With a new ad campaign, YES Bank aims to regain its lost credibility

Over the past few months YES Bank has seen a rather rapid erosion in both trust and credibility, with its brand value hitting its nadir after the Reserve Bank of India imposed moratorium early this month. Keen to claw its way back up the trust meter, the bank has released an ad in select print newspapers saying that the worst is now behind them.

“We start a new journey, backed by India’s best” read the advertisements, indicating that the bank was banking on the reputation that its new management was bringing to the table. Interestingly the ads have led to a fulmination online. Several marketing experts have weighed in on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media to say that the communication falls short and that there may be a long way to go before the bank can hit the credibility tracks again.

Prabhakar Mundkur, a brand strategy advisor, ran a poll on LinkedIn, “Not an easy job. But do you guys think it reassures customers about Yes Bank? Or does it reassure non-customers? Or is this ad intended for the general public who are in dismay at what happened at Yes Bank and how it disrupted our financial systems?” He asked. The responses he got from a small and select group of marketing professionals indicated that they felt that the bank has failed to read the moment.

Reassurance said many would come only when depositors got their money back. Would that get people to bank with YES again? Therein would lie the test of the persuasive skills of the new marketing teams.

Post the investments made by various private sector banks and State Bank of India (SBI), YES Bank has been making efforts to regain the trust of its deposit-holders but it is reluctant to put an official voice to the comeback campaign. “It is not a campaign as such. The advertisements are just an assurance to the customers”, said one person aware of the development.

Such dithering does not help.

To take a cue from other brands and such credibility crises, YES Bank could turn to Nestle India and Maggi. Brand Maggi nearly lost its biggest market on the back of a health scare that led to the product going off the shelves for nearly six months. Today Maggi is a bestseller, leading the instant noodle category yet again. Suresh Narayanan, now chairman and managing director of Nestle’s India business, often reiterates the importance of the Maggi fiasco in the firm’s journey. “It is a blessing in disguise,” he has said in his interactions with the media in the past.

Nestle has slowly tweaked the Maggi brand narrative, from getting employees and users to show how safe its product is the company pitch now is that Maggi is ‘good for you’. Can YES find its way back too?

It can but it firsts needs a credible voice to speak for it say experts. A bunch of people working on its resurrection say that there is an understanding of the need to keep the brand visible and transparent. Since the day the moratorium was imposed on the private lender, the bank has made earnest efforts to reach out to their customers via emails explaining to them the situation and the various developments taking place, they said.

“The depositors have got the necessary comfort and confidence in the bank. So is it the same bank that it was a couple months ago? No it is not to the extent that there will be no run on the bank. The run has been totally controlled,” said Ashvin Parekh, managing partner at Ashvin Parekh Advisory Services.

The private lender saw its deposits plummet to Rs 1.37 trillion, erosion of 34 per cent, between September 30 and March 5 mostly due to uncertainty around the bank’s future. During the same time, the share price of the bank reached new lows. Mails were sent to customers, tweets about the status and print advertisements have been used to get the message out to the public at large.

“Employee communication has also been swift, branch communication has been done wherein whatever was specified in the gazette notification of the government was explained to them,” said a senior professional who chose to stay anonymous. The moratorium on the bank was lifted on March 18 and since then there has been no panic withdrawals by the account holders, he further pointed out.


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