Interview: We saw a 21% rise in followers last month because of campaigns says, Shefali Khalsa, SBI General Insurance

Shefali Khalsa

On the sidelines of the launch of a new brand identity, we speak to SBI General Insurance‘s Shefali Khalsa to know more about the revamp and the brand’s communication strategy amid the new normal.

SBI General Insurance recently announced the launch of its new corporate brand identity with a redesigned logo and tagline. The identity change comes at a time when the company has completed a decade of operations and is upgrading its service offerings to suit all customers. Shefali Khalsa, Head – Brand, and Corporate Communications, SBI General Insurance puts the spotlight on the rationale behind the newest identity, marketing, and communication strategy in the times of COVID-19 and more.

Excerpts:

What triggered the brand revamp?

The industry has traditionally been slow to modernize and is largely is a relationship-based, face to face interaction-oriented business, we all felt an urgent need to try and capitalize that personal equity digitally.

We are ready to serve growing needs with new-age processes and services of an evolving consumer consisting of traditionalists and modernists alike. That’s exactly the story our new logo tells.

At SBI General we believe in changing with the times while retaining our core values. On the occasion of SBI's 65th…

Posted by SBI General Insurance on Tuesday, June 30, 2020

How does the new identity communicate the brand purpose and objective? 

The new visual identity is designed to convey SBIG’s future-ready services to an evolving consumer consisting of traditionalist and modernist. The traditionalist customers are those who value trust, loyalty, value for money and integrity, whereas modernist look for flexibility and future-readiness. After completing a successful decade, we decided to revamp our brand identity and bring-in a new SBIG V 2.0, achieving yet another milestone.

The entire logo represents swipeable buttons to cue the digital age and through the use of gradient, future-readiness is denoted. The purple color indicates wisdom and devotion. The word ‘general’ is in lowercase to represent youthfulness & uniformity. A curvier typeface to show agility & youth has been used and ‘general’ emphasized. With the new tagline “Suraksha aur Bharosa Dono”, the new brand promise, we reinstate and reassure them that we are ready to serve their growing needs of services with new-age processes and services.

As an insurance brand, how are you approaching COVID-19? How are you trying to help your consumers survive this difficult phase? 

COVID-19 has certainly increased awareness about the requirement for health insurance amongst the general public. At SBI General, People First and Customer-Centricity are at the core of everything that we do and they continue to be at the center of our robust Business Continuity Plan (BCP) as well.

We have been pro-active in implementing a comprehensive BCP to address all probable situations and attune to near-to-normal BAU using virtual and digital modes. At the very early stage of COVID-19 outbreak, we had formed the Emergency Management Team (EMT) that comprised of the core leadership group.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=3045806182207752

When the pandemic became prominent in India in March, most brands had to revisit their marketing & communication strategy. What was it like for SBI General Insurance?

Usually, the insurance industry is not very active in advertising during Q1, instead, Q4 is the busiest and high tempo quarter. Hence, there weren’t many campaigns in the pipeline which could have been affected. In any case, at SBIG, we have guaranteed #BAUUninterrruped in all viewpoints, which includes the hygiene campaigns on social media and digital platforms are continued. In fact, with the COVID 19 context, we had put together more communication and engagement with customers and channel partners, in various forms and platforms.

I would say WhatsApp is the best platform not just for communication but also for engagement.

We have been able to manage BAU during lockdown as well as now when things are gradually opening up, with few interesting tweaks; meetings in fancy boardrooms have now moved to VCs. Renewals, and New Policy issuance are accelerated with digital support (even the offline selling is treated with some of the other digital support),

Instagram has been always known for food pics (foodporn), which still continues but just that the photos are replaced with home-made dishes instead of restaurant servings, Video calls are preferred over voice calls to friends and family, etc.

How has social media been helpful in engaging with your consumers? Which platform has yielded maximum results for the brand? What tools are you leveraging to keep the conversation going?

All brands have been able to strengthen their digital assets and presence, as the world has now been connected just virtually.

Interestingly, all social media platforms have their own DNA and wrt Instagram is more pictorial along with content. SBIG has taken up the route of usually posting creatives that interest netizens, and stories as UGC content. Live videos on Instagram has also seen good traction. In fact, the best thing about all social media platforms is that there is a constant improvement/addition of features.

Even Instagram has evolved from only creatives to 15 seconder videos, to full 60 seconds videos, and now live videos. This allows the brands to take up newer campaigns.

We did see a rise in the number of followers last month by 21%, purely because of campaigns. A

lso, some topical posts as well as a product launch has seen an engagement of about 50-60% rate.  Facebook, Instagram & Twitter are the most common platforms to connect our customers and prospects.

Also Read: Insurance industry takes a stride towards digitization, writes Anjali Malhotra, Aviva India

There is a thin line between helpful & optimistic. How does SBI General Insurance make sure they tread the line?

There is a silver lining to every cloud and we have observed that the pandemic has generated a greater awareness amongst the public about the importance of insurance in general and health insurance in particular. 

While we are aware of the fact that in these uncertain times, people are re-examining their financial priorities, we have endeavored to provide value for money propositions to all our customers which will provide them much needed protection with respect to their lives and property. We have worked particularly on innovative products, ease of selling, and a customer-friendly claims process.

Also Read: Interview: All digital marketers need to be good with data, shares Saregama India’s Ajit Kumar

How does the team coordinate to execute the real-time marketing strategy? Please take us through your creative, communication & marketing team’s day to day hustle?

In the current context of virtual normal, everything is on an urgent demand.

Overall, it has scaled up the working standards resulting in the best of the coordination and cohesiveness. While social media has taken the limelight for communication /marketing, I would say, it was always a classic example of a real-time marketing strategy. We usually plan the month in content buckets and then granulize each post. No matter how much you plan, most of the day-to-day posts end up in a last-minute rush with iterations/image change/ concept change at the last minute.

Changing with the times while maintaining our core values is essential to us. With that belief, we present to you the new avatar of SBI General Insurance. #SurakshaAurBharosaDono

Posted by SBI General Insurance on Thursday, July 2, 2020

In terms of ad spends, what does your marketing plan for this quarter look like? Please take us through your media mix.

From a Marketeer’s point of view, the marketeers will continue advertisements on all possible platforms with the right media mix. While the market may take time to get back to normal, but eventually, everyone is craving for normalcy. In the past few months, we have seen quite a change in the push and pull advertisements by several e-commerce brands. However, I would say, with the learnings of these couple of months, all brands will certainly be leaned towards digital marketing and non-face-to-face sales modules. At SBIG, we shall continue focusing on social media and digital marketing platforms for this quarter too.

3 things that the COVID-19 taught you in terms of marketing & advertising.

Communicate right – It is very important to ensure that messaging is right and keeping in mind the sensitivity of consumers and focus on safety and care in most of the messaging. All the communication should come across as informative and helpful, not to be opportunistic or exploitative. The consumer values should be understood as per the situation which presently is safety, health, security, and comfort.

Brands will need to add a humanitarian layer to communication, which will help build post-COVID-19 loyalty.

Keep improvising your strategies – Innovation is the key – The companies should utilize to ramp their knowledge across various media levels, with a special focus on digital for better understanding.

Make your presence felt in the digital world – It’s all about digital these days, with social distancing and avoiding human contacts it’s important the presence of your brand felt through the digital mediums.

With the lockdown in place, an impact is bound to appear on the business front. What kind of impact are you looking at?

We closed FY20 on a success rate. At SBIG, we have adapted the virtual world and continued #BAUUINTERRUPED.  In the months of April & May, we witnessed muted growth due to the lockdown across the country. However, there are positive indications in June that the worst may be over and with a gradual unlock coming into force, we are optimistic that numbers will pick up during the course of the year.

How do you see the industry shaping up in the post COVID world? 

In every economy, the new normal would be something wherein the focus would shift in the healthcare sector. The investments and plans to enhance the medical equipment, and researches will gain momentum. “Digital” will be the other ‘new normal’ as everyone is citing this as new normal even now. The focus will move towards digital payments, trades, more focus on technologies, which will enable people to maintain social distance. “Social Distancing” will also emerge as the ‘new normal’. Companies will keep themselves prepared for similar unforeseen events. Online apps and tools supporting Work from Home will be another ‘normal’ for the economy.

For the insurance sector, the new normal largely would be sharpening the BCP to keep #BAUUninterrupted and strengthening the digital platforms enabling spike in online sales.


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