The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) recently released a notification stating stricter restrictions on advertising policies with a view to safeguarding consumers’ interests. The regulations circulated across the Banking and Financial Services Industry (BFSI) on April 12 insist on adopting fair, honest, and transparent while producing and broadcasting the advertisements on insurance policies.
In an exclusive chat with Medianews4U Arun Fernandes, Founder &CEO, Hotstuff Media Group & Rohit Unni, Director, Brand, and Marketing, Hotstuff Media Group speak on the regulation, the communication that the industry needs to follow, and much more…
There are now a set of regulations issued by The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) your thoughts?
Arun – The notification does not have any new regulations as such. The regulations had come in July in the previous year. The notification is more of a statement from IRDAI and largely a reconfirmation of what the industry is already doing. The IRDAI has only re-emphasized on the importance of not giving an opportunity to misinterpret any communication.
Rohit – The practices or the guidelines mentioned in the circular already existed. The notification has been circulated only to ensure that there is confidence building among the people. Over a period of time, it was noticed that the brands sometimes failed to follow these guidelines and did not maintain necessary transparency which had led to the spread of incorrect information.
What are the strategies that the brand and the advertising industry should keep in mind based on this notification?
Arun – With regard to strategy, it’s important that our communication is like a story and should be a reality for our TG (target audience). The strategies have to be target-specific and drive home a point, thereby creating a sense of need in the minds of the customers.
Rohit – The brands can continue to follow their ongoing strategies. They must keep in mind that the strategies cannot be provocative and all communications cannot have promising statements. None of the brands should promise any returns, but ensure that they spell out each and every benefit of the product or service and educate the customers on why they need that particular service or product. It’s the customer who should read each and every point mentioned about the product that they are planning to buy.
Will this notification affect their advertising spends?
Arun – No. It will not affect the advertising spends.
Rohit – There has already been a change with respect to the expenditure on advertising owing to the pandemic. This notification will not lead to any further changes as the communication will continue and only the format or the pattern will be different.
Based on the notifications the consumer has been reached out to, how will the consumer be affected?
Arun – The communication will continue to be effective and in line with the guidelines, which are already being followed. Also, the communication will be absolutely consumer need-based. So, the customers will not be affected excessively. However, the consumers will definitely be more knowledgeable and cautious while buying the products.
Rohit – The consumers will not be affected. They will only get the correct communication and deliverables. It will be ensured that similar information is communicated through all portals of the company — webpage, social media.
All through the lockdown last year the BFSI sector was very active when it came to ads, communication, etc., what will be their position now?
Arun – The position of brands will not change as they will continue to communicate. The communication, in any format, will not be stopped considering this notification. A brand position may change for strategic reasons but definitely not specific due to this.
Rohit – The position of the brands will continue to be the same. This will be because the communication will never change or stop; only the style or format in which communications in the future will be done will change. The only major difference in the communication will be the added element of the Covid19 pandemic.
How do you think that these regulations will affect the BFSI advertising domain?
Rohit – It won’t affect the sector as these guidelines have been followed by the sector for a long time. The regulatory board has only brought the guidelines to the limelight again considering the current Covid19 situation as there are more people falling sick. IRDAI has always been stringent when it comes to delivering what is said, which means if I say that a person will get five benefits through the insurance cover, the IRDAI ensures that all the mentioned benefits are received by the customers.