In April 2022, travel-tech startup GoZayaan introduced a new brand campaign called Go Limitless, aiming to build a new narrative for the company in a fast-changing world. The campaign took aim at the shifting psychology of travel and the growing sentiment of our time when people seek greater freedom, when travel becomes a common social phenomenon, and when personalization takes the center stage in everything.
“The idea originates in the needs of the modern-day traveler. Travelers today want control over their travel—from planning to execution to scheduling to making different choices. Security and safety are of paramount importance when one is traveling to unknown places. Travelers want to rely on the service provider, expect accountability and want brands to take responsibility for their actions. In the past, people used to opt for fixed-plan tour packages but it is no longer relevant. Travelers today want freedom, options, and flexibility to choose from available options.
GoZayaan has studied the needs and demands of travelers today and has developed a set of value propositions to address the needs.”
With the campaign, GoZayaan introduced a set of permanent changes in how it serves travelers. The company established brand safety measures to meet the accountability demands of the customers, introduced complete control for customization—travelers can choose flights, tours, and hotels as they prefer, made the service experience seamless, and introduced interesting deals across services.
This was not the first time the GoZayaan marketing and communication team launched a campaign that attempted to put the company into a different segment and emphasize its differentiated services. Mid this year, GoZayaan sponsored three Bangladeshi mountaineers on their journey to climb the highest mountains in the country. This theme of conscious differentiation and blending marketing efforts with genuine product innovation has been a common feature of GoZayaan’s marketing efforts. In short, the company has shown relative communication savviness over the past several years and we wanted to understand it.
In this article, we explore how marketing and communication work at GoZayaan and what can be learned from the company.
GoZayaan takes a multi-disciplinary approach when it comes to marketing. The company has a small dedicated marketing team currently of eleven people. But the team works in collaboration with other teams such as product, sales, and so on to design and execute communication strategies. We asked what the GoZayaan marketing team does to a representative of the company.
“The GoZayaan marketing team is responsible for creating and maintaining the brand image of GoZayaan”, explains Sabik Mahmud Khan, Brand Manager of GoZayaan. “We design all external communications for the brand. We are also responsible for representing the brand across borders as our operations have expanded to Pakistan now.”
Digital travel services are a relatively new phenomenon in Bangladesh. The market lacks both trust and education. Many people are not used to these services and don’t clearly understand these services. Similarly, since the sector is still in its early days, less than 10 years old, trust remains a major challenge. Moreover, GoZayaan currently operates in two markets and communications are designed in a manner that resonates with both markets. These are important factors that you have to consider when designing your marketing strategy. “It is quite challenging designing communication strategies that are accessible to the general public”, says Farzana Bushra, Manager of Public Relations. “We constantly have to research and figure out what communication works best for our customer base.”
The challenge, however, is a good thing. It creates an optimum level of challenges for people that engages you. Working in a relatively nascent industry allows the GoZayaan team to enjoy the feeling of setting a precedent in the market. “With the emergence of digital tourism, we are getting to work on new concepts and bring new ideas everyday to the people of Bangladesh. Establishing a line of communication accordingly is both challenging and rewarding at the same time. Looking back, we had to explain what GoZayaan was to everyone even a year ago. But now people know us by name and we love the enthusiasm.”, added Farzana Bushra.
Successful communications are counterintuitive and effectively handle the dichotomy of offering something fresh as well as inherently familiar to its target audience. That’s why communication starts with customers. You start with understanding your customers and go from there. This is where GoZayaan starts. “Our primary concern while designing any communication strategy is travelers”, says Humayra Adrita, who is currently in charge of Alliances & Partnerships. “We always try to put ourselves in their shoes and think about what the traveler needs. With this in mind, we’ve constantly been trying to onboard and promote services like the 0% EMI, travel loan, travel insurance, baggage protection, etc.”
This understanding is apparent in almost all recent communications of GoZayaan. For instance, the previously mentioned GoZayaan’s brand campaign “Go Limitless” is quintessential to the brand and what it represents. The campaign is not specific to any festivals or seasons, it is a constant slogan for adventurers who have limitless dreams that never stop. GoZayaan is inspired by these explorers and aims to inspire more travelers to follow their dreams and go limitless with this campaign, the company says. The campaign is clearly a result of this deep understanding of what customers want and the changes in the market current.
GoZayaan has built an organization-wide collaborative culture that informs its communication and marketing strategy. While marketing is solely responsible for all marketing initiatives, the team does not operate in a silo. It works collaboratively with almost every team in the organization.
For example, the marketing team closely works with the product team not only on designing a campaign for a particular product but also to exchange ideas, designing the very product and then the campaign. This horizontal sharing of knowledge benefits everyone in the organization. The product team gets invaluable insight from the marketing and communication who deals with customers using narratives that the product team can incorporate into designing the product. The marketing team can understand the essence of the product, and the problem a product aims to solve and get an opportunity to use the product insight from the product team into designing a communication strategy that works.
This collaborative nature of the work makes everything better. Learning accelerates. Work improves. Everyone enjoys work better. “During COVID we had to learn how to optimize everything. We even put together our ideas and made content in -house which is quite rare.”, says Maherab Rahman, a talent from the creative support team.
In fact, GoZayaan takes enjoying work quite seriously. The company routinely hosts team lunches, activities, and even various games during work to help improve the enjoyment of work and bonding among people. For instance, the games at GoZayaan range from playing traditional table tennis to creating little antics that include the whole team. The flat organizational structure and flexible work culture allow greater opportunities for team bonding and the free-flowing of ideas. “We work in a dynamic environment where our strategy is changed according to the needs of customers. When a campaign is running, it’s all hands on deck.” says Mehrin Newaz, currently working in Public Relations.
Finally, GoZayaan’s Brand Communication team in Bangladesh is responsible for communication strategies used across the border. The processes developed in Bangladesh are being used in Pakistan as well to establish the brand and maintain a narrative coherence. For this reason, the team has to be extra careful regarding the strategies. This forces the GoZayaan marketing team to think not only locally, but also globally. It works as a forcing function for pushing up the quality.
GoZayaan has been operating in Bangladesh for 5 years, making it one of the few early players in the vertical in Bangladesh. This is an incredible opportunity for any company. It allows you to be a pioneer.
But at the same time, it creates other challenges. Teams find themselves in a new territory without precedence to follow. GoZayaan's marketing team often has to figure out things on the go. From strategy to execution of campaigns, the team does everything from scratch. It is also immensely satisfying for any team to figure out complex challenges and create work that can be used as an example.
This has helped the GoZayaan marketing team grow in both ability and ambition over the last few years. The team now aims bigger. Chief Commercial Officer of GoZayaan, Imamul Islam Suprio, ended our discussion on an optimistic note saying, “We are looking forward to not only impacting the Bangladeshi travel scene but the entire South Asian travel scene as a whole”.