Case Study: Mahindra Finance Company’s #IAmIndia attempted to transform rural India

#IAmIndia

Category Introduction

Mahindra Rural Housing Finance is a Housing Finance Company (HFC) with a meaningful presence in rural India (NHB data). Similarly, in the urban space, MRHFL concentrates its efforts on the largely underserved and unserved EWS/LIG segments. The brand’s aim is to transform lives by helping people arrange funds for constructing, renovating, and extending their homes.

Brand Introduction

Mahindra Rural Housing Finance Limited (MRHFL), a subsidiary of Mahindra and Mahindra Financial Services Limited (MMFSL), has been established to provide Home Loans to underserved people primarily in rural areas. MMFSL has been operating in Rural India for over 25 years by concentrating on financing farm equipment and vehicles for the under-banked customers.

Marketing objective from Social Media

  1. Getting campaign visibility clubbed with effective user engagement was one of the most important motives behind using social media platforms.
  2. The intention of using social media platforms was to increase the believability of home loans being easy, amongst potential customers. The true stories posted on our official page with photos of the customers with their homes/families render that faith.
  3. While in cities, Facebook is all about staying in touch and making use of features such as photo and video sharing, in rural areas, Facebook is often the only app on the phone. Therefore, it is the main gateway to news and videos.

Summary

‘I Am India’–Huts to Homes an educational campaign with themes of progress and transformation that inspires low-income groups living in unsafe huts, to build their own pukka home and live a life of dignity.

Most people in rural areas live in dilapidated kuccha huts, which leads to dangerous living conditions like :

  • Vulnerability to crimes
  • Unhygienic and unsanitary surroundings
  • Extreme weather conditions etc.

It was thus imperative to prod people living in such conditions to build a pukka home and live a life of dignity. Hence with #IAmIndia focussed on two aspects:

  • Real ‘hut-to-home’ success stories of MRHFL customers who perseveringly follow their dreams of building a home.
  • Inspiring stories of MRHFL employees who are playing an important role in the transformation and bringing a wave of change.

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These stories are shared on social channels to empower underserved, lesser privileged people with real stories of how people like them are making their dreams of a new home come true. Simultaneously, the campaign #IAmIndia, celebrates the progressive spirit of people to live a better life while creating a legacy and a bright future for India.

To strengthen the engagement around the campaign, MRHFL recently initiated #ProgressInaPicture, a unique photo sharing contest where the focus is to capture the progress our nation is making in all fields. The contest is aligned with the campaign themes of progress and transformation. Executed on social media platforms of Facebook and Twitter, users were encouraged to capture progressive moments from their area, village, etc. and share.

Also Read: Case Study: How Panasonic created conversations among bloggers and photo journalists with #BeyondFrames

Problem Statement/Objective

The objective of ‘I Am India’ is to encourage, educate and empower rural India to live a life of dignity and safety by building a home of their own, thus contributing to the progress and transformation of India. When people will have their own homes, other issues like hygiene, sanitation, and education of children will fall in place, ensuring a bright future for India.

With ‘I Am India’, the brand wanted to communicate that now achieving those dreams is no longer a struggle.

Brief

The mandate given by MRHFL to their agency The Word Jockey Creative Content Studio, was to create a social media communication campaign to empower such customers to improve their lives by building a pukka home for themselves. The idea was to share the real stories of customers across India, and inspire other similar audiences to take action and spread awareness of the easy loans provided to MRHFL. The tonality of the campaign had to be motivating, and aspiring.

Secondly, the mandate was to also put the customer in the spotlight as the ‘heroes’ in these stories and underplay the brand.

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For the customers, the mandate was to:

  1. Connect to any individual interested to understand the intricacies of a rural/low income urban citizen
  2. Inspire awe and leave them warm once they read it
  3. Connect with potential customers across various regions in India, and not just Hindi speaking belts
  4. Something that has sharing ability

For employees:

The only way for a company to achieve the mission of providing homes is through the dedicated efforts of its employees. MRHFL wanted to highlight the spirit of their employees through the campaign and laud them for their valuable efforts, again to motivate all employees.

For the employee stories, the brand wanted to emphasize the following:

  1. Motivate the employees and highlight their efforts
  2. Cater to public across regions in India

Creative Idea

The creative idea was to create an aspirational movement with a progressive patriotic spirit using the power of social media and to reach out to maximum people in remotest rural areas. The movement would be built story by story using true successful events and customers’ struggle from huts to homes, under a long-running consistent campaign and build believability amongst other potential customers.

This movement had to have a flavor of pride and passion to reflect the progressive nature of the brand, along with the value it is adding to the country.

Hence The Word Jockey coined the campaign concept of ‘I Am India.’

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Challenges

a) Story Sourcing:

The key challenge was that of course, the brand had to source true stories from remotest rural areas. Unlike other social campaigns, which can use creative clever communication, the one was totally dependent on actual customer stories. So the brand had to first wait and find the right customers whom MRHFL helped build a home in the past few years.

b) Story creation:

The other big challenge for this campaign was to travel to remote areas and get good content and photos from the customers, for impactful stories. With thousands of customers across India and limited connectivity, it was a herculean task for us to manage so many stories.

  • Customer Convincing

The other challenge was to get some customers to share their stories readily. Some of them being camera shy and media-shy, had to be convinced for the same. However, again, our local team who had a rapport with them managed to do so.

Execution

The initiative was launched on Facebook and Twitter to utilize its power to reach out to maximum people and empower them with the information and hope of acquiring rural credit.

True stories about our customers and employees were posted on a weekly basis, which over a period of time created a bond of trust between MRHFL and our potential customers.

The impact of the stories was such that, every published story received huge engagement in the form of likes, comments and shares, thereby helping us spread our campaign message across India.

Results

  1. The organic engagement rate for the individual I Am India stories ranged between 3%-5% which is way higher than industry standard rates.
  2. Along with stories, the initiative generated around 2000 leads thereby increasing the interaction between MRHFL and our potential customers.

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3. MRHFL now has over 37,000+ followers on social media platforms engaging with us on a daily basis.

4. Progress in a Picture, the photo contest garnered over 600 entries with an engagement rate of 7% engagement

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MD Quote – Mr. Anuj Mehra

“The campaign ‘I am India’ is our way of reaching out to people using the power of social media and capturing the dreams that make India and how fulfilling those dreams is the first step towards progress. After all progress of a nation lies in the progress of its people.  

The campaign outlines some real heart-warming ‘hut-to-home’ success stories involving MRHFL employees and customers as they overcome their challenges and celebrates their progressive spirit to live a better life while creating a legacy and a bright future for India.

Mahindra Rural Housing Finance Limited (MRHFL), was started in 2007 with the aim of transforming lives by providing home loans to the underserved. Over the past eleven years we have touched the lives of over 30 lakh Indians and helped them fulfil their dream of building a home.”


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