Anand Bhatia on Building Connections and Leveraging Technology for Effective Banking
Jump into an insightful conversation with Anand Bhatia, a pioneer in navigating the complex world of trust, connections, and technology in the banking sector. Bhatia delves into various facets of trust, highlighting its integral role in shaping customer relationships, the impact of error-free practices and clear communication, and more.
This conversation between Rishabh Shekhar, Co-Founder & COO at Pepper Content and Anand Bhatia, CMO At Fino Payments Bank Ltd, further unfolds into examining the pivotal role technology plays in personalized, context-based marketing and customer acquisition. Join this enlightening journey that merges human values, business ethics, and tech innovations to deliver a compelling banking experience.
1. Can you give us an insight into your brand?
Back in 2006, Fino began as a small tech venture. Starting as a tech-focused idea, Fino transformed over time. We shifted from tech to helping spread financial services for other brands. Around 2015, the rules for payments banks came out, and we leaped on the opportunity to become the largest business correspondent in the country. In 2017, we achieved a significant milestone – we became one of the first payment banks to start operating.
But that's not all – we proudly became the first payment bank to go public and make a profit. This journey took us from being bankers for others to becoming a bank ourselves. Jumping to today, Fino isn't just a name – it's an entire ecosystem of banking services reaching every corner of India. We invite you to join us in this ecosystem with a warm "I host her" message, capturing the essence of Fino.
As Fino shifted from a physical to a digital bank, we kept our core value – respect. Our journey was discovering why customers choose us when bigger banks are nearby. The answer, it seems, is rooted in our unwavering presence – the feeling of permanence, of always being there for them. This essence gave us our brand promise – Hamesha, which translates to "Always." While chatting with customers, we figured out what Fino means to them. It's simple: "Don't worry." And guess what? Those words fit perfectly into our name – F-I-N-O – Fear not.
Today, our journey reflects growth and resilience. We've grown not only in numbers but also in the lives we touch. With over 60% customer loyalty, we're intertwined with their stories. The hard work and belief in quality banking for all led us here.
Trust is something that is built by experience, either my own or somebody else's.
2. Coming from a tech startup background and now in your current role, how has your view on customer outreach, marketing, and evolving content shifted over the last decade?
In the marketing world, I might not fit the conventional mold, and that's perfectly fine with me. My journey has taken me through various roles, from being deeply entrenched in sales and distribution to embracing the multifaceted responsibilities of an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, you're not just the brand but the face of sales, distribution, and marketing. And now, in my current role, I find myself in the realm of marketing, a fascinating endeavor that offers new dimensions to explore.
One of the crucial lessons that have accompanied me from my early days in consumer lending to my current pursuits is that fundamental business principles remain strikingly consistent despite the diverse industries and grammatical contexts. The cornerstone of this understanding is that consumer behavior often defies rationality. This intrigue lies at the heart of consumer interactions – the shortcuts, heuristics, and biases that guide purchasing decisions. Recognizing this non-rational aspect of buying behavior is pivotal in simplifying campaigns and sales efforts, steering them away from unnecessary complexity.
Having overseen businesses across India, I've discovered a remarkable truth: our country is incredibly homogeneous. While we have diverse languages and food, the way people approach financial services is more connected to life stages rather than regional or linguistic differences. This insight has helped me simplify marketing strategies and reduce complexities that can confuse consumers. Looking at the industry's evolution, there has been a shift from promoting complicated financial products with confusing terms to embracing clarity and simplicity. Regulatory changes have played a role, but it's also about understanding that consumers prefer straightforward solutions. This principle of simplification has become the driving force behind many successful marketing campaigns.
In the past, financial jargon and complex percentages often bewildered consumers, but now the focus is on creating a more understandable landscape. The key mantra is to keep things simple, a philosophy that spans across industries and guides me in my marketing journey through this intricate yet fascinating domain.
That is trust. That is holding hands. That is all building a relationship is. And for us, that is the Real North or the True North.
3. Is trust-building a constant effort for you, or does it naturally result from your actions? How does this tie into your view on metrics and the trust factor within the organization or marketing?
Trust is like a puzzle with lots of pieces. You can't just say, "Trust me!" and expect people to believe you. It's built over time, from everything you do and how you act. Trust isn't just a word; it's something that grows from experience. It's about understanding, being clear, and making things easy for others. When a brand is trusted, it means people think the brand won't do anything to hurt them.
This trust doesn't come from just one part of a company. It's a mix of everything, like how we sell and how we serve. When a brand is trusted, it's like a signal to people that they can rely on it. Imagine this: a person saying, "I get what you're telling me." That's trust. It's not about confusing words or tricky details. Trust happens when people see a clear path ahead – like knowing what comes next and what to expect.
For us, our guiding star is our promise – "Hamesha," meaning always. It's about being available to help, whether it's in person or with money. This helps build trust, making sure people know what's coming and that we're here to support them. Now, picture this: two banks side by side. At one, people go in groups, maybe to make sure nothing goes wrong. At the Fino outlet, it's different – people feel confident doing things alone. Why? Because trust has been built. It's like having someone look out for you. This story shows what trust is – a helping hand in a confusing world. And for us, it's not just a word; it's our guide.
Tech is integral to marketing. It just allows you to give very contextual nudges.
4. Given its scale, How does Fino manage technology integration in its banking and marketing? What do you think about technology's role in marketing and its future integration?
In the dynamic marketing world, technology is not just an accessory; it's at the core of our strategies. Let's dissect this integration into a few elements, putting aside the usual suspects like Google and Facebook advertising for a moment. One pivotal aspect of technology within marketing is the power to communicate effectively. Think about it – the ability to send a message via WhatsApp, SMS, and other channels creates an opportunity for contextual nudges. When a customer hits a snag or seems to abandon a journey, we can step in, interact, and resolve the issue. It's like lending a hand when they need it most. However, the balance is crucial. We must avoid being too intrusive and respect the user's space. Crafting the right tone, message, and timing is critical, shaping a seamless interaction that adds value rather than annoyance.
Another dimension where technology shines is customer acquisition. It's all about laser-focused targeting. With the tools at our disposal, we can pinpoint specific demographics – say, individuals aged 20 to 30, owning certain handset brands, engaging in mobile gaming, and actively using UPI transactions. By zeroing in on this group, we ensure our message reaches the right ears. This is a potent tool in our arsenal, granting us the capability to tap into niches that align with our offerings.
So, if we bundle all these tech-driven strategies under the term 'tech,' it's undeniable that technology is intricately woven into our marketing efforts. It's not just a supporting actor; it's the driving force. And the results? They've been transformative. From attracting higher-quality customers to enhancing retention rates and reaping remarkable returns on advertising, technology has been the catalyst for success. Year after year, we've witnessed increased efficiencies and improved outcomes, showing that the marriage of tech and marketing is indeed a recipe for triumph. In the grand symphony of modern marketing, technology isn't just an instrument; it's the conductor that supports harmonious interactions, tailored experiences, and impressive results.
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