The latest campaign from Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance for its term product ‘Zindagi Plus’ is an effort to encourage more women to buy insurance. Abhishek Gupta, Chief Marketing Officer, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance tells us about the brand’s initiatives, both at a consumer and employee level, that focus on women
Q] You recently launched the campaign for ‘Zindagi Plus’. Tell us a bit more about the thought behind the campaign. When designing Zindagi Plus, we went back to the customer to understand the gaps and there were several insights that came forth. A term product acts as an income replacement tool for your family in case an unforeseen event befalls you. When an individual buys insurance, they look at their current lifestyle, without realizing that the product has to be relevant and adequate for the next 20-30 years. With time, people move up in life, and suddenly realize that the insurance they bought a while ago is no longer sufficient to support their lifestyle. Resultantly, they end up buying additional insurance policies. Maintaining several policies is a challenge. Some people also buy life cover until they turn 80 and end up paying a cover for an income they will no longer have, post 60. We also identified that insurance in India is usually bought by men and homemakers are an often a neglected demographic. Considering it’s an income replacement tool, and homemakers do not have an income, they are generally uninsured. But, what we don’t recognize is that if the primary breadwinner passes away, the responsibility of the entire household passes on to the spouse. At such a critical time, insurance is not a priority for them. All these insights led to the genesis of ‘Zindagi Plus’. We found the proposition of ‘Better Half benefit’ the most crucial and decided to base our campaign on that. Our brief to the agency and filmmaker Shoojit Sircar was to explain all of this in 30 seconds, without being gloomy or morbid.
Q] Since women are the focus of this campaign and the product, are you educating more women about the need to buy insurance? Over the years, we have realized that women are more open to listening to women. So, we have placed a huge emphasis on adding more women in sales leadership roles. We’re present in almost 100 cities across the country and our effort is to get more women in an advisory role and sell our products. We wanted to understand what makes our existing women personnel want to associate with us and realized that our focus on women entrepreneurship and women as customers resonates well with them. Secondly, the job gives them an identity. We recently launched an initiative called ‘Meri Pehchan’, under which we offer career opportunities to women with a potential to earn and grow extensively. When women become sales leaders, they have the capability of getting more women in the fold of selling insurance. So this is one initiative we are really passionate about and we hope we can encourage more women through this.
Q] You are one of the youngest insurance players in an industry that has wellestablished players. How are you different? We are small and therefore fairly agile. At our very core is our want to give a seamless and superior experience to our customer. All our products are based on deep customer insights. Our ability to get these customer insights and then structure a product around it, which inherently comes from our culture, cannot be replicated by anybody. Our focus on women, coupled with Edelweiss Group’s association with sports will give us an edge over a long term.
Q] A lot of players in the industry are digitizing their distribution system. Are you also thinking of reducing human intervention and depending more on digital to sell? Our objective is to be accessible to customers through whatever route they choose. So, we aim to build a multi-channel insurance company. It also helps us to look at more initiatives across a wide spectrum. We’re going to remain a multichannel distribution with emphasis both on digital and human intervention.
Q] A lot of financial services brands, including the Edelweiss Group, are choosing to work with sportspersons. What is the connect? Edelweiss Group started its association with sports in 2009 following a tie up with Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ). We, as a Group, place a lot of emphasis on physical fitness within the organization too. OGQ identifies young talent, trains them and then approaches corporates for their support. In 2009, we started off by supporting four athletes - PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Ayonika Paul, and Mary Kom. However, it wasn’t a commercial arrangement then and we didn’t want the athletes to necessarily talk about us. Some years later, Mary Kom was looking at starting her boxing academy in Manipur and needed funds. We ran a crowdfunding initiative for her and put in our money too. Around the same time, Edelweiss had started moving into retail businesses and we were evaluating the best route to talk to our customers. Sports was the first thing that came to our minds. That’s how we got Saina Nehwal on board as our brand ambassador. We also started thinking about what our brand should stand for and were looking at something that marries the aspirations of these sportsperson and Edelweiss. We looked back at the personal stories of these athletes and how they have triumphed hardships to reach the juncture they are at. To put it briefly, they are not limited by anything in life. That’s how we arrived at our Group’s positioning – ‘Be Unlimited.’ It not only fit perfectly into our passion for sports, but also enabled us to tell our customers that we will help them remove the limitations in their lives. While it wasn’t deliberate, we ended up supporting a lot of women athletes and it became the norm. Currently, Edelweiss Group supports six female athletes – sprinter Hima Das, shooter Heena Sidhu, gymnast Dipa Karmakar, weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, paddler Manika Batra and Women’s Hockey Captain Rani Rampal. As of now, it is also a conscious decision to not associate with cricket which gets more than a fair share of support from corporates. It also feels like a natural choice for us to associate with events that represent more than one sport. Therefore, our association with Olympics, Commonwealth Games, and Asian Games. We are very clear that we will not want to support single sports leagues or buy league teams.
Q] Going forward, what would be your broad marketing strategy for the brand? We will focus on being a part of a customer’s consideration set whenever they think of buying insurance. To do that, we will focus on a few things. Vernacular will be important for us, going forward. But, having said that, we need to remain consistent. Our attempt will be to remain rooted to the reason of our existence. We are very clear that we exist to protect the dreams and aspirations of our customers. TV will continue to be an important part of our customer outreach. Overall, as a company we will also focus on getting more women into the insurance selling field because we believe we can bring about a lot of change in the lives of women who are housewives but are completely capable of taking up the role.