Our aim is to protect the dreams and aspirations of our consumers: Abhishek Gupta

Abhishek Gupta, Chief Marketing Officer, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance, talks about their latest campaign 'Zindagi Plus’ and the brand’s initiatives which focus on women

e4m by Samarpita Banerjee
Published: May 1, 2019 8:47 AM  | 8 min read
Abhishek Gupta

The latest campaign from Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance for its term product ‘Zindagi Plus’ is an effort to encourage more women to buy insurance. Abhishek Gupta, Chief Marketing Officer, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance tells us about the brand’s initiatives, both at the consumer and employee level, that focus on women.

You recently launched the campaign for ‘Zindagi Plus’. Tell us about the thought behind the campaign.

A lot of products in the life insurance industry are very similar to each other, with not much scope for innovation. ‘Zindagi Plus’ is a term product and there are multiple types of products that already exist. But people usually buy term insurance due to some trigger. However, when someone buys insurance, they look at their current lifestyle, without realizing that the contract is for 20-30 years. As time progresses, people move up in life and they suddenly realize that the insurance they had taken was no longer sufficient to support their current lifestyle. So people end up buying more policies. And maintaining multiple policies is a challenge.

Secondly, since insurance is income replacement, people buy insurance until the time they turn 80, without realizing that their income stops at 60. People end up paying a cover for an income which they no longer have. We also realized that insurance in India is primarily bought by men. In a typical household, the earning member is the man, and the spouse is usually a home-maker.

Since insurance is an income replacement product and homemakers don’t have an income, it means they don’t get insurance. So if the primary earning member of the family passes away, while the insurance company gives a particular amount to the family, the house still needs to run and the spouses have to take up the role of the breadwinner. At that point, insurance is the last thing on their mind so a large section of housewives in India is not insured. That was the genesis of ‘Zindagi Plus’, which takes care of all the three insights. Therefore we decided to base our campaign on that and our brief to our agency and Shoojit Sircar was simple, they needed to explain all of this very simply in 30 seconds. We also did not want the communication to be gloomy or morbid. So, that was the thought behind the campaign.

Since women are the focus of this campaign and the product, are you educating more women about the need to buy insurance?

Yes. We realized that women are more open to listening to women. We have placed a huge emphasis on getting more women in sales leadership roles. We are present in almost 100 cities across the country. And our effort is to get more women to sell.

During our interactions with a lot of these women, we wanted to know why they wanted to associate with us. We realized that our focus on woman entrepreneurship and women as consumers resonates well with them. Secondly, the job gives them an identity. Following our conversations with these women, we launched an initiative called ‘Meri Pehchan’, which features the success stories of 10 women in sales leadership roles from across the country. We launched this on Women’s Day. When women become sales leaders, they have the capability of getting more women in the fold of selling insurance. So this is one initiative we are really passionate about and we hope we can encourage more women through this.

You are one of the youngest insurance players in an industry that has well-established players. How are you different?

We are small and therefore fairly agile. We also focus a lot on our consumers. All our products are based on deep consumer insights. Our ability to get these consumer insights and then structure a product around it, which inherently comes from our culture, cannot be replicated by anybody. Our focus on women hasn’t given us an edge yet, but it will, in the long term. We are also trying to build the brand around sports and that will take a long time but will give us incremental gains probably six to seven years down the line.

A lot of players in the industry are digitizing their distribution system. Are you also thinking of reducing human intervention and depending more on digital to sell?

Our aim is to build a multi-channel insurance company because we believe that relying on one channel is not a sound business decision. It also helps us to look at more initiatives across our wide spectrum. So, we are going to remain a multi-channel distribution.

But as more consumers become aware of insurance products, do you think you’ll need to strengthen your digital play?

People today are much more aware and even if they are not buying the products, they research online, and for the last mile, they take an agent’s advice. So, being online is crucial. We have a full-fledged online presence. We also work with aggregators like PolicyBazaar. Today we sell policies on tabs, where customers get the products immediately. That requires a lot of investments in technology. We are enabling our distributors because we want to reduce the time between the consumer’s application and the time when he gets the policy. So we are doing a lot of work there.

A lot of financial services brands, including the Edelweiss Group, are choosing to work with sportspersons. What is the connect?

Our association with sports, at a group level, started in 2009, when we tied up with Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ). OGQ’s objective is to ensure that India brings home more gold medals. They identify young talent and take up the responsibility of training them. Once they identify talent, they approach corporates and ask them to support the sportspeople. Edelweiss always gave a lot of importance to fitness, there’s a huge focus on physical fitness even within the organization. In 2009, we started off by supporting four athletes, PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Ayonika Paul, and Mary Kom.

However, it wasn’t a commercial arrangement. We didn’t want them to talk about us. Some years later, Mary Kom wanted to start her boxing academy in Manipur and needed funds for it. We ran a crowdfunding initiative and also put in our money. Around the same time, Edelweiss started moving into retail businesses and we wanted to talk to consumers. We wanted to position ourselves around sports and that’s how we got Saina Nehwal as a brand ambassador. We arrived at ‘Be Unlimited’, our group’s positioning because we wanted to tell our customers that we will help them remove the limitations in your life. The moment ‘Be Unlimited’ came to us, we realized that sports was the best fit. We also decided to associate with female athletes. As of now, the Edelweiss group supports six female athletes, sprinter Hima Das, shooter Heena Sidhu, gymnast Dipa Karmakar, Rani Rampal, captain of the Indian Hockey team, weightlifter Mirabai Chanu and Manika Batra, the table tennis player.

Do you plan to associate with popular sporting leagues like IPL?

We are very clear that we don’t want to associate with cricket which gets more than a fair share of support. Moreover, the Edelweiss Group is a diversified financial services company so we decided to only associate with events where there are all sports put together, therefore Olympics, Commonwealth, and Asian Games. We are clear that we will not do single out sports leagues or buy league teams. I believe, because we are non-cricket and are not with any of the leagues of the popular games, it’s a slow burner for us. But, if we continue on this path, it’s a place where nobody will be able to displace us, at a later stage.

Going forward what would be your broad marketing strategy for the brand?

We will focus on being a part of a consumer’s consideration set whenever they think of buying insurance. To do that, we will focus on a few things. Vernacular will be an important part of our strategy going forward. But, having said that, we need to remain consistent. Our attempt will be to remain rooted in the reason for our existence. We are very clear that we exist to protect the dreams and aspirations of our consumers. Television will continue to be an important part of our consumer outreach. Overall, as a company, we will also focus on getting more women into the insurance selling field because we believe we can bring about a lot of change in the lives of women who are housewives but are completely capable of taking up the role.

Marketing Tip:

Go back to the basics. Think about the optimum balance for your communications. Question the rules of marketing.

Edelweiss Tokio Life - Zindagi Plus TVC


Media Agency – DDB Mudra

Creative Agency – Contract India

PR Agency– Perfect Relations

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