We are a brand that leads with empathy and genuinely addresses customer needs
Ruchika Varma, Chief Marketing Officer, Future Generali India Insurance
2020 has led us all to be confronted with an amalgamation of uncertainty& change in the economy, employment, relationships, physical and mental health. We found newer ways to socialize in a world where social distancing quickly became the norm; where we worked and how we worked was modified; grocery shopping, education, and the way we consume entertainment transformed extensively against the backdrop of the pandemic.
As a brand we continued being relevant during these unprecedented times by implementing three things – we quickly understood the lay of land and actioned appropriately, we listened to our customers; now more than ever and we pivoted our strategies to respond to the changing customer paradigm. Our key areas of focus for 2020 was to position ourselves as a lifetime partner for our customers by demonstrating empathy, agility, adaptability and innovation. We expect 2021 to be no different.
Our key focus areas for 2021 are:
Strengthen brand positioning while staying true to our brand purpose– Our brand purpose is to be a lifetime partner for our consumers by demonstrating expertise through human touch. We are a brand that leads with empathy and genuinely addresses customer needs.
We do this by truly understanding the cultural context of India and creating a voice of the brand that is not afraid to talk about relevant critical issues, even if they are difficult conversations to have.
As a brand that offers health insurance, a cultural issue that we are currently focussing on is mental health. 5 years ago, WHO had estimated that over 90 million Indians suffer from some form of mental illness. The staggering number is only becoming worse with the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallouts on the economy, jobs and social disconnection due to extended lockdowns. By the end of this year, a whopping 20% of the Indians will suffer from some kind of mental health issueas predicted by WHO.
Inspite of these overwhelming statistics, mental health remains a taboo in India. Very few people believe that they suffer from it and even fewer seek help.
As a brand known for innovation and human touch, we wanted to propel a movement to get Indians to take their mental health seriously. The starting point of this movement was to start a positive conversation around mental health.We launched #HealthInsideOut, a campaign which allows one to quantify their mental health through atest designed by mental health experts; identify any potential issues that they may be facing and consume self-care content that allows them to understand and manage the issue better. Our brand message is simple – You need to be both physically and mentally healthy to be healthy inside out, and the starting point is to measure your mental health and manage any issues one may have.
Next year, we will build on this and deepen our engagement with consumers through multiple initiatives on mental health.
Be found – At this juncture of the brand lifecycle, our main marketing challenge is to create brand awareness and consideration. The only way to do this is to be present at the right place, at the right time and with the right message.
Media trends indicate that social distancing has led to online social connectivity. Visits to social media sites have increased by 19%, with a 32% growth in visits to news sites. We see an increase in digital consumption on mobile phones by 3 hours and OTT platforms are estimated to have added 3-4 million new viewers during the lockdown. People are now actively searching for insurance products, evident in the fact that search volumes for health insurance have increased by 23%. This year, we have realigned our media and partnership plans to reflect these shifts in consumer behaviour. Moving forward, I believe that the seismic shift in digital and mobile media will only become more pronounced. We will continue to understand where our consumer is and adapt our marketing plan to adjust to new realities.
Provide a seamless and secure digital-first customer experience – For decades, the marketing playbook for a downturn has been to cut costs or spend ahead of demand to capture market share. The current pandemic triggered downturn is unique as it has forced massive, rapid changes in consumer behaviour— away from traditional channels and toward digital channels. Consequently, navigating the downturn requires a new playbook: Pivot to an agile digital channel strategy that meets customer needs as they unfold or risk losing relevance in an already tight marketplace.
Specific to our category, the role of digital channels to research, purchase and manage insurance has increased manifold due to the pandemic. Research tells us that today 71% of customers use some form of digital research before purchase and 36% are willing to buy policies online. These numbers are only set to improve going forward.
In order to provide a robust digital experience to customers across the purchase and service funnel, we will focus on strengthening our digital assets, delivering an omni-channel experience and sharpening self-service digital tools. To support our distribution channels, we will continue to digitise the sales process and enable them with tools so that they can source and service our customers remotely.
Build customer relevance through differentiated value propositions–In an industry where there is disproportionate focus on price, we believe that category disruption will only be created through product innovation that genuinely addresses consumer needs. There are lots of consumer risks that are not yet addressed by the industry which have been brought to the fore by COVID-19. We see a huge opportunity to develop category-breaking, disruptive propositions that are based on data-driven insights.
Give back to the community–As a brand, we want to uphold one of our key brand values of ‘living the community’ by undertaking initiatives that uplift marginalised sections of society, especially health and education of children. We will be contributing towards building COVID-19 wards in maternity hospitals, adopting anganwadis, building sanitisation facilities, science centres and libraries in schools. Our mission is to combine profit with societal impact and to make a difference in the world that we live in, in whatever capacity we can.