Exide Life ensures personalized engagement with consumers: Amaresh Jena

The Executive VP & Head - Marketing & Digital shares their media mix is based on various analytical insights corresponding to varied customer segments and geographies

e4m by Mansi Sharma
Published: Jun 20, 2022 8:43 AM  | 6 min read
Amaresh Jena

Digital transformation, accelerated by the pandemic, has pushed the growth of the BFSI industry to a great extent. This has also impacted how these brands market and communicate with their consumers. New mediums have emerged and so has the emphasis on vernacular content. In the latest conversation with e4m, Amaresh Jena, Executive Vice President & Head - Marketing & Digital, Exide Life Insurance talked about his brand’s stand on marketing, the BFSI industry, and how the pandemic has impacted the communications. He also shared some insights about the brand’s much successful ‘Apno Ke Liye Do Kadam Aur’ campaign.

Edited excerpts follow:

Tell us about the idea behind the ‘Apno Ke Liye Do Kadam Aur’ campaign.

People in India always go the extra mile for their loved ones, and as a brand, Exide Life follows the same ethos when it comes to our policyholders. We place huge importance on customer centricity which reflects in our business parameters too, be it our claims settlement ratio (99.09%) or the bonus we paid to our customers every year since inception. We ensure to protect our customers’ interests. For individuals in India, life insurance is more than an investment; it is a symbol of trust. The campaign, therefore, is pivoted on the stories of people going the extra mile for their loved ones. 

The underlying thought for the campaign was aligned with Exide Life Insurance’s brand promise of “Lamba Saath, Bharose Ki Baat”, wherein the brand is a trustworthy partner in the customers’ journey of life by always being there in challenging times. The films are inclusive in their approach given that they are available in eleven languages for educating customers across geographies. 

Our creative agency for this campaign was Wunderman Thompson while Universal McCann was the media agency.

How has brand Exide Life Insurance evolved over the years when it comes to engagement with consumers and marketing communication?

Since inception and as a brand, our strategic imperative from a marketing communication standpoint has been to ensure a personalized engagement with consumers rather than a one-size-for-all approach. To name a few milestones in this journey:

Vernacular outreach – we very early in our operations realized language is a key parameter for us, considering the markets we operate in. Hence, our messaging is not just a translation but a big idea is often thought through based on a language, its expression, and cultural dynamics

Media outreach – we learned through the way and considering a not-so-simple product purchase or sales process in life insurance. The key is reaching the right audience with the right messaging which not only delivers on ROI but primarily increases awareness. We have evolved in picking a media mix based on various analytical insights corresponding to varied customer segments and geographies. Yes, digital platforms have been quite a mainstay in the past 4-5 years.

Right messaging – in many ways, life insurance still commands much increase in awareness levels in consumers’ minds. Reasons can be many, however, from a communication standpoint, we nudge the consumers (not just a brand or product outreach) for an increase in awareness whether it is financial planning or category or product or services, etc.

What is your marketing strategy across media channels? Elaborate on your marketing pie.

We use a combination of digital and traditional media through various marketing and PR campaigns to educate people about the significance of having life insurance. We always evaluate our audience and demographics before arriving at the mix of digital and traditional media platforms. A specific media platform can only help in meeting part of the overall objective of a campaign. The one-size-fits-all approach has its limitations for a category like life insurance. 

For example, we experimented with the vertical and horizontal video formats for our campaigns. The idea was to make the content easily accessible to our viewers across various digital platforms. Additionally, we created shorter versions of the video (15 seconds each) for our audience, primarily for digital and social media platforms, where the attention span is relatively shorter.

Traditional media such as TV and Print have the advantage of reaching a larger audience segment at a time. However, digital and social media give you the opportunity to engage with new as well as existing customers, basis their interests, languages, cultural preferences, and geographies.

Depending on the business need or campaign need, an optimal mix is chosen.

Innovative strategies adopted by Exide Life to increase its growth and reach. How are the marketing efforts at Exide Life focused on awareness of the importance of financial planning in terms of long-term savings through digital and social media?

In a survey conducted by the Life Insurance Council recently, while 91% of the people indicated life insurance as a necessity, only 70% were willing to invest in the same. It is this gap that we are trying to plug with our various communication initiatives. We try to engage with our customers through a two-pronged strategy of push and pull given that people consider life Insurance important but still do not invest to secure their and their family’s future. Since individuals are either not insured, or do not have adequate cover, the first step is to create awareness and initiate conversations about their financial needs at various life stages and how one should be prepared enough in the case of an unfortunate situation of loss of life. Therefore, several of our campaigns first and foremost, promote the category itself. With regard to our push strategy, we initiate conversations around our products, related benefits catering to financial needs, and various other services. 

Digital and social media enable us to customize conversations based on age, background, preferences, etc. In addition, language plays a key role in our communications. Other elements including video formats, dynamic content, calculators, etc, help us not only reach out to several people but also engage with them.

Given the market and economic situation, what is the situation of your media and marketing spends? Please share in detail in terms of pre-pandemic and pandemic comparisons.

The pandemic has introduced a new dimension and strategic imperatives for several insurers, including Exide Life. Organisations that invested in adopting futuristic technology prior to the pandemic had a smooth sailing when Covid-related restrictions came into force. As a brand, we benefitted from the transition we made onto e-sales and e-learning platforms a few years prior to the pandemic. We also have been encouraging our customers to adopt online transaction modes for policy payment and servicing-related activities for their life insurance policies.

In terms of media spends, given that we have established a mix of both digital and traditional, our spends on media have not changed much as compared to pre-pandemic.

A robust digital and social strategy is something that we have developed over the years and this has proved to be a game-changer for us when the pandemic hit. Also, since face-to-face engagements with customers reduced, we made tactical changes to our campaigns for optimizing the visibility of the brand and products across digital platforms.

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