AiThority Interview with Shefali Khalsa, Head- Brand & Communication at SBI General Insurance
Please tell us about your current role and the team / technology you handle. How is the journey till now.
I’m glad to be associated with one of the most trusted brand in India, SBI General, as a brand custodian since 2019 and it’s been a wonderful journey. From the role perspective, I head the Brand, Corporate Communication and Website Sales areas. With a career journey of almost 17 yrs in the field of brand & marketing, I’m glad to be able to adapt to the technology and digital disruptions that play a large part in my role, right from website, mobile website, mobile to usage of Whatsapp for business to name a few.
As a woman in Marketing, what kind of challenges and opportunities did you meet in the early part of your career?
I would say, none. I am glad to have been a part of various leading brands so far, which provided equal platform of voice and opportunity.
How have insurance-related customer service methodologies evolved in the recent months? How would you compare these with Pre- COVID times?
Being in the insurance industry for 11 years now, I have witnessed and been a part of many evolutions in the insurance industry, not just in terms of regulation but across various aspects. These changes have spanned across customer service to marketing campaigns. While the overall industry had been moving towards a rampant digital era since a couple of years, however, COVID-19 has pulled the lever, thereby accelerating this digital push. This pandemic has certainly changed the perspective of insurance industry majorly in customer service, sales and media marketing.
Tell us more about your recent marketing and branding activities. How do you measure their performance?
Since the COVID period, all the marketing campaigns have been realigned and focused more on digital platforms. Which makes it easier to measure the ROI. JFM being a very crucial period for the insurance industry (infact entire BFSI industry). Hence, one of the recent initiatives undertaken is a rap song video on #SaveTax with Health Insurance that we created. This video starred SBI General employees in a new and unique avatar. This has been the 3rd edition of this video, following great success of the last two versions. This campaign is also in line with the current trend of using quirky videos on digital platforms.
Tell us about your remote workplace stack and how it helps you stack on top of your game? Which tools are you currently using and are a big fan?
Remote workplace / WFH has brought along immense learning. In fact, I feel, that phase was a completely new experience in terms of managing 360 degree in literal terms (with no domestic help/support function at home). On the brighter side, I felt, all teams were super productive and very well connected, even virtually. Being a part of the EMT (Emergency Management Team), I could feel the pulse of every moment happening at the ground level in the company and at the same time being responsible towards cascading the right and timely communication to employees, channel partners and customers.
VC has now become a lifeline, and I am glad we had adopted Microsoft Teams, much in advance. Which has helped us ensure the digital shift overnight with respect to WFH.
Your predictions for 2021 related to the industry / technology / leadership styles –
This COVID bout has given us many learnings in various aspects. With these learnings, I find companies are working more cohesively. From a marketing perspective, the spends will be still lopsided towards digital and we shall see more of ‘empathy marketing’ in the advertising tonality.
An advice to every young marketing team that would help prepare for the current pandemic era.
Being in marketing makes you learn to be ‘quick & adaptive’ by default. And as a piece of advice, I would suggest to go with this as the core mantra of marketing. This is most relevant in the current times, especially with campaigns being heavily executed on digital platforms.
Thank you, Shefali! That was fun and we hope to see you back on AiThority.com soon.
Shefali Khalsa ia a Head- Brand & Communication at SBI General Insurance
SBI General Insurance Company Limited commenced its operations in the year 2010 as a joint venture between State Bank of India and Insurance Australia Group (IAG). Pursuant to stake sale by IAG on 27th March 2020, the Company is a joint venture amongst SBI (70%), Napean Opportunities LLP (16.01%), (iii) WP Honey Wheat Investment Ltd (9.99%), PI Opportunities Fund-1 2.35% and Axis New Opportunities AIF – I (1.65%).The company offers a wide range of general insurance products in retail and commercial space at affordable prices to make insurance accessible to all individuals and businesses.