service providers and worked round-the-clock to ensure supply chain continuity. Each issue was tackled by the Senior Management Team at Blue Dart with a succinct focus on getting the organization towards the light at the end of the tunnel. We readied and executed our Business Continuity and Contingency Plan (BCCP) and with a focused and ever-supportive team, business went on seamlessly.”

According to Kulkarni, consumer-centricity has been the bedrock of the foundation of Blue Dart. Keeping the consumer-centric sentiment intact the company launched various campaigns and offers. Kulkarni says, “We introduced several discounted offers to ensure that our customers weren’t feeling the pinch in their pocket while shipping with us (Fight COVID-19 Price, Rakhi Express, Diwali Express, Merry Express); we also wanted to ensure that they felt safe while shipping with us. Therefore, we introduced the Contact Less Delivery Service by shifting our billing and collections to a completely digital platform. To accelerate this seamless experience, we also launched our ‘My Blue Dart’ mobile application. ”

On the business strategy end, Blue Dart launched the ‘Fight Covid-19 Price’ to facilitate a 25% discount to MSMEs and retail consumers and a contactless delivery system. As the business strategy changed to cater to consumer needs, the marketing strategy also took a turn. Kulkarni elaborates “Marketing shifted entirely to the digital medium, whether that be Social Media, our recently and successfully run ad campaign or the various digital initiatives we launched such as the ‘Did You Know’ series where through the use of attractive graphics we engaged and educated customers on our offerings. We rely on our own social media channels to relay developments about the brand to our audience.”

Marketing Brand ‘Blue Dart’

The positioning of brand Blue Dart has been centred around its fast delivery, quick turnaround time, and safety of the consignment. Keeping a similar positioning strategy in mind, Blue Dart launched, “We Move So Your World Can Move If It’s Important #BlueDartIt” campaign during the lockdown. Elaborating on the insight behind the TVC campaign, Kulkarni says “We know and understand that a shipment, no matter how small, matters to our customer, and therefore, it matters to us. Therefore, the phrase ‘We Move So Your World Can Move’ and ‘If It's Important, #BlueDartIT’. The objective was to have clear and straightforward messaging, without ambiguity, to bring forward our communication and offerings in a subtle yet power-packed manner.”

Giving impetus on how the omnichannel approach evolved, Kulkarni adds “We want to ensure that our customers receive the best service, no matter where they are accessing our services. Having an omnichannel approach helped us widen our scope in terms of our target audience – we ensured that we could find a way to engage our customers without them having to have a set of prerequisite requirements.” The marketing channels that Blue Dart employs are SMS Marketing, Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Public Relations, etc. However, Kulkarni believes that the on-ground army of Blue Dart professionals is the biggest marketing tool. 

Understanding the importance of visual communication, the brand is also pushing their messaging through creative graphics and Electronic media. “Our recent campaign took a multimedia approach and was promoted across various platforms. The Ads were being rolled out across multiple business & news channels and were also digitally activated on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube & Hotstar as well as new age media such as Inshorts.” Kulkarni adds while listing the various media choices for their latest campaign.

Trends Across Logistics Sector in 2021

Kulkarni addresses 2020 as the ‘Big Bang’ of changes and believes that its after-effects have rippled across the logistics sector as well. According to him, the logistics sector will become more narrowed and streamlined. He adds “With government initiatives to bring down logistics costs, GST, a National Logistics Policy, Air Cargo policy, Vocal about Local, Make in India, etc., the sector is surely on a path to success”. According to Kulkarni, Digitisation from the first mile of the supply chain to the last mile is the future of the industry.  He explains, “The underlying theme of a ‘Technology led Transformation’ would revolve around creating business models that will survive in a ‘less-contact’ society.  Use of cutting-edge delivery platforms to rapidly alter delivery workflows based on customer needs, provide real-time notifications on delivery progress or delays, and enabling payments through secure digital gateways will further enhance customer service initiatives.” He adds “Blue Dart will always focus on remaining a Provider of Choice, Employee of Choice and an Investment of Choice. The core of our strategy will therefore always be our employees and our customers; two of our most important audiences.”

Gearing up for the Vaccine Rollout

In the immediate future, with the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out being implemented in the country, Blue Dart has ramped up its processes in preparation for when the requirement would arise. Due to the criticality of the shipment, the company has specialized life science solutions experts. Kulkarni says, “The role of the vaccine supply chain would be to ensure effective vaccine storage, handling, severe temperature control in the cold chain, and maintenance of adequate logistics management information systems.”

Blue Dart has more than a decade of operational experience and specialized infrastructure for handling biomedical shipments through its specialized Temperature Controlled Logistics solution. Kulkarni says, “Any product that is temperature-sensitive is further supported with our very own fleet of six Boeing 757 freighters, 20,000+ ground vehicles, and a strong army of Blue Darters servicing 34000+ locations.  We recently transported our first vaccine shipments, and we are keen on fulfilling our role as a Trusted Brand and a Provider of Choice to our customers with vigour like never before.”  

Blue Dart has invested and upped its capacity requirements across verticals - including manpower, technology, etc - to effectively handle all requirements. The company has strengthened its specialized Temperature Controlled Logistics (TCL) solution. He says, “We use both Single-use packaging (which provides temp stability of 48-72 hours) and multi-use boxes which have temperature stability of 96 hours.  We have eight Pharma Grade Conditioning Rooms located at close proximity to our Blue Dart Airport Stations which decreases our turnaround time and aids in the speedy delivery.”

He continues, “Each TCL Expert & Support Staff has been trained to handle TCL shipments across all temperature ranges. Work-related process flows have been designed and rehearsed across our eight strategic locations where we have our Conditioning Rooms. These rooms allow us to handle shipments without compromising on quality or time. If the requirement for temperature-sensitive shipments is under Express Logistics, we will be there, prepared to provide you with safe, secure and reliable delivery.”

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