Who can undermine the power of advertising? In an era of cutthroat competition playing up the right image is all that matters.
And that's what Bank of Rajasthan, one of the oldest private sectors banks in the country, has set out to do. Despite being ranked among the top eight private sector banks in the country, Bank of Rajasthan has had contend with the perception of being a fuddy-duddy, old-economy player. Besides, the tag of being a regional bank does not gel well with its plans of going national. Which is why the bank has set aside a Rs 3-crore advertising budget for the six-month period beginning October, 2004. When viewed against its erstwhile ad budget of Rs 30-lakh, the seriousness of the bank's efforts to augment its image and increase general awareness about its products can be gauged.
The bank will kick-off a multi-media campaign featuring newly-appointed brand ambassadress Hema Malini from the month of October.The actress will not only endorse the bank and its products in advertising campaigns, but also participate in select events for a period of three years. Raka Advertising would be managing the Bank of Rajasthan advertisement campaign.
The primary reason for her appointment, says P K Tayal, chairman, Bank of Rajasthan, was to capitalize on the actress' versatile image. "People connect with Hema Malini instantly, and she has executed her roles as wife, mother, dancer, actress and Rajya Sabha MP with elan. Bank of Rajasthan is looking to be a one-stop financial destination and the connect with Hema Malini should help," he says.
Though mainline advertising will be the thrust as of now, Tayal does not rule the possibility of using allied means of communication such as direct marketing at a later stage. "We will first review the initial advertising burst and then draw up our plans for the future," he says.
Currently, the bank is on an aggressive expansion mode and is looking to increase its current customer base from two crores to five crores in the next three years. It is also looking to increase the number of branches from the present 400 to 650 in the same time frame. "Growth," says Tayal, "will come from regions outside the state, and the bank has set the process in motion with an aggressive focus on the south, east and north of the country."
"Some 33 per cent of our business emanates from Rajasthan, while 65 per cent is from regions outside the state," says Tayal. "In that sense, we are not a regional bank and we will work towards strengthening our position," he adds.
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