Staff Reporters
Nov 18, 2020

40 Under 40 2020: Amir Widjaya, OCBC NISP

Making a traditional bank into a viable player among young people is no easy marketing task. Amir Widjaya is making it happen through digital innovations and clever cultural collaborations.

40 Under 40 2020: Amir Widjaya, OCBC NISP
Top-tier talent transforming APAC media and marcomms 

Amir Widjaya 

EVP, head marketing and digital communication 

Amir Widjaya is not a typical banker—not because he was made an SVP before he turned 30 and an EVP for a multinational bank before 40, but because he analyses problems like a finance fiend and solves them creatively like a marketing magician.

One problem Widjaya faced was to turn a conservative bank like OCBC NISP into a hip brand to appeal to young Indonesians. The challenge of giving the bank a modern, progressive facelift was compounded by internal resistance to change, lack of credentials to pitch leading agencies or collaborators, and a marketing budget spread so thin that it was far below that of the competition.

But Widjaya thrives in adversity. His perseverance was also driven by a personal mission to improve the financial literacy and security of Indonesian millennials. Amidst the big spenders who have little savings or investments, Widjaya saw a gap: Many banking products were marketed with a conventional approach, which was a major turn-off for young people.

Hence, his left and right brain went to work. The banking lead of 15 years decided to give a new spin to finance by fusing it with what young people love: art, music, film and fashion. Launching a flagship digital banking service called Nyala (“ignite”), he tapped into Indonesian youth’s burning desire to level up in life. This was pulled off with a collaboration with international rap star Rich Brian, who was proof that an Indonesian underdog could make it on the world stage with determination and hard work.

In 2020, Widjaya also led a team-up with fashion designers, models and choreographers to kick off the #BeraniCuan  (“Dare to Profit”) campaign, which transformed wealth management into a lifestyle product—a fashion line—for youth. He also initiated a #Save20 feature into the OCBC NISP mobile application, which allows young people to opt for automated deduction of Rp20,000 (US$1.42) daily from their savings account to purchase an investment product of their choice.

In the past year, the campaigns helmed by Widjaya are bearing fruit. The customer-acquisition rate through Nyala digital banking has grown five times, on top of around a 40% increase in wealth and term-saving products sold through digital channels. OCBC NISP also scored 19 international marketing awards, as perception on it shifted from being a musty bank to a chic, relevant brand. 

Top-tier talent transforming APAC media and marcomms 


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