After stabilising its hold in the child insurance space, Aviva has gone a step further by highlighting the father not only as a provider or insurer for future education, but the ‘protector’ in the life of a child. Gaurav Rajput, Director, Marketing, of Aviva Life Insurance India, believes that this is a differentiating factor, and sets Aviva apart from other brands.
ABOUT THE BRAND
Aviva Life Insurance India is a joint venture between one of the country’s oldest and largest groups, Dabur, and Aviva Plc, the UK’s largest insurance group, whose association with India dates back to 1834. With a wide distribution network of 140 branches and strong Bancassurance partnerships, Aviva is spread across nearly 3,000 towns and cities in India. The company seeks to build a robust product portfolio, meeting all customer lifecycle needs related to savings, retirement, investments and protection, and is among the first companies to introduce the contemporary unit-linked insurance products. Aviva has also been successful in reaching out to the underprivileged strata through microinsurance initiatives.
Aviva Life Insurance India is a joint venture between one of the country’s oldest and largest groups, Dabur, and Aviva Plc, the UK’s largest insurance group, whose association with India dates back to 1834. With a wide distribution network of 140 branches and strong Bancassurance partnerships, Aviva is spread across nearly 3,000 towns and cities in India. The company seeks to build a robust product portfolio, meeting all customer lifecycle needs related to savings, retirement, investments and protection, and is among the first companies to introduce the contemporary unitlinked insurance products. Aviva has also been successful in reaching out to the underprivileged strata through microinsurance initiatives.
Q] India is known to be underinsured due to lack of awareness. What are your plans to spread awareness among people?
Our rural penetration and presence in smaller cities is probably the best among insurance companies in India. We do that very consciously, because we believe from a business perspective, growth will come, and it is also an obligation that we have as a brand towards society. We have a large number of tie-ups with co-operative banks in smaller cities – for example, there is Prime Bank in Nasik, which is a small bank, but we have tied up with them. While a lot of the other companies focus on the bigger banks in big cities, we try and go to the smaller cities. Also, we do a lot of road shows in the smaller towns to promote the importance of insurance, which is what we have done in Punjab. We are now doing it in Maharashtra as well. I think these initiatives go a long way in creating awareness about why you need to protect yourself. Almost 25% of our business comes from rural India, which is a fairly significant number. We have tieups with some banks, which have a very strong presence in the rural sector. For example, Punjab & Sind bank, present In Mumbai as well as Kapurthala , helps us to reach out to more people.
Q] What do you think about the industry’s views on increasing FDI in the insurance sector? How will it improve the current scenario?
The insurance industry is very capital intensive, FDI would definitely help. It will also help bring in better technology. Any industry needs to be technologically savvy to grow. A lot of the foreign players today will bring in the technology once the FDI rules change, so it will definitely be good for the industry.
Q] What, according to you, is the approach of consumers to insurance in India? Insurance is not a natural priority in our mindset...
The attitude of people to insurance in India is changing; as a brand, one of our roles is to educate people about the importance of insurance. Today, online plans are a classic example of how consumers are becoming more aware, because there is no push there, there is no agent coming to you and saying ‘buy’, it is just there on the Internet and being promoted. In the last six months, we have sold 15,000 plans online, which is phenomenal. This is a sign that the attitude is changing and people are becoming aware about the importance of insurance. The mindset is definitely evolving, but at a slow pace.
Q] What has been the growth like in this sector?
There has been a significant growth; a lot of credit goes to private insurance companies for that. In the last 10 years, they have put in a lot of effort in building brands, educating consumers; the media has played a big role too. Every major newspaper and magazine now has an insurance column, which makes a lot of difference in educating customers.
Q] Can you give us a sense of the future of the insurance industry in India?
It is a new industry, only about 10 years old. When you look at industries typically, they have huge growth phases initially and then they have a period of consolidation and stabilization. That is where we are now -- at a stage of consolidation and stabilization. You will not see the 30% growth rates that you were seeing year on year, growth rates would be slower but stable. The industry has a great future. We are still only at 4.5% penetration in this country; there is so much of opportunity out there.
Q] How will you capture and tap this opportunity?
By constantly investing in the brand -- it is about building the brand and the category and just putting the message out there that insurance is important for your future and you need to do it.
Q] How has Sachin Tendulkar as a brand ambassador helped build brand equity?
Sachin has been incredible for the brand; that is an honest statement. We got him on board in 2007, and we have just extended his contract for a few more years. When we were looking for a brand ambassador, we were very clear on the criteria -- we wanted somebody who will bring a lot of credibility to the brand, who is seen as a performer and recognized across the world, because Aviva is a global brand. So if you see all these qualities, Sachin gives you a huge tick mark against all of them in terms of credibility, trust, performance, world class coverage. Most importantly, he has all the values we associate with. I think Sachin has done an incredible job and helped us immensely in the brand journey. The target group also connects with Sachin very well. We are the only brand that uses Sachin the Father and not Sachin the cricketer. In our earlier commercial, Sachin is talking to you as the father -- ‘Main bhi ek pita hoon, main bhi yeh samjhata hoon’ -- he is talking to the parent and saying I am in the same boat as you are.
Q] What is the one attribute that differentiates Aviva India from its rivals in this highly competitive market? What’s your USP?
We do everything from a very positive perspective; our tone of voice is very positive, though we are in a category that is very morbid. We don’t want to remind you of the bad things, only the good things. We focus on the positivity of the human spirit and relationships, that is why we believe the father-son connect is a strong talking point. We act as a reassuring factor rather than a scaring factor, but still convey the message. For example, the feeling this film gives you is that I should protect myself because I love my child, not because something will happen to me; so I need to get insurance. It is a contextual difference, but significant.
Q] What is your biggest challenge today?
The challenge is how you differentiate your brand among so many players -- it is not just differentiation for the sake of it, you still have to be relevant and that has always been a challenge. When we did the child plans campaign two years back, I like to believe we played a significant role in building that category. Now we want to build on the category of protection plans, hence we have coined it in our film that no one says protection plans, but we believe it is creating that differentiation and the category within insurance. We are hoping this campaign will be as successful as our last one. With this campaign, we want the fence-sitters to pick a side.
Q] The Aviva Great Wall of Education showcased that Aviva, as a brand, is ‘human’ to customers, is the ‘pride’ of employees, and is known to ‘Doing things differently’ to influencers. Tell us how successful this initiative has been and its effect on the brand.
We just concluded the last edition of the Great Wall in November 2011, it was a great success. We collected about 1.1 million books and had a tieup with Times of India and Vodafone across the country. More importantly, the cause resonated with a lot of people. We partnered with big media houses and big technology companies and the overall impact was very large and it has evolved in the last three years. We started with Delhi in 2009, went to four cities in 2010 and last year we were in 10 cities. It is a great demonstration of how we have lived up to the promise of ‘education is insurance’ for everyone, and why should an underprivileged child not have access to the same quality of books.
Q] How does your new campaign ‘Multiroles’ take your brand forward?
It demonstrates our commitment to the child insurance space and looking after the child’s well being. The earlier aspect of the campaign focused on educational well being, this campaign focuses on protection and making sure a child has the lifestyle he or she has today, even in the future. There are different elements of the child’s lifespan and we believe that we want to be focused in that space. That is how we want to take the brand forward; we started with education, now we are moving to protection. Hopefully, we will move into other aspects of the child’s well being as well.
Q] Where does this campaign position your brand? What is the targeted take-away for consumers?
The positioning was pretty much defined in 2009, when we said that we want to own the child space. We believe that whatever is in the child’s interest and well being from the parents’ perspective is something we will equip the parents with. That is how we believe the brand is positioned -- as a brand that understands parents and equips them with products and services to protect their child and his or her well being.
Q] What were the key insights that prompted / resulted in this campaign?
This year, when we were looking at how we can evolve, there were brands that were talking about protection and child plans, so while we believe we helped establish a category called child plans, it was a space that was getting cluttered. The parent is still the key target; the child is his prime concern in terms of saving for the future. After research, we concluded that the role of the father had not been explored as a position. Very often, we find brands talking about motherhood and the mother as a nurturer, as a giver; the whole gentleness around the mother has been celebrated. Typically, the father is seen as the provider, but the role has evolved quite a lot -- he is just not a provider today who only gives his salary to his family at the end of the day. He is someone who has values associated with him, which he wants to pass on to his child. We felt that this was an opportunity we wanted to tap. We wanted to come from the perspective that as a father, he is the protector -- that was the brief with which we went to BBDO.
Q] What is the marketing strategy and mix adapted for this campaign? Like other insurance companies, would you be leveraging the mobile space?
The campaign is a 360-degree one, with a dominance of television capturing 50% of the spends; 15-20% is enjoyed by the Digital domain while the balance is distributed among the other mediums, including Radio and OOH. The track lends itself very well to television; what we are looking for in terms of a significant push is online. The whole Digital space has evolved tremendously over the last couple of years. This is a big opportunity for us, as we have a very good product in the online space which is linked to protection called ‘Aviva iLife’ and that clearly addresses the need we are trying to bring out in this film. Our target audience is highly operative on social media, where we have a very strong platform. Our ‘Education is Insurance’ Facebook page has 1,70,000 followers -- one of the most popular insurance pages you will find. So we hope to utilize that to the fullest. The beauty of the jingle is that it lends itself very well to a medium such as mobile; we also hope to tap the subject of fatherhood, as a tool for activation and engagements such as debates, and discussions in order to make the campaign more appealing and reach out to a larger audience.