We are using sports as a medium to communicate: Karthik Raman, IDBI Federal Life Insurance

Raman, Chief Marketing Officer, IDBI Federal Life Insurance, also spoke about the brand using social media to become a household name and roping in Sachin Tendulkar as the face of the brand

e4m by Shweta Raaj Singh
Updated: Mar 18, 2019 9:31 AM

The approach of marketing through sports has grown over the years in India and has produced good results for many companies like IDBI Federal Life Insurance.  IDBI Federal came up with the idea of promoting their services through marathons and also roped in cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar for the same. 

In a chat with exchange4media, Karthik Raman, Chief Marketing Officer, IDBI Federal Life Insurance spoke about how the company’s campaigns have been stressing on the idea of planning for the future rather than asking people to just buy their products. 

“When we entered the life insurance category, we realised that IDBI Federal Life Insurance could be the 17th or 18th player singing the same old song. If you want to be heard, you need to pump in a lot of money or else your voice get drowned. To differentiate ourselves, we started off our marketing campaigns by speaking about our products in a rather quirky way as the term ‘life insurance’ per se has a lot of negative connotations attached to it.”

“We then realised that it was the product that was getting all the attention and not the brand. That’s when we felt the need for the brand to be ruling the market along with the product.”

Asked about the surge of IDBI Federal Life Insurance with sports as their primary face, Raman said, “We had realised that singing the same song wouldn’t take us anywhere and would also hurt us deep in our pockets. We needed an alternative way to establish ourselves as a brand. Coming from a sports background, we started using sports as a medium to communicate. Later, we started to speak about the positives of life insurance, about health, wellness and the mantra of staying fit, with running as a culture that had gripped the masses. And, to begin with, we established ourselves with marathon as our medium. Things changed when the god of cricket-Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar-became our face in 2016.”

“What could be better for the common man than to have Sachin encouraging them to stay fit, run and live healthy. We are the only company in the BFSI sector which has four marathons. We don’t outright ask people to buy our products but stress on the need to plan for the future.”

“We have all grown up watching him. And when Sachin speaks, people listen. Therefore, we have a session a day before the run called - Run to Sachin. In this session, over 100 runners are picked through a lottery and they get to have a candid chat with Sachin. A direct connect with the brand’s face helps the brand grow. What could be better when just before the run, Sachin takes a selfie, tweets a video and generates million likes," he said.

Raman says that sports as an avenue has helped IDBI Federal grow as a brand. “Sports has got us where we are today. People know us today because we have not only built a connect with the masses but have also given aspiring runners a platform to turn their dreams into reality. We are one of the few brands, which takes care of the untapped talent in the country, especially at the grassroots level. We have given them a platform to prove their mettle,” he said.  

On their association with ace shuttler Pullela Gopichand and his academy in Hyderabad where budding badminton players are trained for their initiative ‘Quest For Excellence’, Raman said, “We identify talent and give them an opportunity. It is for anyone and everyone. IDBI Federal Life Insurance takes care of the training cost. The monthly expenses are around Rs 45,000 to Rs 50,000 and we help the academy build champions for tomorrow.”

Explaining the strategy and the investments in terms of marketing, Raman said, “Marketing is simple, it’s unnecessarily being complicated. One doesn’t have to be a genius to create a marketing campaign, one just has to have common sense.”

“Social media has played an important role in establishing our brand. We observed that our marathon runners were Facebook runners too. So, in order to expand and cement our brand we tapped them. We gave them free IDBI Federal Life Insurance t-shirts on registering with us for a free run. After the run, their pictures were put up on social media networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Every runner’s click, photo tag, comment, like or share made us a household name. We didn’t have to put up hoardings, give advertisements, or TV commercials. It was the word of mouth and social media backing that established us.”

Digital medium and social media helped IDBI Federal Life Insurance reach the masses at a far less cost and also attained them recall value, said Raman before signing off. 

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