We will add platforms such as Signal & Telegram to our communication scope: Sanjeev Mantri, ICICI Lombard

Sanjeev Mantri ICICI Lombard

The role of Insurance and Insurance brands changed drastically as COVID-19 gripped the world – consumers now need that security, be it monetary or emotional. With the changing consumer requirements, the BFSI sector too has changed its communication strategy. Sanjeev Mantri, ICICI Lombard shares how.

Sanjeev Mantri, Executive Director, ICICI Lombard General Insurance explains how marketers can help ease the lives of the consumers, especially during a pandemic, through smart and personalized marketing and communication tactics. He further outlines how the brand kept going in this phase, with conversation focussed on the well-being of the consumers.

Edited Excerpts

How did ICICI Lombard approach the challenges in the past year? How has the advertising journey been for the brand for the last 2 decades?

At ICICI Lombard, the last year has been as much about overcoming the challenges, as about harnessing opportunities to build our brand and business franchise. The events over the year enabled us to effectively demonstrate our brand philosophy of ‘Nibhaye Vaade’, that is, aiming to deliver on our promises while empowering the customers with new-age technology-enabled solutions.

Looking back over the last 2 decades, we have continuously strived to demonstrate our focus on supporting our customers in the hour of need. This is the moment of truth for us when we must come good on our promises made to our customers – to handhold them at the time of an emergency. Over the years, our messaging has focused on this aspect, while dovetailing our innovative solutions into creative communication. 

The brand recently launched The Restart Right Campaign. What was the insight for the campaign? What are the marketing initiatives in the pipeline for the brand in the coming month?

In the second half of 2020, we ran a 6-month long digital-focused campaign #RestartRight. It brought to life the endeavor of consumers to restart their normal life post the nationwide lockdown. Further, we conveyed how as a brand, we were aligning our solutions in the new normal to address the evolving needs of our customers in the health insurance category.  

As we look ahead, we will continue to handhold our customers through rapidly evolving times. Our marketing initiatives will remain aligned to this customer-centric approach and aim to effectively communicate our solutions to the customers. 

When it comes to influencers, we have been partnering with some of them in areas where we see a synergy between our focus and their priorities. We have been able to accordingly harness the reach of influencers and bring resonance to our messaging with the target consumers.   

How has digital media helped engage with your consumers? Which social media platform has yielded maximum results for the brand?

We have been extensively using digital platforms given the increased role that they are playing in the consumer journey. Further, we have been experimenting with new-age platforms such as OTT, cross-channel promotion (e.g. social – website), instant messaging, etc. 

Our presence on social media spans across platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube. Each of these platforms plays a specific role, for instance, Facebook allows us to reach the middle-aged audience while Instagram helps us tap the younger age groups. We are also increasing the intensity of our consumer connect on channels such as WhatsApp as it allows us to engage in personalization conversation with consumers.    

To derive optimal output from each of these new-age channels, we have been running econometric models that give us a clear sense of the ROI derived from each of the platforms.

As we look ahead, we will add platforms such as Signal, Telegram, etc. to our communication scope.

Also read: When a consumer is approached in their native language, it helps in creating a far better connect, shares Vikas Gupta

What are the tools and criteria put in place to understand the ROI? Would the measurement differ from the years before?

Over the years, we have evolved in terms of our measurement metrics and ability to derive a clear ROI from the diverse marketing and communication platforms available to us. 

We have traversed the journey moving beyond efficiency parameters like reach, cost per impression, cost per lead, etc. Today, we can derive a direct ROI relation between spends and business impact by adopting econometric models. Further, we can mark the threshold for each medium thereby developing an optimum marketing mix that is better aligned to business priorities.

How have consumption patterns changed in the last few months for the BFSI sector?

Today’s generation of digital natives are: 

  • multi-media oriented, 
  • extremely social digitally, 
  • prefer digital over physical interactions, 
  • ratings and reviews influence their buying decisions a lot. 
  • prefer instant gratification and need highly personalized products. 

We are witnessing an increase in demand for real-time solutions, bite-sized insurance products that can be made available through convenient modes to our customers. 

This is shaping our product proposition as we move into sachet-based products and self-servicing models made available through convenient platforms such as apps etc.

We came across content hooks such as ‘Fitness Ka Vaada’ and #GetWellThyIndia. How has the content strategy for the brand changed owing to the pandemic and which content hooks work the best for the General Insurance brand?

Several years ago, we began our business transformation from being a risk financier to a risk manager for our customers. Essentially, this led to a complete change in our approach from being a reactive claim settler to a pro-active partner that worked hand-in-hand with customers to avoid the risk scenario or mitigate it to the extent possible.

This philosophy has been driving our marketing and content strategy, leading to content hooks such as #GetWellThyIndia that encourage consumers to embrace holistic well-being for an enriching life.

During the pandemic, we have aligned our strategy with the ground realities by initiating content-driven platforms such as Wellness360@Home. We have partnered with diverse subject matter experts for this thereby creating a winning proposition for our customers. This has ensured that we stay relevant to our consumer base and communicate to them through channels and in a manner that is aligned to their preferences.

In terms of ad spends, what does your marketing plan for this quarter look like? Please take us through your media and digital mix.

Over the last few years, we have aligned our marketing budgets more towards online and mobile platforms given the enhanced role they play in the consumer journey. 

We have also been experimenting with new-age platforms such as OTT, social and digital branding to drive consumer preference to our brand. Today, these platforms account for the bulk of our marketing spends.

When it comes to social media, it performs multiple roles for us:

  • At one level, social media enables us to engage with consumers and our existing customers as diverse social media platforms offer expanded scope of building conversations with our audience. 
  • At another level, we have been able to harness some of these social platforms to drive our performance marketing efforts aimed at customer acquisition. 

What are the key factors that enabled your personal growth as a marketer? Your Marketing Mantra, so to say?

As a marketer dealing with the most prominent black swan event of the decade, adaptation is the key to a brand’s survival.

Today, the marketer needs to be agile and open to learning while being intuitive and wise so that s/he can drive the brand ahead of the curve.

In this fast-changing environment of trend jacking and experimentation, one should not forget the core focus of all our efforts – the consumer. All our marketing strategies and tactics should be rooted in the tenet of customer centricity and focus on an engagement strategy that invokes trust in them. This can be achieved through a simple, transparent, and seamless customer life cycle process.

Another critical area for a marketer’s growth journey is their ability to work across organizational silos, especially in today’s remote working scenario, and utilize organizational strengths to deliver on business objectives

Top 3 marketing tips for the brands in the sector industry to deal with a crisis

As with any crisis, we should look at three things – mitigate damage, identify opportunities and adapt accordingly.

With further into uncertain times, our focus should shift towards forming a deeper connection building trust for the consumers. Some of the other things that, we as marketers, can look at are the following:

  • Reassure your customers about the brands’ values and that you’re there for them by helping them navigate through the situation- The present uncertain situation means that marketers must pivot their strategy in three crucial ways. Marketers should refresh their customer experience and look at their end-to-end sales processes to ensure they’re able to respond with agility, engage across different sales channels and optimize processes.
  • The most important part is to stay relevant to the consumer’s needs today, which also means reassuring them about how your company/brand responds to the pandemic.
  • Focus on strengthening your relationship with the customer by bringing simplicity and transparency to the customer journey- The nature of customer relationships today is far more engaging and comes from a much more human place. Build and invest in a regular cadence of communication with your customers. Focus on strengthening your relationship with your customers with are genuine and thoughtful reasons, open a dialogue, exchange life stories of caution and triumph.
  • Infuse empathy in your marketing communications – brands, now more than ever should be ensuring that they are using empathy in their communications. This will bring together the messaging and put forth a humane image of your brand.