Insurance companies today provide a gamut of plans, prominent among these being child plans. These companies have now also felt the need to effectively communicate their offerings.
In India, the child-plan market is pegged at around Rs 35,000 crore annually, and growing. That's around 20 per cent of the entire life insurance market in India. Thus, insurance companies have realized that where communication is concerned, a shift from traditional media to leveraging below-the-line activities and on-ground events is imperative.
This is evident from the range of activities being carried out by the different insurance brands. Just within this month, Bajaj Allianz, Aviva Life Insurance, HDFC Standard Life Insurance and, most recently, Kotak Life Insurance have launched activations.
Bajaj Allianz has tied up with children's apparel brand, Gini & Jony, to launch 'Groovy T-shirts', a limited edition T-shirt range. These T-shirts carry specific messages focusing on securing a child's future. As part of this campaign, Gini & Jony would give 10,000 Groovy T-shirts to the lucky winners of an ongoing radio contest.
Discussing the activity, Akshay Mehrotra, head, marketing, Bajaj Allianz, says, "This exercise not only helps us connect directly with the kids, but also provides us a platform to connect with the masses and spread the general interest messages endorsed on the range. These T-shirts are a medium to educate masses about the importance and need of child insurance."
HDFC Standard Life (SL) Insurance too, after extensive research, came to the conclusion that in order to strike a chord with customers and increase brand recall, it needs to move away from traditional marketing and engage their customers in a dialogue, connecting with them at places where purchase decisions are made.
In line with its brand philosophy, HDFC Standard Life has initiated the 'HDFC Standard Spell Bee -- India Spells 2009'. This is a unique education series in a fun-filled quiz format, under the patronage of Spelling Bee USA (a prestigious annual event in the US with a lineage of 83 years). Last year, this event was conducted in more than 700 schools across 11 cities, and more than 250,000 students participated. The second season of Spell Bee was launched in the second week of November and has seen tremendous participation again.
HDFC SL also conducted an interesting on-ground contest at shopping malls, called 'Guess What Your Child Wants To Be'. Here, kids were asked to choose from props and parents were asked to guess their child's ambition from what they chose.
Another insurance brand, Aviva has launched the 'Aviva Great Wall of Education', a book donation drive for underprivileged children on National Education Day. As part of Aviva's Street to School programme, the books from the wall will be used to educate thousands of underprivileged children supported by Save the Children India, an independent organisation working to ensure the rights of children in India.
The initiative has been organised by Aviva and Hindustan Times. IT was conceived and created by BBDO India in collaboration with CPM. As a result of the initiative, over one lakh books were donated in just five days by the people of Greater Delhi.
Speaking on the occasion, T R Ramachandran, chief executive officer, Aviva India, says, "At Aviva, we recognize that education is insurance for a better future. The 'Aviva Great Wall of Education' aims to improve the lives of thousands of underprivileged children by helping them into education."
The five-day donation drive ended on November 15. It was activated across Delhi and NCR, through drop-boxes placed at strategic locations, wherein people could donate books. In order to ensure maximum participation, donation boxes were placed in 300 schools in the region; through which school kids were not only able to donate their old textbooks and notebooks, boxes but could also carry their contribution to Ansal Plaza and help build the wall.
Most recently, Kotak Life Insurance, in association with Mattel Toys, launched the 'Young Scrabble Masters Championship 2010'. It was flagged off from the St. Andrews Convent High School in Mumbai by National Scrabble Champion, Sherwin Rodrigues.
In the preliminary round, students from standards I-VIII vied to reach the Zonal league of the Championship, while Rodrigues interacted with and gave valuable tips to the contestants.
Apart from top schools in Mumbai, the contest would cover well-known schools across the country, such as DAV Public and Summerfields in Delhi; St.Mary's and Loretto in Kolkata; and Oxford in Chennai. This program would enable more than 75,000 kids across eight cities to showcase their Scrabble skills and test their English vocabulary.
The thought was to involve both parents and kids together and do something that focuses on child development, while spreading awareness about the importance of investing in kids at an early age. This was tied in with the philosophy behind Kotak's signature product, 'Kotak Headstart Child Plans'.
Discussing the need for insurance brands to take their communication on-ground, Elizabeth Venkataraman, senior vice-president, head -- marketing, Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance tells afaqs!, "Insurance as a product is highly intangible. A customer has very limited ways to experience the brand or the product. On-ground events immediately create an opportunity for customers to understand the category and build the relevance through which a customer can perceive the brand better."
She shares that about 40 per cent of Kotak Life Insurance's total ad spends are dedicated towards BTL and outdoor communication.
Venkataraman feels that a brand needs to stay relevant; and it needs something to build that relevance. She adds that on-ground communication has a unique ability to personalize and customize communication, as it creates touch points to interact with the target audience.
"Due to high clutter in traditional media, there is a now a prominent shift to new innovative mediums that aim to reach the consumer at every possible focus point. The communication scenario is changing to create new aspects that help the consumer to experience a brand," she concludes.