#PRAwards 2021 spills: AIA SG looks to emerge out of 2021 completely transformed

AIA Singapore, alongside PR partner Ogilvy Singapore, came up with its #EmbracingNewNorms campaign, leading them to impress the judges and win the gold award for Best PR Campaign: Banking/Financial Services at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's recent PR Awards. AIA faced the challenge of sustainably positioning itself as more than just a transactional payor to its clients. Through various strategies and executions, AIA successfully yielded remarkable results through its #EmbracingNewNorms campaign.

In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, chief customer and digital officer, AIA Singapore, Melita Teo, shared what she felt was the proudest achievement for AIA in 2020, and some of the communication trends she sees being carried on post-pandemic.

This interview is done as part of MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s winners and finalists’ interview series for PR Awards 2021. To find out more about the awards, click here.

What would you say was the biggest accomplishment for the whole PR/communications community in 2020?

Teo: 2020 was the year that Singaporeans and the rest of the world faced the biggest global disruptions to date. Amidst all the unprecedented challenges, it has been inspiring to see marketers and PR practitioners across all industries turn the global crisis into an opportunity to creatively pivot.

I would say that our biggest and most significant accomplishment is how we gone above and beyond and rallied together to provide comprehensive and adequate support to the wider community when they need it the most.

What would you say was your proudest achievement of the year?

Teo: For us at AIA Singapore, COVID-19 threatened the delivery of our brand promise to enable healthier, longer, and better lives amidst physical restrictions and disruptions to our major assets and strengths. We knew then that it was time to double down on our duty as Singaporeans’ partner in life through the good times and bad, and deliver on our life-long commitment now more than ever.

Looking back, I am immensely proud of how we have done so while remaining resilient and emerging stronger than before.

By staying true to what we have always done best and always striving to do better, we remain committed to enabling Singaporeans to live their best and healthiest now and in the long-term.

What are some communications trends you see carrying on post-pandemic?

Teo: We have already observed a shift in priorities with businesses pivoting their focus towards driving online engagement and personalising the customer experience; and we do expect this trend to continue and even intensify. Brands will be doubling down on ensuring that online customer experience is intuitive, easy to understand, and fast to fulfil.

Hence, digital transformation will be a long-term priority for communications professionals moving forward. We need to start viewing tech as an enabler, not a replacement to human touch. AIA Singapore’s digital transformation started some years ago even before the pandemic and is what allowed us to quickly adapt during the circuit breaker. We will continue to ramp up our investment in data-driven personalisation to enhance our communications capabilities and customer servicing efforts.

Additionally, there will be an expectation for brands to keep championing their values and aligning their purpose with the current moment. With the pandemic proving to be a time to showcase empathetic and authentic leadership, communications moving forward will be about showcasing commitment and actioning on their purpose.

How will the role of communications professionals evolve as we move into a rather uncertain future?

Teo: Communications professionals have a crucial role to play in accelerating our nation’s digitalisation efforts and their job becomes even more critical in times of uncertainties. As remote communication and environments are becoming the norm, it is our duty to help people understand what is happening and guide them through uncertainties with purpose and trust. Communications would need to be kept clear and simple; applying creativity and story-telling methods to make complex concepts easy to understand. This would help make personal experiences more enjoyable, improving quality of life in the long run.

At AIA Singapore, we are continuously adapting to emerging needs. We have invested heavily in digital enablement to enhance all aspects of the business and will keep pursuing purposeful innovations. This is our way of putting our customers at the heart of every effort, constantly challenging ourselves to do more and better based on a deep understanding of what matters to our customers the most.

What can we expect from your company in 2021?

Teo: Moving forward, our primary focus is on deploying technology, data, and analytics to transform the experience of our stakeholders—customers, distributors and employees. This will enable us to drive growth for the company, achieve greater efficiency, and ultimately yield better customer outcomes.

By the end of 2021, we plan to emerge as a transformed business that will be considered amongst the most nimble and forward-thinking businesses in the world. Ultimately, our investment in digitalisation is aimed at strengthening our comprehensive health and wellness proposition, ensuring that we fulfil our brand promise of bringing healthier, longer, better lives to more people.