#TheSocialCMO ft Jasneet Bachal, YES Bank

Jasneet Bachal Yes Bank

In conversation with Social Samosa, YES Bank’s Jasneet Bachal divulges details into the brand’s COVID-19 specific marketing efforts and the need to go beyond just ‘selling’.

YES Bank recently rolled out the ‘Nayi Udaan Ki Nayi Zimmedari‘ campaign aimed at strengthening the MSME segment. We get in touch with Jasneet Bachal, Chief Marketing Officer, YES BANK who asserts that COVID-19 has been the biggest advertiser to reinforce the fact that digitization is the backbone of any business.

While speaking at length about the YES Bank marketing strategy, the social media advertising blueprint, changing consumer behaviour patterns, and more.

Edited Excerpts

Please take us through the campaign journey – right from insights to execution – how did it pan out? What kind of a role does the campaign play in helping the brand achieve its business objective?

With COVID-19 disrupting lives and businesses across the globe, our marketing efforts – under the Zimmedari Se Tayyari banner — were focused on reaching out to the customer to promote the flurry of responsible measures the Bank has taken to ensure their safety, comfort, and convenience. The thrust of our messaging was to intimate our communities and connections of the organization’s preparedness to tackle the slew of rapid changes, and equally to help empower them to deftly navigate the rapidly shifting new normal.

With Nayi Udaan Ki Nayi Zimmedari, we have taken that spirit of responsibility and preparedness a level beyond, refocusing our messaging to mirror the hopes our customers have from this new year. We are collectively – and carefully – making a return to normalcy; commerce is getting back on track; businesses are reopening.  Personalized experiences were also developed across platforms.

The campaign has been amplified as an integrated campaign on digital channels, in cognizance of customer affinity to digital platforms and the current customer mindset.

Communicating this spirit of revival is central to publicizing the solutions enterprises, entrepreneurs and consumers need to make a successful comeback.

A lot has been said about the pandemic changing consumer behavior, how is this applicable to the BFSI industry? Especially, in terms of purchase decisions?

Overall it has been observed that the unprecedented amount of time spent indoors and in isolation indelibly altered the way consumers negotiated the purchase impulse. A clear trend that emerged during the lockdown was a preference shown by consumers towards the pragmatic and the rational, as they were driven to make decisions based on practicality and safety.

Purchases across product categories turned more conscious and need-driven as the socio-economic dynamic of the preceding years spiraled unpredictably.

Products and services that fulfill essential requirements and add direct personal value to the lives of consumers – confined to their homes and isolated socially – gained favour.   

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Given the shifting circumstances, consumers were looking more for reassurance and support from brands and organisations, expecting to rely on the comfort of and the continuance of the familiar, rather than seeking the thrill of new offerings or discount pricing in the market. Their purchase decisions reflected this attitude, with an unambiguous leaning towards conservative choices.

While consumers were increasingly focused on safety, security and conserving liquidity, it was prudent for financial institutions to come up with products and solutions that complemented their need for stability and continuity. Card-less transactions, mobile-only banking, AI-backed chatbot were some of the options under digital-only, contactless banking that hit home – pardon the pun – because that’s where the customer was.

COVID-19, for obvious reasons has seen an uptick in preference for contact-less banking and consumers interacting with organisations or availing services through digital platforms. During the height of the lockdown in May, a sharp spike was reported in traditional savings instruments such as FDs, which were seen by the anxious public as a safe haven to park cash, given the market volatility at the time. The demand for need-based loans is also projected to outstrip want-based loans as COVID-19-hit businesses are seeking financial aid and liquidity to rebuild momentum.

Empathetic messaging that ties prudence into the purchase decision has been found to resonate with audience across the whole purchase decision process.

Fintech has gained further acceptance in the Indian context since the pandemic, be it the use of AR, VR in marketing or transactions through UPI or online purchase of policies. How is YES Bank adopting this tech wave?

Acknowledging the challenges it created, it would be fair to say that COVID-19 did for digital marketing what marketers had been trying to do for years. For instance, a complete shift to digitalization, though driven by necessity, opened up the possibility to innovate afresh and customize consumer journeys with more nuance with the help of integrated digital outreach.

Campaigns are amplified with an integrated multi-channel approach — through social media channels like OTT platforms, digital publisher platforms, and MarTech platforms.

We are investing in digital marketing innovations to reach consumers in a post-lockdown world where customer response to traditional media has declined. To gain insight into customer response to products and campaigns, integrated analytics are employed for a targeted reach. Campaign integration with digital tools create a truly omnichannel impact. With products and solutions increasingly becoming digital-first, dovetailing Martech platforms and analytics is key to making relevant products available to the customer, wherever they are and when they need it.

Community support platforms are developed to provide tangible benefits to customers. YES for Local, an initiative supporting homegrown businesses gradually get back on their feet and YES BizConnect are examples of such inhouse curated platforms that support a particular customer segment, in this case SMEs, with remarketing on associated product sites and integrated offers. 

Statistics show that GenZ now not only has a higher income bracket as compared to before but also is serious about financial planning, especially after the pandemic. However, reaching out to this age bracket with the cut & dried communication is difficult.

Generation Z, the newest group of consumers for marketers, already accounts for a sizeable chunk of the workforce. With its collective buying power slated to be an astronomical number, it is important to have a sound and effective marketing strategy that speaks to the Pivotals, as they have been dubbed.

Before that, there is an obligation for marketers to gain a thorough understanding of this demographic – what makes them tick, what are their value systems and passions. One thing is clear – the traditional techniques of advertising and marketing will not muster past the Pivotals, who have a fondness for experiences more than products. Their media consumption patterns are also radically different from any previous generation. And so, we have to get in front of them where they are.

To build an organic, meaningful relationship with Gen Z, the communication has to be simple, honest, and easy to understand and on the interactive platforms they favour – like Instagram.

Gen Z also has a higher affinity for businesses driving and dovetailing ‘purpose’ in their overall strategy, beyond products and services. What is key here is to showcase their aspirations by making the right use of the platform, while keeping the pitch relevant and the message authentic.

As a marketer, 3 learnings from 2020 that you would like to apply to 2021?

Unprecedented situations can open doorways to possibilities, with the right efforts made in earnest. At YES BANK, we ensured that in communicating our preparedness to our customers and stakeholders over the new normal and the changes that lay ahead, we deepened the consumer-brand relationship and establishing a direct and more personal connect with them, and enhancing the brand association with responsibility.

Agility to evolve – Marketing strategies cannot be chalked out right down to a tee. To be in tune with changing customer preferences, you need to be flexible, so that you can build capabilities to embrace the change and remain customer-forward.

Redesigning customer journeys – The role of marketing goes beyond communication and outreach, it is more about the experience you create for your customers and all other stakeholders. With COVID-19, there was a paradigm shift that set in place a new normal, requiring new ways of outreach, building, and sustaining relationships.

In addition to low-touch or contactless digital delivery, customers are now expecting more guidance and hand-holding from organisations. The empathy and care that companies show towards their employees and communities will have a lasting impression on the way consumers experience the brand. Organisations will therefore have to adopt a more empathetic route, reimagining customer experience for a post-COVID-19 world.