#MarketingExcellenceAwards spills: Tokio Marine CMO on 'bigger, better, bolder' plans for 2021

Gilbert Pak, CMO of  Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore (TMLS) was shortlisted this year for CMO of the Year and Marketing Innovator of the Year at the Marketing Excellence awards. The team was also shortlisted for Excellence in Communications/Public Relations and Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility as the brand positioned itself as not only the go-to planning partner for consumers, but also a company that truly cares for the well-being of frontliners and vulnerable communities during the pandemic.

To showcase its goal to help these communities, TMLS and Three60° Consulting worked to come up with the TMLS #goCare Campaign. We speak to Pak on his plans for 2021.  

This interview is done as part of MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s winners and finalists’ interview series for Marketing Excellence Awards 2020. To find out more about the awards, click here.

What are some of the expectations your consumers now have for your brand?

Pak: Amidst a heavily saturated market, consumers and customers are not simply looking for the best financial solutions, but more importantly, a dependable financial planning partner they can entrust their aspirations to and someone they know they can count on.

With this, I was inspired to hatch and launch a holistic marketing campaign, which is now known as #go8. I envisioned it to be a seamless extension of TMLS’s priority to meet all financial planning needs by creating best-fit, innovative solutions that truly care. #go8 furthers the company's holistic vision and mission of becoming the Go-To Financial Planning Partner and extensively demonstrates our full suite of customer-centric solutions catered to eight planning approaches.

By understanding their life milestones and planning motivations well, we can swiftly address their financial concerns with innovative solutions. As trusted representatives of the company, this is a commitment we strive to uphold even as we continue to build strong, lasting relationships with our valued customers.

How has your marketing/your clients marketing plans shifted this year?

Pak: COVID-19 is, in every sense, a black swan event which has brought about unsettling disruptions and unfortunate interruptions. With the pandemic touching almost every aspect of our everyday lives, TMLS endeavours to embrace and exemplify our positive tenets through heartfelt actions, which began with the prompt rollout of #goCare. 

With the announcement of the #goCare campaign on 31 January 2020, TMLS was the First Life Insurer in Singapore to provide financial assistance relief to affected policyholders. As a natural progression of #goCare campaign, the second wave of the care initiatives offered support to and shared cheer with the community-at-large and our frontline heroes.

As savvy marketers, we are constantly on our feet, being passionate and purposeful about keeping our brand current and top-of-mind; even when facing the most challenging of times.

Since my appointment with TMLS in August 2019, I have taken swift action to enhance the company’s marketing and branding efforts by spearheading a series of impactful marketing campaigns that effectively present TMLS’s comprehensive suite of market-competitive and customer-centric solutions, under the theme of being the #GoToPartner for all financial planning needs.

In our capacities as representatives of TMLS, it is imperative that we always think in our customers’ best interests. I am heartened to share that our caring efforts and initiatives have been recognised with numerous accolades at prestigious awards this year.

What are some of the trends you see carrying on post-pandemic, and how are you readying your workforce to be ready with these trends?

Pak: Melding both digital transformation and agile working spaces, the hybrid workplace has everything in place to break down communication barriers and foster organisational growth. This is definitely a directional and defining shift as we move into the post-pandemic world.

Digital Transformation: By reducing the need for hard copies, more physical space and time is freed up for our people. Through the introduction of technology to speed up work processes, we are also making green efforts to save resources. These streamlined processes has also accounted for reduced man hours and labour cost savings.

Agile working spaces: The circuit breaker has allowed us to rethink our working processes as well as reallocate our working spaces. Through the consolidation of office space and clever spatial planning, we have created a new and invigorating working environment for our returning staff. Inspired by nature’s hues and shapes, the refreshed spaces will help to promoting an agile workplace culture. Created with attention to every detail, I am certain this rejuvenation will boost the TMLS spirit of innovation, collaboration and communication.

What do you think makes for great marketing these days?

Pak: Consumers today can easily access a veritable wealth of information anytime, anywhere. They are increasingly spoilt with a myriad of solutions and suggestions, right at their fingertips. This all sounds like it would enhance and elevate the consumer journey; but does it really?

Overwhelming choices can hamper and impair the decision-making process. I hope to cut through the clutter and deliver innovative solutions that is truly reflective of our values, vision and mission to be the #GoToPartner for our customers.

Visual and video storytelling are powerful tools that bridge connections with both potential consumers and valued customers. One effective communication method we utilised in #go8 was the six-minute long campaign video; strung together through the narrative of the #GoToPartner. Social media has clearly changed the way we interact and communicate, but I believe it is still vital to first create content that engages, educates and empowers.      

How are you planning for 2021?

Pak: The pandemic has set us thinking and preparing for uncertainty and unpredictability. With change set to be the only constant, consumers and customers are looking for answers and assurance. This will put our responsibility, resolve and readiness to the ultimate test. Not only do we need to push the boundaries of creativity, we need to innovate and deliver faster than ever.

If 2020 was about caring for and supporting our customers and communities through trying times, I hope to go beyond this by launching a series of integrated marketing solutions to propel a thriving and flourishing 2021. It will no doubt be a "Bigger, Better, Bolder" year for all of us!