Kotak Mahindra banks on juniors

By Devesh Gupta , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | July 16, 2013
The latest TVC by Kotak Mahindra Bank is aimed at promoting its new product for kids - Kotak Junior, and inculcating the habit of saving money early on.

Kids today are deemed quicker, smarter and more money-savvy than earlier generations. Kotak Mahindra Bank has used this insight for its latest communication that aims to promote its new offering, 'Kotak Junior' kids' account.

Launched in June, the kids account (0-18 years) is an endeavour to teach children to start saving money early in life. Created by Ramki's Cartwheel Creative, the film is an endearing visual montage of different situations in which a little girl collects coins, in an effort to gather just about enough to open her first bank account. Though the protagonist is quite clearly the little girl, kids are the target consumers and the product is aimed at mothers - the actual customers of the account. Kotak believes that children-specific accounts do well if they are associated with mothers, as opposed to fathers.

The above mentioned insight was revealed by its SILK programme, a savings account launched especially for women in 2012. Contrary to the prevailing argument that fathers, traditional Indian bread winners, save for their kids in the form of deposits (thus negating the need for a special kids' account), the brand believes today's kids understand money, are conscious about saving, learn to emulate their elders fast and will benefit by cultivating the savings habit early on. It also believes that while parents plan for kids, they are extremely focused and cautious about it.

The current television commercial is a flight from the brand's earlier communication strategy that centred on product benefits such as discounts and interest rates. Recall the 'Subbu Sab Jaanta Hai' ad featuring Vinay Pathak; the actor served as a 'Know it all' mascot for the brand, through whom product benefits were conveyed in a humorous manner. The communications earlier focused at spreading awareness on its 6 per cent interest offering.

Karthi Marshan

Karthi Marshan, EVP and head, group marketing, Kotak Mahindra Bank, tells afaqs! that the current objective is to make parents aware of the importance of encouraging kids to save. "The account will act as an 'instrument of saving' for kids. Not doing so can cause trouble for them in future. Also, most children enjoy saving money at a very young age. This product can help provide some financial literacy among them," he says.

The new product offers 6 per cent interest rate, a debit card to the account holder (provided the kid is above the age of 10 years and has a written permission from a parent for the card) and a 'Junior Card' through which he/she can avail discounts at several online and offline retail chains such as Disney, Dominos, Hobby Ideas, United Colors of Benetton, Baskin & Robbins, Gini & Jony, PVR, Café Coffee Day, Landmark, Sweet World, Firefox, First Cry and others.

The bank also offers a 10 year recurring deposit account at 8 per cent interest rate for kids, which can be opened under the guardianship of a family member and linked to the child's account. Marshan adds that the recurring deposit account can put families into a strict discipline of saving for kids.

The brand team claims it has received a good response for this product since its launch, especially from West India followed by South, North and East. The plan, we learn, is to open 4,000-5,000 accounts every month.

Besides spreading awareness on the issue, another big challenge for Marshan's team is to increase the recall value of the bank (in the face of better known competing brands like HDFC, Axis Bank and ICICI) such that when people think of a plan for kids, Kotak Mahindra is the brand that comes to mind. "We are targeting value banking instead of volume banking," he says.

On TV, the brand is visible as an associate sponsor during Indian Idol Junior (Sony), a popular singing competition for children. Besides TV (where the film is being aired across GECs, regional GECs, English movie/entertainment channels and news channels), the campaign is being promoted across digital and radio platforms. On ground efforts in the form of school activation programmes are also underway.

Kotak Mahindra is a young bank established in 1985 and was the first non-banking financial company to be turned into a bank. It offers complete retail financial solutions for varied customer requirements.

Marshan adds that the overall challenge for Kotak is to ensure that it comes at the same level of recall with its other counterparts. The aim is to reach 500 bank branches by March, 2014.

During FY 2012-13, the bank grew by 44 per cent.

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