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Franklin Templeton marching ahead on the ‘rely on’ peg

23-May-2011
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Franklin Templeton marching ahead on the ‘rely on’ peg

Franklin Templeton’s brand positioning in India is in line with its global brand positioning – ‘World-Class Investment Management You can Rely on’. The positioning is built on four key pillars – unwavering focus on investment excellence, global perspective with local expertise, strength and stability, and being a valued partner.

Harshendu Bindal, President, Franklin Templeton Asset Management Pvt Ltd, explained, “Branding of investment products like mutual funds is unique because these are typically ‘high involvement’ products and largely intangible. And hence, the challenge of making a credible, meaningful and attractive customer proposition is all the more important.”

Hence, while positioning the brand in India, concerted efforts have been made to understand the habits and attitudes of the Indian investor. The focus has been on appealing to Indian sensibilities while projecting the organisation in line with the global positioning.

And to communicate the brand’s positioning, various mediums are being used to reach out to the audiences. Bindal added, “We find the combination of advertising and PR to be effective in driving awareness, interest and building credibility. On the other hand, investor communication, direct marketing and collateral materials also play an important role in the branding and communication strategy.” The company is also working towards leveraging Internet as a medium.

Franklin Templeton’s marketing spends vary from year-to-year based on opportunities that arise as well as communication needs in line with the business. Their market research activities help them track and fine tune their efforts.

The company has on board M&C Saatchi as the creative agency, while Maxus India is the media agency. They have been working with M&C Saatchi for close to three years and with Maxus India for almost a decade.

The communication factor
Bindal divulged that in terms of their communication, the company did not attempt to be different for the sake of being different. He added, “Rather, we simply focus on regular communication with advisors/ investors, timely updates providing useful perspective on market developments and design communication that serves their needs.”

Their ‘Patience Pays’ campaign emphasises on long-term investing. Similarly, their current campaign, ‘Family Solutions’, communicates the need to look at planning for one’s long-term goals like retirement, child’s future or creating wealth. It is a result of the company’s research into investor and distributor behaviour.

The TVCs have been created by the M&C Saatchi team and produced/ directed by Shivendra Singh of Dungarpur Films. The new TVCs of Franklin Templeton have tapped into a deeper emotional insight. It is all about the little things we do on an everyday basis to show how much we care for our loved ones. This has then been subtly linked to their investment goals. The situations depicted are those that all of us have experienced at some stage in our life, and can hence relate to.

When asked how Franklin Templeton counters the steep competition in the mutual funds industry, Bindal said, “While the industry is indeed competitive, what sets us apart is our long term focus and avoiding short term fads. Our aim is to build a sustainable, long term retail business in India. In that sense, we have not been swayed by asset gathering practices and have focused on product innovation as well as advisor/ investor education. We have to our advantage a fairly diverse and well-established product range, which includes some of the oldest and largest funds in the country.”

Meanwhile, a strong sales team and distribution network took care of the ‘push’ factor, Bindal said, adding, a 15-year track record in delivering performance and services, along with a family of over two million investors, had also helped the company in building brand equity through word-of-mouth as well.

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