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Forging Lasting Relations

BY Anupama Sajeet

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Q] What does the brand hope to accomplish from the ‘Rishta Aap Se Hai, Sirf App Se Nahi’ campaign? As it was launched in seven languages, can we call this a pan-India push from a ‘regional bank’?
Rishta Aap Se Hai, Sirf App Se Nahi,’ is not just an advertising tagline. A lot of stories that you see in this campaign film are real-life incidents that have actually happened at our branches. So it is reel life imitating real life.

There is a very interesting story in Kerala, which is a dominant market for us. They say that if there is a new-born in a family, or if someone has passed away in a family, then the Federal Bank’s Branch Manager has to visit that home. Because he or she is such an integral part of the family. That is the kind of bond with customers that the bank enjoys.

As far as pan-India push is concerned, even though we are perceived as a regional bank, we are not one anymore. We have 1300 branches. Yes we dominate the market in Kerala, but we are getting increasingly prominent in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat. We are also seeing our presence grow in the Northeast, West Bengal, Delhi, Punjab, UP, and Himachal Pradesh.

Q] What has been your consumer demographic so far? Also, what is the TG that you wish to target through this campaign?
Federal Bank is a trusted franchise. Most of our customers have been with us for about 20 to 40 years. On the other hand, our Digital applications, the mobile banking application for example, is absolutely state-of-the-art. So, essentially it’s a strong physical portfolio with an equally good technological backend. Hence, when a customer goes to a bank branch, he or she would want to meet somebody who understands the requirements. On the other hand, this customer also does not want any glitches when using Digital banking platforms. So that’s what we are offering.

Moreover, customers want to put their money in a stable place, after all, it is their hard-earned money. Here, a 92-year-old bank ticks all the boxes. We are not only dealing with legacy customers who will always be there, but also with people who are banking with us for the third generation. This is the kind of lineage we are talking about. I think we’re relevant across demographics in multiple states.

Q] How do you plan to reach out and establish a connection with the younger TG who consider themselves Digital natives, and who, given a choice, would prefer not to step into a bank physically?
So if we look at our brand campaign, ‘Rishta Aap Se Hai, Sirf App Se Nahi,’ most of the protagonists are millennials or Gen Z, and so they may be Digital natives. However, for all the efficiencies that technology can bring in, you still need a human contact. So we don’t see the next generation cutting off from the physical branches.

The word “sirf” in our campaign is of significance here. If I had said, “Rishta Aap Se Hai, App Se Nahi,” it would have meant that I’m cutting out technology, which I can’t afford to do because it is at the centre of everything that we do.

We have something called the ‘Digital Circle of Excellence,’ which means that all things Digital, whether it is mobile, internet banking, ATM, robotics, or AI, fit into that particular space. It is a progressive outlook.

Q] Can you elaborate on your marketing strategy? How do you emphasise on the physical touch points to add value for the customers and other stakeholders, despite a Digital-first approach?
The campaign stems from the ethos and culture of Federal bank. We work with a lot of influencers, and many of those influencers are our own customers who are also celebrities. We have a very famous cricketer, and a well-known actor who are our customers. When they tell a story, they don’t need a script as they can simply speak from the heart. These are the kinds of stories that I want to showcase to people.

Plus, we have started something called ‘Rishton Ka Postcard.’ All of our branches have visitor books wherein people leave beautiful notes. So, we shoot them and say, read this Rishton Ka Postcard to know ‘Kyun Rishta Aapse Hai, Sirf App Se Nahi.’

Obviously, we are there across all media platforms – television, hoardings, movie theatres, airports, and so on. The only thing that we are not doing is Print. Apart from doing above the line, below the line, Digital, and Social, we are also doing a lot of micro-marketing.

Q] Can you share more about the human connect that is required to stay relevant in an increasingly digitized world, especially with regards to the brand motto- ‘Digital at the Fore, Human at the Core?
We have the lowest attrition rate in the industry. It’s a single digit attrition number, while the rest of the industry is at double-digit. We are a 42% women-employee company, and this is also the highest in the industry. Then there is the portfolio and the longevity of our customers. These three things are hallmarks of a very robust franchise. We may not be an in-your-face kind of brand, but we are there.

One of the more important things is that, ‘Rishta Aapse Hain, Sirf App Se Nahi’ has to become a way of life in everything we do.

MVS Murthy joined Federal Bank as the Chief Marketing Officer in July ’22, and is responsible for the functions of the Marketing Department. He is a strong CXO level Marketing-led Business Entrepreneurial Leader with an exceptional track-record of building and leading high growth verticals. Prior to joining Federal Bank, he was heading Marketing, Digital & Corporate Communication at TATA AMC.

Federal Bank is the preferred Personal, NRI and Business banking partner for a growing number of customers in both urban and rural areas. The Bank is driven by the quest to be one of the most admired banking institutions in the country. This is just one manifestation of the Bank’s powerful ‘Digital at the Fore, Human at the Core’ proposition. Redefining human experience, the digital way has been its constant goal for a while now. Recognised as a Great Place to Work, the Bank is continuously striving to become the first choice for all Indians.

Creative Agency - Ogilvy
Media Agency - Lodestar
PR Agency - Concept PR
Digital Agency - Webchutney

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