BTL Baatein: Sheran Mehra, DBS Bank… Powered by VISCOMM

28 Oct,2016

Armed with an experience of over 18 years, Sheran Mehra has spearheaded marketing & communications teams across sectors and has successfully launched and positioned global brands. Sheran Mehra is Head, Group Strategic Marketing & Communications at DBS Bank in India. She has been credited for leading several disruptive and clutter breaking award winning campaigns like Chilli Paneer, Portraits of Purpose (PoP) and Action against Cyber Thefts (ACT). We present to you the ‘BTL Baatein’ of the week which is powered by VISCOMM with Santosh Jangid speaking to Sheran Mehra about Below The Line (BTL) advertising for Banking sector and the balance between ATL (Above The Line) and BTL


In the financial sector, banks specifically, how would you say have marketers adopted the concept of experiential marketing to its actual potential?

Experiential marketing is not new in banking. It’s been on for a while be it for a credit cards or home loans you see a lot of these products using experiential marketing. Many banks have been doing it for a long time. In smaller pockets when you have to reach people then thats the best way you can build connect with the consumers. We call it the neighbourhood marketing or community marketing but now it has taken different forms and shapes. It has gone to malls, multiplexes and societies. It has been there for a long time but this is not something that is new.


What do you use as a measure for judging the success of experiential marketing?

It depends on what level you are doing. If you are actually amplifying it on digital as well because one leg is that you do an offline and bring it to online. Thats what many brands also do, online to offline or offline to online. So you initiate an idea offline and take it online or the other way round. So depending on what we are doing, then we measure it accordingly. It could be the number of leads, the conversions that you get from there, the interaction that you measure on digital, the engagement that you build, it also has an impact on the brand’s health course that you measure and the word of mouth will also happen. These are the measures that we look at and depending on what is the objective of the particular activity that we are doing.


How important is BTL activity to your overall marketing plan? And overall in the banking sector?

It is an integral part because a lot of times especially for the HNI segment and even for B2B spaces you need to build that connect with consumers. It may not happen in a very large scale but in smaller forms for HNI customer it is important to build that connect. To that extent it is an important part of the marketing mix. But depends on what level you are doing and what scale do you want to take it to.


We have seen the recent Sachin campaign being very visible on the ground as well? Tell us more on that.

It was a mix that we did as a part of our campaign. While there was something happening online, we had to have that surround on ground as well because if you see that surround on ground, it is again a reminder medium for people. You see it online and then you see it offline or vice versa. It helps in brand recall and in consideration set as well because when you’ve seen it you build familiarity with the brand. We did a couple of things when we launched the campaign. We were riding on IPL and we had signed up with Pune team. We did a lot of stuff on ground in Pune. We did go to malls, we did go to multiplexes and we leveraged Sachin there. The moment you see any activity around Sachin it helps pull the crowd. So you have something to start conversation with and the you build on it with the kind of activation that you are doing, be it at the stadium or mall, multiplexes or societies. The whole proposition is around, Live More, Bank Less. This is about how you live more and that is actually how we took it forward and embedded it in the activities that we were doing. If it is around shopping than you would have it in malls, when we were doing cricket then it was messaging around cricket.


Can you give a broad idea of your spends pie of ATL v/s BTL?

We look at a mix of 70-30 in the whole plan but really depends on at that point in time what is the activity that we are doing. So BTL is 70% and ATL is 30%


Can you also specify the range of activities that you undertake as part of the below-the-line advertising and promotion?\

We are present in 12 markets, four metros in Pune, Bangalore and other smaller cities. So for brands like us, it is very important to build connect in smaller cities and also in the cities we are present in. We had done a mix at key malls, multiplexes and because we had tied up with the Pune team we were actually looked at stadium. Wherever the team was travelling, if the team was travelling to Bangalore then we would do an event with them in Bangalore. So wherever we had our footprint, branches we did a BTL activity there.


Do you prefer to do this through BTL agencies directly or via your existing creative/media agency?

We mostly do it with an BTL agency, we do have support from creative agencies because this is something that happens almost every week. We go to corporates as well. Those guys are the best equipped to understand this space very well. So you have to find someone who are more nimble and who have the local city knowledge and also have that network.


In terms of generating results esp from consumers and in B2B, do you find BTL a more sureshot avenue than ATL?

In the B2B space, yes I would say that especially for SMEs where you have to build a stronger connect, then a one to one interaction helps than doing a one to many. While we will do one to many, it is also important that you follow up with a one on one. There is a limitation of what you can do one to one so it has to be a combination. In B2B the conversions take a little longer, a personal connect does help.


While sales and salience are good indicators of its success, what are the attributes you look at to measure the success of a BTL campaign?

Depends on what the activity is. If it is alone on ground then you will look at the number of people you’ve touched, then if you take it online or you take it offline. If you take it online it will be the number of interactions, responses that you get, the feedback that you get, the interactions, engagement that you get. On field it will be the number of walk-in and the conversions that happened.


There are many organisations that often do new launches almost entirely on BTL aided with an outdoor and/or digital blitz? Your view on this. Given rising media costs, do you see BTL managing on its own, without ATL?

All these mediums complement each other. So it’s not about you doing ATL and not doing BTL, you do digital and not do BTL and ATL. Sometimes the ATL works better, sometimes the BTL works better. For brands like us, which have limited network, BTL works brilliantly for us. At various times that you need ATL, then you will do that push. We are present in 12 cities, we have 1 branch per city so we don’t need a national publish but need to secure yourself in the cities that you are present, then BTL works well. But the moment you have a national footprint, like we did for DigiBank, while we are present in only 12 cities that product can be bought by anyone since its available on the app store. However for brands like us who have limited network, BTL and out of home works brilliantly but if you need more eyeballs, then ATL complements.


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