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HSBC: The day you were born

Anita Kotwani and Arun Narang Warc Prize for Innovation Entrant, 2013

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HSBC: The day you were born Anita Kotwani and Arun Narang Warc Prize for Innovation Entrant, 2013

HSBC: The day you were born


Anita Kotwani and Arun Narang Mindshare Campaign details Brand owner: HSBC Agency: Mindshare Brand: HSBC Country: India Industry: Banks, credit cards, loans Media budget (USD): Up to $500k Channels used: Direct marketing Executive summary The commercial banking arm of HSBC, the global banking group, wanted to create meaningful interaction with the very top ranks of its existing Indian corporate customers which were comprised of CEOs, MDs and Chairmen. It was vital to the brand that these individuals had a more than favorable impression of HSBC, and that they should only be offered communications that were exclusive, personalized and relevant. This case study describes a campaign in which a number of these top individuals were sent on their birthdays a reproduced copy of a newspaper from the day of their birth. As a demonstration of the success of this work, this case study positive reactions from this group of individuals. Campaign background The commercial banking arm of HSBC, the global banking group, wanted to create meaningful interaction opportunities with its corporate customers. This list included the CEOs, MDs and Chairmen of Corporate India the very top layer of India Inc. It is very important for the bank's business that the top management of the organizations where HSBC was a banking partner should have a more than favorable impression of the brand. HSBC wanted to reach out to this extremely elite target group (TG) and wanted the following tasks completed: A. To open a window of communication with the TG, to advance their existing relationships. B. To provide the TG with a reason to believe that they are indeed dealing with the best banking partners they can possibly
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get. C. To leave the TG with an impression that HSBC is a bank that not only understands and caters to the TG's financial needs but also appeals to their taste and sensibilities - a fitting affirmation of choice in terms of the banking partners they have chosen. Insight and strategy As a first stop in arriving at our solution, we had to take cognizance of some "barriers" we had to overcome in reaching the target group. The TG is: A. Insulated by a ring of secretaries, executive and support staff and hence, difficult to make direct contact with; B. Extremely time poor and consequently, attention deficient; C. Exposed to the best of the luxuries, privileges and choices and hence, not the easiest to please; These barriers were deliberate, act as a necessary buffer around our TG and are put in place essentially to cut out the "noise". From our various interactions with this set of customers we also knew that they valued and cherished the events, people and situations from the past and understood the relevance of each of these to their lives today. The past provides a story that was unique only to them and one that they were well versed in. So we set out to devise a solution accordingly. We thought: could we take our TG back in time? Or better, could we possibly re-create a moment from the past for them? If yes, could we present a moment from the past in a personalized manner, perhaps at an opportune moment? Sounded like a tall order, but with the right insight, thinking and delivery we accomplished the task. And how did we do this? The following sections explain this in detail. Implementation We knew, right at the outset, that anything we did, even to get simply through to the TG, let alone winning over their heart had to be something that was exclusive, personalized and extremely relevant. We chose to go the Direct Mailer route backed by a powerful idea. We decided to take our TG back in time to the "Day They Were Born", by gifting them on their birthday with an actual full-scale reproduction of the front page of a newspaper printed on the day they were born. The copy of the newspaper was inserted in a vintage wooden frame with a subtle message saying, "Remembering This Special Day". The wooden frame was then put into a custom made box and was accompanied by a congratulatory letter from the Business Heads of HSBC. This gift on the day was delivered personally by the HSBC Relationship Manager.

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Exhibit A: A picture of the actual frame with the actual copy of the newspaper printed on the day the individual was born. The TG shares a high affinity with the newspaper medium it is their window to the world outside. They start their day with the newspaper and have being doing so for years. To make this activity happen, we collaborated and dug into the archives of "Times of India" India's oldest, most revered media brand and known globally as "the world largest circulated Englishlanguage daily newspaper".

Exhibit B: A snapshot of the Direct Mailer complete with the customized box, covering letter and wooden frame. Performance against objectives

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We sent out 500+ Mailers and we recorded a stunning 70% response rate roughly, 371+ recipients responded either via a phone call or a written letter addressed to the HSBC's Business Head/s (source: HSBC, client). The below are a few responses that clearly suggest that our customers were touched by the effort: Mr Ajay Piramal Chairman, Piramal Healthcare: "It was indeed a very thoughtful gesture. I would like to say that this is the first time I have received such a unique a gift." Mr V Srinivasan, Godrej Industries: "Looks like I had created a lot of turmoil in India when born!! This is going to be preserved for my life time!" Subba Rao Amarthaluru, Group CFO, GMR: "Thank you very much I will cherish and treasure this gift both physically and emotionally" Mr Asok Bhandari, Joint President and CFO, Shree Cement Ltd "I am indeed grateful for sending me this unique gift from the pages of history. This also manifests the innovative approach ingrained in the culture of your esteemed organization." The overall response rate and the quality of each response served as a testament that our intervention worked extremely well for HSBC, and its customers. Innovations and lessons learned Such has been the popularity of this activity that it's been shared as a case study under "Best Practices for Corporate Communications" at HSBC across 18 APAC countries and is being implemented, as we speak, in the Singapore market. The activity not only outperformed in terms of the number of responses it generated but also in the quality of each of those individual response. More importantly, the activity earned HSBC saliency, talkability, appreciation and mindshare among a group of people who wield the power to influence the business the most. Lastly, and perhaps the most important point, what did "each" Direct Mailer cost? Each personalized gift cost HSBC a measly INR 3000 ($60) per frame, including patent paid to the newspaper, packaging and courier costs and elicited a response that can only be termed as priceless.

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