Benita Chacko

Aditya Birla Capital CMO on digital-first brand communications, humour, and in-house content creation

Darshana Shah shares her views on CTV, finfluencers, CGI, anamorphic ads and more.

The Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) category has long been making use of traditional mediums of advertising like print and television. Breaking out of this mould, Aditya Birla Capital (ABC) is experimenting with technology and optimising new-age mediums like CGI and anamorphic ads. In February 2024, Aditya Birla Finance, an ABC subsidiary, partnered with Platinum Outdoor, to create an immersive CGI and anamorphic experience weaving in the spirit of cricket and incorporating iconic locations of Mumbai and Bengaluru. 

Owing to the risks and regulatory guidelines with finfluencers, ABC has limited its reliance on them, instead focussing on creating more in-house content. The brand is also increasing its spends on Connected TV (CTV) to cater to cord-cutters and cord-shavers.

In an interview with afaqs!, Darshana Shah, CMO, Aditya Birla Capital, shares the financial services company’s media and advertising strategy.

Edited Excerpts:

What is Aditya Birla Capital's focus in its communication?

The focus of our communication is on brand building, which involves enhancing Aditya Birla Capital's equity. We offer comprehensive financial services, from loans and insurance to investments and payments. Recently, we launched our fintech platform and that will be a significant area of focus. Our branding strategy aims to increase visibility and drive conversions throughout the entire funnel. Concurrently, we address fraud awareness, as it is a regulatory requirement. Thus, we are working on multiple fronts to strengthen our brand visibility.

What is its preferred media mix?

Today's media mix is driven by consumer behaviour, with audiences engaging across multiple channels and screens. Digital-first is a given. Connected TV is also crucial, catering to cord-cutters and cord-shavers. This audience is significant, and thus, connected TV is a key part of our major campaign expenditures. We are increasing our spends on CTV.

Does Aditya Birla Capital rope in finfluencers?

In the BFSI sector, authenticity is crucial, especially given our affiliation with a large conglomerate. We must be cautious with finfluencers, as they come with risks and regulatory guidelines. Therefore, we limit our use of finfluencers. While we do engage influencers from other categories, our focus is on creating more in-house content. This approach ensures we leverage our expertise and avoid potential conflicts or misinformation. Our in-house team holds the product expertise, making them ideal micro-influencers. We're creating the content in-house and sharing it on social media.

The brand has been using CGI and anamorphic ads for its campaigns. How does it view technology?

We should embrace the latest technology, accepting that there might be failures along the way. CGI, while challenging for non-product brands like ours, is worth exploring since it appeals to younger consumers. Technology in marketing is essential, especially as outdoor media evolves to be more digital, interactive, and three-dimensional. We are committed to continuously trying new technologies.

How important are women consumers for the brand?

Women are extremely important to us, representing 30% of our consumers. We have a distinct strategy to connect with them, especially in health insurance, where women often act as the health custodians in their households. This focus extends to life insurance, where many of our agents and advisors are women. We maintain a differentiated approach in our communication across all areas to effectively engage our female audience.

BFSI brands are increasingly using humour in their campaigns. How does the brand use humour?

Humour, when done right, can be effective even in the serious BFSI sector, which deals with money. While we must avoid trivialising the subject, digital media provides opportunities to incorporate humour appropriately. We've incorporated humour into our health and life insurance campaigns. Our life insurance campaign last year was a notable example. The key is to remain true to our message while balancing humour and seriousness. It's crucial to strike the right balance without undermining the seriousness of our services.

What was the thought behind choosing KL Rahul as brand ambassador?

We don't have a permanent brand ambassador, but we chose KL Rahul as the face of our financial services campaign. His authentic journey aligns with our brand message, "Ab Kahaani Badlegi", reflecting how we help consumers transform their financial stories. Rahul's personal and professional growth as a cricketer fits perfectly with this narrative.

How important is it for the BFSI category to communicate to its audience in their language?

Communicating in regional languages is essential for us as a pan-India brand with deep penetration, especially in tier 2 and tier 3 towns. We use up to twenty regional languages in our communications and partner with regional content creators to reach our audience effectively. Since finance can be complex, simplifying it through localised content is crucial for better understanding.

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