Mahindra Finance: Identifying talent for business

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | July 16, 2010
The latest campaign targets individuals from rural and semi-urban India, typically those with no access to organized forms of credit or proper documentation of income

Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services' latest TV campaign aims to increase awareness about the brand, especially amongst consumers from rural and semi-urban India. The campaign communicates the brand's promise to help people realise their dreams, by providing speedy and hassle-free loans. The non-banking financial services company, incorporated in January 1991, provides finance for a range of utility vehicles, tractors and cars.

The target group includes consumers from SEC B and C. The campaign is primarily aimed at non-salaried people, such as farmers, traders, small businessmen and transporters, belonging to tier II semi-urban and rural areas.

In this campaign, which comprises three TVCs, Mahindra Finance claims that due to its credit appraisal system, the company can better assess the earning capability of an individual and is thus able to offer him a loan, even though the individual may not have all the documentation that is required for loan approvals.

The creative duties for the campaign lie with Interface Communications. The common thread running through all three TVCs is the success story of sorts of a humble-looking man, who owes his transition -- from dreaming big to materialising his big dreams - to Mahindra Finance.

The tagline for the present campaign is, 'bande mein hai dum, pehchanen sirf hum'. R Balaji, vice-president, marketing and strategy, Mahindra Finance, tells afaqs! that at the company, most customers are first-time borrowers; and hence, lack credit history. Therefore, innovative assessment tools have been developed, whereby it is possible to evaluate whether the customer is in a position to repay the loan, based on earnings from his assets.

"We create creditworthiness, rather than evaluate creditworthiness. We recognize the aspirations of the customers and help them fulfil the same," he says.

Arthi Basak, account planning director, Interface Communications, reveals that the creative brief required the agency to create awareness about the client's loan products, while simultaneously differentiating the client from other financial institutions.

"The tone of the creatives is deliberately made to resonate with the target group in question. It was necessary to project the customer as the real hero, and the company as merely the facilitator in his path to success," she says.

This is the second campaign launched by Mahindra Finance, the first being in the first quarter of 2007. That campaign spoke about Mahindra Finance scoring over the rural moneylender, by providing loans to customers with minimum documentation hassles and within just two days. The goal was to change the perceptions of rural Indians, who were biased against financial institutions. The tagline was, 'do din main badle din'.

Currently, Mahindra Finance is the largest financier for Mahindra vehicles, both tractors and utility vehicles; and the third largest financier for Maruti cars. Balaji adds, "With a majority of our country's population living in rural India, our loans to over 1,000,000 customers belonging to low-income groups have proved to be a catalyst in helping rural India surge ahead in a big way. We currently provide employment to over 6,200 people, who belong to the areas in which we serve, ensuring that our employees truly understand their customers."

While the ad spends for the coming fiscal could not be determined, afaqs! has learnt that other than the three TVCs, a print campaign, promotions at dealerships and on-ground activities are in the offing.

Campaign mein hain dum?

Experts seem to convey mixed views about the campaign. Rahul Jauhari, national creative director, Pickle Lintas, opines, "I like the line 'bande mein hai dum, pehchanen sirf hum'; but the campaign execution idea doesn't cover all segments easily. The pickup and tractor TVCs make sense, as these vehicles were contributors to the man's career and growth; but the Alto TVC doesn't."

He explains, "I don't know what the Alto had to do with the person's growth potential. I guess they had to cover automobile finance."

On the other hand, Rajeev Sharma, national planning director, Leo Burnett India, comments, "The execution of the campaign is competent and is coupled with a sharp brand proposition."

He adds, "A finance company with the foresight to spot those likely to succeed, makes this a campaign that is likely to work pretty hard. It scores on clarity and doesn't fall into the trap of trying to be too clever."

© 2010 afaqs!