When, following its acquisition by BNP Paribas, Sharekhan announced in January it aimed to double its customer base in just 5 years to become one of the preferred savings and investment partners in India, the declaration of that business ambition was news in itself. However, what was truly unique about the announcement was how it was made; the manner in which Jaideep Arora, CEO of Sharekhan by BNP Paribas, laid out the shareable part of the plans.
Sharekhan’s PR agency helped the company roll out what, to my memory and belief, was the first Augmented Reality-driven media event in the BFSI space in India. And Arora presented it through a very special PPT.
He was in it.
Now, some things are done for effect, but this innovative AR-driven announcement was proof of the message that Sharekhan is a technology-driven entity that, after it was acquired by BNP Paribas, has been seeing significant investments in digital technology. When Arora walked into the powerpoint, the brand was walking the talk, and made a powerful point.
To my mind, Sharekhan, across its near-17-year history, has always been a brand which has accomplished the difficult task (for a BFSI brand) to live an effervescent personality characterised by speed, modernity and agility while retaining the gravitas and security of the crucial promise of enabling savings and investment, for the young (and old) investing public in India.
So at a time when the company says that the current macro environment offers a new wave of digital opportunity, that Sharekhan’s making significant investments in digital, and that they’re also (to my mind) completing the offering by offering best-in-class research and investor education, the Augmented Reality-driven media event was just what was called for. To demonstrate Sharekhan’s commitment not just to its core business audience of the investors, but also to the equally important and critical audience of the BSFI media that covers the space.
The personality of a brand is reflected in its behaviour, and the AR innovation told its audience that Sharekhan is innovative, in a meaningful and impactful way, with no half punches.
It wasn’t just the Augmented Reality part of the media conference that demonstrated the personality, capability and technology-innate character of Sharekhan ; it was also the smart and impactful presentation by its CEO Arora, who went about interacting with the audience through the powerpoint he brought alive, with aplomb.
What came across was his ease and control during the presentation. What, thankfully, wasn’t visible was the hours of practice he chose to give time for, to make India’s first AR-driven media conference a success.
Here is a brief video shot on a mobile phone during the event. Just so you can see how the innovation rolled out. Am trying to get a hold of the video from the event, and I hope I can source it quickly so you can watch Jaideep Arora’s complete performance.
I caught up for an impromptu chat on the first AR-driven media event in the BFSI space in India, with Arwa Husain, who, as SVP at Adfactors PR, heads the BFSI practice. Arwa is a highly respected strategic comms professional in the BFSI space, and has been powering her clients in the serious BFSI space with highly innovative and impactful campaigns that have won several awards.
Take a listen as Arwa tells me about how Adfactors PR suggested the unique AR-driven media initiative for Sharekhan, and helped put it together with the help of the partner event agency, and, most important, the belief and active participation and support of Sharekhan CEO Jaideep Arora.
And to close the loop on the complete messaging from the event, here’s what it was all about: Sharekhan by BNP Paribas is making significant investments in technology, especially digital, which together with a more customer centric approach, will create unique customer journeys allowing investors access to a variety of savings and investment products including not only equities and derivatives but also mutual funds. The headline message: With this, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas aims to double its customer base from the current 1.4 million in five years while also aiming to be among the top 15 mutual fund distributors in the country with Rs. 20,000 crore in mutual fund assets under management.
Thierry Laborde, member of the Group Executive Committee of BNP Paribas S.A., said, “With this ambitious strategy and significant investments in technology as well as in building an exciting brand, we will make Sharekhan by BNP Paribas one of the preferred savings and investment partners for retail investors in India. A strong digital-led approach will be at the core of the strategy, as it is in all retail activities of BNP Paribas across the world.”
Joris Dierckx, CEO and Country Head for BNP Paribas India, said, “The BNP Paribas Group remains committed to the development of our business in India, both in wholesale banking as well as in retail financial services, where we have an asset management business and joint ventures in insurance and home finance. Sharekhan by BNP Paribas is a significant step for the Group in India and we expect that its strong network will be the backbone for the distribution of savings and investment products.”
Jaideep Arora, CEO of Sharekhan by BNP Paribas, said, “Sharekhan was a pioneer in online retail broking and successfully leveraged the first wave of the digital opportunity when electronic trading was introduced on the stock exchanges. Building on this strong foundation, we are now entering a new phase of growth. The current macro environment in India offers a new wave of digital opportunity. We will leverage it to fundamentally change how people in India save and invest. Sharekhan by BNP Paribas will offer a comprehensive range of products from pure brokerage to asset based investment services including mutual funds and savings products backed by best-in-class research and investor education.”
Founded in 2000 and a subsidiary of BNP Paribas since November 2016, Sharekhan was one of the first brokers to offer online trading in India. With 14 lakh clients, 153 branches and more than 2300 business partners, Sharekhan is the largest independent broker in India. Sharekhan offers a wide range of savings & investment solutions including equities, futures and options, portfolio management, research and mutual funds. On an average, Sharekhan executes more than 400,000 trades daily.