Sandeep Juneja, VP-Sales & Marketing, DHL Express India, weighs in on the logistics delivery brand’s lockdown experience and performance, and international brand campaign ‘Licence to Deliver’ released alongside the new James Bond film, ‘No Time to Die’
ON LOCKDOWN & ‘EMOTIONALIZATION’ OF DHL
Shortage of air capacity and a spurt in cross-border online shopping were two direct impacts of the pandemic. As an international express service provider with presence in more than 220 countries and territories, DHL Express had to rise to the occasion and respond to the increase in cross-border shipment volumes, while following strict COVID-19 safety protocols in its facilities and also following different regulations in different countries globally. The Government and logistics industry players combined forces to deploy tools for seamless supply of medical goods across the globe. Since the worldwide vaccine distribution campaign began in December 2020, DHL has safely delivered over 1 billion vaccine doses to more than 160 countries.
The pandemic accelerated our digitization initiatives across functions including Sales and Marketing where we moved from a touch to tech-based approach. Digital payments grew exponentially as well, and we are also looking at AI, ML and robotic processes to make customer outreach methods increasingly efficient. Today, we are connecting with customers, both existing and potential, virtually, as businesses shift to a more personalized approach. Also, we have focused on stronger emotionalization of the DHL brand. We launched a state-of-the-art technology tool called D.I.E.T – with a simple interface for importers in India, enabling ease of doing business. For the first time, DHL associated with Mumbai Indians for IPL as their logistics partner, and the ‘Keep Up with the Clicks’ global brand campaign helped us strengthen our position in cross-border e-commerce.
ON BEING ‘INSANELY CUSTOMER-CENTRIC’
DHL Express ensured consistent brand visibility through various associations and partnerships through the past year, be it in major sporting leagues such as the ISL and IPL or partnering with a leading movie franchise like James Bond. We curated hyperlocal activations on social media and on-ground to further promote our ongoing campaigns. Our 360-degree media strategy reassured our customers that we are here for them even through these unprecedented times.
At DHL, we believe in the concept of ‘Sell Like Never Before’. The theory helps in understanding the customer’s world and sell with a buyer’s perspective as well as use insights and story-telling techniques to connect with the customer.
The ‘Insanely Customer-Centric Culture’ at DHL helps us stand out through our customer-focused services. We offer many customized solutions, which increase global reach and shorten time in the supply chain, enabling cost savings and adding real value in the process. This is consistent with our brand promise – ‘Excellence. Simply Delivered’.
ON RECENTLY ANNOUNCED PRICE INCREASE FOR 2022
DHL Express announced a price increase recently that will take effect on January 1, 2022. The average increase that it will see in India will be 6.9% as compared to 2021. The prices have been adjusted on an annual basis considering the inflation and currency dynamics as well as administrative costs related to regulatory and security measures. Depending on local conditions, price adjustments will vary from country to country, and will apply to all customers where contracts allow. The adjustment also allows us to further invest in our infrastructure network and strengthen our resilience against the pandemic.
WHAT NEXT FOR DHL EXPRESS IN INDIA
To be the No.1 logistics company of the world means, we have to be insanely connected to our customers, listening to them and following the path of continuous improvement. Using various tools such as NPA, Six Sigma and our unique ICCC approach, we are consistently solving real world problems for our customers. To support our retail customers and to add cheer to the environment, we keep launching many festive campaigns. At present, we have several festive offers for Diwali, Durga Puja and Navratri, where customers can avail up to 40% discount on international shipments to their loved ones anywhere in the world.
NOTHING BASIC ABOUT THE BASICS
Beth Comstock rightly said, “Whether B2B or B2C, I believe passionately that good marketing essentials are the same. We all are emotional beings looking for relevance, context and connection.” Just like Peter Parker (Spider-Man), I have come into my own with my superpowers after having started my journey in Sales and Marketing at DHL Express 17 years ago. I have seen the market evolve from traditional channels like Print and Television to digital media. As many of the B2B decision-makers are millennials, most of their habits at business have been reshaped by their experiences on B2C.
The key learning for me is that ‘There is nothing basic about the basics.’ One everlasting basic is that ‘Customer is King’. For a marketer, the magic lies in triangulating the external and internal data points, and designing solutions to effectively solve real issues – sounds simple, but as Steve Jobs said, ‘Simple can be much harder than complex’ – isn’t it? It is critical to customize your strategy in line with your customer needs, preferences and behaviours. Consumer outreach must be a marathon effort, not a sprint.
FACTOR 007: LICENCE TO DELIVER
Timed with release of the latest Bond film ‘No Time to Die’ on September 30, DHL Express launched an international ad campaign ‘Licence to Deliver’ that pays homage to the iconic film franchise and showcases the essence of excellent delivery services, marking the fifth time DHL has provided transport and logistics solutions to James Bond. Set in Shanghai, the ad follows a DHL courier as he sets out to deliver a vital package to James Bond. As he arrives at the assigned location to meet Bond, the handover is interrupted, and a high-speed car chase ensues. As 007 is pursued through the streets, the courier avoids the chaos to deliver the package to an updated delivery address, safely and efficiently.
To create the same levels of intrigue and excitement as a Bond car chase, the ad has an Aston Martin DB5 driven by Bond stunt driver, Ben Collins. It also has the movie’s Linus Sandgren as director of photography. “The message we wish to drive through this association is that just like Bond, when it comes to logistics, DHL is the provider of choice you can rely on even if the mission is unusual or complex,” says Sandeep Juneja.