Aviva India’s Social Media Strategy with Mr. Gaurav Rajput [Interview]

Aviva India is a joint venture between one of the country’s oldest and largest groups, Dabur, and Aviva Group, one of the UK’s largest insurance group, whose association with India dates back to 1834.

Here is the transcript of a telecon interview with Mr. Gaurav Rajput, Director Marketing, Aviva India.


1. What prompted you to adopt Social Media in your overall marketing strategy?

Marketing today is fairly incomplete without digital media and social media, the key difference being that social media allows you to have conversations with your customers unlike any other medium. It’s far more engaging and possibly the best way to reach your customer, in this day and age.

Social Media Activities Gaurav Rajput  Aviva India

1. What is your content strategy when it comes to Facebook and Twitter?

Insurance is a fairly serious category and most BFSI brands tend to talk a lot about their own products and services. At Aviva, we try and present more of a ‘fun’ and ‘emotional’ side to the brand to engage the audience more effectively.

On Facebook, we have two pages- an Aviva India page where we have over 20K people and the other one called ‘Education is Insurance’ which was created to spread awareness about the importance of education for children. We have also actively used this property to encourage contribution from the community for education of underprivileged children.

Our on ground campaign, ‘Aviva Great Wall of Education’, which was meant to collect and donate books to these children was actively promoted using the ‘Education is insurance’ page, where we have over two hundred twenty thousand people who follow us. The Education is Insurance page was created to leverage our work for educating underprivileged children and getting the community involved with contributing to the cause through on ground events such as ‘Aviva Great Wall of Education’ which were actively promoted using this page.

The Aviva India page is more in line with our brand and marketing strategy. We target young parents, parents of young children and the objective there is to try highlight the importance of the father and the child relationship.

That is an important aspect many brands don’t touch upon and we feel that that it is relevant for us as a brand to talk about that. We approach this in a light way, so that the audience has a lot to relate to, when they visit our page.

On twitter our strategy is to educate the customer about various nuances of insurance as a segment and keep them updated about our products and services to help them take an informed investment decision. Twitter is also actively used to respond and resolve consumer queries, so that our customers are aware that as a brand, Aviva is responsive to their needs.

We’ve been running a lot of contests over the past few months which are centered around a key message that we want our audience to associate with us. Its also a great way to engage the audience on Twitter and we’ve received a lot of positive feedback from the community about the contests we run and how much they enjoy them.

2. Social media is usually considered to be a hotspot for brands in entertainment and lifestyle segment. How does it fare for the BFSI segment?

There’s a lot that one can talk about and do on a lifestyle/entertainment page. Its also relatively easier to engage the audience on these pages as it fits in with the ‘pop culture’ for which an audience is wider. The BFSI segment, on the other hand is heavily regulated and there are a lot of compliance rules that we need to adhere to, which makes it that much more difficult to post ‘fun’ updates.

However, its very relevant for BFSI segment to be active on social media because the insurance penetration in our country is at 10 percent and there is an audience of 120 million people active on the internet so, we can easily reach out to them through social media. In any field, whether lifestyle or BFSI, it’s extremely important that you interact and engage with your customers.

While its definitely tougher for us because we are not a lifestyle brand, we still have a lot to offer in terms of engagement. Let me take the father- child relationship as an example. We have taken the core idea of communicating the importance of a father child relationship online by talking about the various things fathers can do with their children, how they can spend more time with them etc.

The philosophy of this campaign is- you spend more time with your children, enjoying their childhood and let us take care of the financial concerns. Basically, its about how you position yourself in this category and make yourself relevant to the customer so that its interesting for them to keep following you.

3. How often do you hold contests and campaigns on Twitter? Can you share with the the details of the recently concluded #thingsdaddysays contest – the objectives, the execution and the participation from your community?

Earlier, we would run about one contest per month, but now we’ve increased the frequency to one contest per week. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from our followers on the contests that we run, hence we increased the frequency. For the contest, #thingsdaddysays, we got almost 762 responses with 59 unique participants.

The potential number of people who saw these tweets was 7.5 K which is a high number so it was a great way of getting the community engaged with our brand. We give out interesting gifts to the winners of these contests, right from Flipkart vouchers to merchandise and a lot users have written back to us to let us know how much they have enjoyed these gifts.

The idea behind running a contest like #thingsdaddysays was to plug into our overall marketing strategy which focuses on the father child relationship and to encourage users to tweet about some of the most memorable things their fathers say. The contest reinforced the importance of a strong father-child relationship.

4. You also have a CLT20 themed quiz based app on Facebook. Please share with us how it has performed for your brand with respect to branding and increase in customer base.

Our brand ambassador, as you know, is Sachin Tendulkar so there is a great association between cricket and our brand. The idea of running the CLT20 quiz on FB was to co-relate the concept of the game with our product Aviva i-Life, which is an online term plan that is easy to understand and can be quickly bought online.

Since T20 cricket is also a fast paced game, we wanted to draw a parallel between the game and Aviva i-life to put out the message, ‘if playing T20 cricket is fast, so is buying Avivai-life’.

Your youtube channel is primarily catering to the worldwide audience. Any specific reason why there’s no India-centric YouTube channel like how you have for Facebook & Twitter?

Earlier, we did have a dedicated India Youtube page, but we consolidated some of our digital properties as part of the global strategy. Now we have one consolidated YT page for Aviva across the globe but the interesting thing is whichever country that you login from, you’ll actually see ads pertaining to that country first. You can then see the ads from the other countries as well.

The idea was to try and consolidate our activities and customise it to the users at a particular location who will log in to that particular page. I think this is relevant because in India, people get a perspective that Aviva is a global company.

5. Apart from marketing and customer service, have you explored other aspects of social media such as recruitments, market research etc?

Its an area that we want to explore, but initially, our focus was to ensure that we are engaging and interacting with our customers the way we should, before thinking about using this medium for recruitment purposes.

But that is definitely the next step for us. In fact, this medium is also great from market research perspective where you can get a lot of good insights from customers who take the effort to come online and engage with our brand pages.

Metrics & Measurement

1. What are your views about using enterprise grade tools as compared to free tools?

We currently don’t use any enterprise grade tool ourselves, as we have our digital and ORM agencies who do a lot of work on that front and provide us with the required analysis. In terms of technology and development, sometimes the free tools are faster and provide better metrics than enterprise platforms as they take more time to develop and evolve.

2. What are the tools that you use to manage your community?

There are a lot of in house analytics that we use to track website performance but as far as social media is concerned, we don’t use any specific tool yet.

3. How do you evaluate the performance of your social media campaigns? What are the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you monitor to track your performance?

One of the key indicators of evaluating the success of a campaign is the engagement rate and the virality of the content we’re sharing. I think the matrix in terms of the engagement rate and the acquisition numbers, i.e. in terms of how many customers have we actually acquired through some of the campaigns that we’ve been running is a key Indicator for us.

Fan engagement numbers and the conversations that are happening around the campaign are monitored pretty closely by our team and we use that as a key performance indicator as well.

Company involvement

1. Can you share with us some information about the team that is behind your social media efforts?

We have a robust in-house team comprising researchers, marketing and corporate communications team, who contribute in various ways towards designing our social media program. On the agency side, we work with MRM for Facebook and with Ad-factors PR for Twitter.

2. How integrated are the other arms of your business with your social media activities?

Our marketing team and customer service team are very integrated with our social media efforts. We ensure that we pro actively respond to all customer queries received via email, on consumer forums, Facebook or Twitter.

CS is well embedded as part of our social media and marketing strategy as well, like I’ve explained earlier so whether it is Twitter or FB, the campaigns are completely aligned with the rest of our marketing campaign. Today, we sell products online which directly reach the consumer so the next step of evolution is actually to embed sales into our social media strategy.

3. How does your customer service team work in tandem with your social media team? How are issues handled and resolved on social media?

To give you an example, if we were to receive a complaint on Twitter, the complaint is flagged off immediately by our agency or by the internal team and sent across to the CS team.

They review the complaint by looking through the customer profile and transaction history to verify authenticity of the complaint. While we’re investigating at the back-end  we ensure that a response is posted on the social platform indicating to the customer that our team is looking into the matter and that they will be in touch with the customer regarding resolution of the issue.

Once our team has completed the investigation, we post the suitable response on the link of the original complain or we ask the him for his contact number and then contact him and verbally communicate that to him. Our turn around time for resolving online complaints is typically 7-10 days.

General Questions

1. What is your opinion about the Indian social media scenario as compared to the ones present in the western nations?

We’re doing fairly well. I follow many brands that are into social media internationally as well, and I think you’ll find that Indian brands are doing well in terms of their engagement online and in terms of the quality of content that they’re putting out. Its obviously evolving and its improving everyday but I think the work that’s being done so far is pretty good.

There’s a lot to be learnt from the international brands about effectively engaging online consumers through social media and translating this experience offline as well through on ground events that fit in well with the overall marketing strategy. Honestly, we haven’t seen too much of that in India yet so that’s one evolution that we will soon witness in our country.

How do you view social media evolving into in the coming years?

In my view, we’re going to witness a great degree of consolidation and by that I mean, soon, everyone will have their favourites in terms of their preferred social media platform on which to engage. We’re through with experimenting on various platforms and testing out which ones work best for us.

We’re now fast approaching a situation where people are going to pick one or two platforms that work best for them and spend the maximum amount of time there.

Regulating authority – Guidelines

Since social media is all about people expressing themselves freely, one does come across several instances where there’s a tweet or a post which should not have been shared as it is sensitive in nature and can have serious repercussions  We have a social media policy at Aviva which sensitizes and guides the employees on social media behaviour when representing the company.

Generally, when an employee enters into a contractual agreement with an organization, there is a clause that clearly states that you cannot share any information about your company’s financial dealings or transactions and upon signing, an employee agrees to abide by those rules.

However, you cannot constantly monitor what each individual is saying on social media but that is a risk that every company faces today, not just in the financial sector.

 Key Takeaways from the Interview

  • It is very relevant for BFSI segment to be active on social media because the insurance penetration in our country is at 10 percent and there is an audience of 120 million people active on the internet so we can easily reach out to them through social media.
  •  Social Media is great from market research perspective where you can get a lot of good insights from customers who take the effort to come online and engage with our brand pages.
  • Indian brands are doing well in terms of their engagement online and in terms of the quality of content that they’re putting out.