Shreyas Kulkarni

‘Which' mutual fund, not 'Why'; Axis MF's new campaign push

Marketing chief Boniface Noronha explains why consumer education is still needed, the challenges of behavioural change, and finfluencers.

Setting the stage for the ascent of mutual funds as the investment instrument of choice was the Association of Mutual Funds in India or AMFI; a make-up of private and public mutual fund houses. 

It, for years, pumped the phrase Mutual Fund Sahi Hai into consumer ears till it became second nature, words like SIP became common vocabulary, and most people today consider investing in at least one mutual fund. 

Taking this movement one step further is Axis Mutual Fund with its latest ad campaign – its first appearance on TV after nearly five years – where it wants to help investors choose the right mutual fund. 

The four-ad series, a brainchild of the ad agency, Mirum, espouses the fund house’s Risk-o-meter that lets potential investors understand their risk profile which then helps them choose the right fund to park their money. 

“A lot of people have jumped onto the investing bandwagon without being adequately informed on what and how to invest and that continues to be a challenge to date,” says Boniface Noronha, SVP and head-marketing, digital and direct sales, Axis Mutual Fund. 

He asserts AMFI’s terrific job in telling people Mutual Funds Sahi Hai which means the category has become top of mind for investors looking for something market-linked but kaunsa wala sahi hai is where the challenge lies. Our campaign tries to bridge this gap.”

The timing of the campaign, which was released during the festive season, is interesting; it’s not the tax season of January to March, when people usually flock to such investments to save tax money. 

Noronha quips that the campaign is an investor awareness one. This an important distinction to make because if it was a product campaign or the introduction of an NFO (New Fund Offer), he’d certainly consider timing its launch before or after the festive campaign. “I'd avoid the clutter of the festive season or dipping into the customer's wallet when he has made up his mind in terms of spending instead of investing,” he explains. 

He wants to educate consumers to start early and stick with mutual fund investing for the long run. The challenge, the marketing chief tells us, is that people are looking to make quick money without understanding the risks or how an investment works, and when they lose money, they blame the instrument or the fund house. 

Boniface Noronha
Boniface Noronha

Axis Mutual Fund, during the campaign’s preparation, surveyed investors’ attitudes toward risk in mutual fund investment. 

1,700 investors responded to the survey. 89% of the respondents agreed understanding risk appetite plays a significant role in the investment journey. However, only 21% considered risk appetite before investing. 

Noronha, on using financial influencers, says they are not into using them for product communication or recommending any products at all. “What we've done is used some of our distributors or partners for investor awareness programs.”

Axis Mutual Fund, despite not being too keen on finfluencers, uses digital a lot when it comes to disseminating its communication. It is present on four to five social media platforms and posts a lot of video-led content to educate investors.

It has a content depository called MoneyPlex that does the same job on its website which was revamped in FY18. The fund house also posts content and advertisements on Moneycontrol, CNBC, and Value Research through partnerships. 

The ongoing campaign will run till the end of October on television (excluding channels broadcasting cricket) and on outdoor and digital. On the latter, it will run for an extended period.

Noronha’s sole objective is to reel in the investors at a young age and keep them invested for a long time.

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