As more and more insurance companies take their campaigns digital, advertising budgets and narratives are beginning to reflect the shift. From apportioning a fragment of the advertising budgets for the Internet, many are keeping aside more than half the amount. Campaigns are being designed to be more interactive. Also instead of evoking the familiar themes of loss and love, ads are focusing on simplifying insurance jargon, providing assistance with claims and emphasising the importance of adequate insurance cover.
For instance, Aegon Life's new 'Simple makes sense' campaign tackles how the company has decluttered the insurance purchase process. Created by DDB Mudra, the ads focus on how easy it is for customers to choose and buy the right insurance. Shamik Banerjee, Chief Marketing Officer at Aegon Life Insurance said that the campaign is the result of a two-year-long project called 'simplicity'. "When we launched our new brand Aegon Life, the key was 'you need not care about insurance, insurance will care about you'," he said.
Banerjee said the total spend on digital was 55-60 per cent of the communication budget for this campaign. The medium helps hone in on the target audience and tackle their concerns and prejudices effectively. The 'simplicity' series of ads deals with concepts such as 'we will take care of your time', 'you do not need to wait' and such other issues. They take into account the busy lives that urban professionals, who are also big consumers of digital campaigns, lead. Interestingly, the campaign does not go into the usual concerns of safety, security, building a better future for the insured and such other issues that once dominated life insurance advertising. Instead, it focuses on the efficacy of jargon-free communication, simple processes and easy accessibility to insurance products.
The digital medium is also encouraging insurers to make their campaigns interactive. They realise that it is as important to convey the message as it is to have the message shared, tweeted, retweeted and so on. Consider Tata AIA's 'Making good happen' and 'Catch up' campaigns. Both encourage users to engage with the insurer by posting photographs and experiences online.
User generated content is used to tailor special communication messages about the insurance product. Ravi Vishwanath, Deputy CEO, Tata AIA Life Insurance said that the idea was that we all live for the good of our loved ones. "We want to remind people that life insurance is nothing but doing right for your family," he said.
The company's 'Catch up' campaign addresses the protection gap that exists in our country, he said. The gap refers to the difference between the life insurance cover that people have and what they actually need. These ads too have leveraged the interactivity that the digital medium offers. Vishwananth said that they have created over 250 mini films featuring employees and advisors, which are being shared are on various social media.
Another insurer, Bharti AXA Life is also listening to its customers. Jitin Paul, Chief Marketing Officer, Bharti AXA Life Insurance said that their campaign focuses on the problems around claiming insurance in times of need. He said, "The campaign thought arises from the consumer insight that claiming insurance can be stressful and confusing. In such times, the claimant seeks a personal touch - someone who can guide him/her through this difficult time." The company therefore came up with the Dedicated Claims Handler (DCH) service. The handler assists a claimant throughout the process said Paul. Bharti AXA has created #GoToFriend for customers to share their experiences and talk about the service.
HDFC Life has also gone the same route, albeit with a campaign that relies on old and trusted emotional tug points. Called 'Memories for Life', the campaign traces the narrative of a young executive who is propelled on to a new path because of an emotional video where his father is speaking to his 17-year old self.
Sanjay Tripathy, Senior Executive Vice President, Marketing, Product, Digital and e-commerce, HDFC Life said that they have launched an online platform where people can leave "behind much more than just money for their loved ones in the form of video messages, which can be recorded and scheduled for any date within 10 years. This platform is free for everyone to use. The digital medium is the heart of the campaign," said Tripathy. To bolster and take the message to the masses, traditional media has also been used and television plays the lead in this respect.
Clearly insurance companies in the country are trekking down a new road. Campaigns are being designed to meet the challenges of the digital world and customers are being encouraged to engage with the companies. GroupM, in its bi-annual advertising expenditure futures report This Year Next Year (TYNY), estimates, digital adex will grow by 47.5 per cent in 2016 and a significant part of this growth will be on the back of higher investments in cross-screen campaigns. Insurance companies are well on track.