Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Rising Sun: Bank of Baroda

Arjun Verma, Parul, Anit Roy | IIFT, New Delhi

“I think the Sun is a very respected symbol and calling it the Baroda Sun created a sense of pride in people. In fact, we went to the extent of branding the Sun itself” These words were said by none other than Dr. Anil K Khandelwal, Chairman & Managing Director, Bank of Baroda in 2006. Since then, Bank of Baroda has positioned itself as the “India’s International Bank” with a rising sun as its logo. While, a number of the visible components of the banks promotion strategy can be easily assessed for the targeted segment and the value proposition that it wants to propose to the customer base, its marketing & branding strategies can be analysed on the basis of the following points:

1) Brand Ambassador -

It initially had India’s former cricket team captain- Rahul Dravid as its brand ambassador (2004-07). As an icon, Rahul Dravid epitomized stability, sincerity and substance which in a way complemented to the Bank of Baroda’s brand image.

2) Expansion -

Bank of Baroda has established its operations in Maldives, Sri Lanka, Singapore, UAE, Yemen, Russia, Kenya, China, Malaysia, Thailand and many other countries around the globe. Rapid integration of business with the technologies through core banking solutions, i-banking, and host of other facilities has established Bank of Baroda as the foremost PSU bank in the country.

3) Positioning –

It is the fourth largest bank in India and consists of 2.5 crore customers. Bank’s latest marketing initiatives are aimed at positioning it as a financial service provider with “value proposition” and “market-driven” being the keywords. The bank has rolled out branches far and wide across the country to distribute an impressive assortment of financial products to its heterogeneous customer base.

4) Business Lines -

The bank has divided its operations in 6 distinct business lines- Corporate Financial Services, Personal Financial Services, Business Services, Treasury, International Operations and Rural Banking and is aggressively focusing on becoming No. 1 in each of these segments
A schematic representation of the banks marketing strategy is as follows:

5) Publicity –

To build its brand equity, the bank has organized hosts of seminars nationally and internationally- latest being Basel II. Bank has actively managed its public relations through media.

6) Customer Focus –

The bank has built its brand around superior customer services and international focus which are also the point of differentiation of the bank from other PSU banks.

7) Recent Marketing Initiatives –

• Communication Campaigns : Shukriya Sau Salon Kaa and Baroda Next
• Use of Sybase 365 Marketing Information System
• Launch of Baroda Swarojgar Vikas Sansthan
• Next Gen Branch opened in Ahmedabad
• 50 city sales offices opened

8) Advertisements –

The advertising campaigns in both print and television media emphasize on the bright orange corporate colours of the bank and the ‘rising sun’. The key traits that the bank wants to highlight such as trust, competence and ease of use are reiterated in the numerous advertisements. The targeted consumer segment is clearly visible via the imagery in the advertisements like the middle-class Indian doing every-day chores, who now has numerous financial needs, not just plain and traditional banking. Another striking factor is the focus on the age segment beyond the 35-40 age bracket, people who are able easily identify with the PSU banking sector as a familiar entity. The promotion strategy of utilizing customer awareness sessions with the display of the standard corporate visuals like the bright logo and the tagline with stills from the supporting print and television advertisements is also heavily relied on. The banners around ATMs and bank branches are easily visible entities because of the corporate colors and themes chosen.

9) Promotions Abroad –

In the promotion strategy abroad, the targeted segment is clearly the Indian who is away from home. The promotion campaign for Bank of Baroda in UK centers around the target audience of expatriate Indians. The imagery associated with the campaign has the distinct feel of the Indian bank aiming to replicate the ease and trust of an Indian entity with the efficiency of a modern and global enterprise. The location of the advertisements especially outdoors, is on buses and billboards near stations and bus-stands, typically meant for the average middle-class customer used to travelling in public transport. The tag line of “India’s International Bank” also focus on the core aspect of Bank of Baroda being an Indian bank meant for the Indian community living abroad, looking for the familiarity of a known brand for a personalized service like banking.

In a short summarization, the marketing strategy of the Bank of Baroda focuses on the promotion of the values that the bank wants to portray to its customers (both prospective and current). It wants to be seen as an efficient organization meeting all the needs of the average middle-class customer in a warm and familiar setting. The accessibility of the bank in all corners and the adoption of the latest technology are some of the areas mentioned to create the feel of a bank which despite being national in origin, is up with the times and ready for the new-age customer’s demands.

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