How Muthoot Finance builds gold financing with celebrity endorsements & regional communication

Muthoot Finance

Indian consumers hold high amounts of gold. However, the yellow metal is not commonly used as a house mortgage or any other collateral. Muthoot Finance is changing this perception one campaign at a time. Social Samosa speaks to Muthoot Finance’s Abhinav Iyer to find out how brand ambassadors play an important role in gaining consumer trust.

The gold loan NBFC recently announced their third quarter financial results, and Reuters reported that the profits beat the analysts’ predictions due to the festive surge and boosted demand. The Gold Loan penetration in India overall has also experienced a spike in recent years.

These factors constitute a critical period for Muthoot Finance, and here in conversation with Abhinav Iyer, Senior General Manager – Marketing & Strategy, Muthoot Finance, we lend a thought to how the brand is attempting to build gold loans as sought-after financial support for Indian households through marketing.

India is the world’s second largest gold jewellery consumer, second only to China, according to the ‘Jewellery Demand and Trade’ report released by the World Gold Council in January 2023. While Indian consumers hold high amounts of gold, the yellow metal is not commonly used as a house mortgage or any other collateral for it is considered as wealth and even auspicious.

Abhinav mentions that the core objective and creative approach of all the recent marketing campaigns have consistently been to open up the gold loan category. “To grow the gold loan industry as a whole by busting societal myths associated with gold loans and helping people let go of their age-old inhibitions associated with it,” he adds.

Banking On Celebrity Endorsements

The latest marketing campaign Kholiye Khushiyon Ki Tijori is a series of four films that describes the features and benefits of Muthoot Finance Gold Loans. The campaign is steered by Amitabh Bachchan, who has been the brand’s ambassador for the past five years.

Abhinav states that the collaboration with Mr. Bachchan has been a great marketing decision and this association has paved the way in the marketing transformation journey. “It has created unprecedented visibility for us and significant business impact over the last 3-4 financial years.”

His PAN-India popularity and dependable persona have always been instrumental for brands. Whether it’s coming to the rescue of Mondelez during the Cadbury crisis, building awareness of a new brand, or generating favourability for gold loans by communicating its benefits, the brand value of Amitabh Bachchan tends to be fruitful for brand associations.

Kholiye Khushiyon Ki Tijori Ft. Amitabh Bachchan

The strategic thinking behind the campaign is to encourage people to monetise the gold jewellery lying idle and unproductive in their lockers, for reasons like “it is simply not top-of-mind or because of old-world beliefs or social taboos”, and instead they can realise their dreams and ‘unlock happiness.

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Gold is primarily owned by the lady in Indian households, she holds the key to the vault that unlocks happiness. Picking up on this notion, the brand onboarded Madhuri Dixit Nene as the first female brand ambassador, to increase the relatability quotient of the brand, and encourage availing a gold loan.

Madhuri Dixit Nene is believed to significantly complement the marketing efforts alongside Mr. Bachchan. “This is a major step up for us in the brand’s marketing transformation journey, ongoing for the last 5 years.”

Her demonstration of a strong connection with diverse audiences through an array of performances, the national and international charismatic appeal, and her popularity that crosses age groups — were a few of the reasons that led to the association, apart from the shared cultural values. “Diversity, versatility, and credibility are three main factors that are strongly common between Muthoot Finance and Madhuri Dixit Nene, thereby paving the way for this brand partnership and association.”

She has previously also associated with the brand in 2022, where she narrated some true stories for the marketing campaign ‘Muthoot Finance Sunheri Soch Season-2’. Abhinav says, “We are sure that she will play a pivotal role in shaping perceptions, particularly that of the female audiences who are in a large majority of cases, the true owners and custodians of household gold and can in turn be prominent change agents in bringing about an attitudinal transformation amongst first-time loan seekers and in making gold loans a smart choice rather than being a last resort.”

Informational Regional Communication

The brand hosts 5750+ branches, across India along with global footprints in the US, UK, UAE, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. The 72 crore customers speak various languages and understand distinct cultural dialects. The emotional value of a campaign would not alone fulfill the objective, and this is where the informational aspect and regional nuances come in.

Muthoot Finance creates content in 10 Indian languages. All the print materials, collaterals, and POS materials, are also created in regional languages to help connect with the local audiences. The idea has been to make people more receptive and open-minded while considering gold loans and not look at it as a distressed product, mentions Abhinav.

“To a large extent, we have been able to drive this behavioral change but this objective is a journey and not a destination. Effectively disseminating good content is as important as creating it. Hence, we have always adopted an aggressive and balanced media approach while releasing communications. We have achieved this by ensuring a healthy media mix and it has worked quite well for us,” he adds.

For the informational element, the brand usually creates a campaign with 3-5 films to drive the objective of making gold loans more acceptable. “We also integrate a couple of value propositions in each film thereby creating a healthy mix between content and information”.

The media planning strategy for the dissemination includes integrated marketing campaigns, distributed with a mix of mediums across TV, Print, Radio, Out of Home, Transit Media, Digital, BTL, and Activation.

“Over the last 2-3 years we have also engaged in creating impact properties across News & GEC genres. OTT is one medium where we have gone slow and we may look at gradually increasing our exposure there without compromising on our core objective to drive new customer acquisition.”