Max New York Life: Moving beyond transactions to engagement

By Antara Ghosal , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | February 26, 2010
The insurance brand is spending Rs 10 crore to recognise, reward and promote multifaceted children and nurture the parent-child relationship through different initiatives

Those who have watched the movie 3 Idiots would know that without a Rancchoddas Chanchad (Rancho), Farhan Qureshi, a student in one of the premium engineering colleges in the country, would have never become a successful wildlife photographer. In real life, Max New York Life Insurance plans to play the role of 'Rancho' for about five million children in the country through its 'igenius' programme.

The programme will recognise and reward children who excel in myriad fields, be it those who excel at a kick in the football field or a gentle strum on a guitar. It also extends itself to nurture parent-child relationships through different initiatives, all to recognise, reward and promote multifaceted children.

Talking about the reasons behind starting such a programme, Anisha Motwani, chief marketing officer, Max New York Life, says, "The idea is to engage with our customers, rather than solely transacting with them. We realise that if we wish to win the trust of our customers, we need to go beyond selling things." Max New York Life, which currently ranks seventh among private insurers in the country and claims to have more than 6 per cent market share, aims to earn equity and goodwill for the brand through this programme.

An executive from Max New York Life further revealed that the brand has conducted a study with the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER), in which it looked at around 87 million households where people fall in the age group of 25-44 years, with children below 12 years. Their findings suggested that the highest need of these families is the child's need. The research further exposed that on an average, 20 per cent of these households own a life insurance. These findings prompted the company to focus on this TG (target group) and understand their expectations from their children.

Following an ethnography study, the company further comprehended that the new age parents want their child to become an all rounder, unlike the parents of the earlier generation where education was the top most priority. These findings marked the inception of the igenius programme.

According to Motwani, during the first year of the programme, the cost to the company will be about Rs 10 crore, which will include the prize money, in addition to regular advertising cost and the cost involved in setting up of back-end logistics. About 50 per cent of the total spend will be directed towards ground activation, which will include schools and colonies contact programmes, events and other BTL (below-the -line) activities. About 25 per cent of the fund will be allocated to TV (mostly on advertising) and another 25 per cent for print.

The programme has been designed with five distinct pillars in it. First is the 'scholarship' part, where the company has tied up with quizmaster and television personality Derek O'Brien to spot kids between 3rd standard and 8th standard who have real talents beyond academics. Enrolment for the scholarship programme has already started from February 8 and will continue till March 31. More than 3,000 scholarships will be given in this category and the total prize money is worth Rs 2 crore.

As per the format of the scholarship, two kids will get Rs 20 lakh each. However, the minimum scholarship will be of Rs 3,000 and there will be multiple levels of scholarships in between.

The company has also decided to go for nurturing talent in other areas as well and has identified football for the same. "This is a sport where we will promote talents. The reason we selected football is that cricket is already overrated, whereas football, although being a mass sport, needs support. Also, internationally, FIFA has identified Asia as the future for football and within Asia, the Asian Football Academy has identified India as one country where they need to develop the game to make it an inclusive kind of sport. That's why we felt there's a need to promote football," explains the executive from Max New York Life.

The insurance company has initiated yet another programme under the igenius banner, called 'igenius parenting'. It is working closely with for the same. "We even plan to use media such as SMS networking. We intend to provide a platform to parents where they can interact with each other, give suggestions and share their experiences via SMS," informs Motwani.

Another facet of the programme is 'igenious Advantage'. The company has created a helpline across more than 200 cities, where people can call in for any kind of queries related to children, which can be fund related or something general such as seeking a doctor's help.

Max New York Life is also giving a privilege card to the children whose parents buy the Shiksha Plus plans. The card, with a validity of two years, allows the child to have various advantages in the form of discounts and additional offers in various stores.

'igenius Secure' is the fifth offering from igenius, where the company plans to redress certain emotional concerns of the parents. "We realise that there are so many concerns that parents have, which are not necessarily financial in nature. Through this programme, we will try to create a platform where parents, financial companies, NGOs, policy makers and schools can come together and try to find solutions which are relevant for the society," explains Motwani.

According to the executives of Max New York Life Insurance, the programme is generating good response so far. Within days of launching the scholarship programme, about 3,000-3,500 entries are being received daily.

The company launched its digital ad four days ago and has advertised thrice in a leading English daily. The distributors for the programme will start contacting the schools once the new session starts in April. Once the campaign intensifies, the insurance brand expects to receive better response.

On the other hand, Max New York Life has recently launched three TVCs for its child plan, Shiksha Plus. All three commercials depict a young couple's desire to see their child succeed in academics, but then discover and appreciate the lateral talent of the kid.

The commercials have been created by Euro RSCG and filmed by Namita Roy Ghose and Subir Chatterjee of White Light Films. The agency has been actively involved in giving the campaign and the igenius programme a fresh look and a cutting edge angle.

"Our focus was to find something unique by means of which Max New York Life could partner the parent in the overall development of the child. We wanted to bind all child activities under one single value, that is, engagement beyond education - and that could resonate with all children and parents," explains Sheel Saket, vice-president on the account with the agency.

Saket further explains that the idea was to live up to the positioning statement of the brand, 'Karo zyada ka irada', by helping kids and their parents think beyond academics in life - conveying the message that life has much more to it.

© 2010 afaqs!