For the past decade, ICICI Securities has been empowering 2.6 million Indians to seamlessly access the capital markets through ICICIdirect.com, an award winning and pioneering online brokerage platform. We are committed to spreading capital market literacy across segments and, as such, have been avidly exploring various mediums that may help us reach out to different strata of investors.
Social media has been a key element of this strategy. Our ICICIdirect social media campaign, for example, not only allows us to engage with our customers, but also to educate ‘netizens’ on ways to attain their financial goals through a fun and interactive platform.
One of the key pillars of our growth strategy in the Indian marketplace is to attract younger customers. We want to connect with them at the beginning of their earning years and then build a lifelong relationship.
Social media is central to our efforts to reach 20-30 year-olds. But to really connect with this audience, we took our social media strategy one step further by creating a ‘gamification’ strategy that is perfectly suited to those younger customers who have grown up with social media and online gaming.
A few years ago, we created the ICICIdirect Centre for Financial Learning to help improve financial literacy for anyone interested in investing, regardless of their age or level of expertise.
Our social media extension—Hangout—which launched in early 2013, using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube is a natural extension of this. Although it’s available to anyone, it’s primarily a way for us to engage with younger people who are just starting to think seriously about their financial futures.
We use each channel to its respective advantage. On Twitter and Facebook, we share “Tip of the Day” messages and inspirational quotes from famous investors, and feature quick-burst quizzes. On Facebook and YouTube, we run short educational videos about topics ranging from the basics of mutual funds to primers on futures and options.
But it is on Facebook and YouTube that our gamification strategy really comes to life.
Hangout features two animated characters, Gyaano the genie and MoBo the money boss. Each represents a different type of investor: Gyaano is impetuous and thinks financial success just happens ‘magically’, while MoBo is the voice of reason and experience.
On Facebook and YouTube, MoBo and Gyaano take visitors through games involving various investment scenarios. Visitors can play around with the scenarios and choose the various pop-up options that the characters offer.
In addition, Facebook features our Virtual Stocks game, where users can sign up and use a virtual pot of money to buy stocks during live trading hours. It enables them to experiment, experience and learn the stock market in a safe environment.
Using characters like Gyaano and MoBo within our social media strategy isn’t just a gimmick. Each represents a type of investor who might visit our site—from the inexperienced to the more deliberate, conservative investor.
Using personas helps our visitors identify with the scenarios they’re playing in the games, while aligning our advice with the real-life choices they face like, for example, is that dream home easily within reach, as the perpetual optimist Gyaano thinks? Or will it require the kind of careful financial planning that MoBo suggests?
Of course, MoBo’s advice is invariably the sensible option and represents the kind of person we want to educate our customers to become. Armed with MoBo’s sage advice, we then direct visitors to our website at icicidirect.com, where they can learn more about the products that will help them achieve their financial goals.
We firmly believe that by using gamification and personas like MoBo and Gyaano, we can engage customers and provide a financial learning experience that is both fun and friendly. We’re introducing young people to financial concepts while avoiding jargon and helping them understand complex scenarios.
Evidence to date shows that our strategy is working. In just the first few months, ICICIdirect Hangout has become the most viewed site in the Indian financial space with 600,000 views on Youtube (Data as on May6, 2013) and the highest Fan interaction on Facebook. By positioning ICICIdirect as a trusted partner in our newfound friends’ financial futures, we hope to become their institution of choice.
By Vineet Arora, Executive Vice President, ICICI Securities