S02E05: The one with Nikhil Dhar (IndiGo)


Welcome to The Digital Couch Season II where every week we publish another conversation featuring leading global thinkers from the world of business, management, and marketing. Who all are coming for Season II? Discover and learn more about the people, their stories as we move clockwise, episode by episode!

In our fifth episode, Vijayant Dhaka(ValueFirst) hosts Nikhil Dhar(IndiGo). Nikhil is the director of Marketing and Communication at IndiGo. He is an alumnus of IIM Kozhikode and has over 10 years of experience in brand management, corporate strategy, program management, and business advisory. He previously held roles at Times Group, McKinsey, and Deloitte.

Our fifth guest sat down on The Digital Couch to talk about COVID-19 & Travel, Work from Home, and the way IndiGo communicated with its customers in the last few months.

“Like the first law of thermodynamics, I think knowledge is never wasted."

Are you in the mood for some amazing insights? Nikhil Dhar takes us to his riveting journey of working with clients across geographies, having a solution-oriented approach, building a brand for an English newspaper in India, creating a passion for traveling, leading marketing and brand management at IndiGo, and evolving throughout his career.

“Be open to change, be agile and think out of the box."

Moving forward, Nikhil sheds some light on using words such as "Unprecedented times, Black swan, New normal" as part of his regular vocabulary in the pandemic and how this period has affected him professionally and personally. The aviation industry has also faced a turbulent since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and Nikhil shares the art of unlearning the way we used to work and relearning the remote working models. Get incredible insights into how Indigo Airlines thought of ways to monetize their business and made efforts to help consumers fly and feel safe while flying.

“We didn't want to be reactive, but we really wanted to be proactive."

Soon after the lockdown began, Nikhil quickly realized the importance of scenario planning, communicating more to keep consumers, stakeholders, trade partners, and employees motivated, engaged, and aware of the situation. From removing celebratory advertising and communication to adjust with the tone, providing assurance to consumers with their money, owning the space of cleanliness, and rebranding the airline overnight to make India fly again.

Listen to the importance of transparency, honesty, consistency, and gratitude in making a comfortable and safe customer experience from our fifth guest on The Digital Couch.

“I think it's very difficult for us to predict the travel trends for next 12 to 18 months"

Speaking of the future of travel in the coming months, Nikhil shares some of his views that will change the aviation industry. He believes there will be an increase of people visiting friends and family, the number of first-time fliers to go up, an increase in the leisure travel curve and the concept of revenge travel will be introduced. It’s not every day that we get to hear such gripping stories, subscribe to the series so you never miss the interesting conversations every week.

“A strong brand is a valuable asset"

Furthermore, Nikhil Dhar shared the recipe for building a strong brand that delivers more profit, revenue, and growth over the long term. Learn what it takes to build a brand image and how topping it with great communication and advertising can be a cherry on the cake!

“I would love to continue to learn and evolve as we go forward"

As we reach the end of the podcast, Nikhil speaks about MarTech becoming the next big thing for marketers, the use of AI in customer service, the importance of voice bots, emphasis on personalization, and recognizing and rewarding frequent flyers.

Catch Nikhil Dhar (Indigo) as we indulge in his engrossing stories, innovative product launches, welcoming lean, clean flying machine, travel plans, overcoming “unprecedented times", and re-learning work only on The Digital Couch.

For suggestions or feedback, please write to thedigitalcouch@vfirst.com.