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How Corp Comm overcomes tough challenges

Interview with Nikhil Bharadwaj, Vertical Head – Corporate Communications, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance

Briefly describe the main types of customer in each segment?

At Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, internal and external communications is managed in-house – right from ideating to strategizing and implementing a communication. Below are some of the stakeholders that we manage regularly and the category of matrix they fall under:

  1. Customers and potential customers (DRDC)
  2. Company Partners/ intermediaries/ agents (DREC)
  3. Employees (EREC)
  4. Senior Management of the Company (EREC)
  5. Media (ERDC)

We work closely with senior management and all departments as primary internal stakeholders. Our external customers are media stakeholders, be it publications, magazines or online mediums. Last but not the least it is our company partners, customers and potential customers, whom we intend to reach out to with our communication. A strong relationship and rapport with our stakeholders and keeping our communication contextual and relevant plays a key role in communication.

What are the key corporate communication activities for each of the four segments? What are the key corporate communication channels used for each of the four segments?

We have always believed in creating personalized communication by selecting the right platform for the right audience.

Employees: We have employee newsletters and channel wise newsletters circulated amongst internal stakeholders along with emails that keep them informed about developments in the company. We try and mix this up with fun elements as well as attempt to encapsulate what’s happening throughout the company to give the employees an update. This is supported by launch activities done in person or various videos which are shared with them.

Company Partners: Company collaborates with various partners like banks, agents, corporates, etc, to distribute its products. We communicate with these partners through newsletters which gives our partners insights on what’s new in the company, overview of the industry, message from the leadership team of the said channel. This communication helps us strengthen and build a long-term relationship with our partners. This communication is a must to increase stickiness of the partners towards the company, which in insurance is critical. It also serves as an avenue to highlight individuals who have performed well, and thus feeling appreciated amongst peers. It serves as an immense source of motivation for individuals just starting out or stuck in some way. This is done through knowledge sharing of success stories of other agents/ intermediaries.

Senior Management: Regular meetings with the senior management helps us understand the track on which the company is headed, giving us a direction to align our communication. Sharing media updates about the company and briefing them on interactions, conferences and other areas of visibility is also done on a regular basis. They derive great knowledge into the industry happenings on a day to day basis which enables them to take better macro decisions in their respective lines of work.

Media: Relevant and contextual content plays a vital role in external communications. We analyze the trends within the company and industry and share data with journalists, which will be insightful for their readers. Sharing important company announcements, meeting them regularly and interacting with them on industry developments helps in building top of the mind recall amongst journalists. While the print media is growing, the digital media is gaining momentum on the sidelines. We constantly tap the changing trends in both print and digital media and accordingly share information with them, thus balancing the communication across all platforms. Ensuring a great amount of knowledge sharing and training is a must to build interest, especially in non-specialist journalists and media personnel. Generation of interest in the subject is the first step towards building a successful body of knowledge and of course news.

Customers: There is very little awareness about importance of general insurance and our focus is identify ways through which we can reach increase this awareness through various mediums. One such important tool is media where we share content, which is free of any jargon and in small palatable buckets. This makes it easier for masses to understand what insurance is and how it can beneficial for them. We share articles for personal finance columns especially in regional media to reach out to maximum number of people. Moreover, the most important aspect for external customers is ability to add value such as to educate them and nudge them in the direction of your product. After all, the aim of communication is awareness and create demand.

 

What metrics are used to measure effectiveness of corporate communication for each of the four segments?

One-way communication does no good to anyone, an engagement which goes both ways is considered to be successful. I strongly believe that feedback lies at the heart of effective communication. A positive or negative one, it still indicates reluctance or acceptance of the ideas. It helps us improvise or better the communication sent. We try to incorporate the feedback mechanism in most of the communications for both internal and external stakeholders. For instance, at the end of the newsletters, we request for suggestions and opinions from employees on what more can be incorporated. We take feedback from our senior management on whether the communication being sent out is in line with the key messages of the company and if it requires any changes. We regularly interact with the media to understand what they expect from us and how we can share better and more relevant content with them. Feedback is an important metric for us to measure the impact and analyze the result of the communication.

What are the results achieved of the four segments? What are the future plans?

Positioning of the company in media plays a critical role in determining the customer, investor and employees’ sentiments towards the company. Relevant and regular exchange of information has enabled the company to gain good visibility across all media platforms. Effective communication within the company helps bringing in clarity and transparency amongst employees as they know what they are working towards. It also inculcates a sense of belonging to a common group with common goals. Thus, resulting in increasing productivity and job satisfaction level, which also contributes towards the growth of the company. As far as the future is concerned, our focus will always be to stay relevant, keep up with the trends, not just communication, but with industry and market scenario and accordingly define our communication strategy. At Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, our focus will always be to generate highest quality of content that offers value to anyone reading it. Mediums are getting more digital, but content quality will be our differentiator.

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