They say that every brand draws its strengths from certain founding myths. And IndusInd Bank – the first of the new-generation private banks in India – is no different. Historical narratives inform us that the Indus Valley civilization was the very pinnacle of its times. Their town planning, infrastructure design and cultural richness has been deemed without a parallel. Well, that’s where the brand IndusInd claim to draw its inspiration from.
In fact, the philosophy or the founding myth seems to have worked well for IndusInd Bank. Rather, it has been the pivot that hinges its branding and product efforts. “The values of the IndusInd civilization are the rallying points for brand IndusInd. These values are innovation, driven by excellence, and a certain timeless modernity – something we try to live up to in every single interaction with our partners, consumers and the community at large,” Mohit Ganju, SVP and Head – Marketing & Communication, IndusInd Bank tells 4Ps B&M.
It all started when Srichand P. Hinduja, a leading non-resident Indian businessman and head of the Hinduja Group, conceived the vision of a new-generation private bank through collective contributions from the NRI community towards India’s economic and social development. Although IndusInd Bank formally started operations in April 1994 (with a capital base of Rs.1 billion, of which Rs.600 million was raised through private placement from Indian residents while the balance Rs.400 million was contributed by non-resident Indians), like most of its counterparts the bank was not much into planned marketing and communication until late 90s. While 2000 and ahead saw a few private sector banks laying importance to innovative techniques of marketing, IndusInd Bank continue to believe in very basic marketing and advertising strategies. In fact, most of the communication was meant for existing set of customers.
However, the scenario flipped completely in FY2008-09. A change in management at IndusInd Bank (in 2008 new management team headed by Romesh Sobti was inducted from ABN AMRO Bank) led to restructuring. From a docile brand, IndusInd Bank suddenly started getting aggressive by positioning itself as an important player in the financial sector. The real turning point was when the brand arrived at its new positioning platform of ‘Responsive Innovation’ and the 2010 ad campaign supported with a 360 degree integrated marketing approach. And they have stick to that philosophy since then.
Humour is often considered as the safest way to grab consumers’ mind space, but passing the right message across following this route is also the toughest. Though the Indian banking industry in particular has tried its bit in being humorous in its ad-approach over the past few years, the series of commercials from IndusInd Bank are perhaps a trend breaker. While ‘Mr. & Mrs. Chowgle’ campaign (featuring Omi Vaidya aka Chatur of 3 Idiots fame) surely created a lot of buzz in the Indian ad-world, the bank only strengthen it further with its advertising campaign featuring actor Ranvir Shorey. Certainly both the commercial were clutter-breaking, which delivered the message in an endearing fashion. The 360-degree integrated marketing campaign featured Choice Money ATM, Check-on-Cheque, and 365 days Banking service. “The three series ad campaign was the most successful campaign of ours in terms of achieving objectives of enhanced brand awareness and positioning us as a modern, innovative and responsive service brand,” Ganju tells 4Ps B&M. Banking advertising is a category where a handful of drivers play a disproportionately large role. “Trust, word of mouth, and recommendation constitute the core emotional dynamics of the consumer – category relationship,” adds Ganju.
IndusInd realises that a banking brand needs more than clever communication to distinguish itself from the competition. Agrees Ganju as he tells 4Ps B&M, “One of the challenges of competing in a category like banking is that the big boys out shout you on every conceivable communication platform.” The brand’s vision was thus crafted in harmony with its then communication partner – RKS BBDO. They differentiated their brand on all there levels of existence – at the product level, at the service and experience level and at the personality level.
IndusInd not only took several initiatives to build the brand, but also focused on ways to enhance its visibility. Right from changing the colour of its branch signages to attaining visibility by putting up ATMs in high traffic areas to launching client engagement initiatives, the bank has continuously been undertaking key value propositions to stay ahead of the competition.
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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2012
An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).
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