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Before we begin, I would like you to answer a question; think about some of the most prominent banks in India you know. It won’t be a surprise if ICICI Bank is one of the first names that come to your mind!

ICICI Bank (Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation in India) has been one of the most prominent and reliable financial services companies since its establishment in 1994. With a market capitalization of $75 Billion and a customer base of more than 52 million, ICICI Bank has become a household name in India. 

How did ICICI Bank rise to such prominence? How did the company market its products and become a trusted brand among customers? Today’s article explores the rise and growth of ICICI Bank, the company’s products and services, as well as the marketing strategies that helped the bank achieve the massive success it enjoys today.

History and Rise of ICICI Bank

Formed at the initiative of the World Bank in 1955, The ICICI Foundation was established as a financial institution to finance long-term and short-term projects undertaken by various Indian businesses. Until the liberalization of the Indian economy in the 1990s, ICICI Foundation focused on project finance and the provision of long-term funds to industries. 

As the Indian markets became more integrated with the world economy, ICICI came up with various financial services and products to a broader clientele base, such as investment banking, life insurance, venture capital, and asset management. In 1994, ICICI Bank was incorporated into the ICICI Foundation. In 1999, it became the first Indian company and the first financial institution to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. 

Moreover, in 2002, ICICI and its subsidiaries were merged in what is known as a reverse merger, wherein a private company becomes a public company with the acquisition of another public company and without raising capital.

ICICI Bank now has a vast network of 5275 branches and 13,846 ATMs across India and created a presence in 17 countries, including Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Dubai. The company had also acquired a 5% ownership in Yes Bank and has contributed to the setting up several Indian institutions to establish better financial infrastructure. For instance, the bank has played a dominant role in setting up CRISIL as India’s first credit rating agency and CIBIL as a repository of credit information.

The Rise, Fall and (probable) Rise of YES BANK

Marketing and Product Strategies

As we talked about before, ICICI Bank has contributed immensely towards building the infrastructure of the Indian Financial Services Sector. However, that is not the only reason why ICICI Bank is a reliable and popular brand amongst the audience. The bank’s innovative product portfolio has enabled the company to shape traditional banking systems into a digitally and technically advanced system. 

With its tagline “Khayal Aapka,” ICICI Bank strives to leverage its people, technology, speed, and financial capital to be the leading financial services provider in India. In the past 28 years, ICICI Bank has aggressively created a positive brand image in the market. What distinguishes the bank from its competitors is the unique appeal of its products and services. The bank uses demographic and psychographic segmentation to segment its audience clearly and cater to its clientele accordingly. 

Usually, with finance-related matters, many may struggle to understand the technicalities and manage their wealth efficiently. Moreover, due to inflation, unemployment, and other such prevailing risks, it has become quite a challenge for financial services companies and banks to maintain consumer trust and loyalty. ICICI strives to create better experiences for its customers and users.

Over time, ICICI bank expanded its network to Tier 2 and 3 cities in India, making financial services and banking more accessible to large, more diverse segments. Usually, the primary customers of ICICI Bank are professionals and regular wage-earners who are looking out for faster and more convenient banking facilities. A majority of the clientele belong to diverse age groups, come from middle and upper-middle-class backgrounds, and work in various professions and industries. 

Moreover, ICICI Bank has also reached out to the rural areas in India that urgently need financial services, with customized products suitable for microfinance businesses, self-help groups, farmers’ finance groups, and enterprise credit. 

Talking about advertisements and marketing activities, it is usually assumed that banking has a serious tonality it needs to maintain. In the case of ICICI Bank, however, the company has utilized rational and emotional appeal to leverage a more extensive customer base and retain its existing audiences. One of the examples of such lighthearted advertising would be the advertisement series for the bank’s digital platform Mobile. 

The company aims to show that its digital banking services platform makes our everyday lives more straightforward and convenient with these advertisements. The advertisements show how many banking requirements will be fulfilled without actually visiting the bank branch. They have demonstrated inanimate objects with human-like aspirations and needs to achieve their goals without ever reaching a bank.

Another example of a well-implemented advertisement campaign initiated by ICICI Bank is #FundYourOwnWorth, which advertises the company’s exclusively designed savings account for women. Here, the advertisement acts as an encouraging force for the female audience to fuel their dreams and hopes and break all stereotypes. 

In the above advertisement, the company also portrays its “customer first” value in a positive light by exhibiting its efforts to care for important little things that matter to a customer – such as a listening ear, a warm handshake, and a kind word. 

A diverse product base, a clientele base hailing from various unique backgrounds, and a robust marketing strategy have resulted in the massive marketing success and customer loyalty that ICICI Bank enjoys today.

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Lessons from ICICI Bank’s Marketing Strategy

Usually, when thinking about any financial services or banking company, the very first thing that may come into your mind would be confusing technical jargon, complicated economic activities, and a ton of paperwork. However, ICICI Bank has gone out of its way to create a friendlier perspective towards banking and finance for its audience. 

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By adapting to a customer-first approach, the company has attracted the right audience. Still, it has also demystified financial services and products for a large Indian population who are relatively new to investing, saving, and budgeting their wealth. 

Garnering the attention of target audiences on a large scale is not an easy task. But thanks to a diverse range of services and products and a marketing strategy that connects customers with the company on an emotional level, ICICI Bank achieved the goal of making banking more accessible and creating a positive and efficient banking experience for millions of its users.


Author

Anushka Raghava (she/her) is an undergraduate student majoring in Economics and Psychology from Delhi University. A huge fan of books, music, and iced coffee, Anushka loves to broaden her knowledge about various topics and to engage in discussions about issues that matter.

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