We Believe in the Events and Experiential Medium: Aalok Bhan, Max Life Insurance

Marketing | December 28, 2020 | Interview

Max Life Insurance Aalok Bhan Mission Possible 2020 Max Life Family Run India Protection Quotient Express Survey

Aalok Bhan, Director and Chief Marketing Officer​, Max Life Insurance, a veteran with a marketing career of close to three decades behind him, is busy changing perceptions about the life insurance category from the ‘death’ connotation around it to a ‘positive emotive’ narrative. Calling it the highlight of his eight-year stint at Max Life, Bhan says, “Life insurance is still a largely ‘push’ segment. The challenge, therefore, is how to help life insurance become a ‘pull’ category. Also, life insurance as a category is anchored in the ‘fear factor of death’ that is not the most appealing of conversations. Max Life has managed to overcome that barrier and transition to a ‘positive emotive’ narrative with #YouAreTheDifference. This encouraged the viewer to embrace his or her real value to be a key factor in determining the financial future of loved ones when buying life insurance.”

Adopting the wellness strategy

The brand’s recent initiatives include adopting the ‘Do More with Life’ wellness strategy, launch of the app Max Fit, the ‘Max Life Family Run’ and urging customers to take up #The21DayDifference challenge. “Our ‘Max Fit’ wellness programme encourages customers to take action and improve their personal health, while incentivizing them with premium rewards for staying the course. Aligned to our brand philosophy of #YouAreTheDifference in the lives of your loved ones, the app provides people exciting opportunities to work towards a healthier lifestyle and realize that health is their biggest asset. Through #The21DayDifference challenge, effected in the initial days of the lockdown, we engaged our customers through 21 challenges which included simple tasks to help keep them and their families physically, mentally and emotionally active,” says Bhan.

Max Life also saw its second consecutive partnership with Team Royal Challengers Bangalore during the Indian Premier League, to reach out to the brand’s millennial audience and help them understand the importance of being financially healthy. “In the game of life, it is imperative to gear up well by calculating risks and similar to cricketers, we too must play with #ProtectionFrontFootPe. That was our narrative,” explains Bhan.

The ‘customer obsession’ agenda

So how did Bhan gauge the pulse of customers during the past few months? Talking of his key observations with regard to customer behaviour, Bhan says, “As millions retreated in lockdowns, Max Life delivered a compelling customer engagement programme to keep in touch with its audiences. We stayed on top of the latest trends, watched data for insights, and tried to demystify new consumer behaviours that helped us in driving successful marketing and business strategies.”

For instance, he says, data from the COVID-19 edition of Max Life’s flagship ‘India Protection Quotient’ Express Survey (conducted in association with Kantar), revealed that when confronted by the thought that COVID-19 could prey on the individual and/or family, 31% respondents in metros said they bought life insurance with COVID-19/ critical illness rider. In light of the growing demand for a COVID-19 specific solution, Max Life launched the ‘COVID-19 One Year Term Rider’ to help customers protect themselves against the ongoing pandemic. “We are also leveraging technology to drive enhanced customer engagement. Today, more than 70% of our customer transactions are digital in nature. We provide multi-channel self-servicing options to our customers like our chatbot, Mili, WhatsApp and help centre on our corporate website. Keeping the shift to digital in mind, we will continue to progress our digital marketing approach and drive conversations on platforms where our target audiences are present. Our efforts to grow our brand are supplemented by the firm’s strong agenda of ‘customer obsession’ to ensure superior end-to-end experience to our customers.”

Even the pandemic has a positive side

Looking at the brighter side and commenting on the positive outcomes of the pandemic, that will possibly benefit the future working of the industry, Bhan says, “This unprecedented situation will likely create greater realization amongst the community and shift the focus towards safeguarding the financial future and loved ones from any calamities in the future. This will, therefore, increase the overall demand and penetration of life insurance in the country. The other positive outcome is the deep digitization of the life insurance sector. With the COVID-19 situation, Max Life rolled out a quick-response programme ‘Mission Possible 2020’ and implemented a swiftly designed digital operating model to support existing customers, enable digital distribution and sell remotely.”

Relying on the experiential medium

For Max Life Insurance, the events and experiential medium is an important way to reach out to its customers. Reiterating this and talking of the brand’s efforts in the activations space, Bhan says, “At Max Life Insurance, we believe in the events and experiential medium to remain relevant in engaging customers in conversations and activities. Our e-Super Customer Week (e-SCW) is an example of how we have constantly connected with consumers, keeping our essence of customer obsession and ‘Always On’ strategy intact. Initially, we started the initiative to keep customers involved across our 300+ offices by engaging them beyond the regular service requirements. However, Max Life quickly adapted when the lockdown was implemented by taking it to the digital platform. Under the e-SCW, we partnered with Anytime Fitness and focused on various segments such as nutrition and wellness throughout the last few months. It also kickstarted fitness journeys of nearly 44K customers. This was further elevated through exclusive Zumba, yoga and nutrition sessions wherein an overwhelming 62,000 customers participated. From kick-starting the programme in April with ‘Self- Serve Do It yourself’ videos which witnessed participation from 20,000 enthusiastic customers to engaging via the Real Value tool wherein more than 38,000 customers calculated their real value within a week, Max Life simplified life insurance understanding while engaging customers in an interesting way.”

Aalok Bhan, Director and Chief Marketing Officer, Max Life Insurance, talks of adopting wellness as a strategy for the brand, launching ‘Mission Possible 2020’ and reliance on the events and experient

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