#SSIPLWatch Aalok Bhan on reinforcing the importance of financial protection through IPL

Aalok Bhan

In conversation with Social Samosa, Max Life Insurance’s Aalok Bhan takes us through the company’s plans to increase brand recall by partnering with RCB or IPL 2020.

In addition to being the team’s official life insurance partner for the second consecutive year, Max Life is also among the apparel partners for Royal Challengers Bangalore for the 13th edition of IPL. According to the company, the partnership will not only inspire RCB cricketers to play with ‘Protection on the Front Foot’ but also encourage the larger fan base to financially protect themselves.

As part of the #SSIPLWatch series, Aalok Bhan, Chief Marketing Officer, Max Life Insurance talks about the insurance firm’s masterplan to leverage the ongoing cricketing season and boost the brand identity.

Edited Excerpts:

What was the insight behind your association with RCB?

Through our association with RCB in the latest campaign, we have reinforced the importance of financial protection while highlighting term insurance as the most fundamental and cost-effective form of life insurance. The expression ‘Protection Front Foot Pe’ emerges from the brand philosophy of ‘You Are The Difference’ urging audiences to secure their family’s financial future because even amidst a pandemic, it is You who brings a difference to your loved ones, and they depend on you for security – both emotional and financial.

The narrative not only inspires cricketers to play with #ProtectionFrontFootPe but also encourages the larger fan base to play on the Front Foot when it comes to life and protecting loved ones from future financial uncertainties. We are certain our association this year will further fortify our commitment towards financial protection for the consumers.

What does the overall marketing plan for the season look like? What kind of a role will social media play?

We strongly believe our #ProtectionFrontFootPe campaign is here to stay and will wisely attempt to reinforce the importance of financial protection, especially to the millennial audiences. We have taken on an “Always On” approach to constantly drive conversations with our audiences.

With experiential marketing and OOH taking a back seat due to the pandemic, we are aiming to deliver experience through devices that millennials are watching IPL on. While broadcast is part of our media mix, digital and social media plays an equally critical role in this strategy – we are present across all platforms, be it Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Furthermore, we have also upped our association with RCB from last year and are now their apparel partners. This gives the brand screen time and increases the overall brand recall and consideration.

Two contests are already live on social media so far. Apart from digital playoffs, print or TV integrations include turning point sponsorship on NDTV for amplifying cricket buzz and Tata sky banner visibility on key matches prime time 10-11.

Powered by/Copowered by sponsorships on media movie channels and new programming during the campaign by Max Life and Front Foot player of the day in TOI on select matches by an expert ex-cricketer.

Please take us through your media mix. How much percent of it is reserved for digital?

Over the last few months, there has been a significant shift in the digital way of life. This has further translated into how consumers search, interact with insurers, and buy policies. We have noticed Google searches on term insurance double, there has been an 89% growth and that is from google analytics.

At Max Life, we have significantly increased our focus on social media and digital marketing tools to drive engagement, as compared to before because we believe that digital is here to stay. Progressing with very balanced spending between offline and digital media, we have a 70:30 approach (digital vs traditional mediums). The firm has a one view approach to marketing with performance and brand operating with the common agenda of ‘Customer Obsession’.

Also Read: #SSIPLWatch Media mix for an event like IPL cannot just be relegated to a select medium: Varun Khanna, Fast&Up

Take us through your marketing strategy. Any campaigns or activities lined up to support your partnership?

Our marketing strategy stems from a three-levelled approach. At the topmost level, as a life insurance firm, our core purpose is to build awareness, educate consumers, and drive a credible narrative on why financial protection is important. Our flagship property – India Protection Quotient survey in association with KANTAR helps us achieve this objective. It reveals striking findings of the state of protection India is in and enables us to drive relevant stories amongst consumers.

The second level in our strategy is closer to the functionalities and offerings of the brand. We recently launched a campaign with a focal point of trust – India Ke Bharose Ka number.  The same rode with the objective that when you’re trusting a life insurance company, it is only reassuring to have them reciprocate the same level of trust with their “Bharose Ka Number” or claims paid ratio.

Lastly, on the third level, we focus on building an emotional connect with consumers by talking with them, rather than talking to them. We continuously look forward to engaging with consumers and leveraging new mediums. Here is where our latest partnership with RCB fits. Through the ad campaign, we aim to encourage millennial audiences to secure their family’s financial future because even amidst a pandemic, it is you who brings a difference to the lives of loved ones. Further, it goes on to establish that in the game of life, it is imperative to gear up well by calculating risks, not just physical but also financial, and leading with protection on the front foot.

What are the parameters to calculate ROI on your IPL marketing initiatives? Do you think it will be difficult to recover the investment amidst the pandemic crisis?

Every industry and vertical experienced the impact of the Covid- 19 crisis and the advertisement and marketing industry is no exception. Some took to the wait and watch approach, and others decided to pause the ad spending and utilize it more judiciously in the coming months.

It’s true that consumer and brand sentiments remained affected due to Covid-19, but with the nation binding event that cricket and especially IPL is, one can look forward to a positive spin on the sentiments. The fact that on just the first day of the event, IPL saw a record-breaking viewership of 20 crores, only adds credibility to that expectation.

Pre corona v/s post corona: Has IPL marketing or sports marketing in general changed dramatically? What are the key advertising & marketing trends you foresee? 

Brands have been careful to spend in the year, however, one can see most of them now being active around the biggest media property of the year. With the overall physical sports window opening with soccer and cricket, it is expected to give an impetus to advertising spends while giving the consumers an opportunity to peruse their sports passions visually.

As a Life Insurance brand, we too are adapting all our operations, expanding our digital channels, and catering to the needs of the customers. Interestingly, media selection has seen a shift from touchpoint streams like Outdoor to digital and mass appeal radio/TV to very niche selection of TV media as per consumer eyeball presence on news. Lastly, what we have also noticed is that the brands are now investing more in digital modes of purchase/contactless sale procedures for customer services.