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Senior Executive Vice President, HDFC Life

How have you been crafting marketing objectives for your company that your customers find credible and aligned with their values?

Marketing is all about continuous efforts to discover, create, arouse and satisfy customer needs. In a category sold on fear, HDFC Life crafted, ‘Sar utha ke jiyo’ or instilling ‘self-respect’ which was unique and was kept at the heart of how we do business. All decisions, processes and decisions are made in alignment with the brand identity.

Marketing objectives are set by based on changing customer needs, whilst furthering ‘Sar utha ke jiyo’.

HDFC Life enjoys a significant share of the Life Insurance Indian market. What are the challenges that the brand faces in the market?

The largest challenge for HDFC Life has been that Life Insurance is a push category with heavy dependence on agents and banks. Coupled with low financial literacy, customer acquisition and retention is tricky. Using ‘Sar utha ke jiyo’ consistently in communication and all business dealings, HDFC Life has been able to create a unique identity that invokes trust.

The other category hurdle is that life insurance is very transactional. It is a low involvement purchase. HDFC Life has made customer interaction more personal with innovative value propositions like ‘Memories for Life’ which is a digital platform where people can leave a cache of life lessons for their loved ones besides just a financial legacy.

“Money coming in says I’ve made the right marketing decision”- till what regard do you observe this quote?

As a brand, we drive several metrics like brand awareness, brand consideration, customer retention and imagery parameters as these are essential in a low involvement category like ours. Sales impact is only one metric.  It entirely depends on objectives set.

One thing you wish to change and one thing you wish to retain about your industry.

The low insurance penetration and awareness is one opportunity for HDFC Life to harness and change. And one thing that I would want to retain is very core to the category- protecting your family from life’s uncertainties. No other financial category caters this need.

Where do you see yourself in next 5 years?

Today’s CMO is evolving. His role has expanded immensely with the advent of the digital medium and technology available. Besides marketing, driving business and innovation also falls in his purview. I see myself playing this challenging role in the future.

PERSONAL GRID

What things fascinate you the most when you travel?

Seeing new places, meeting new people, understanding their culture- the similarities and differences with ours and exploring different kinds of art is a great passion of mine.

What are your hobbies?

Running, reading, graphology and watching movies!

Best and the worst thing about your job.

The best part of my job is that it keeps me on my toes and teaches my new things every day since the ecosystem is evolving faster than ever. The worst part is sitting through unproductive meetings and not having control over that time.

What is a Sunday to you?

My Sunday starts with a long run early in the morning after which I enjoy spending time with my family. Sundays are also the time to reflect over the past week and set goals for the next.

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