Shweta Mulki

Brand Owners' Summit: "We provide a platform to meet the 'one', not one for the weekend": Gourav Rakshit,

At the event,'s CEO spoke about adapt and match algorithms, ultra-HNIs, and Chetan Bhagat as ambassador.

At the afaqs! Brand Owners' Summit held at the Westin Hotel, Mumbai, on December 9, Gourav Rakshit, chief executive officer,, began his address with some quick numbers. He said, "We get 10,000 people every day, we make 1,00,000 connections every day, and we see 1,000 success stories every day. We are amongst the best kept secrets in the country. It's a brand that you do not need to deal with if you are not looking for a match, so fundamentally, we are not integral to the lives of every Indian, but are a 'life-stage' brand -- we are there when we are needed."

Brand Owners' Summit: "We provide a platform to meet the 'one', not one for the weekend": Gourav Rakshit,
Essentially a marketplace of discovery where people get to find their life partner, the company runs a number of businesses such as, the flagship self-service brand,, and "With the kind of scale we have, we are looking at a dichotomy where essentially we are a technology company with a consumer service front-end," added Rakshit.

Speaking about what they do, Rakshit said, "Once you sign up, we try to find the best match that fits with your lifestyle, community segment and other parametres, using a lot of technology. With so many people signing up in a day, we provide a platform for you to meet the 'one' - and it's not about the one for the weekend."

Rakshit said that the company used algorithms in its technology. "For instance, when you come in, we do something called 'adapt' that makes you feel comfortable instantly," he says.

Nobody is really trained to search for a life partner, believes Rakshit. "A lot of people who come are apprehensive about what they will get. Then beyond 'adapt', there are other sophisticated 'match' algorithms which look at factors which include your behaviour, your stated preferences, observed preferences, and inclinations," said Rakshit.

Rakshit further added, "The table stakes of playing in this industry involve the need to keep misuse at bay. He said that the service had a strong algorithm for that, which provided a secure ecosystem for a business that really played upon the core emotions of individuals.

On author Chetan Bhagat's role as brand ambassador, Rakshit replied, "We are, fundamentally, a middle-class brand, and our target group, for instance, has someone growing up in Kanpur with a progressive thought process. We want to tell real stories about real people, so as a storyteller, Bhagat was a good fit, and a top brand name in our bullseye market."

Rakshit also touched upon the challenge of the progressive market which was still evolving, which led the company to work with other constituencies which are extremely important in the marriage segment. "For instance, one set of parents from such a constituency, told us that they were comfortable doing everything online. Based on such insight, we came up with the product line SelectShaadi which is a low-touch, personalised service, where beyond the initial discovery online, you have a physical person you can talk to," said Rakshit. He also gave instances of ultra-HNIs -- more of a psychographic term than a demographic one -- clients, who requested more discretion than the average users and went beyond the regular parameters such as income.

Speaking about the NRI constituency, Rakshit said, "We have three categories of NRIs -- first generation, second generation, and the 'one-and-a-half' generation, where this class segmentation is more important than community." He mentioned that campaigns with separate TVCs for the UK and the US diaspora helped in changing pre-conceived notions about

Does a Hindi brand name work in South India? Rakshit said that in its research, people in the South knew and accepted the name, but still perceived it as one that catered to the Northern market. "So, we adopted sub-branding like, which worked," he said.

Speaking about the mobile wave, Rakshit said that they decided to dismantle, and start again with a more contemporary and organic approach. He spoke to the audience about the new campaign that had the 'My conditions apply' theme, and also added that the overall philosophy of the brand was to be slightly irreverent, one that challenged the status quo.

The ninth edition of the afaqs! Brand Owners' Summit in Mumbai was powered by Amagi, with Wall Street as the outdoor partner, Kairali as the wellness partner, Furlenco as the furniture rental partner, and GainBuzz as its reach partner.

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