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How HDFC MF seamlessly connected a traditional habit to wealth creation

HDFC Mutual Fund recently launched an interesting mega Investor Education campaign '#BarniSeAzadi'. This campaign aims to connect with wider masses, based on a deep rooted Indian insight. The campaign talks about how we Indians have traditionally always saved money in Barnis, lockers, etc. and why there is a need to let the money grow freely in instruments like mutual funds.

Watch the ad here:

As part of this unique initiative, the HDFC MF ad campaign will be spread across leading shows on Television, Social and Digital media over the next few weeks to reach the desired target audience.

In conversation with Adgully, Shyamali Basu, Executive Vice President & Head - Product, Marketing and Training, HDFC Asset Management Co Ltd, elaborates on the campaign objective, the creative thought process, taking a concept rooted in a traditional practice and seamlessly connecting it to wealth creation.

Mutual fund investment still needs education in our country. What is the objective of the # BarniSeAzadi educational campaign?

The objective or vision of HDFC Mutual Fund is to create wealth for every Indian. Wealth creation is a long term process. The ultimate formula for such growth is sound investment + time + patience. Even small denominations, over time, can create bigger wealth pools.

This being said, India has a “saving culture”, which has been prevalent for many years. It is a traditional habit to save money for difficult times. But, this saved money is simply kept idle/ aside without any growth in its value. We tend to even forget this saved cash in various corners of our homes.

#barniseazadi urges everyone to let this hard earned money grow.

The main objective of this film is to educate everyone that their saved money can be growing and simultaneously be kept aside for difficult times. We are educating investors not to keep this money aside in Barnis, under mattresses or even in Almirahs, but instead invest the same, smartly, and reap benefits for a longer period of time.

The insight is interesting. How did this insight emerge? Any research that threw this insight and how did the creative idea germinate?

The thought began from a comparison of traditional habits of saving vis-a-vis the methods of saving and investing prevalent today. It was observed that while mutual funds are the current avenue, the traditional habit of saving is to store cash in the house, in various corners, for emergencies. This concept of the “saving” has been rooted in India for quite a while now. Women of the house, from the old times to now, have been responsible for looking after household requirements. They are also the cornerstone for saving money for the entire household. The “ghar kharach” or the money given to them during auspicious festivals like Diwali is used wisely and a part of it is saved in “Kitchen Barnis, between clothes, in food jars, Pooja ghars, cupboards”, etc.

This insight led us to an analogy – ‘Achaar In A Barni’. For those who know the process of making achaar (pickle), know that the more you keep the achaar trapped in a barni, the more flavourful it becomes. We used this concept to explain that ‘Barni mein achaar pakta hai, paise nahi’.

We saw this as a seamless connect that mass India will relate to.

Who is your target audience for this campaign? How do you plan to engage with your audience besides the campaign to educate about mutual funds?

Our target audience is mass. Tier 2 and 3 cities mainly. We are connecting with every man, woman, who has kept money aside in unproductive avenues. We also want to connect with the younger generations who have seen their parents do the same. We are trying to educate this younger generation so that they invest early – “catch them young, watch them fly, right!”

Our branches have conducted branch level activities for various audiences like women savings group, police personnel, BMC officials, teachers, bank employees, etc. We might also indulge in some local activations.

We aim to make the ‘Indian Barni’ a symbol of all the places where our hard-earned money is literally trapped; it is stagnant as we are not giving it a chance to grow.

AMFI, through its campaign ‘Mutual Fund Sahi Hai’, has been educating potential investors. How is this HDFC Mutual fund campaign different?

The AMFI campaigns communicate the “what and how” questions for a mutual fund investor. They are educating about the importance of mutual funds and how to invest in the same.

While our Barni campaign answers the “Why”. We are communicating why one should invest and the reasons behind the benefits of investing in mutual funds.

What is the overall media strategy for the campaign to achieve the desired results and impact? How do you plan to measure the effectiveness of the campaign?

Our media strategy is to reach the middle class households for both younger and older generations. Hence, we have a 30-seconder TVC and 70-seconder digital campaign. We intend to reach as many household as possible with this campaign. At a local level, ground activations are in place as well. Over 130 branches took this opportunity to show the film to various different audiences and educate further about investing in mutual funds. We are taking this to various cities within departmental stores, malls, etc. Apart from this, we are using social media platforms to reach the younger generations. Social media engagement is important as well at this stage and hence, we are using our Twitter account to bring out discussions over mutual funds – the more we engage, the more we educate! We also installed innovative outdoor in Mumbai to reach out to our hard working Mumbaikars.

Needless to say, we have fantastic support from our IFAs, MFDs, RMs and the sales team who understand the value that HDFC MF brings to the table. With their help we take this initiative ahead to the actual investor as well.

The campaign’s effectiveness will be measured in terms of investor consciousness it creates. When investors consciously make an effort to understand, comprehend and then invest in mutual funds according to their individual financial goals, we would have succeeded in our endeavour.


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