The seasoned marketer takes us through his approach to new-age marketing and thoughts over the association with Rajasthan Royals Franchise.
Ravindra Sharma, Chief of Brand, Corporate Communications & CSR at SBI Life Insurance, the professional marketer with more than 24 years of rich experience shares his understanding and thoughts over the recent partnership with the Rajasthan Royals Franchise.
Ravindra Sharma is an experienced marketer in the financial services industry and is responsible for developing marketing strategies, campaigns, and activities both offline and online at SBI Life Insurance. His experience comes from working with various insurance companies as well. Sharma believes in leading strong teams to achieve high consumer satisfaction and identifying opportunities for business growth.
In an interview with afaqs!, he shares his thoughts over the recent partnership with Rajasthan Royals, application of innovative PR strategies to stand out among the clutter of brands that are active during the sporting festival, maintain balance between various other traditional PR tools, advertising, social media and influencer marketing tools and allocate marketing resources - a refreshing take from a veteran marketer.
1. What’s the significance of SBI Life being the Lead helmet sponsor?
Cricket as a sport has a mass appeal among the Indian audience as it cuts across a diverse TG. This sport fits right for SBI Life as it is spread across demographies and geographies. Helmet being one of the most visible assets in cricket offered an extraordinary opportunity for SBI Life to symbolically emphasise on the important role of protection & insurance. Being present in one of the most watched cricket leagues augurs well for the brand to establish a strong bond with today’s consumer and spur meaningful conversations around the need for insurance. Drawing the symbolic analogy around the role of helmet, which is like that of insurance.
As a cricket enthusiast, I see our role as the lead helmet partner as someone who liberates and protects. As soon as the player puts on his helmet, he is free from the fear of any setbacks and is liberated to achieve the team goal which so resonates with our brand purpose of liberating individuals to pursue their aspirations while taking care of familial responsibilities.
Being a lead helmet partner, SBI Life aims to showcase its commitment of protecting the larger populace and promoting the importance of safety and life protection. Moreover, this strategic association is a symbol of liberation, protection, resilience and courage, and this alliance reinforces its image as an enabler and trustworthy partner and not just a branding opportunity. We hope the visibility offered by the sport will go a long way in spreading awareness about the importance of protection offered by insurance.
2. With so many brands partnering with IPL teams, how do you plan to differentiate this partnership and stand out from the competition in this crowded marketing space?
As a responsible insurer our key responsibility is to liberate individuals by providing financial protection to their family as they pursue their dreams & aspirations. This aspect of liberation & protection is represented by the Helmet in an absolutely straightforward way through our association. We have strategically thought through this association keeping in mind the brand synergies and the purpose we serve.
While the association provides branding opportunities, it also allows us to connect with a massive audience across the country. At SBI Life, our main objective through this partnership is to impress the importance of protection through insurance. To let the message, reach the masses across demographies & geographies, we relied heavily on innovative PR strategies to stand out among the clutter of brands that are active during the sporting festival. We took the below efforts to connect with today’s audience in an innovative way:
We unveiled a larger-than-life-size helmet installation at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, the home ground of Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur. The helmet installation, measuring an impressive 15 feet in height and 18 feet in width, prominently placed right at the entrance of the stadium is a visual treat for the visiting cricket fans and also the larger populace around the city. With its grand scale and unique design, the helmet installation has been a crowd puller and conversation starter
Soon after the unveiling of this giant helmet installation which became the talk of the town, local radio stations, news outlets, social media influencers, everyone started spurring conversations around the unique initiative. On ground conversations helped in further spreading a word around the importance of protection among the growing cricketing fan base, by associating it with their favourite sport.
To further stress upon the need for protection, we associated with the Jaipur Traffic Police to host a public awareness drive to aid helmet adoption in the Pink City. Representatives of the Jaipur Traffic Police along with SBI Life’s team also distributed free helmets to motorist impressing upon the role of ‘protection as an enabler’ for individuals to pursue their dreams, thus encouraging a behavioural change to make ‘protection’ a priority
Overall, we’ve leveraged multiple PR tools to ensure that SBI Life’s association with Rajasthan Royals stands out from the clutter of brand that are vying for consumer attention. The meaningful conversations help impress upon the role of protection, through engaging content, on-ground activations, digital engagements, social media campaigns, and more.
3. How do you think advertising on digital through IPL would help the brand?
Cricket as a sport has the sweet spot, given its appeal across demographies and geographies. Our association with Rajasthan Royals has been shaped up to be a PR led integrated marketing campaign to connect with the larger populace on platforms they are most actively consuming content. Through concentrated PR efforts, our aim is to connect with the larger populace to establish the brand purpose with a strong message of making protection a priority. This apart, to amplify our association & impress the need of protection, we used various digital tools & platforms to effectively communicate the brand message of safeguarding individuals financial well-being and also connect with the younger audience that consumes most of its content digitally. We hope that our PR-led integrated efforts will aid in letting our message reach maximum audience across platforms, strengthening the brand image and increase brand visibility.
4. In today's digital age, how do you balance traditional advertising and marketing methods (such as print or TV ads) with newer approaches like social media and influencer marketing?
The key to balancing traditional and newer approaches is to understand how each can best serve your objectives and connect with your target audience. Traditional methods such as print and TV ads are used to reach a broad audience and can be complemented by newer approaches like social media and influencer marketing to target specific demographic groups. By using both strategies in tandem, one can maximize the impact of your advertising and marketing efforts. By implementing both traditional and newer advertising & marketing methods, businesses can create a comprehensive and effective strategy that caters to the needs and preferences of a diverse customer base. SBI Life's successful integration of innovative techniques with traditional methods serves as a prime example of how this balance can be achieved.
5. With so many different digital marketing channels available, how do you prioritize your efforts and allocate resources to ensure that you are reaching your target audience in the most impactful way possible?
SBI Life recognizes the importance of efficient resource allocation and prioritization in reaching its target audience through digital marketing channels. The company's approach involves identifying its audience's digital behaviour and preferences, allowing it to prioritize the channels where its messaging will be most impactful. By leveraging data-driven insights, SBI Life can optimize its campaigns to resonate with its audience and achieve the desired outcomes. Regular monitoring and analysis of campaign performance allow for informed decisions about resource allocation. Ultimately, every effort we undertaken is aimed at resonating with our brand purpose of liberating individuals to fulfil their dreams while they look after their responsibilities and act as an enabler rather than just a service provider.
6. This is something that is out of curiosity, and I am sure many of us would have this; Out of 10, why Rajasthan Royals?
In this biggest cricket league, each team has its own unique characteristics, ideologies and fan base. While scouting an opportunity for a meaningful association, we focused on collaborating with a team that resonates with similar purpose and belief. After deliberations, one team that aligned with our set of parameters was the Rajasthan Royals Franchise. The uniqueness that the team brings to table is its core purpose of discovering young talent and providing them with opportunities and a platform to perform their best. This way they are transforming lives and liberating the pool of young talent to fulfil their dreams & aspirations. Likewise, SBI Life too believes in undertaking social good through our products/services or CSR associations and that resonated with the team. Keeping our core brand purpose intact of liberating individuals to fulfil their aspirations while taking care of the financial needs of their loved ones, we made a strategic move by collaborating with Rajasthan Royals. In all, the purpose of both brands is to get the best out of the individuals and safeguard their future. As a brand, we continually seek out meaningful associations that help us forge a stronger connection with the larger audience. The Rajasthan Royals Franchise has captured the hearts of many cricket-fans over the years, with their underdog story, their emphasis on having young talent on-board, and their unique brand of cricket. Moreover, associating with Rajasthan Royals as a lead helmet partner is a symbol of liberation, protection, resilience and courage.