Here’s Why India’s First Fully Integrated Social Bank Account Was Launched And The User Response So Far

Karthi Marshan, Head of Marketing at Kotak Mahindra Bank talks about Kotak Jifi, why it was launched and how user response has been so far

Kotak JiFi

Kotak Mahindra Bank’s journey on social media was a cautious one in the initial days. Our journey on social was a much more watchful and thought out initiative, said Karthi Marshan, Executive Vice President & Head Group Marketing at Kotak Mahindra Bank. “Like most marketers we were also like the deer in headlights. While likes and others things were sold to marketers we refrained ourselves from buying that but we did not want to sit out too.”

In an extensive video conversation with Lighthouse Insights, Karthi shared two very exciting experiments the bank had done on social media initially. One was launching a Facebook-like platform for Kotak employees to replace the intranet and the other being the social road trip. The embedded video below talks about both the experiments along with Kotak’s investment on Twitter for customer service.

There were no brakes on Kotak’s experiments. Last year along with IBS, the digital agency based out in Mumbai, it launched Jifi - a first-of-its-kind fully integrated social bank account designed for the tech-savvy socially connected generation of today. Jifi integrates social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook with mainstream banking for secure and seamless on-the-go information.

Idea behind Kotak Jifi campaign

Talking more about the idea behind the Jifi Campaign, Karthi informed that over the time the bank had realized that it was not able to convert its leads from digital. One of the reasons the bank found out was that the segment comprising of young people with a new job had problems with the minimum balance attached with the product. “So we took the dimension of the young people who were very internet and social media savvy; they also wanted tools to do their ecommerce activities and these were also the people who would be unlikely to visit the bank. This gave rise to a product like Jifi.”

Jifi allows creation of your account by signing up via Facebook or email to get an invite. Account updates can be received on Twitter as a Direct Message (DM) by simply tweeting to the Twitter handle @KotakJifi with predefined hashtags. The bank’s dedicated Twitter handle @kotaksync will send out these messages, thereby eliminating human intervention and maintaining confidentiality. “While we removed all physical intervention for our target audience, the only physical interaction happened due to the RBI regulation,” he shared.

User response for Kotak Jifi

The campaign was driven by digital without any traditional spends. “We haven’t done any traditional communication for Jifi and even within digital the bulk of the journey has been social discovery.”

Citing an example of user engagement, he said that there were few users who knew the product very well and were maxing out on the reward points. “While it was a bit of a problem for us, we chose to celebrate them. We identified them, asked their views on the product.”

Kotak Jifi

One of the findings of this exercise was that in the top three high point earners at that point of time, was a sixty-year-old retired industrialist at number two. Karthi further added, “While we were thinking that social and digital is about the young, it turned out that you don’t need to be physically young, you just have to be an open mind. Today our thought process has evolved and doesn’t necessarily have an age filter; it now has a mindset filter to it.”

Even though Jifi has tasted its first success, Karthi was quick to point out that Jifi may not be perfect but it is a first attempt from the bank trying to do something new for this financial segment audience. “It is nascent yet but it will probably mushroom and balloon before we know it much like Whatsapp and Facebook. So we want to be ready for it.”