IndiaFirst: Putting the customer first

By Antara Ghosal , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | February 18, 2010
IndiaFirst Life Insurance, a joint venture between Bank of Baroda, Andhra Bank and UK's Legal & General, is all set to make a mark with its 'value for money products' and 'customer first' positioning

Eyebrows were raised as IndiaFirst Life Insurance, a joint venture between Bank of Baroda, Andhra Bank and UK's Legal & General, made its debut in the Indian insurance segment, already teeming with 20 odd players. However, the 23rd entrant dismisses all reservations and states that the segment is far from being crowded, and that there is phenomenal scope for newcomers. The brand admittedly plans to silence the skeptics with its unique 'value for money products' and 'customer first' positioning.

& #BANNER1 & #Talking about the need for yet another insurance brand, Dr P Nandagopal, chief executive officer, IndiaFirst Life Insurance, says, "Our in-house research shows that life insurance customers across the country have three unfulfilled needs -- demystification of life insurance, reduction of price and availability of plans matching one's risk profile. We believe, if the company, to the best of its ability, caters to these three needs, we will emerge successful."

With the aim of demystifying life insurance, IndiaFirst has done away with technical terms and jargon in its communication. All its brochures are written in active voice and employ direct speech. Moreover, most of its policy documents are in the question and answer format -- they explain to the customers about how to use a product, its benefits, factors to consider while investing, and so on. Also, every policy document begins with a glossary of insurance related technical terms. It also contains mathematical formulae, which help customers in doing the calculations on their own.

"We have seen that even some financial planners are not clear about the technicalities of insurance policies. Not to mention the common people, who simply dread going through the policy document due to its technical representation, and depend on planners blindly while investing money. Keeping this in mind, we have made our documents as simple and transparent as possible," says Nandagopal.

Second, the brand aims to provide pure value for money products to its customers. For this, it is banking on the strong distribution network. "The wide networks of the Bank of Baroda and Andhra Bank will be our primary distribution channel. Whatever money we will save on distribution, will be passed on to the customers in terms of affordable products," explains Nandagopal.

The third item on the agenda is to provide reasonable and honest deals that match the customers' needs. According to the company's findings, customers often take up policies that do not suit their risk profiles.

"It may be a good product, but since it doesn't meet the customer's need, it becomes unusable. For example, if a customer wants to invest for three to four years, it isn't a fair deal to suggest a life insurance policy, which produces long term benefits, say after 10-15 years. We, as a company, will try to match the needs of our customers in terms of our products," adds Nandagopal.

IndiaFirst is being positioned as a company, which places the Indian consumer first in everything it does. The insurance brand aims to be fair and honest in its dealings, simple and transparent in its operations, youthful yet clear in its communication.

Nandagopal explains, "Our entire positioning is quite unique. It represents our commitment towards our customers. 'India' in IndiaFirst means 'Indian customers', whose interest would be at the centre of everything we do."

The exact spends for launching the brand have not been disclosed. However, Nandagopal adds that spends will reflect the need to establish and position IndiaFirst as a strong brand in the insurance segment. A few years down the line, once the brand is established, the company plans to spend 2 per cent (approximately) of its new business income on advertising.

Since TV has wider reach and a bigger audience base in even the remotest parts of the country, the brand will spend the maximum amount on the medium, followed by OOH. Thus, around 40-45 per cent of its present ad spend is being allocated to TV, and another 40 per cent to outdoor. Print will consume 10 percent; while the rest will go into the digital medium.

The recently launched campaign of IndiaFirst broke comprises two 30-second TVCs, followed by several outdoor creatives. Conceptualised by Saatchi & Saatchi, directed by Sujay Shetty and produced by Nikhil Shedge, the campaign establishes the brand as a custodian of people's future. The brand claims to safeguard all Indians' future, so that India can make the most of the present. Hence, the crux of the campaign is, 'Live it up today'.

The commercials showcase the dreams and aspirations of young Indians, their proud moments and small, everyday joys which, according to the creative team, are often ignored while worrying about the future.

Accordingly, the creatives have captured emotions such as the confidence of a young girl while leaving her hometown to study abroad; the joy of a grandmother as she watches her granddaughter perform through the computer; the pride of an old constable when his son becomes an IPS officer; and the happiness of drought-stricken villagers, when their bore-well works for the first time. Both the TVCs end with the slogan, 'India aaj ka aaj banega'.

"The idea of concentrating on real India and Indian consumers stemmed from the name of the brand itself. We realised that most communication in the insurance category revolves around worrying about securing the future. The aspect of making the most of today has been neglected. Through the commercials, we wanted to say that with the insurance brand at his service, one can now have a secure future without sacrificing the joys of today," explains Ramanuj Shastry, national creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi.

Apart from the TVCs and outdoor, the company has big plans for BTL activities as well, which it considers to be very important, especially in lower-tier towns and semi-urban areas. The company is planning to carry out some buzz around its bank branches soon, and conduct contests and celebrations to reach out to the audience.

IndiaFirst is targeting a varied mix of people from both rural and urban areas. However, the focus is on 'the common man'. Middle-class families and salaried employees in Tier II and Tier III cities are chalked out to be the biggest target groups.

IndiaFirst has its goals set for the days to come. "We hope to produce Rs 100 crore in 100 days. We also hope to generate middle of the genre brand recall value among our TG in a couple of years' time," states Nandagopal.