#TheSocialCMO Purpose Marketing works great on Twitter & Instagram: Abhishek Gupta


From leveraging the power of moment marketing to educating the younger audiences about insurance to harping on social media for performance, Edelweiss Tokio Life’s digital marketing is strategy-laden. Abhishek Gupta spills further details.

In Abhishek Gupta, Chief Marketing Officer, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance’s view, the early 2000s were a turning point for insurance. With the entry of private players into the industry, there was a discernible shift in several parameters – product innovation, distribution methods, customer experience, and marketing.

In conversation with Social Samosa, he speaks at length about the changing dynamics of insurance marketing, online consumer behavior, social media strategy, and more.


What have been the changes you observed in the marketing trajectory for Insurance? 

  1. As an industry, we have clearly made a departure from the traditional ‘scare and sell’ tactics and insurance marketing is much more focused on personalization, customization, and innovation now.
  2. The tonality has become more need and strategy-based rather than death and morbidity. There are more instances now where brands are using humor and hope to build trust, saliency, and relatability among the target audience.
  3. There is a higher emphasis on meaningfully engaging with distribution partners and creating a value proposition for them and their customers.
  4. Marketing efforts have become more customer-centric rather than distributor-centric.
  5. The industry has adapted to digital at a much faster rate and has become open to experimenting with new marketing avenues.

How did digital experiences and social media help you keep people hooked and hopeful?

We have overhauled our entire customer journey to make it digital and therefore easier, and faster to manage for both, the distributor as well as the customer. In line with these changes, our marketing efforts have also been aligned with bolstering our digital capabilities.

Especially in the last year, a priority task for us was to help the advisors adapt to the digital world as they have been traditionally relying on face-to-face conversations. We created an online learning journey called Dial For Success for our advisors to help them interact with customers in a new pandemic environment. We also built a marketing tool called DigiTools, which helps to help our advisors market themselves with their target audience as well as personalize their communication with customers. We also have been using a data analytics mechanism for our salesforce to help them identify the right opportunities.

Our focus on digital marketing has improved significantly in the past few years and we are working towards a long-term outcome over short term victories. Content is undoubtedly the king and in the recent years, our regional festival-based campaigns have helped create value for brand in terms of achieving relatability and likeness.

Marketers could be heard saying that it is easier to spread awareness around Insurance via Instagram and Twitter. Your thoughts and how is Edelweiss Tokio Life harping on to the popular notion? 

I think all social media including Instagram and Twitter, have been a great tool for insurers to spread awareness. Each media has its own advantages – Twitter and Instagram provide a larger scope to build saliency and Facebook offers the advantage of performance. There is larger freedom to experiment with lighter content like moment marketing to attract and educate a younger audience that wouldn’t typically be interested in a subject like insurance.

For us, Twitter and Instagram have provided a good opportunity to educate a younger userbase which is highly informed and always looking to learn new things. For instance, Purpose marketing works great on these platforms. We are always experimenting with different content formats to identify what works and what doesn’t.

Also Read: #TheSocialCMO ft Jasneet Bachal, YES Bank

Content and Influencer marketing have found a prominent presence in every marketer’s guide. How has Edelweiss Tokio leveraged the trends? How often do you engage with influencers and what has been the result?

Influencers have played a critical role in achieving the right positioning, be it for the brand or a product. In the past, we have worked with a mix of influencers. We have been associated with major athletes like Mary Kom and Saina Nehwal and continue to work with Dipa Karmakar, Heena Sidhu, Hima Das, Rani Rampal, Mirabai Chanu, and Manika Batra. From the world of cinema, we have worked with the late Irrfan Khan a couple of years ago and with Sonu Sood, Rahul Bose, and Mona Singh more recently.

We have also collaborated with behind the scene influencers like Soojit Sircar and Ram Madhvani. We have also experimented with genre-specific influencers like Gaurav Mashruwala, Rachana Ranade and many more. The list goes on. 

Influencers are a big part of our media strategy, but we let the initiative determine when we engage with them. In fact, these influencers have been effective in also motivating our salesforce and engaging with them meaningfully. We have collaborated with Boman Irani, Harsha Bhogle, Anand Kumar and many more in the past.

What are the tools and criteria put in place to gauge the ROI from digital marketing? 

We have been tracking engagement and utility of investment as measures of success for influencer marketing. Our goal is to improve engagement over the years to also build brand saliency among our target audience. We also conduct a Distributor engagement survey and rely on informal feedback from our salesforce so as to understand the impact of the content we are generating on our customers.

We regularly monitor brand performance through Brand Track and independent analytics tools like Locobuzz to gauge the impact of our campaigns. We have instituted a Net Promoter score at both customer as well as distributor level to understand how both these entities are interacting with us as a brand.

Personalization being the key to the future of insurance marketing- Your comment and how do you strategize to implement the formula in the marketing blueprint?

As mentioned, the industry has been fast-moving towards personalization because the customer has become more powerful and is now dictating our actions. At Edelweiss Tokio Life, we are working towards bringing cohesiveness in product design, marketing, distribution, and customer experience.

When you put customer at the heart of each of these processes, we will be able to achieve personalisation par excellence for those buying insurance. 

What does the marketing mix for 2021 look like for the brand and the budget allocated?

We have recently come out with a TVC and Digital campaign #HumKarkeRahenge which recognizes the perseverance of insurance advisors in providing financial protection to families across India. This will be our last campaign for the ongoing financial year, and as per preceding years, we have limited the use of TVC to this quarter. For the first 9 months, we heavily depended on digital and PR to create campaigns and product visibility.

Initiatives have always driven our marketing mix and we don’t foresee any change in that strategy in the next financial year. However, it would be fair to TV, Digital, and PR as our primary marketing tools and we intermittently consider other media if a particular problem statement demands it.

Our focus is experimenting with innovative ideas because as a challenger brand these bigger ideas have given us an edge over the well-established legacy brands. 

How would you define the ‘Marketer of Today’? How much of your marketing skills have evolved with the changing times? 

The ‘Marketer of Today’ is integrated with business. He or she anticipates or identifies problem areas that are not necessarily visible to everyone and offers a solution to them. He has the ability to think for the customer and the distributor or the intermediaries or important partners of your business. He has a bifocal vision to not only provide for the short-term business demands but also work towards a long-term brand aspiration. He has the willingness to experiment and allows room for failure. That’s what I have been aspiring to be and have tried to imbibe over the years.

Top 3 tips you would like to share with the industry leaders for marketing in the BFSI sector in the post-COVID world?

  1. Adaptability and agility are the most important factors for any marketer in the post-Covid world because the situation is still dynamic, and customers continue to change as the pandemic rages on. Restoring stakeholder confidence in the post Covid normalcy will test us to the best of our abilities.
  • Experimenting with new ideas and platforms is important because it will help you stay ahead of the curve and give you an edge in the industry.
  • Brand consistency is important. Considering the ever-evolving environment we are currently operating in, we might be tempted to deviate from consistency in brand messaging, tonality, and identity. It is always ideal to go back to the basics and ask – ‘what is the objective, and does it align with my brand goals?’