- With International Women’s Day around the corner, we look at Bumble’s journey that was started and led by women across different countries.
- Its marketing campaign aims to flip the gender roles and question deep-rooted misogyny in our pop-culture.
- Priyanka Chopra-backed Bumble’s Vice President of Strategy, Priti Joshi, walks us through her journey, its marketing strategy in India and how Bumble is twisting things around.
Remember our 90’s favourite song ‘Tu hai meri Kiran’ from Darr, where the male protagonist decided who he liked, didn’t care enough to ask the woman if she was interested and stalked her until she gave up? Yeah, it was sexist. Thanks to Bumble, it has made us realise that Kiran also had a choice through its advertising campaign.
Bumble was started by Whitney Wolfe Herd in 2014 with a mission to create a safe and empowered space for women to make the first move when forming romantic relationships and to end misogyny. The application later applied its feminist vision to different spheres of life — business, love, and friendships. It started supporting women financially who needed a boost with Bumble Bizz and normalised seeking platonic relationships through Bumble BFF. Today, it has 70 million users globally.
Bumble’s advertising narrative #DatingJustGotEqual across the world, has encouraged women to make the first move. Its global brand endorsers, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Serena Williams, both married, represent a dating app simply because they mirror its ideology.
Closer home, Priti Joshi, Vice President – Strategy, Bumble is leading this movement. Its latest marketing campaign is to flip sexist Bollywood songs and ideologies into more relevant and equal propositions.
With International Women’s Day around the corner, we caught up with Joshi to understand its marketing strategy, if men are accepting being asked first, and vision for the application in India.
When did you join Bumble? How has your personal journey been so far? Can you also walk us through some key highlights at Bumble?
I joined Bumble in early 2018 leading strategic projects with a strong passion for the Bumble mission. A year and a half later, I now lead the Strategy and Analytics team and focus on driving growth in existing and new markets. My goal has always been to bring science to the art of business strategy, using creative insights from data and market research to ensure sustainable growth for Bumble. I focus heavily on expanding Bumble’s presence internationally and in our existing markets in over 150 countries across the globe. Last year, I led the strategic launch for Bumble in India and lead all marketing efforts in India today.
Last year, we launched ’
Moves Making Impact’ in May, a new product feature where Bumble gives back on behalf of every woman who makes the first move in-app. This is the first time a global company has given each of its users the power to drive social good by fundraising through in-app activity. Each quarter, we give back to three different areas across human rights, public policy, or economic development and identify women who are doing good in these spaces globally.
We also launched Private Detector, an in-app feature that takes an unprecedented approach to advancing safety in both the digital and real worlds. The feature automatically blurs lewd images and alerts the user that they have been sent something inappropriate. From there, the user can decide whether to view the image or block it, and if compelled, report it and the user to our moderation team.
Bumble BFF is also fairly new and a unique venture. Can you tell us what the concept is and how has the reception been so far?
Bumble BFF is our friendship-finding mode on the app. It is centered around normalising the need to make real friendships throughout life. Since launch, we’ve seen ~40% of women on Bumble in India using Bumble BFF mode to find new friends, whether it’s a woman connecting with other women in a new city, new moms finding other mom friends, finding a gym buddy for a spin class or a college freshman looking to make a friendship circle that would last him a lifetime.
Have men opened up to the idea of not being in control of the entire process?
Yes! We’ve heard from many men who use Bumble that they love it and appreciate it when women make the first move. Globally, women have made the first move over one billion times since we launched Bumble five years ago – even more exciting, since launch in India, women in India have made the first move over 3 million times!
We’re also seeing that women in India are empowered and excited to make the first move – relative to women in the rest of the world, women in India are sending 2x as many messages. It’s encouraging to see that women and men in India are excited by connecting with one another across love, life, and work.
In both your television ads, you chose Priyanka Chopra Jonas (engaged then) and Serena Williams – (now) two married women to endorse a dating app, why so?
Bumble is so much more than just a dating app! With the addition of Bumble BFF, for friend-finding, and Bumble Bizz, for professional networking, Bumble is now a social networking platform that empowers women to make the first move in all areas of life: love, life and work. This means that you can be on Bumble without setting up a dating profile! In fact, so many of our users ‘Hide Date Mode’ and still engage in BFF and / or Bizz mode.
Both Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Serena Williams represent empowered women who have made the first move across all areas of their lives. Through these first moves they have shattered stereotypes and inspired women (and men) around the world and this makes them the perfect Bumble partners.
What is your marketing strategy in India and how important is India as a market for Bumble?
India continues to be an important growth market for Bumble. Our marketing strategy since launch has always been to adopt a consumer-first approach to drive brand awareness and engagement. In an effort towards achieving our mission, we’re constantly leaning heavily on establishing a consistent brand narrative across various offline and digital media touchpoints, along leveraging data-driven performance marketing, influencer activations, content partnerships and experiential marketing.
There are reports that Bumble is open to brands for advertising now. What kind of brands are you looking at? Will there be a filter here, too?
We are always exploring interesting collaborations with various brand partners, but we don’t currently offer advertising within our app.
According to reports, you placed around 500 outdoor ads just across New York for your campaign ‘Find Them on Bumble’. Even in India, you went big on outdoor advertising. In an era where brands are investing more on digital platforms, like Tinder launched in India only on the back of digital platforms, what made you choose outdoor?
From a global brand perspective, it’s always been really important to us to have a physical presence in the markets where we operate and outdoor advertising moments — whether billboards, bus shelters, experiential pop ups — they do just that! But we don’t solely focus on outdoor. Since launch, we’ve been curating an omni-channel approach to our marketing campaigns — from driving reach, awareness and engagement through a combination of high impact outdoor and digital-first media investments across digital ads, influencer activations, and content partnerships, to name just a few channels.
How many countries are you present in? Which is your largest market? Where do you plan to go next?
Bumble is available in over 150 countries. We launched five years ago in the United States and the United Kingdom, so those are key markets for us. We have exciting expansion plans in new markets next year – but you’ll have to stay tuned to find out where we launch next!
Have you observed any changes in the dating pool lately?
We are continuing to see that more and more people globally are meeting their romantic partners online. Earlier this year, a statistics was released stating that
over 40% of new couples in the United States meet online and I think we will continue seeing high growth in other emerging online dating markets as it becomes less taboo to meet someone online.