Mind your Marketing

Great brands ensure that the brand experience and delivery of promise remains consistent across touch points

| Updated on January 24, 2020

This week we have in the spotlight Chandramohan Mehra, Chief Markeing Officer, Bajaj Allianz Life and Bajaj Allianz General Insurance. Under his leadership, the company has launched innovative and unique media campaigns, for driving brand awareness and strengthening the brand’s presence across traditional and digital platforms. Chandramohan comes with over two decades of experience. He brings with him an understanding of the marketing ecosystem and is known for partnerships enhancement and strategic execution.

1. What are the challenges in marketing a financial services product?

One of the key challenges is massive customer inertia, resulting in the financial services category to be push-driven. Second is the simplification of processes and communication. Other key challenges remain towards constantly building and sustaining trust and increasing financial literacy.

2. The Edelman trust barometer report points to eroding trust among consumers. This is especially key in a segment like financial services. As an insurance marketer, how do you build and achieve trust with customers?

Building trust is a collective process of delivering promise consistently through actions across the customer journey. Some of our actions at Bajaj Allianz Life include deepening our understanding of customers’ life goals, consistently delivering superior fund performance and innovating customer-centric products. For instance, offering Return of Mortality Charge (RoMC) at maturity in some of our new-age products has found favour among our customers. Similarly, at Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, it is our claim settlement record and innovative and speedy claim solutions backed by technology, amongst many other such actions, which have enabled us to win customers’ trust.

Chandramohan says…

a. One strategic change we plan to execute by 2020

Continue to explore and leverage emerging technologies that will help us build meaningful customer connect.

b. My top marketing mantra Think fast. Execute faster.

c. Three words I believe define a hot brand Agile, relevant and lovable

d. A powerful ad campaign I liked Breaking 2 by Nike, an attempt to break the two-hour barrier for Marathon, a feat akin to putting a man on Moon, was hugely impactful in many ways. Though Kipchoge fell short by 25 seconds then, Nike got phenomenal organic buzz on social and PR, beyond athletic fans. Most importantly, the data and insights it generated from the project continue to drive product and service innovation for Nike.

3. What are the tools and techniques in the digital age that are helping you market better?

We believe a combination of data-centric and content marketing approach will help sharpen our reach and build deeper brand engagement. We are continuously exploring analytical tools to harness the power of data and leverage the opportunity arising from social media through engaging content. Going forward, our several initiatives aligned to video, voice and vernacular approach will help tap into digital opportunities.

4. The current slowdown is challenging marketers. What are the strategies you adopt to market during a downturn?

We continue to be one of the fastest growing insurers in both life and general insurance categories. Strong and trusted brands remain insulated from not-so-favourable market conditions. A razor-sharp customer-centric approach across all our business facets remains core to our strategy.

5. Are millennials and GenZ interested in insuring? Are there any separate marketing strategies you adopt for different consumer groups?

As per Bajaj Allianz Life India’s life goals Preparedness Survey conducted in association with IMRB Kantar, millennials prefer life insurance the most to achieve their life goals. They prefer investing in life insurance for more than 50% of their life goals.

However, the key difference between GenZ and millennials is that GenZ have largely individualistic life goals. They have significantly higher aspirations for career, entrepreneurship and traveling abroad for work and leisure. The survey revealed that 66% of GenZ have career-related life goals compared to around 55% seen in millennials. 20% GenZ want to start their own venture compared to around 10% millennials. 14% GenZ want to travel abroad for work or studies as compared to 9% millennials.

On the other hand, millennials have more long-term life goals, like planning for their retirement, owning a home and planning for their child’s education. Planning for retirement features amongst the top 10 life goals of millennials and 20% millennials want to retire rich by growing their wealth. The above findings thus indicate that the drivers for investment are different, and so is the need for relevant marketing actionables.

6. Most buyers do not read the terms and conditions of insurance policies. How much of a mismatch does this lead to expectation vs experience? What are the steps that you take to manage that?

Largely, Indians are smart value seekers and diligent buyers when it comes to other consumer categories. As consumers, we spend a considerable amount of time understanding the durability of product, functional performance, economical performance, shape, size, colour, etc. before making a purchase decision.

Unfortunately, there exists inertia, during the purchase process, when it comes to financial products.

Our follow-up interventions after purchase, a goal orientation approach, robust customer service and technology infrastructure help us deliver solutions that match customer expectations.

7. When it comes to general insurance there is a perception that claims are very difficult, and marketers have been trying to change that perception. How far have they succeeded?

The industry continues to and has rapidly made significant strides towards working for simplification of the claim settlement process, leveraging technology to the maximum. Bajaj Allianz General Insurance OTS (On Spot Claim) for 4-wheeler insurance allows customer to settle claim amount in 20 minutes by simply clicking and uploading a picture of the damaged vehicle. There is an automatic reimbursement in case of a flight delay for Travel Insurance. Our consistent claim settlement record over a long period makes us one of the most trusted brands in the industry.

8. The modern buyer has access to a wide range of channels to research insurance products. What impact has this had on marketing?

In recent years, the share of time, effort and resource spent by marketers on digital has increased significantly. Great brands ensure that the brand experience and delivery of promise remain consistent across touch points. Leveraging the sweet intersection between the power of emerging tech and insight-driven marketing will help brands leverage the opportunity efficiently and at scale.

9. The South Indian customer is perceived to be more conservative in approach. Do these customers have a higher propensity to take insurance? How are they different from their counterparts in the rest of India?

Customers in South India show a high aspiration towards new-age unconventional life goals like travel and life enrichment. As per the survey commissioned by us, 60% South Indians aspire to live a balanced and peaceful life. This is 18% higher compared to the national average. Further, 35% South Indians have travel-related life goals compared to 28% national average. Traveling abroad, in fact, features amongst the top 10 life goals for people in the South, and 1 in 5 people in the South have this life goal.

The survey also revealed retirement as a life goal is 30% higher in the South, as compared to the national average. Close to 1 in 5 aspire to retire rich by growing their wealth. However, if you deep dive further within the key markets in South India, you will see stark differences in life goals. Chennai is more conventional in approach. The priority life goals are planning for child’s education (51%, compared to 17% in Bengaluru) and secure and carefree retirement (32%, compared to 14% in Bengaluru).

Bengaluru, on the other hand, shows a significantly higher aspiration towards new-age unconventional life goals like travel, health & fitness and other lifestyle-related goals. 25% people in Bengaluru want to travel abroad compared to 12% in Chennai. 33% want to retire rich compared to 11% in Chennai. 21% have health and fitness goals as compared to only 9% seen in Chennai. 20% also have charity related life goals compared to 6% in Chennai.

However, what is common is that life insurance is the most preferred investment option to achieve more than 50% of life goals in South India. The affinity is relatively higher in Chennai. In Chennai, life insurance affinity is 65% when compared to 58% in Bengaluru.

10. Smartphones have brought in the biggest disruption today. How have you capitalised on that?

We have a smartphone-first approach for all our initiatives targeted at customers, insurance consultants, business partners and employees. We have almost cent percent usage of tablet/smartphone during the purchase process. We are also witnessing an exponential growth in our customer being serviced through handheld devices, eliminating the need for the customer to visit branches. Our digital apps enable agent recruitment, on boarding and training, all on a smartphone. Our learning infrastructure is developed keeping in mind its delivery on a smartphone.

This article is part of a brand initiative by The Hindu BusinessLine to profile marketing professionals from across India.

Published on January 24, 2020

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