Several Founders, Co-Founders, CXO Bankers, CXO Fintech professionals & people who participated in the ePanel discussions:

  • Mr. Dhanender Chandna, Managing Director, Viren Business Solutions Pvt Ltd.
  • Mr. Ravi Shankar, Co-Founder, and CEO, Active Intelligence Pte Ltd
  • Mr. Saurabh Soni, Founder & CEO, DigiSparsh
  • Mr. Jayaram M, Consultant (Partner), Basil Capital
  • Mr. Shashank Chowdhury, Former Executive VP- Inclusion Initiatives, Vakrangee Software Ltd
  • Ms. Hemal Vira, Head – Relationship Program, Customer Engagement, Loyalty & Campaign Mgt, IDFC FIRST Bank
  • Mr. Abhishek Arun, Chief Operating Officer, Paytm Payments Bank
  • Mr. Anand Kulkarni, Senior President & Program Head, YES Bank
  • Mr. Roopesh Chandran, Director – Fintech, Processors and Business Excellence at Visa
  • Mr. Rahul Dayal, Head- Information Technology, Aditya Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund
  • Mr. Taufique Khan, Sr. Product Manager-NRI Products, DBS Bank
  • Mr. Rakesh Bhanusali, National Head- NR Business, AU Small Finance Bank
  • Mr. Alok Karkera, Group Head – Government Coverage Group, West & South at Axis Bank
  • Mr. Narayanan S, General Manager Business Solutions, Associate Director, Principal Consultant, Cognizant
  • Mr. Sugata Dutta, International Training Assessor & Banking Domain expert for E-Learning Platforms
  • Mr. R Bhaskaran, Strategic Training Advisor in Banking & Finance
  • Mr. Manish Jeloka, President & Chief Strategist, Probus Insurance Broker Private Limited
  • Mr. Hitesh Thakkar, Fintech Consultant, Self-Service Automation
  • Mr. Sharad Goklani, President and CTO at AU Small Finance Bank
  • Mr. Ritu Rodrigues, Senior Manager Business Operations, Pine Labs
  • Mr. Vivek Singh, Head Payment Solutions & Product, Airtel Payments Bank
  • Mr. Prashant Sinha, General Manager-Banking, India Transact Services Limited
  • Mr. Hemal Shah, former Technical Product Manager, Mastercard
  • Mr. Vishweshwaran R, Senior Vice President – Digital and Customer journeys, IDFC FIRST Bank
  • Mr. Abhishek Mody, Vice President, M2P Fintech
  • Mr. Vikas R Panditrao, Co-Founder, Forum of Industry and Academic Knowledge Sharing (FIAKS)
  • Many other CEO/CXO Bankers & Fintech professionals on FIAKS Forum requested to remain anonymous

Endorsement is a quite common form of marketing that’s used in any business. So, particularly talking about endorsements in the banking industry, one of the banks is making a 600 crores loss and signing up Amitabh Bachchan to sell saving accounts. Why?

Do you think bankers (who generally score very bad on fitness/health) have an obsession to connect with Bollywood stars and that is driving such decisions rather than it benefiting the financial institutions?

Perhaps, let’s dig into the history first;

  • The Bank-Bollywood connection is not new and has a history to it. Banks always would look for an authority that augurs well to deepen trust as a currency for its customers. In the past several banks have tried to explore the Bollywood connection.
  • Bank of Baroda undertook a major rebranding exercise as “India’s International bank”, it used cricketer Rahul Dravid as its brand ambassador in 2005. Dravid symbolizes solidity and trust, and a bank cannot ask for more.
  • Similarly, ICICI Bank Ltd used Amitabh Bachchan when it got into retail banking in a big way in 2001. It brought back Bachchan in 2013-14 for a different purpose and also used Shahrukh Khan to boost its overseas business, cashing in on his appeal among non-resident Indians in Dubai and the UK.
  • IndusInd Bank Ltd has been using actors – Farhan Akhtar, Sharman Joshi, and Boman Irani rather than stars. Joshi sold an innovative service called ‘My Account, My Number’ which empowered customers to get the bank account number of their choice. Akhtar and Irani featured in a new service in 2016, called ‘fingerprint banking’, which allowed customers to carry out end-to-end banking transactions on its mobile banking app ‘IndusMobile’ by using fingerprints.
  • There are several such examples and zealous banks trying this connect to lure customers but none of these partnerships have been able to change the fortunes of these banks in India. This clearly shows that even high-profile brand ambassadors can just support a bank to grow its business but cannot carry the burden of non-performance. Their financials must tell us a compelling story.

Now let’s talk about the impact of Bollywood on credibility for bank brands;

  • ICICI and IDFC have used Amitabh, Axis has used Deepika. In a movie crazy India, it does create an impact, especially for new brands. Celebrity endorsements definitely help. For celebrity-crazed India, it works to have a big brand name associate to create credibility. And the biggest brands out there are Bollywood followed by cricket. For instance, DBS had Sachin. It certainly creates brand recall. Like we all remember these brands due to celebrity association. Whether it translates into an actual business is tough to measure directly. But it would perhaps help.
  • It can be noted that this might not have a significant business impact in the metro’s however in Tier 2 and 3 cities it definitely does.
  • Also, seems the strategy works only if you take the top personalities. Bank of Rajasthan had Hema Malini, which hardly worked. Don’t think many of the stars will appeal as a brand for a bank.
  • As we first saw a large ad campaign by Amitabh Bachchan for ICICI bank. It did help them at that time to re-establish the trust factor on the retail banking side which is what it was aimed for. Therefore specific campaigns with Bollywood or sports stars signifying certain softer image-related aspects could be effective. But it does not bring in any new customers since the decision to open a bank account is not based on celebrity face. Celebrity endorsement for banking products doesn’t seem to have much impact. Seriously doubt how many saving accounts will be opened when Amitabh Bachchan endorses a bank.
  • Well, isn’t this Bollywood obsession extremely harmful & toxic? Corporates need to idolize defense personnel, sportspersons & philanthropic greats. Shouldn’t they?
  • Genuine artists who have done great struggles to attain a celebrity status should be ok to be used as ambassadors, however, there are only a few in that category, however, banks needing filmstars to give a message that it gives interest 12 times a year, not the greatest one!
  • Ultimately, Cricket & Bollywood still connect the most in this country. Yes, there are new fields where brand ambassadors are coming from but that does not mean that Bollywood has lost its sheen. Especially if there is a late entrant in the banking sector or for that matter in other industries as well then there is nothing wrong with having a Bollywood brand ambassador, the very fact that this question has become debatable indicates that there is an impact of endorsement by Bollywood stars.

Recently another bank has signed up an actor who is in the news for unstable relationships. Isn’t banking all about trust and stability of relationship?

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