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Jairam Sridharan, MD, Piramal Finance on the company's maiden ad campaign: Our aim is to create awareness

Jairam Sridharan, managing director, Piramal Capital & Housing Finance Limited talks about the genesis of a new campaign, building brand Piramal Finance and creating awareness through multimedia platforms

Published: Jan 11, 2023 05:40:11 PM IST
Updated: Jan 11, 2023 06:40:19 PM IST

Jairam Sridharan, MD, Piramal Finance on the company's maiden ad campaign: Our aim is to create awarenessJairam Sridharan, managing director, Piramal Capital & Housing Finance Limited

Piramal Capital & Housing Finance Limited or Piramal Finance, has launched its first brand campaign and a new brand logo. The objective is to make Piramal Finance a consumer facing brand and reach out to budget-conscious customers as well as medium and small businesses in Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns across Bharat.

Titled ‘Hum kagaz se, zyaada neeyat dekhte hain’, the campaign films, conceptualised by The Womb, focus on addressing the credit needs of the unserved and underserved sections of Bharat. In one of the films a blacksmith is seen working in his shop when a Piramal Finance services representative walks in. Assuming that his loan request must have been rejected because he does not have papers of his shop, he is pleasantly surprised when the representative tells him otherwise. The film highlights that the brand is looking beyond just papers/documentation as means to assess the credit worthiness of its loan seeking customers.

In an exclusive conversation with Storyboard18, Jairam Sridharan, managing director, Piramal Capital & Housing Finance Limited talks about the genesis of the campaign, building brand Piramal Finance and creating awareness about it through muti-media platforms.

Edited excerpts:

Q. What is the motivation behind the brand revamp?
We wish to communicate to the consumers out there that there is now a new NBFC in town. Consumers wish to know the brand that they are associating with and that’s why we thought a simplified and coherent customer facing brand of Piramal Finance is an appropriate one for us to start talking about.

This brand (Piramal Finance), over the coming years, needs to establish itself as a prominent, relevant and trustworthy brand in the minds of the consumer. If you see the financial services space today, it is dominated by brands which have deep legacy (PSU banks and private banks) and then there are new entities that are tech-first and trying to establish themselves in the financial services sector. We are trying to launch a brand which will resonate with our core customer base which is the budget customer of Bharat. We will appeal to them as a brand that will meet their needs and meet real everyday requirements or challenges of this customer base that is unique to us and is unique to this customer base.

Q. Who is a budget customer of Bharat?
These are customers from smaller towns or outskirts of large cities. Even within the Bharat market, we are talking about budget customers who have a smaller wallet size. Typically this tends to be male in 30 to 40 years of age, usually a family person who's trying to actually provide for their family. And very often this tends to be double income households as well where just the husband's salary or business isn't enough to keep the household running. So, both husband and wife into work and they tend to be more informal rather than formal sector. And about two thirds of this population tends to be self-employed rather than salaried. So that's kind of the base that that we're talking about.

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Q. What are the needs of this customer base?
This customer base is one which is typically a little underserved by the traditional financial services industry. Since they usually don’t have strong credit histories or easily verifiable employment getting credit solutions is a challenge for them. For instance, a small shop owner in Bhilai (a district in Chattisgarh) might face challenge in getting a loan because he/she might be doing a lot of business in cash, IT returns being low, they probably can't demonstrate paperwork with respect to shop. Most likely their house is being handed down generationally and the paperwork on that might be weak. There're a bunch of these challenges with this segment and we are trying to address them.

Q. What are the do’s and dont’s of advertising to this customer?
The first point is that the communication needs to be authentic. By which I mean that in financial services there is a lot hand-waving storytelling where you come up with essentially ads which are sort of like wallpaper like they all look nice and pretty. Customers laughing merrily over a table of pizza in a restaurant which almost looks like social media profile of customers, as opposed to their customers real lives. Therefore, one big theme for us is that our communication will be real. We wish to show the real customers in the real situations, not their social media personas. The second element is to address the genuine problems of the customers who faces issues in getting credit solutions. The third piece is shooting the ad on real customer premises and not on a set to maintain authenticity. We spoke to literally hundreds of customers, both existing customers of ours, as well as other customers who are in the market considering credit solutions trying to get a sense of you know, what is their feeling about themselves? The ad campaign is more about what we heard almost verbatim from many customers.

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Q. What is your media strategy?
Television continues to be a core component of our media strategy but it has to be augmented with platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. We also will leverage some of the community that exists and is respected by our customer base. I wouldn't necessarily use the word influencer, but there is a large community that has a good following by our customer base, they might or might not be directly related to the Financial Services spectrum, but they have credibility. And we want to get associated with some of these voices. You will see you will see that happened in the in the weeks to come as we will go live with a few different things either on Shorts or Stories format on social. We also have an outdoor leg planned.

Q. What are the key areas that you have identified for growth in 2023?
Affordable housing finance and MSME lending are two of our dominant businesses. That's exactly what you will see reflected in our campaign communication as well.

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Q. What are your current challenges from a marketing standpoint and how do you plan to overcome them?
I think the number one challenge for us is that Piramal is not today consumer oriented brand in financial services. Our name recognition is low among customers, and wherever the name recognition is there, there is more association with larger ticket wholesale lending type businesses and not necessarily consumer or retail oriented business. Our aim is to create awareness and getting into the consideration set of consumers. The other challenge is that is us trying to thread the needle between being modern and technology oriented on the one hand, but also giving comfort to our customer base that we are available in the offline world and in the physical world for them to visit and see us face to face.

The customers that we are talking about, tend to be customers who are a little bit more comfortable as long as they know that a person can be reached, or that there is a physical presence of a brand that they're associating themselves with. So that trust factor builds up if they see you around them. What we are is a company that is physically available but technologically enabled. That's a story that we need to somehow convey and land to customers that that that this is a company that you can trust.