Ruchika Jha

We have invested nearly 25-30% of our media budget in current quarter: Abhinav Iyer, Muthoot Finance

The senior GM - marketing and strategy discusses the power of storytelling in ads, marketing strategies, and more.

Muthoot Finance, the flagship company of The Muthoot Group, has launched two new ad films under the Bharosa India Ka campaign featuring brand ambassador and actor Madhuri Dixit. This is an extension of the earlier campaign as it was initially launched in August 2023, that is, Q2 of the financial year 2023-2024.

Abhinav Iyer, senior general manager - marketing and strategy, The Muthoot Group, shares that even though the company continues to have Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan as its brand ambassador, the team felt that a female protagonist in its ads would complement the brand.

He explains that Bharosa India Ka is relatable and resonates with the brand's ethos and values. Therefore, this time the company created two films - a brand film and a product film.

“From a consumer perspective, it is a universal truth that in life, we often encounter situations with multiple options, leading to confusion about which one to choose. So, whenever in doubt, it is better to leave it out. With regards to our brand film, it acknowledges the implicit faith and trust consumers have placed in us. Gold, especially in the form of jewellery, is not just a piece of an ornament. It can be a symbol of your family legacy and ancestral identity,” he says.

Ad investments

From a media mix perspective, Iyer says that Bharosa India Ka is a 360-degree campaign, going live on TV, print, digital, and all forms of Below The Line (BTL) mediums. BTL marketing activities include promotional events, direct mail campaigns, and targeted advertising.

We are spending nearly 25-30% of our media budget in the current (Q1) quarter.

He highlights that The Muthoot Group has invested nearly 25 to 30% of its annual media budget in the current quarter (Q1) alone. This campaign will continue through the second quarter of this financial year as well.

“The first leg of the Bharosa India Ka campaign, launched in August 2023, consumed almost 75% of our total media budget over three quarters in 2023. This time, we spent 25-30% of our media budget in the current quarter (Q1) during the launch of the second leg of this campaign,” adds Iyer.

Campaign brief

The agency behind conceptualising and producing the campaign is Jio Creative Labs. Iyer shared that top management is personally involved in the creation of the campaign, along with the agency, because they have very strong thoughts about brand positioning and discuss ideas with the creative team.

The creative agency has done a good job of marrying the emotional aspect of the film with reasons to believe which is the value proposition.

The brief was simple. Alexander George Muthoot, joint managing director, The Muthoot Group, and Iyer asked the team to project that whenever it comes to gold loans, people should trust The Muthoot Group.

"One may speak a lot about themselves but unless there are measurable and quantifiable reasons to believe, it is difficult for the end user to agree with them. I think the creative agency has done a good job of marrying the emotional aspect of the film with reasons to believe which is the value proposition,” he says.

Onboarding celebrities into brand campaigns can significantly enhance credibility and trust, especially when they have a clean and spotless image. Iyer believes in putting a reasonable amount of effort before identifying and engaging someone as a brand ambassador.

He says that a core tenet close to the brand’s heart is trust. “Whenever we approach a celebrity or a sportsman, we always see that they are up there when it comes to being trusted and someone who has a very clean image and is equally popular across genders, geography, and age groups, hence we partnered with Mr Bachchan and Mrs Dixit,” he states.

Marketing strategies

Apart from going live on almost all mediums, the company has also touched several genres of channels on television in order to complement the impact of the new ad campaign among the audience. Genres such as general entertainment channels, news, films, music, and cable TV are used to showcase the new ad films by The Muthoot Group.

BTL is a big part of our investment. We have a strong team of regional marketing heads who conduct various retail activities whether it is transit medium or rural activity.

Iyer says that since the company is present across India, it dubbed the film in over 10 languages including Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Odia, Assamese, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada. In print, it is present in all leading vernacular newspapers.

He adds that BTL is a big part of its investment. “We have a strong team of regional marketing heads who conduct various retail activities whether it is transit medium or rural activity. There is a lot of activation which happens at our branches through the point of sale and merchandise.”

Besides holding such activations, the company also promotes itself on daily television soaps and news channels. Iyer shares that The Muthoot Group has curated Positive News of the Day on several news channels because he believes that contrary to perception, a gold loan is not something available only when one is in a state of distress.

News18 Bihar-Jharkhand
News18 Bihar-Jharkhand

“Times have changed and today, the majority of our customers are upgrading gold loans for positive things such as buying raw materials to improve business, trying additional shops to expand their business, pay salary, advance tax, rent, and more. Gold loans nowadays have become synonymous with a progressive loan which helps you unlock a locked asset and move ahead and progress in life to fulfil your dreams,” he explains.

News18 MP-Chhattisgarh
News18 MP-Chhattisgarh

Storytelling is gaining traction in advertising today as brands increasingly recognise its effectiveness in engaging and connecting with audiences. According to Iyer, storytelling is the best form of advertising because when one shares stories, especially real-life ones, it inspires and emulates people. Thus, storytelling is very practical, and the company has leveraged this form of advertising successfully.

Sharing an example of storytelling, Iyer recalled the company’s exclusive radio and digital campaign titled Sunheri Soch in 2020. The first season was voiced by Mr Bachchan. Through the campaign, the company identified five customers from different parts of the country who achieved their dreams with the help of a gold loan. The campaign highlighted diversity and inclusion in various forms by sharing their stories.

“The campaign canvassed a considerable impact on our business, with around 1,780 customers sharing their stories. From these, we selected five stories to feature them in Sunheri Soch Season 2, narrated this time by Mrs Madhuri Dixit. We are now planning to launch the third season of this campaign in this financial year. Currently, we are in the process of identifying stories and working closely with our partners to stitch them together for the next season,” he notes.

Plans ahead

The Muthoot Group is focussing on expanding in terms of new branches. It is also working rigorously on crafting new campaigns about the new products introduced by it.

Even if we momentarily forget that we are advertisers, we should always remember that we are consumers who expect transparency in advertisements.

Iyer says, “The new communication will highlight some of our newly introduced non-gold loan products featuring Bachchan."

When asked about the new Supreme Court ruling about self-declaration certificates to the competent authority before any content is displayed, he remarked, “We welcome this ruling and I feel we must take it in the right perspective. It is an effort to submit self-declarations across mediums, communications, and campaigns but I feel that it is in the best interest of our consumers. It will drive transparency and it will make communications even more objective and validated. I think the regulation is positive and the media fraternity welcomes it.”

Have news to share? Write to us