Interview: Digital has helped BFSI brands shed ‘Serious guy’ image: Ravindra Sharma, SBI Life Insurance

Ravindra Sharma, SVP & Chief of Brand & Corporate Communications, SBI Life shares the brand’s objective behind Main Se Hum campaign, their focus on digital marketing, and more.

Reaching out to the millennial, SBI Life rolled out a 360-degree campaign, titled, Main Se Hum. Based on the core thought of educating consumers around insurance on a new light, Main Se Hum has been a long-running campaign executed across various phases.

Social Samosa got in a conversation with Ravindra Sharma, SVP & Chief of Brand & Corporate Communications, SBI Life, understanding the brand’s objective behind the campaign, their focus on digital marketing, and more.

What was the objective behind ‘Main se Hum’? Please take us through the campaign journey.

SBI Life has a strong portfolio of protection products, with the ‘Main Se Hum’ campaign we are building a compelling new perspective to get today’s consumer interested in protection.

Understanding the changing lifestyles and culture of India, we derived upon the need to bring new consumers under the purview of Insurance. There is a dire need to educate the consumer about the importance of having protection insurance at the core of holistic financial planning. Layers of research indicated that despite all of the self-centric consumption patterns of today’s consumers, they are happy to take on the responsibilities that come along as one progresses in life. Drawing upon this peculiar research indicator, ‘Main Se Hum’ campaign positively encourages today’s consumers to take on insurance as a happy responsibility. Our communication is aimed at driving awareness that insurance is a tool which takes care of one’s protection needs, essentially providing the peace of mind required to take on newer responsibilities in life.

There is a clutter of brands out there trying to push campaigns designed around media consumption patterns of their target audience. SBI Life, on the other hand, is appealing to behavioral tendencies, which indicate that today’s consumers are happy to take on responsibilities as they progress in life. We believe approaching insurance as a happy responsibility will also assist in widening insurance penetration in India, over the long run.

The campaign showcases a transition from the younger ‘main’ thinking’ to the more mature ‘hum’ thinking’ and that is what we have based our work on. Insurance is that ‘main se humka kadam that we all have to take in life.

How does the campaign contribute in achieving your objective from overall marketing strategy?

Main Se Hum’ encourages today’s consumer to take on insurance as a happy responsibility. Appealing to the behavioral tendencies of today’s consumer, ‘Main Se Hum’ connects with in a way which has not been attempted before. The digital extension of the campaign which showcases inspirational ‘Real Life Real Stories’ of our society’s unsung heroes, also connects with the behavioral tendency of today’s consumers who are driven by a search for purpose in life.

Overall as a brand SBI Life is moving the needle to establish a deeper emotional connect with today’s consumers, by encouraging them to be driven by purpose and take on the happy responsibilities of life.

BFSI is always considered a dry beat – do you think that still stands true in the digital day and age?

BFSI brands are no pushovers. If anything the advent of digital has only helped BFSI brands shed their ‘Serious guy’ image.

With the ever-rising digital content consumption, there’s an audience set out there to lap up content and waiting for new stories to be told. So, it’s an equal footing across brands. Whosoever puts in efforts to bring out great content on a consistent basis ends up ruling the share of voice charts. Having said that pick up great campaigns over the last five years and you will always find BFSI brands featured in that list.

Where does digital marketing lie in the scheme of things at SBI Life?

SBI Life has been one of the leading adopters of digital in the category. With extension content to all brand campaigns, peaking hub campaigns to initiate a brand recall and moment marketing for hygiene engagement, SBI Life has a concrete long and short-term goals. The brand is also one of the key adaptors of social listening, programmatic media, digital videos and we are continuously evolving to be the early adaptors of upcoming technologies.

As a marketer, do you think storytelling campaigns make practical sense? Especially in the BFSI scene, how can brands leverage data-driven storytelling?

Be it BFSI or any other beat, the fundamentals of the brand building remain the same. Stories have been a part of human life since our existence; we tend to remember things which have been presented to us as stories.

For marketers, storytelling is the best way to create a deeper emotional connect with consumers. Good stories make you care about your priorities, motivate you to do things and they can really make a long lasting impression. Storytelling is never going out of fashion.

In this industry, where there is not much of a scope in terms of product offerings, emotionally connecting with the audience facilitates in making them realize their most important responsibilities. With properties like ‘Papa Hain Na’, SBI Life has successfully leveraged storytelling to connect with consumers.

In continuation with the brand’s preference for storytelling, ‘Main se Hum’ unveils stories of emotional yet responsible people who think about financially protecting their loved ones. In all, storytelling is about connecting and making a memory. When your story touches people’s mind, they think of your brand. And when your brand is on their mind, they are most likely to buy your products/ services.

What kind of a role does digital play in your festive marketing mix?

Festivals provide an excellent opportunity for brands to engage with consumers on digital. It helps add more relevance to the brand as it helps showcase festive values of Indians, who are increasingly displaying their festive celebrations on social media.

This festive season SBI Life launched ‘Real Life Real Stories’ video series, the digital extension of ‘Main Se Hum’ campaign.

Please shed light on the digital marketing trends you foresee in the BFSI space.

While digital friendly video content has already been the talk on the town, there are other developments with immense potential in the years to come.

Story Based Content – Stories have become the next new way of content consumption and videos specific to social media stories and IGTV shall be adopted very soon. With short ACDs and link back to websites, BFSI shall look forward to benefiting from this content type in the near future.

Big Data – Be it for better media efficiency or content relevancy, BFSI is serious about adoption of big data. This shall help with clustering of audience pools basis behavior and consumption patterns, create and promote personalized content to people.

AI – From simple adoption like chatbots to solve basic queries of people to complicated data sifting, AI shall play a key role is reducing man-hours for mundane tasks and increasing efficiency for customer benefit.

Vernacular – Indian is many countries within a country. With language changes every 100kms, true meaning of personalisation is when people are served content in a language that they relate to the most. With precise digital targeting, vernacular content shall see a steep rise.