[Interview] Aditya Sharma Head – Digital Marketing, Bajaj Allianz Talks About the Brand’s Social Strategy

_H1A67 (1)We interviewed Aditya Sharma, Head – Digital Marketing, Bajaj Allianz who talks about the brand’s social media strategies. He reveals the limitations of BFSI industry on social media and their customer service communications. He also sheds lights on new product launches and other value added services.

What is the key objective of your overall content strategy at Bajaj Allianz General Insurance?

To be a thought leader in the industry and a knowledge powerhouse on insurance so that everyday people can understand how insurance works, and use that knowledge for their benefit and security. The objective is to primarily demystify insurance facets and generate awareness so that people can make informed decisions.

How does an insurance company like yours make social media an interesting platform for marketing the brand?

We believe in engagement with our audience. Hence, the messaging of all our campaigns is themed accordingly, and delivered in layman terms. We also keep things fun by keeping contests and games that use gameplay to impart our brand’s message and solicit feedback on what our audience likes to view on our platforms.

Do you face any limitations in terms of publishing content on social media? Or Does the BFSI industry have any guidelines to adhere?

There are certain norms framed by IRDA, the governing authority for all insurance companies, and we ensure that we adhere to them in all our communications.

According to you what are the top 3 ways insurance companies can approach social media? What technologies are being used by insurance sectors to combat social media marketing?

1. Innovative use of applications to create games that meld information with fun.

2. Use of relevant content in snackable formats – slideshares, infographics and short videos, as well as more comprehensive articles for the serious reader.

3. Keeping the communication two-way by inviting the audience to share their views and experiences with us.

What kind of ROI do you look at achieving? And are you able to achieve them with your current social media strategies? 

ROI can and should be measured in different ways – audience numbers, engagement levels, building brand evangelists, business leads, etc. Yes, we are able to achieve them with our current strategies.

How is social media treated within the company among employees, stakeholders etc.? What is the importance given to these platforms? Are you using it for better social business strategies? Are you integrating it across all departments?

Social media is a key focus area within our company. We have active participation and support from employees and top management on our platforms. The attitude is very pro-social as we constantly look at new avenues that can be tapped into or linked via social media – be it our website, blogs, or even something as small as our email signatures.

Social media is also used by various departments within our company to communicate with our current and potential customers about new services, value added benefits, product launches, etc.

Tell us about the latest digital video campaign which is associated with road safety that Bajaj Allianz has come up with. Tell us a bit more about your conceptualisation and the insights received to be able to come up with this campaign.

Our campaigns sometimes have a social message in them, or an issue that we want to raise awareness about. Road safety – or the lack of it – is an important issue in our country and one that is close to our brand as we are invested in safe driving.

No one likes to be lectured, but if you show people something through the eyes of a child, then they tend to take notice of it. With that in mind, we created a short video which showed what unsafe driving is like, through the eyes of children imitating their parents. The video proved immensely popular, and within a week had gained over 1 lakh views on Youtube!

Do you use your digital presence to actually convert customers to buying your insurance products? How do you go about doing this?

Yes, we do. The online space is full of channels that can be utilised to reach new customers, and keep up with the old ones too. To do this, we keep a holistic vision in mind when designing campaigns, so that the right message reaches the right target audience. To amplify the reach of the message, we link our social brand campaigns to our ongoing product campaigns. Our team actively researches new tools and technology that can benefit our purpose.

From the entire marketing budget, in terms of percentage how much do you allocate to social media marketing?

We have a separate budget for social media and digital marketing initiatives, independent of offline marketing.

How do you manage customer complaints received from customers facing problems on social media? Are they more effective in communication vs traditional platforms that you have been using since ages?

Address grievances on social media is one of our biggest priorities. We have a simple principle when it comes to managing online customer complaints – no complaint is ever left without a response.

With this in mind, we have created spaces on all our platforms where customers can speak to us about their concerns. These include a complaint form on Facebook and live responses to issues being sent to us on Facebook and Twitter. A dedicated team looks at these avenues and regular updates are shared with the customers who write in to us.

We feel that each platform has its own merits with regard to grievance settlement, in terms of the nature of the query and level of interaction that is required for resolving the issue. Social media, however, has made it easier for customers to locate brands and reach out to them quickly.

How has social media evolved over the years ever since you’ve been present on social media? Can you outline some insurance industry trends that you follow?

From a one-sided promotion platform (where companies would generally share updates and information about their products and services), social media has evolved to a place where a customer can carry on an actual dialogue with a brand. Brands have come to realise the power that social media has to amplify anything and everything, and have learnt to leverage this channel to create powerful brand advocates from among their social media communities.

With respect to industry trends, a few years ago brands concentrated on replicating their television and other media messaging on social, without tapping into the inherent differences between the platforms. Today the scenario is very different. Brands have individual and complementary strategies for social media as well as traditional media. This ensures that while a brand’s essential message may remain the same across all these channels, there are major differences in the way it is presented to a social audience – more personalised, one-on-one, and dialogue-oriented.

Earlier, it was only the number of people on your page that mattered. Today, we focus just as much on engagement, interaction, and reach. In short, brands are now tapping into all the advantages offered by the individualism promoted via social platforms, to create unique identities and communities for themselves and their customers.

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