Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank), being India's premier export finance institution, is financier, facilitator and promoter of India’s international trade. The Bank also plays a very important role in Government of India’s association in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Within the BRICS framework, Exim Bank has taken a leadership role of promoting research on trade-related areas concerning the BRICS economies by introducing the "BRICS Economic Research Annual Award". This award is given to PhDs (economics) from BRICS countries for their doctoral research in international economics, trade, development and related financing. The agency was asked to devise a creative and media strategy to announce the award and call for maximum entries from all five countries.
The main objective of Exim Bank was to stimulate advanced research on economics related topics of relevance to the member nations of BRICS. With this Award and its communication, the Bank wanted to enhance its image as a thought leader and a knowledge driven institution.
The main challenge was establishing this Award as Exim Bank’s property and getting maximum number of entries from all five countries. It was not a simple task as the Bank's awareness in BRICS Nations (except India) was not very high and the target audience i.e. people eligible for this award, was extremely precise. Thus, creating the right communication (in respective languages) and running it through the right media channels to reach this niche audience was extremely important. With a target audience spread across diverse economies, a universal, simple yet powerful communication needed to be developed.
A perfect combination of sharp, impactful creative and apt media strategy seemed to be the key to success. Our media strategy was a right mix of digital and print media. We suggested leading financial dailies in domestic markets along with university journals targeting PhDs in economics. For international platforms, we suggested digital as a cost effective medium which included leading economics portals and networking platforms specifically targeted to PhDs in economics.
Considering our challenges and desired objective, we devised a powerful yet simple creative using currency symbols with the colours of respective BRICS countries, which would be understood in a universal way by all nationalities. The content was crafted in a way to captivate the reader by communicating the overall benefit for the economies rather than just mentioning the prize money, thereby creating an element of pride for the applicant. The aesthetics of the creative made the reader look at BRICS as a unified association where five emerging economies diverse from each other are working for mutual development and towards a common goal.
Exim Bank's BRICS Economic Research Annual Award established itself as a highly prestigious title for an economist. With powerful creative and effective media planning, the Bank managed to get ample number of entries for its first BRICS Award from all five countries, apart from enhancing its image as a thought leader and knowledge driven institution.