Interview: Sports Marketing has a premium tag & must be viewed through lens of RoI: Anjali Malhotra, Aviva India

Sneha Yadav
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Anjali Malhotra

Taking us through the evolving dynamics of BFSI customers, Anjali Malhotra, Aviva India talks about all things marketing for an insurance brand.

With an aim to educate its customers to be prepared for tomorrow with a plan that lets you live life, Aviva Life Insurance launched #Hello, Life. Hello Aviva! campaign.

Speaking at length, Anjali Malhotra takes us through greater insights behind the campaign launch, leveraging influencer marketing, the branded content space, sports marketing from the lens of a BFSI brand.


Campaign insight and objective? How do you see it benefiting the brand in achieving its marketing objective?

Where in the earlier times, people were driven by fear and uncertainty, today they are more accepting of life & prepared for whatever surprise/s life throws at them. The best way to face these surprises is by being prepared for them and having a "bring it on” attitude.  This is the key insight for the #Hello,Life.Hello,Aviva campaign.

Where most of the BFSI brands can be seen taking a quirky and humorous route to communicate a serious and niche topic like Insurance, what has kept Aviva stick to the serious content peg for the campaign?

India has one of the lowest levels of financial literacy in the world; people don’t take life goal planning seriously enough. Another complementary fact that hinders financial literacy efforts is that people are often fearful of acknowledging their financial awareness gaps and would rather not talk about it at all. So, we have decided to keep the conversation positive yet retaining some seriousness. Leveraging this route with the right media mix has helped us create better brand awareness.

Also Read: Interview: Life Insurance sector increased AdSpends in H1 FY 2019-2020 from the previous year: Abhishek Gupta

Also, off late, the category has started foraying into the branded content space to stand out. What's your take on this and do you plan on joining the bandwagon?

I think it makes a lot of sense if the context is right for the brand and the content reaches the TG that one is looking for. Customers today are more empowered than ever before. Thus, branded content provides more authenticity and trust, and helps reach the audiences better.

We have partnered with HT again for a web series on financial awareness called Friday Finance targeted at the Millennial. Millennials are the upcoming consumers who have a different take on life from previous generations and it’s a challenge for BFSI brands to keep their relevance among this set. That something we have tried to address through Friday Finance, reaching our TG through a medium they engage and identify with more.

Where does digital stand in the scheme of things for the brand? Please share your digital mix. Also, do you think digital and social media play an integral role in lead generation for BFSI brands?

Digital is our medium of choice as 3 of our 5 focus customer segments choose to engage with the brand through digital media.  Also, the kind of engagement and targeting that can be driven in a two- way medium makes for real-time feedback and optimization. Aviva is active on both performance marketing and social media marketing and both have their respective parts to play in a successful business.

However, that’s not all of it, as we have created a strong push on relevant content to engage our customers through blogs and infographics especially in vernacular which helps us to engage with our customers in a more meaningful way.

Take us through your Media Mix

With mass media like TV and print, it was always a one-way communication where it was difficult to measure the exact ROI. Digital has changed that landscape into a two-way conversation, with exact ROI measurements, from every rupee spent. Having said that, we have also used Print extensively for this campaign, in order to reach specific markets with an impactful message. In addition, we have utilized the DTH audience, which is also a cost-effective medium with a wider reach into television homes. In many key markets, Outdoor and Radio have been deployed for a surround effect and higher OTS.

Influencer marketing has become a buzzword over the last few years. In terms of BFSI, does the concept hold any value? Have you worked with influencers? If yes, how was the experience?

Yes, Influencers have increasingly become a mechanism for embedding the brand idea amongst new target audiences, through the usage of appropriate ambassadors and the right kind of content. This strategy has received huge eyeballs when brands have been able to marry the right proposition with the right set of influencers. In the #HelloLife campaign, the use of Influencers helped us start new conversations and delivered reach with people who may not have otherwise connected for topics such as financial planning. 

The influencers delivered more than 60,000 likes across popular platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with about 1300+ conversations across platforms on influencer handles. We were trending on Twitter with campaign hashtag #HelloLife on #5.

Your views on sports marketing and how can brands like Aviva Life Insurance make the most of this marketing tactic? How do you see the Indian Premier League as one of the bets on properties to gain eyeballs?

Sports marketing is very big in India, especially cricket. At the same time, more sports and new sports leagues are coming up and attracting eyeballs as well. If a brand is targeting male audiences within a certain age group, sports marketing is certainly a good bet & an effective medium. However, it does come with a premium price tag and must be viewed through a lens of returns. For example, even though IPL is a premier event, it has lost some of its sheen compared to the earlier years. Moreover, its timing is such that it comes after the close of the peak period for our category.

Also, a lot of sports viewership has shifted

to mobile now, with OTT platforms changing the game. We have kept to the trend,

in our recent #Hello Life campaign, and promoted our videos on the recently

concluded Australian Open and Champions League Football across a few OTT


Lastly, what are the advertising trends that you foresee in the category for 2020?

Collaboration with non-BFSI players, especially on digital – a collaboration of insurance players with non BFSI categories to make financial planning more mainstream is the way ahead. It can be achieved by creating platforms for enabling conversations either through influencers or other forms of integration, including e-commerce. For example, insurance can be complemented with other online purchases.

Advanced marketing performance measurement – because of the continuous discipline around getting a better bang for the buck through multi-touch attribution, this will claim its importance.

Television – we have been told time and again that TV will phase out, but even today it holds its importance, and it will continue to remain one of the most cost-effective media with the largest reach.

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