Interview: Sanjay Tripathy, Senior Executive Vice President – marketing, product, digital & e-commerce, HDFC Life
1. The job: Insurance is a very hard-to-differentiate industry. Consumers can’t differentiate the products and features of one brand from another. Insurance products, unlike cars, mobiles or clothing, are intangible. Communicating to my target audience about the relevance of insurance is a tough job. As it is challenging, so is it exciting. I love it that in the limiting scope of the industry, we have managed to pull off some really great campaigns that have touched our consumers’ hearts.
Every day, we keep experimenting with new avenues of communications and we get to learn a lot in the process. For example, we are the first mover in utilising the digital space to the hilt. Our marketing mix is very dynamic, but we have continued with the same brand thought since 2005. It has been an incredible journey for me.
I am a very optimistic person and like to make my ‘own’ day. I like to try and explore new areas, and venture into uncharted territories. I read and learn on my job every day.
2 The weekdays: Weekdays are very hectic for me. As I am an early riser, I can complete a lot each day. I am a health freak and love to give some time to my physical well-being every day. As it’s difficult to make it in the evening, I usually do yoga or go for a run in the morning.
A regular workday at office is spent in strategising, meeting my team, vendors, clients, etc. Catching up and spending time with my team is always an interesting task for me. As a brand, HDFC Life is very active on social media; hence I also take some time out to answer questions / messages from our followers.
And I do not chat about work all the time. We also discuss films, politics, fitness, etc. I also look forward to impromptu team meetings.
I make it a point to leave office on time, so that I am fresh and ready for another day at work. I also believe that as marketing professionals, we need to spend more time outside office and meet different types of people. It enriches you and gives you a better understanding of what your customer is like.
3. The weekend: Weekends are totally ‘me’ time. I catch up on reading during early morning. After reading, I go for either for a run or a
swim or to the gym, or for a brisk walk. For me, no weekend is complete without some form of intensive exercise. On Sunday mornings I go for a long run.
Daytime is family time. I go out for lunch with my wife and daughter, catch up on TV shows that I love watching. During evening, I spend time with my daughter and oversee her studies. I end the day with dinner with friends or family or a good movie!
4. The toys: I love my iPad and iPhone.
5. The logos: I respect brands that have broken convention to get people talking about their activities. I like iconic brands such as Google, Apple, Starbucks, Nike, Disney for their innovations and universal appeal.
The brand HDFC Life is, of course, close to my heart. I am extremely proud of the fact that we pioneered the values of ‘self respect’ and ‘dignity’ in insurance while every other brand was playing the plain old vanilla ‘tax saving’ or ‘fear appeal’ card. When many brands have changed their brand positioning every now and then, we have continued with the same for 10 long years because it’s relevant even today!
The brands that I am loyal to are Apple, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, FCUK and Nike.
—As told to Banasree Purkayastha