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We are looking at ways to create unique experiences for our distributors: Abhishek Gupta

1/29/24 5:57 AM

We are looking at ways to create unique experiences for our distributors: Abhishek Gupta -

In conversation with Adgully as part of the AG Talk series, Abhishek Gupta, Chief Marketing Officer, Edelweiss Life, speaks about the brand building efforts of the company, leveraging technology to enhance its marketing efforts, creating memorable experiences for all its partners, focus on sustainability and ethical practices, and much more.

In 2023, there seems to be a notable shift towards brand building. How does Edelweiss Life Insurance plan to reinforce its brand identity and connect with the audience in this evolving marketing landscape?

In any retail industry, more so in the life insurance industry, Brand plays a vital role in wooing customers because they expect trust, transparency and expertise from their preferred partner. While Product marketing has taken centre stage in recent years, Brand building efforts are unfolding in newer and more interesting ways.

In life insurance, distributor plays an important role in meeting the demands of the customer and ensuring a complete customer-centric approach. The sector continues to sell a majority of its products through an advisor (be it an agent, a Bank relationship manager, a broker or more). Therefore, it has become far more critical to become a Brand of preference for the distributor if we want to be a brand of preference for the customer.

We have been investing in building the right advisory tools, beefing up our training capabilities, automating fulfilment of marketing requirements and more. We want to attract the right kind of advisors and build their capabilities so that they are able to interact meaningfully with the customer not only when they are selling a product, but also when they are servicing their future requirements. We want to help them create relationships and not just customers.

As marketing trends continue to embrace automation and data-driven strategies, how is Edelweiss Life Insurance leveraging technology to enhance its marketing efforts and ensure a personalized experience for customers?

While digitization has been on the rise across sectors, a significant percentage of life insurance customers still prefer assisted buying. So, while the customers can buy online if they prefer, the industry is more focussed on strengthening its backend processes leveraging technology. Here are some noteworthy steps we have taken:

DigiTools and Mobcast: It is an automated marketing tool, which supports our advisors with marketing requirements on the go like personalizing communication to the customer. It reduces person dependency by bringing process orientation, and offers an easy access to diverse marketing tools, ensuring standardization within the brand framework.

DigiTools is supplemented by Mobcast which fulfils DIY training requirements through explanatory product videos, multi-language scripts for customer interactions, advisor recruitment videos and more. This simplifies and eases the access to necessary information that the distributor requires on-the-go and we have seen promising results with it.

U2: In our ongoing tech transformation project, we've introduced ‘U Unlimited’ or ‘U2.’ It completely revolutionizes the way insurance advisory has been happening by bringing a very solution-oriented and holistic approach. Through U2, our distributors get a comprehensive understanding of the customer needs and are therefore much better positioned in offering the right advisory.

BOLT: We have built in Insta-issuance capabilities by automating multiple processes in our customer journey including underwriting. This offers an instant decision to the customer on whether their policy has been instantly issued. Currently, we are issuing 20% of our policies through BOLT and are looking to improve this statistic as we progress further.

Within the insurance sector, what trends do you anticipate will have the most significant impact on marketing strategies in 2024, and how is Edelweiss Life Insurance preparing to stay ahead in this dynamic environment?

The last 2 years have been significant for the life insurance sector because we have seen notable regulatory transformation. For instance, the State Insurance Plan is a much-needed initiative which pools in the entire industry’s marketing strengths in building awareness and trust in the category with a very local approach. We expect regulatory reforms to continue, and they will steer marketing efforts by the industry at large in the new year.

Digitalization has remained the flavour of the industry since the Covid years. A significant focus of the industry in 2023 was directed at leveraging new-age technologies to enhance distributional capabilities and digital capabilities, with the overarching goal of strengthening their customer and distributor experience.

For us, while customers are central to all our endeavours, we are looking at how we can create unique experiences for our distributors and deliver an extraordinary brand experience to them. For instance, our MDRT proposition is class apart in the industry. For several years now, we have been putting up huge outdoor ads for our MDRTs in their own city to celebrate their achievements and bolster their standing in the immediate social circle. This year, we introduced another initiative, wherein we did short ads promoting these MDRTs on a national TV channel. Both these initiatives are unique to Edelweiss Life and this innovative approach has helped us improve stickiness of our advisors and also motivate them to expand the scale of their business. We create such memorable experiences for all our partners and that will remain our focus in the year ahead.

Sustainability and ethical marketing are becoming increasingly important for consumers. How does Edelweiss Life Insurance incorporate sustainability and ethical practices into its marketing initiatives, and what role do these values play in the brand’s messaging?

A key to incorporating sustainability and ethical marketing is ensuring that your brand is always true to its core values. For us, CSR and customer centricity has been a part of our DNA since inception and we have continuously improved on both these vectors.

We have consistently carried out CSR efforts since our initial years like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, raising funds for tragedy-struck regions, contributing to the Defence Welfare Fund, and more. However, more recently, these CSR efforts have become more cohesive. While we will continue to undertake these smaller initiatives, we have adopted a larger cause of Organ Donation because it coincides with the essence of our business which is Zindagi Unlimited. Purpose marketing is a very vital component of our brand building efforts because it resonates deeply not only with our customer, but also is close to the heart of our employees. We have seen an outpouring of support every time we run any CSR initiative and that also helps us enable our employees connect deeply with the brand purpose of protecting dreams and aspirations. It is also noteworthy that life insurance in itself is a noble and purposeful business – the essence of this business is securing families and loved ones which brings a significant level of emotional, ethical aspect to the way we deal with people at large.

With advancements in AI, big data, and real-time analytics, how is Edelweiss Life Insurance utilizing these technologies to gain insights, refine marketing strategies, and provide a more seamless experience for customers?

Over the years Al has positively impacted all aspects of insurance business, from distribution, underwriting, and fraud detectionto personalisation and customisation of products.

Our focus is on cultivating agility and scalability for the business and new-age technologies like AI have enabled that journey. Our AI initiatives go beyond mere operational enhancements; they play a crucial role in reshaping the entire customer journey. We have effectively implemented AI to streamline customer onboarding processes, bolster risk management, and simplify insurance advisory, ultimately leading to a more satisfying customer experience.

For example, U2, uses AI to a significant degree. While it identifies customer needs, and offers tailored solutions, it also learns from the data that it uses. We expect the tool to evolve as we continue using it and expect it to support distributors by offering business propensity. It can potentially double the productivity of distributors because the tool will keep learning and becoming better over time.

Considering the dominance of audio and video marketing, along with the popularity of short-form content, how is Edelweiss Life Insurance adapting its content strategy to engage with the audience effectively across different platforms?

This year short-form content stood out as a dominant force, particularly on platforms like Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts in various sectors including insurance. Its transient nature and visually engaging appeal align seamlessly with the shorter attention spans of today’s audiences. Brands have leveraged short-form videos not just for advertisements but also for impactful storytelling, product launches, and authentic customer testimonials. We also saw a surge in audio formats, notably podcasts. The convergence of video and audio marketing is reshaping how brands connect with audiences and it’s an interesting time to be in the business of storytelling.

Now, turning our lens to Edelweiss Life Insurance, recognizing the significance of regional outreach, we have strategically prioritized language-specific video and audio content creation. This not only addresses the need for diversity but also builds trust, inclusivity, and relatability among customers as well as distributors. We have successfully implemented this strategy by creating videos in 9 local languages, witnessing a positive uptake across various channels. Looking ahead to 2024, we plan to deepen its regional impact by building further capabilities and delving into specific geographies.

The media landscape is experiencing fragmentation with advertisements on OTT premium platforms. How does Edelweiss Life Insurance plan to navigate this evolving landscape and connect with audiences through these channels?

Our brand has been consistently increasing its investments in the digital medium year after year. The emergence of OTT platforms presents an exciting opportunity for us. Given that our core target audience is actively engaged on these platforms, we see it as a captive and receptive base. We have leveraged OTT platforms in the past and will continue to explore them as and when our brand strategy demands it.

The role of customer service is evolving to be an extension of the brand experience. How does Edelweiss Life Insurance integrate customer service seamlessly into its overall brand strategy, and what measures are in place to ensure a positive customer experience?

Our primary objective is to be the preferred brand for both customers and distributors. Our focus is ensuring that we build capabilities across the board in delivering the intended brand experience. So, distributors and employees, both play a critical role at this point for us because they have a huge impact on the end customer. So, we are very focused on creating the right distributor and employee experience.

We already discussed tools like U2 and Bolt, which are retraining our employees and distributors in how we are now delivering insurance to our customers. We also have an acute focus on driving a purpose and value-driven culture internally. We do that through multiple initiatives like Townhalls, Leadership Connects, and much more.

We have never looked at Customer Experience as the responsibility of the customer service team – we have always driven a culture of Customer-First across functions. And that translates into the innovative products & services that we bring to the market, or the unique partner engagements we do like the MDRT outdoor ads.

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