[Interview] Anil Ramachandran, IndusInd Bank on social media marketing for BFSI brands

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[Interview] Anil Ramachandran, IndusInd Bank on social media marketing for BFSI brands
BFSI being an overtly dry sector, brands often find it difficult to engage with their audience. Anil Ramachandran, EVP & Head , Marketing & Corp Comm and Retail Unsecured Assets, IndusInd Bank gets candid about the woes and opportunities for BFSI brands on social media, while giving insights on their latest campaign.

What was your objective from the Jeet ka Halla campaign? Was the objective achieved? 

We launched “JeetkaHalla” campaign to support the Para-athletes under our  Para Champions Program. Our main aim is to bring to light their contribution to the country by creating a nationwide movement of support.  We felt these athletes deserve a lot of recognition for their contribution and fame which they have earned  for our country. We have done this through a heartwarming, and inspiring anthem which showcases the grit and spirit of these  para-athletes, and  through the anthem, the Bank conveys the message that it is time for the viewers to cheer and support the unsung para-athletes.

Yes we are happy  that we have initiated and started the ground movement  – we have brought the required momentum and build the cause. Our integrated media campaign has created a wave of recognition, pride and empathy for our para-athletes. But there is long way to go. On social media platforms we have received good engagement levels- numbers are speaking that our voice is being  heard .

What was the brief given to the agency? Please take us through the campaign 

The brief given to RK Swamy BBDO was very  simple. They were introduced to a very special non banking vertical called, IndusInd for Sports. They were asked to design a communication around the Bank’s endeavour to support Para-athletes. It was quite a non-restrictive brief and we made it very clear that the campaign should  touch the hearts of the people without playing the sympathy card. The communication had to be emotional and inspirational. But above all, it had to look and feel genuine and sincere; free from any cosmetic or staged elements.

Since the canvas of the brief was not restrictive, the agency was given the freedom to choose their brush strokes. The turning point was the agency wanted to meet the para athletes to get the feel of the brief. After an extensive research on the subject and the players – they interacted with them – and realized how little we all knew about these superheroes and the glories they have brought for the nation! Their simplicity and humility touched the hearts and we all realized  that it is not sympathy that they are seeking but they want just a pat on the back, few words of appreciation and cheers for their work. It was more important to create awareness about their feats than the stories of their lives. That’s because be it media attention, finances or facilities – everything falls in place once there is ample awareness about a cause.

The other aspect that caught our attention was that actually, these players play at a higher level of difficulty! But that doesn’t make the rules of the games or the competition gets lenient for them. The Sun doesn’t decide to be less harsh on them when they sweat it out in the field. So then why should the applaud for them be any lesser in comparison to the regular players!

 This thought formed the crux of our campaign and crystalized as “…toh tere liye kyon taaliyaan hon kam…teri jeet ka bhi ho halla, gali-gali mohalla.”

How does the campaign strengthens your brand's voice on social media as a BFSI brand?

IndusInd Bank’s support to Para champions programme has been a well-devised strategy towards contributing to specially abled sports persons. This programme has been initiated under ‘IndusInd For Sports’, a non-banking vertical which has been launched in April 2016 with the objective to promote & support individuals & teams who contribute to Indian sports and bring laurels to the nation.

Today, Brands are exploring various social media platforms to promote their brand essence and we found the ‘JeetKaHalla’ initiative being a perfect fit to it as it is beyond regular BFSI product & services.  The cause & content with the para-champions has helped the brand to gain ‘Respect and pride’ which helps the brand enhance its brand equity index. While our earlier campaigns have been focused on innovative products & services, this brand campaign has the patriotic fervor with a blend of saluting the unsung sports champs. The content is rich, relevant & relatable to Indian audience.  Social being a content discovery platform, where people discover, share, like and relate the content what they believe in, was the right platform for us to be on. Hence, we chose social and it is delivering very positive results for the bank.

Declining organic reach on Facebook has been a concern for marketers. Please share your views on it. How do you ensure good reach of your content?

Declining organic reach on Facebook has been a pain point for us and we researched to find the root cause.

We found two main reasons - first, there's simply too much content being published on Facebook, making visibility in the News Feed increasingly competitive. Second, Facebook is deliberately trying to show people the content that is most relevant to them, as opposed to surfacing all the content available.

Therefore, we crafted a content strategy to be more relevant to people and being more selective about what we publish and/pushing money behind our key posts.

Influencer outreach is one of the buzzwords these days. How do you leverage influencers?

We have used influencer outreach program time and again on Twitter while running our key campaigns. This strategy is beneficial for relationship development, link building, and content promotion. Moreover, it helps our company exchange value with industry leaders and increase our brand awareness.

How do you use social media for active CRM and dealing with consumer grievances?

We feel that what people say about a company online has become the single most important reflection of the company’s quality, reliability, and skill. Specially being from service industry, it becomes all the more important for us to have an active CRM strategy.  Therefore, Bank has presence on key social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. To manage these channels actively, we have a social media command centre which manages all the queries/complaints/feedback etc. actively. They operate from 9am ~ 9pm all days.

How do you measure social media success? Do you have any social media tool or any pre-decided parameters?

We monitor all our social media platforms on a daily basis and use Radian6, Unmetric and Sysomos extensively to do active listening and measure our performance. The most important parameters to measure are engagement, reach and sentiment analysis.

Your last post on Facebook was of early September. On what basis do you decide the frequency of posts? Please take us through your editorial strategy on social media

We feel there’s no fix number or formula to decide on the number of posts to put on Facebook. We have a flexible strategy where we only push relevant content to our audience. As a hygiene practice we try to push one update everyday but that’s not a rule. For eg: During a campaign we might even push more than one update in a day.

What is the key differentiator between the content you post on Twitter and Facebook? How would you define your Twitter strategy?

We have different set of KPI’s for both the platforms. Facebook is generally used to create engagement and Twitter is used for handling customer queries. We have additional number of updates for Twitter and copy is tweaked to make it more relevant to the audience while posting the updates from Facebook. Twitter is primarily used for active listening, spreading out company news and sharing our values with other leaders of the industry.

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