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Banks count on image makeover for growth

Competition in the public sector banking space is hotting up like never before. It’s not about products and services but the amount of spends on advertisements by the clutch of PSU banks. If figures are anything to go by, adspends by banks have registered a whopping 195% growth in 2005 over the previous year.

Figures collated by TAM Media Research and available with DNA Money indicate that banks have spent a whopping Rs 66.30 crore in 2005, compared to Rs 22.4 crore in 2004. Last year saw the largest chunk of adspends by the biggest bank State Bank of India (SBI) with a 30% share. Allahabad Bank and Bank of Baroda followed this with 16% and 12% shares respectively.

The first phase of going through a complete image makeover is already under way by almost all PSU banks. More homogenous across banks, this attempt is aimed at shedding the long perceived staid image associated with PSU banking.

Now it’s more about changing marketing tack. Keeping specific marketing strategies in mind, these banks are working on campaigns, distinctly different from each other - the primary objective being, grabbing the maximum mind share.

For example SBI, which built its separate campaigns to target the strength of its retail banking products, chose the idea of challenge or ‘bet’ to reach out to consumers.

According to an SBI official, although SBI was in any case the largest bank, there was a need to expand the target group and reach out to the youth. Moreover, consumers really needed to know that SBI was strong on retail and hence the campaign attempted to depict that.

O.N. Singh, chairman and managing director, Allahabad Bank said, “As far as Allahabad Bank is concerned, we wanted to drive home the fact that our product lines and delivery channels were suitable for both generations - the father and the son in the new campaign.”

S. C. Gupta, chairman and managing director, Punjab National Bank said, “Visibility, has become very important given the changes coming about in the financial sector.”



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