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Royal Sundaram  Brand

 

  Royal Sundaram
Royal Sundaram
Hum drum
June 9, 2003

Ever since the Indian government opened up the Indian insurance sector to private players, there has been a flurry of activity in this sector. Until recently, the only players in the general insurance sector were a handful of government enterprises, which were equal in their mediocrity. Today, the market is full of private sector enterprises desperately trying to make a mark in this potentially huge market.

 
The general insurance industry has always run a poor second to life insurance and therefore is understandably estimated to be a mere fraction of the size of the life insurance industry. Life insurance is seen as a wise investment that not only has an attractive rate of return but also impressive tax benefits. General insurance by contrast is seen as an unnecessary expense and is used mostly in cases where insurance cover is mandatory.

Arguably the first task of any general insurance company in India is to build the category’s relevance and expand the market. This task is made even tougher as there is a popular perception that general insurance claims are not settled promptly or honestly.

 
 
Royal Sundaram Royal Sundaram is a joint venture between Royal & Sun Alliance of the UK and the Sundaram group of Tamil Nadu in India. This venture has its work cut out for it. With very little category relevance and poor levels of brand differentiation between players, the task ahead is daunting.

Royal Sundaram has tried to differentiate itself by using the analogy of cricket -- a game followed with an extraordinary passion by most Indians. The analogy, however, is poorly and inconsistently implemented. The tagline “Beyond Expectations” seems an unconvincing show of bravado aimed at reassuring prospects that this brand is aggressive and will exceed customer expectations (as opposed to earlier players who often fell woefully short of their customers’ expectations).

One would imagine that the brand would use its website as a means of building category relevance and explain how this brand is prepared to provide a totally different experience from earlier brands that were customer unfriendly. Given that the category does not have much demand, one would assume that the website would aggressively attempt to build demand. If these are the expectations then they are sadly unfulfilled. Royalsundaram.com (www.royalsundaram.com), is a lackluster, boring and highly uninspiring site. It lacks basic marketing savvy with neither a selling story nor an educational tale.

The brand online seems to be highly self-absorbed, focusing more on itself than on what the site visitor may require. There is a great deal of self-importance and pompousness reflected in the site. Possibly the brand was trying to build credibility by stating its credentials. Unfortunately, the tone and manner leave little to make the visitor believe that the brand has any intentions of putting the customer first. There is a half-hearted attempt at educating the site visitor by providing a section titled Insurance Guide and another section with a glossary of insurance terms.

The About Us section is drab and uninspiring. The section that depicts the various policies Royal Sundaram offers is poorly crafted with little coherence. The brand’s presumption appears to be that the prospect is interested and has already decided on the brand -- never a good way to approach a site visitor. Feedback, Contact Us, Careers, Branch locator, Media Centre and Help sections are unexciting but serve their purposes adequately.

 
*Due to the constantly changing environment of websites, some reviews may no longer reflect the current website for this brand.
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