Our budgets have taken 70:30 approach towards digital vs. traditional: Aalok Bhan

Bhan, Director & CMO, Max Life Insurance, revealed that brand considerations increased by 20-25% due to the brand’s association with IPL last year

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Published: Oct 28, 2020 9:12 AM  | 5 min read
aalok Bhan

Several BFSI brands have stepped up their ad spends on IPL this year. Among the players, Max Life Insurance has been pretty aggressive with their marketing and digital activations this IPL. The company strengthened its partnership with Royal Challengers Bangalore for IPL 2020 by being the team’s official life insurance partner for the second consecutive year. Aalok Bhan, Director & Chief Marketing Officer, Max Life Insurance, in conversation with exchange4media, spilled the beans on how the association with IPL has benefitted the brand, strategy to remain at the top of the ‘game’, shift in budgets after Covid and more.

Edited excerpts below:

Starting the conversation, Bhan remarked that for a while, the consumer and brand sentiments remained affected due to Covid-19, but post IPL, the insurance sector itself and the brand are looking forward to a positive spin on the sentiments. “Max Life is a customer- obsessed company, believing in the 'always on' approach to constantly converse with customers. Life insurance is a highly emotional category; brands cannot make a difference to customers if they don’t constantly engage with them. Our purpose as a company is to inspire people to increase the value of their lives and secure their financial future,” he asserted.

Moreover, Bhan noted that since life insurance is typically associated with the fear of death, the association with cricket could pivot the sentiment and reinforce the need for protection.

“Our strategic intent is to make our communication more progressive and talk about life insurance as part of #ProtectionFrontFootPe with team RCB. Additionally, our target audience is millennials which is also a consumer segment of IPL, so this has given us an opportunity to connect with them, while spreading hope through a positive platform,” he said.

The brand has done some innovative and creative branding and marketing activities this IPL. It released a television commercial featuring ace players of the team, attempting to reinforce the importance of financial protection in the form of term insurance to the millennial audiences, given the uncertainties brought upon by Covid-19.

“The campaign narrative is creative in itself, capturing the theme of fitness and wellness. We have picked the right ambassadors of fitness to link the message of 'Protection Front Foot Pe',” Bhan contended. Max Life Insurance has been leveraging ATL channels and new digital mediums to build awareness around the campaign which promotes financial protection.

This is the brand’s second consecutive partnership with RCB and hence to heighten the engagement with viewers, the company decided to be RCB’s apparel partners, with the team’s logo on the non-leading leg of the players. Bhan added that social media definitely plays an important part in the media mix, this year. “Social media consumption has increased by 80% and number of hours spent on smartphones has increased as well. Along with millennials, Gen X and Gen Z are also increasingly active on social media. Marketing and advertising on social media platforms is the new normal for marketeers. Social media is embedded into our campaigns to get the right message out to the right audience.

As Max Life focuses on talking with customers, we have taken an omni-channel approach and are present across all touchpoints,” he said. Bhan revealed that campaigns have reasonably good digital spends behind them.

Furthermore, he shared that the company has noticed Google searches on term insurance to have doubled post the marketing activities.

“There has been an 89% growth and that is from google analytics. This is a moment of truth in life insurance. If we do not offer customers solutions during this pandemic and stay quiet, top of mind brand recall will decrease. Instead of pushing products heavily, we are focusing on pushing solutions to customers through our brand and marketing programmes,” he explained.

Bhan revealed that Max Life Insurance has not been rigid on how much the company will spend on offline vs online/ traditional vs. digital. “We have taken a balanced approach towards our spends, basis research to ensure the brand is agile in its ways. OOH has hit its deepest low, hence we are constantly shifting our budgets,” he said. He also shared that indicatively, pre-Covid and last year, the brand had a close to a 50:50 ratio between digital, social and traditional.
“Digital is here to stay. Now our budgets have taken a 70:30 approach towards digital vs. traditional mediums. As newer digital and social platforms emerge, we will continue to be active through those mediums. We will also be active on traditional, but will remain selective in our approach,” he continued.
Sharing the kind of ROI the brand saw with its previous IPL association, Bhan revealed that brand considerations increased by 20-25% in the last year due to the 'Always on' strategy.

“The RCB association has been one of our better performing assets. It has enabled us to connect with millennials throughout the country. Additionally, IPL has a national appeal and cuts across pan India. This has enabled us to build efficiencies in the way we execute,” he expounded.

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