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CorpComm trending towards personalized interaction

Mahesh Kumar Bajaj, General Manager at Indian Bank shares the details about association, partnership & brand building initiatives adopted by the bank:

CorpComm trending towards personalized interaction

Ravi Lalwani: Describe 1 or 2 strategic initiatives under CorpComm in the last 12-18 months at your organization.

Mahesh Kumar Bajaj: As a first, Indian Bank entered an MoU with the Paralympic Committee of India in August 2021 for supporting the Para-Athletes for one year. It is one of the foremost sponsors of the Para-team and was glad to see the team triumphed with its best-ever show in Paralympics history with a 19-medal haul at Tokyo. Indian Bank’s commitment is across multiple needs of the team like training, equipment, nutrition, and more. The contingent has gone to put up good shows at Asian Youth Para Games, Bahrain, multiple Grand Prix, and more. The partnership has brought laurels for the Para-Athletes and the nation, besides bringing goodwill to the brand Indian Bank.

As the nation faced challenges in hospital infrastructure to serve people across geographies, Indian Bank decided to extend its support by way of strengthening the ambulance fleet. To date, Indian Bank has provided sponsorship support by way of ambulances in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Meerut, Patna, and Lucknow. The initiative has been very well received by the medical fraternity and paves way for synergized pooling of resources of banks and hospitals towards a strengthened infrastructure with wider access.

What kind of data/information is becoming critical for effective decision-making for CorpComm?

The bank will depend on the framework for decision-making within corporate communication management that is aimed toward contributing to the further development of corporate communication as an autonomous area of management that builds, protects, and consolidates a favorable corporate reputation. As we look around, many organizations, in the corporate communication realm, are embarking on a dual-level decisions making, – one at the strategic level and the other at an operational level. The bank is focused on the different types of data that are gathered across the various sources having a strategic intent and will provide adequate support in making policy and coordination decisions.

We believe that certain factors play an important role in taking effective decisions for corporate communication. One is Market Research and the other is past experiences. Market research helps to identify the fertile markets where we can tap many more opportunities. The market research also helps us to identify various thriving sector-wise business opportunities. It also provides information on various demographics

Internally, the data of the bank also plays a critical role in taking decisions. Based on these inputs, the Corporate Communication department plans and executes the campaigns which are aimed to strengthen the business objectives of the bank. Past experiences serve as a guiding force in handling crises across reputation, brand equity, narrative tones, and areas of relevance for the bank and the public.

Based on the experience, Corporate Communication disseminates the information to all stakeholders to uphold and gain confidence and affinity towards the Bank.

What social media metrics do you follow closely and how do you apply those?

Indian Bank has a presence across 5 major social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn – and uses its verified pages to interact with customers and general public on various topics of relevance like transactional banking, safety tips, and new launches, query resolution and more. The overall objectives of social media pivot around Awareness, Engagement, Conversion, and Service. By following metrics like content docket, followers’ growth, reach, social share of voice, engagement rate, and response time, the bank is implementing various optimization strategies from time to time to ensure that it achieves its desired goal of unleashing its brand presence among the right target groups.

The metrics provide insight into customer behaviour and preferences, communication modes preferred product uptake, responsive markets, etc. These nuggets of information help us further to draw marketing campaigns, execute lead generation drives, fine-tune products, adopt market practices, etc, and offer them an optimized value proposition.

Financial companies are partnering with companies in other sectors such as retail, healthcare, hospitality, travel, education, etc. Do you see CorpComm playing a role in empowering these partnerships? Please share some insights.

Corporate Communication’s role in empowering a business partnership is inherent in its success. For any successful new partnership / MoU, as a first step, the salient features should reach the concerned stakeholders. Without reaching the probable customers, any partnership / MoU will fail in achieving the business targets.

Corporate Communication plays an effective role from the beginning in reaching out to the stakeholders by arranging press conferences, releasing advertisements in various media, connecting with stakeholders, etc. Recently, Indian Bank also agreed with Maruti Suzuki for giving vehicle loans at concessional interest rates to the customers. So, the department took all the essential steps to popularize it among the customers.

The bank also launched ‘MSME Prerana’, a mentorship program for the MSME start-ups with a tie-up. The bank has conducted this mentorship program state-wise in the regional languages. To popularise this scheme and to attract customers and start-ups, the Corporate Communication department took a selective approach by releasing press communiqué in specific regional languages and ensuring coverage in the concerned state only. This has resulted in getting desired coverage.

How is creativity evolving within the CorpComm community? What major changes do you expect in the next 3 years?

In this digital era, every sector is undergoing major changes. The business landscape also drastically changes day by day. In line with the current digital trends, Corporate Communication is also rejuvenating itself.

Virtual meets are a reality and are expected to pervade all forms of communication. The exchange between top offices with stakeholders will be more frequent. With the changing work and workplace dynamics, conversation will be timeless and merge across cultural ethos and nuances.

Content will emerge an even stronger king with everyone relying on it to reach the right people, at the right time, via the right mode. Transparency will be another element that will play a key role in these times of hyper-information.

We cannot, of course, undermine the impact of AI, analytics, and other emerging technologies that will overarch the way corporates communicate. I believe that the more pervasive these technologies become, the more personalized the interactions will turn. It will be interesting to see how we best we sync and provide an enhanced sense of belonging to our stakeholders in times to come.

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