Shawn Lim
Apr 19, 2023

The CMO's MO: Income's Dhiren Amin on brand culture, sustainability and stand-up comedy

All for the metaverse, "commercially accountable and people-focused," Income's Dhiren Amin is a full-time marketer with a side specialty of stand-up comedy and hosting Bollywood trivia nights.

Dhiren Amin, Income
Dhiren Amin, Income

The CMO's MO: 9 questions with dynamic APAC marketing leaders, insights and personalities revealed. 

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Campaign's series 'The CMO's MO' is for conversational and crisp interviews with leading marketers of the region. For the latest iteration, we sat down with Income Insurance's Dhiren Amin to understand the insurer's social mission to support Singaporeans in financial inclusion and empowerment.

This includes Income's support towards catering to the needs of Singapore’s senior community as well as efforts to drive awareness on mental well-being. As part of Income's 'People-First' approach, the start of 2023 saw Amin, previously CMO, wear the additional hat of chief customer officer on top of his existing marketing duties to reflect Income’s core focus of putting customer's interest at the forefront. Amin now leads customer experience to drive more meaningful outreach across various customer touchpoints.

Scroll below for his wide-ranging interview with Campaign, where he shines a light on his marketing agenda, his belief in the metaverse, the Shah Rukh campaign he wished he was a part of and secret side talents.  

1. 2023: survive or thrive? Elaborate

I will have to go with “survive”. We are currently bearing the brunt of the worsening price-wage spiral due to the prolonged war in Ukraine, persistent geopolitical tension, and inflationary pressure. There are also signs of a global recession. With this backdrop, growth targets are looking steep. However, to remain competitive and successful, organisations will still need to continue investments in areas that drive growth such as digitalisation and sustainability and other more specific ones that differ by company. 

2. Where are you investing your marketing budgets this year? In what areas are you increasing or cutting spend?

Marketing investments have definitely changed rapidly during and post-pandemic. Marketing spends are now focused on initiatives that drive business results directly even though it should always be focused on building short-and-long term preference that drives sales.  

The marketing challenge is hence building long-term brand value through a series of “business-driven” initiatives. It’s an awesome challenge and opportunity at the same time that forces marketers to build brands through solid rigor around execution and channel-optimisation especially since consumers have a strong desire to stay connected with one another across various mediums. 

3. Give us one example to convince our readers that your brand is walking the talk on sustainability

Sustainability is about delivering positive environmental and social impact. Income was set up to plug a real social need by making insurance accessible to workers in the 1970s. Today, Income is focused on being “people first” and is thus, committed to making insurance accessible for all, including those who are underserved. 

For example, our Covid support schemes helped more than 50,000 Singaporeans at the height of the pandemic, and also a suite of Silver products and senior-focused health underwriting questionnaire supported seniors’ access to insurance.  

With Snack, our lifestyle-based micro-insurance, we promote financial inclusivity amongst those who are new to insurance and require more flexible control of their budgets by allowing them to stack their insurance protection via micro premiums. With Income OrangeForce, we are also the only insurer to provide roadside assistance to people who are involved in motor accidents and have committed $100 million over the next 10 years to support causes that champion education for youth-in-need, seniors’ well-being and the environment. 

Towards environmental impact, we are committed to being net zero by 2050 and reducing our investments in coal related organisations by 2030. In 2023, we will be strengthening these efforts by bringing back the Income Eco Run to promote a zero-waste lifestyle amongst Singaporeans. We also have a sustainability scorecard that sets annual targets. This forms part of our corporate scorecard performance. 

4. What do you feel separates your brand culture from others?

It’s that the organisation’s raison d’etre is directly reflected in the brand’s culture and its purpose, which is “People first”. Income was formed as an organisation that makes insurance financially accessible to Singaporeans.  

This ethos of putting people first reflects how we craft our products, services and experiences. The brand – in the communication and experience efforts merely reflects this reality. And the consistency in which we execute translates into impactful results – it's why 1 in every 3 Singaporeans has an Income policy.  

From a social impact perspective, Income currently observes the highest brand association amongst insurers, tied to empowering those in need through our products and initiatives, as revealed in our latest Social Impact Survey. 

5. Complete the sentence: “Today’s CMO must be ....”.

A commercial craftsman – commercially valuable. That is, must show significant, direct impact on the organisation’s in-year business targets and long term brand ambitions using the crafting tools that they have at their disposal. 

6. Trendjacking the metaverse train: is it for your brand or not?

The short answer is yes, for the right customer segment and for the right needs. As a VR iteration of the internet, its potential seems immense but real, tangible impact is yet to be fully known.  

It will naturally be more appealing to the generation born in the late 90s and early 2000s, as early adopters, even today. And as an audience in which Income needs to win, creating compelling and immersive customer experiences in the metaverse will be a natural consideration to explore. 

And of course, if assets and experiences in the virtual worlds start to carry tangible value for customers, it creates an alternative and exciting revenue opportunity for insurers as we explore new ways to engage our customers. 

7. What kind of a CMO are you? Answer using maximum three adjectives.

Commercially accountable, people-focused and “crafting-obsessed” about creative products and marketing solutions without compromising on quality. 

8. Tell us one personal thing about yourself that others might not know.

I dabble in stand-up comedy in my free time. And I can host a Bollywood quiz night, with little or no notice. 

9. What’s your favourite brand campaign that you participated in or wish you had?

Most recently, I participated in the campaign around mental health coverage for Income’s product - Star Secure Pro. 

It spoke of an important topic around the death of a loved one being a potential trigger for mental health illnesses, a fact that is true but not spoken about much. Star Secure Pro is a life insurance product that provides mental wellness benefits for customers, which is uncommon in the category of insurance typically focused only on post-death and critical illness benefits. The campaign ad broached sensitivities surrounding mental illnesses and the importance of achieving mental well-being, with the father picking up the phone to get help – conveying a message that mental conditions can occur to anyone, and that support is available. 

As for a brand campaign I wished I had participated in – that would be Cadbury’s Celebrations Shah Rukh Khan My Ad. It is the perfect combination of a lofty business challenge, solved by marrying the brand’s ethos with a smart use of technology. This was created for Diwali, where Shah Rukh Khan (SRK), one of the biggest movie stars was the face of the Cadbury ads to help any small business owners who want to promote their products. 

Through the use of machine learning and voice recognition, small business owners were able to customise and recreate their own 'My Ad with SRK' mentioning the local brand which allowed them to send their customised ad to their customers. The campaign went viral with more than 130,000 individual SRK ads created, and small business owners saw an increase of 35% in sales. 

Source:
Campaign Asia

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