Pitch CMO Summit 2010 : Case Study – Aditya Birla Financial Services Group

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The Power of One

Ajay Kakar

Brand: Aditya Birla Financial Services Group

Case Study: Bringing all financial services
under  one umbrella

Presented by: Ajay Kakar, CMO, Aditya Birla Financial Services Group








The challenge
Confusion and fear
The Indian financial consumer is a simpleton and prefers to have simple solutions when it comes to money. Contrary to that, the Indian financial sector has been the most complicated category. There are numerous brands, products and sub-categories bombarded with me-too products, me-too features and me-too advertising. Even a single brand has multiple faces. This led to confusion and fear in the mind of the consumer who seeks simplicity. This resulted in low demand in the category. So on one hand the supply has been continuously going up, on the other the demand has been low. The biggest challenge for the Aditya Birla Financial Services Group  (or for any other financial services company for that matter) was to gain the trust of the consumer by offering simple solutions.

The initiative
Be the one-stop shop
The financial companies of the Aditya Birla Group decided to win the consumers’ trust by offering simplicity and convenience on one common platform. For this, the company created a virtual brand Aditya Birla Financial Services Group (ABFSG) in 2007. So the five different financial businesses (Birla Sun Life Insurance, Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund, Birla Sun Life Distribution, Birla Global Finance and Birla Insurance Advisory & Broking Services) with different names and different shades of yellow were all brought under one roof of ABFSG. The idea was to become a trusted one-stop shop for all the money needs of the consumer. So, the change from Aditya Birla Group in Financial Services to Aditya Birla Financial Services Group happened.

Strategy and implementation
Look, speak and act like one
The strategy that the top brass deployed was to leverage the ‘Power of One’. That’s why the virtual brand ABFSG was created and the five different companies were brought under it. Now the challenge was to standardise the processes and look and feel of these different companies in a way so that the consumer gets the unified experience while interacting with any of these companies. Hence, the first step was the
standardisation of visual and verbal vocabulary across all businesses. The big idea was: look like one, speak like one and act like one.

Also, the names of the companies were changed to leverage Group equity. So Apollo Sindhoori was renamed Aditya Birla Money, Birla Sun Life Distribution became Aditya Birla Money Mart, Birla Global Finance was changed to Aditya Birla Finance, Birla Insurance Advisory & Broking Services became Aditya Birla Insurance Brokers and Aditya Birla Capital Advisors was changed to Aditya Birla Private Equity.

So the group simplified everything from products to marketing to processes. ABFSG does a litmus test for all its products. This means that every product should be such designed that its benefits can be briefly explained in 30 seconds. If not, the product goes back to the drawing board.

A similar approach was implied in advertising too. Jargon free and astrics free marketing was the focus of the marketing honchos at ABFSG.

For instance, an ad of Birla Sun Life Insurance featuring Yuvraj Singh (‘Wealth with protection’ campaign) talks about the ups and downs in the life of a sportsman, reflecting on the larger idea that everybody’s life has highs and lows. Again, a simple idea about life depicted smartly. Check out another interesting marketing stunt done by ABFSG: to market Aditya Birla Finance car loans. A real car was cut into four pieces and kept on the road with a note saying: ‘In easy installments’. The small campaign really caught the eyes of the consumers and the point of simplicity was made.

Similarly, for the marketing of Mutual Funds, the company did another interesting trick. The company got special Kaleidoscope boxes, which said: ‘We see your money differently. Insert a coin to know how.’ When a consumer inserted a coin, it showed multiple coins. Again, a simple idea presented very interestingly.

So the whole idea behind all these efforts was to ensure one common personality, look and feel at all customer connects and communications. That’s how ABFSG managed the internal cascading of the power of one.

The results
And the numbers zoomed
The ‘Power of One’ has resulted in some good numbers for ABFSG. The group had more than 39 per cent annual growth in terms of customers and currently has 56 lakh customers against 21 lakh in FY 2007. The growth in ‘points of presence’ has been more than 100 per cent per annum since 2007. The revenues have grown at the rate of 45 per cent annually. For the FY 2010, ABFSG revenues stood at Rs 5850 crore.

Reported by – Pallavi Srivastava

About the author / 

Abhinav Mohapatra

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