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Pankaj Gupta

Gone are the days when consumers were shying away from buying insurance from private players and a lot has changed over the last decade as private companies have made inroads into the market. From a mere 2% of the total pie in 2003, private companies have grown to nearly 30% of the market share in 2018, according to IRDA, Aranca Research.

As the Indian insurance market is expected to quadruple in size over the next 10 years from its current size of US$60 billion, private companies are leaving no stone unturned to win over government players. In order to acquire more informed consumers and win their trust, private insurance brands are increasingly taking the content marketing route.

The largest private player with a market share of 5.65%, HDFC Life always hasa dual objective of generating awareness for the brand along with the messaging. “Content marketing initiatives when done right, help in gaining a wider audience and connecting more strongly with the brand. When the core message is seamlessly integrated with the content it drives home the point more strongly,” says Pankaj Gupta, Chief Marketing Officer, HDFC Life.

LIC is the largest player across the category with over 70% market share in terms of first year premium collected. SBI Life and ICICI Prudential have market share of 5.59% and 4.9%, respectively.

Talking about the role content can play in the growth of the sector, Gupta said, “Insurance has always been a low involvement category; customer understanding is low and largely transactional. Content offers the unique option of creating higher engagement in the otherwise low involvement category. It makes it easier to explain our offerings to customers and drive awareness, education and brand affinity.”

By virtue, content marketing does not offer a quick return on investment and it is always perceived as a long-term play. Precisely in insurance, most advertising delivers largely in the long term and most insurance spends are driven at building a stronger brand and better recall. A strong brand leads to customers considering you when they choose to insure.

“Insurance is need-driven and advertising doesn’t necessarily translate to immediate sales. However, given the transactional and complex nature of the category, content marketing really helps in building engagement and is hence, preferred by many brands,” added Gupta.

Like with any other medium, content marketing too comes with its set of advantages and disadvantages. So, what does it take to get the content strategy right for insurance sector in particular?

According to Gupta, “Insurance brands need to be clear about their objectives and requirements to choose the right strategy. What may be a great fit for brand A may not help brand B. Hence it is about seeing how this fits in with your overall objectives and strategy.”

Besides pure content marketing initiatives to educate and solve consumers’ problems, insurance brands are also bullish on branded content and in-film branding for better brand recall. To ensure such content associations deliver desired results, it largely depends on how a brand goes about its content associations/integrations and what its objectives are.

“It also differs for different brands depending on their life cycle. However, if the association has a strong connect between the core messaging of the film and what the brand stands for then it will surely help improve the brand’s connect with its customers,” said Gupta. 

While many brands are relying largely on digital and social medium for their most of the content initiatives, HDFC Life believes in-film integrations and content integrations through music and radio marketing are working well for the brand.

“In-film integrations have helped many brands when done right. They help brands to cash-in on celebrity pull without the risk of a direct endorsement. Further, it also unlocks the power of cinema. Many brands have become instant household names and gained their consumers trust by leveraging this,” said Gupta.