Bank decided to do a re-branding exercise in the first week of August, it was no easy task to tell its 6.5 million customers that their bank now had a new name. A mass campaign was under way, but customers don't expect to receive this sort of information via a TV commercial. What was needed was a more personal approach to supplement the corporate advertising. Axis Bank realized - rightly - that communication of this kind should be of a more personal nature, something that technology could help them achieve.
Fifteen days prior to the name change, Axis Bank started flashing the message on the 2,500 ATM screens it has across the country, reaching about five lakh people a day, according to Hemant Kaul, president, retail banking, Axis Bank. The bank also sent out about 100,000 SMS alerts a day, using this platform as well to get the message across. When customers were updated on their bank accounts, the message was preceded by a line informing them of the name change. The bank has 1.3 million mobile banking customers.
O&M also developed a website for Axis Bank called Whatsinaname.in, which was promoted through a viral campaign. On the website, people could upload their photos and provide four options on what their name could be. Everyone else could vote for what that person was called and the results were reported to the user. The objective was to drive home the key message: "Everything is the same, except the name." The website is still live, and about 5,000 photos have been uploaded, according to Mohanachandran. Kaul of Axis Bank adds that 6,000 links were sent by people who saw the viral in the first few days.
The display advertising campaign comprising banners was live across portals like Rediff and Yahoo! when the campaign started, but has now been focused on financial websites like Moneycontrol, NDTV Profit and Rediff Money because the target audience now is the segment seeking financial information.
Axis Bank also tried search marketing for the first four days, for users who keyed in "UTI Bank", to inform them about the new web address through a sponsored search result. The bank turned to contextual advertising, which was executed in conjunction with digital agency Konterra. The agency placed text ads in its network of 128 websites wherever UTI Bank was mentioned.
According to Kaul, the bank refrained from spamming customers with unwanted e-mail and relied instead on display advertising and viral marketing. The impact of the campaign was such that the 60,000 visits a day to the website (which automatically redirects the visitor from www.utibank.com to www.axisbank.com) increased to 350,000 visits a day when the campaign started. Kaul adds, "Besides informing our existing customers, we also managed to attract many new customers to the website."
Axis Bank, the erstwhile UTI Bank, is the third-largest private bank in India.