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Brand Owners' Summit 2015: Insurance is about 'what can go right', and not 'what could go wrong'

By Shweta Mulki , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Marketing | December 10, 2015
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At the event held in Mumbai, Sanjay Tripathy of HDFC Life lent insights on creating a new brand imagery for insurance.

The Mumbai edition of the Brand Owner's Summit featured marketing heads from companies, both seasoned and new-born. Held at the Westin, Mumbai, on December 9, the event saw speakers talk about the journey of their brands, the challenges and opportunities within, and staying relevant.

Sanjay Tripathy

Sanjay Tripathy, senior executive vice-president, HDFC Life, threw light on the facts and perceptions about the concept of insurance. He spoke about how earlier, many in India would have life insurance policies bought by their parents decades ago. Tripathy said that India was earlier largely uninsured, with very small ticket sizes. He said that the insurance market, over the last few decades, had gone through various stages, beginning with the sole government player Life Insurance Corporation. But now, there is the option to choose from various private players. "Everyone thought that with private players and their foreign partners come in, things will start selling themselves as these brands were an extension of solid companies. But, for the first five years, everyone continued to copy the 'LIC agent' model, and all spoke the same language," said Tripathy.

He explained that there was a need to differentiate here, and their research showed that beyond the reason of security and protection for family, people who bought insurance did so because they didn't want to depend on, or take help from others. This is when the team picked up on the proposition of dignity and self-respect with the 'Sar Utha Ke Jiyo' campaign. While communication earlier was more about 'what could go wrong', the brand tried to create a different concept and focus on 'what can go right.'

Elaborating further on how the company also wanted to build pension as a separate category, and steer away from the 'Chintamani' motif for selling plans, Tripathy said, "The primary differentiator was to offer something for both the 'die younger' and 'live longer' scenarios.

Tripathy further added that in order to portray an old brand as young, the team had to refresh itself in 2010. Also, with HDFC Life's logo colour being different from that of HDFC and HDFC Bank, Tripathy said that it was perceived as an independent identity. This was when the company underwent a re-branding exercise and created a younger imagery that fitted them comprehensively into the HDFC family.

The next phase was that of going online. "We created digital conversations with our consumers within the framework of 'Sar Utha Ke Jiyo'. It was not just about creating an e-commerce branch, but we built a new special team three years ago," said Tripathy. He added that the brand's campaigns on Twitter and other social media platforms have trended well, and helped immensely with consumer connect.

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