How do Legacy Banks Endear themselves to Millennial Customers?

How do Legacy Banks Endear themselves to Millennial Customers?

Azmat Habibulla, Chief Marketing Officer, South Indian Bank, 0

Let me start with a story about a well-known footwear brand who established their presence in India, way back in 1920. Since then it has been a ubiquitous brand and a household name, for its comfortable affordable and durable school shoes, for decades it enjoyed raging success. So strong was the brand that most don’t even realise that this is a MNC brand.

Fast forwarding to the 2000s, with the millennials becoming an important segment and tough competition by other international brands on the style quotient, this brand, like many others, transformed to stay relevant to the youth. How did they do it?

•The brand created a sub brand with trendy innovative designs attracting growing and aspiring youth.

•They created a distinct presence in the kids and women wear segment.

•They associated with youth icons, influencers and young actors to connect with this segment.

•They followed the strategy of premiumization, different from the strategy they followed for years, offering affordable comfortable shoes.

•They created a contemporary and stylish look in their stores, inviting youngsters to walk in.

Relevance is the key. There are many stories and case studies like the above, even for iconic and legacy brands on how the young audience connect is created and maintained.

Why is this generation so important?

Dream Demographics/ World’s Most Powerful Consumers: Indian Trend-Setters
Millennials, are perhaps the most marquee group of customers for any business. Globally, millennials or Gen Y, account for roughly 23 percent of the world population, or 1.8 billion people. In India, millennials are 34 percent of the country’s total population. The last few years have seen India become the world’s largest millennial market, drawing attention from across the world to Indian millennials.

Fascinatingly, Indian millennials’ contribution to their national economy is of particular significance. Millennials in India, unlike in other countries, are among the main breadwinners of their households. The median age in the country is 28.4 years, which makes it one of the youngest major nations in the world.
Looking at sheer numbers and the disruptive force that Millennials are becoming, this generation can no longer be ignored.

The Millennial Puzzle
The millennials are a completely different class of customers when compared to their earlier generations.
Let’s start by understanding what makes them tick.

They are digital savvy, not only believing in digital first but mobile first. They want things fast, easy and instantly. They also believe that the world is at the tipping point on environmental and social issues. In the same lines they are also looking for experiences rather than products and are getting away from ownerships to live in the moment.

Today the millennial customer expects more personalized messaging from his/her brand, who he/she looks at as a partner, rather than a service provider

What does this mean for brands like ours? Iconic institutions like ours have carved a reputation for themselves based on a rich history of having served people for decades. They have been associated with multiple generations of families, enjoying the trust of multiple generations and having strong relationships with their customers. They have left an indelible imprint on communities by helping in their development, playing a key role in the Indian development story.

However, frequently one will hear stakeholders lamenting that millennials shy away from being associated with them.

It’s not that trust is not important for the youth. It is important, especially for a bank. Its just that convenience, experience, simplicity and instant deliver take priority. While there is no compromise in delivering a great UI/UX on all digital platforms and products that meet the lifestyle and expectations of the youth. Altering the look and aesthetics of various brand aspects to create a feeling of freshness, coupled with the legacy of trust is where we get a winning combination.

Being digitally native and having an exposure to too much internet content, this generation has a limited attention span. It’s imperative for legacy brands to communicate through the right digital mediums, through the right influencers by creating short brand content as small DIY videos or longer ones with a heightened emotional connect and engagement.

The youth are driven by purpose and get more attached to brands which are purpose led. The digital conversations to them have to be more youthful, engaging and attuned to the current reality. Moreover, these campaigns have to strike conversations around environment, community development, financial literacy, etc.

Today the millennial customer expects more personalized messaging from his/her brand, who he/she looks at as a partner, rather than a service provider.
So how do legacy brands endear themselves to the millennials?

The answer to this ever imposing question is actually fairly ‘simple’.

In my view, it’s much like an elder who has been around and knows what he/she is doing but one who is also like a friend who understands and connects.

This is the simple winning mantra