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The CMO’s MO: The industry should bring in simplification in communication - Abhishek Gupta, Edelweiss Tokio

1/24/24 9:02 AM

The CMO’s MO: The industry should bring in simplification in communication - Abhishek Gupta, Edelweiss Tokio | Marketing | Campaign India

The CMO’s MO (modus operandi), spotlights some of India’s top CMOs as they share their marketing mantra, trends for the future, and what keeps them up at night. Here we chat up with the who’s who of the country’s leading marketers, keep the tone conversational, crisp and throw in questions that allow leaders to shine a light on their personalities, plans, and passions projects for the year ahead.   

In this edition, we have Abhishek Gupta, chief marketing officer of Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance divulging the challenges of operating in a marketplace with several established legacy players.  

He also offers insights into what needs to change within the dynamic insurance industry and why he thinks today's CMO must be a 'chief multi-tasking officer' and that the metaverse in its current form has ‘limited use case’ for the sector.

1. What are the three biggest marketing challenges for your brand right now?  

As a life insurance brand that has been in the business for 12 years, we are at a unique juncture in our journey right now. We operate in a marketplace which depends on the distributor and already has several legacy players who enjoy the majority market share. With that context, the top three challenges we face are: 

i. How do we increase our market share in an increasingly polarised market?

ii. How do we become a brand of preference for both our customers and distributors?

iii. And how do we improve the distributor’s experience with us and therefore deliver a class apart customer experience?  

2. What are the three biggest opportunities for your brand?  

As a relatively younger brand, we have seen the best of both worlds – we have learnt from the traditional era and are evolving in the digital era now. Here are the things that are working in our favour or are some opportunities that we are looking at leveraging:   

i. We are nimble given our size, which has allowed us to change and adapt to any emerging requirements. In the digital era, it’s an important trait that can help transform the organisation when necessary. 

ii. There is a clear trend of ‘financialisation’ of savings emerging in India, which clearly indicates a massive opportunity for the BFSI sector as a whole.   

iii. Life insurance is a trust-led business, yet the industry at large engages with the customer in a fairly complex manner. The information is often complicated, and customers have expressed concerns about not understanding product details. This offers us the opportunity to not only simplify communication but also add an emotional undercurrent to it to set us apart.  

3. Trend jacking the metaverse train: Is it for your brand or not?  

The life insurance business has always been and will remain an advisory-led business. So, metaverse in its current form has a limited use case for us.   

At the crux of it, the objective of the metaverse is improving customer experience through technology in a ‘phygital’ world. So, we have taken that essence of bolstering CX by leveraging technology. We have designed and deployed tools that enable distributors to provide customers with a swift onboarding experience and a personalised need-based experience when buying life insurance.  

4. What do you feel separates your brand culture from others?  

For me, there are three key differentiators:   

i. We are positive, aspirational, progressive, approachable and innovative. We have multiple structured interventions, through communication, and development-oriented initiatives that bring these cultural traits alive. We have an initiative that is targeted at promoting innovation and there has been promising uptake across functions.     

ii. Our relentless focus on making people’s lives #ZindagiUnlimited (life unlimited). We are in a business that epitomises #ZindagiUnlimited, and we have built initiatives like organ donation which also bring out the essence of #ZindagiUnlimited.    

iii. Lastly, we have a ‘one for all, all for one’ approach. 

5. What needs to change in your industry when it comes to working culture?  

Our industry by itself is very dynamic and ever-evolving. However, there is always scope for change given the needs of both the customers and insurers. Certain changes that I feel will be beneficial to all are:   

i. Customers should be encouraged to be more independent and should refrain from being over-reliant on distributors/sellers.  

ii. The industry should bring in simplification in communication – this will make the process of customers getting life insurance easy and also bring about trust and transparency.  

iii. Post-covid, we have noticed a shift in consumer demands and expectations. People now look forward to buying things at a click of a button and we see the same happening to insurance. Insurers should work on bringing about simple-to-buy products as well as experimental and hyper-personalised products that cater to the niche requirements of customers.   

6. Complete the sentence: “Today’s CMO must be …”.  

Today’s CMO must be the ‘chief multitasking officer’. They must be omnipresent and insist on extending the brand essence across functions. They have to be willing to take high risks and push for change across technology, customer experience, employee experience, distribution experience and sales promotion.   

7. Tell us one personal thing about yourself that others might not know.  

I really love the mountains…it’s nice to spend time in solace and be one with nature. Other than that, when I have time on my hands, I love reading all kinds of things, from blogs to books because it always inspires ideas in me. I have a fairly high level of patience and tolerance before I lose my cool.   

8. What’s your favourite brand campaign that you participated in or wish you had?  

I always like campaigns that are backed by sharp insights and are coupled with clear messaging. It is also very essential for brand campaigns to be relevant to the specific category.  

One of the campaigns that come to mind that I wish I was a part of is, 'share the load' by Ariel and the other would be 'jaago re' (wake up) by Tata Tea.  

9. Name another brand (can’t be yours) with an amazing customer experience that you really admire. Why is it great?  

Two brands come to mind that have an amazing customer experience:  

i. Taj – They offer great hospitality and have an eye for attention to detail. Another admirable and noteworthy thing that I have personally experienced is that Taj empowers their front-end to do what is right and best for their customer.

ii. AmEx (American Express – they have well-trained high-quality tele callers. What is even better is that they have the ability to resolve issues and at the same time provide a personal touch to their services.  

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