BY: Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in Government Editor. 

The Sanlam Group is on a rapid journey to becoming intrinsically digitally-led, says CEO Paul Hanratty.

Hanratty was speaking yesterday at the launch of the company’s latest financial education campaign, where it unveiled its Zesande metahuman influencer.

Explaining what digitally-led will mean for customers and the business, Hanratty said: “For our existing customers, it means we’ll make life easier for them over time, and as they adapt their ways of interacting with the world, they’ll still be able to interface with some of the easiest ways that’s possible for them.

“The other thing that we’re hoping this will do is open up new markets for us − allow us to reach customers who previously may have been denied access to financial services.

“For our business as a whole, we see technology and the use of technology as one of the absolute key levers for growth in our business. Our business has an imperative to grow, as most businesses do. We see technology as a key lever for us to grow into the future.”

In line with the digitally-led theme, Sanlam hosted its media briefing in the metaverse.

This, as the company believes that in a few years, a significant amount of life’s activities – such as shopping, working and meeting financial advisors − will take place in a 3D virtual space.

Hanratty noted financial education is core to the organisation, adding that such a message could not have been realised without the use of some “exceptional” technology.

“Technology has completely transformed financial services over the last 20 years, and it will continue to do so in ways I’m sure we can’t even begin to imagine. Opportunities in this new digital world are quite boundless.

“The metaverse is incredibly new and like all brand-new platforms and concepts, there’s quite a bit of cynicism attached to it. But the children of today are living much of their lives in the virtual world; they’re socialising, learning and buying there. These children will be the emerging consumer in less than a decade.

“We believe the 3D world will remain one of their primary places for both fun and commerce.

“This metaverse, together with AI, insurtech and a range of other technologies, will change the face of financial services over the coming years.”

The financial services provider’s “LI:FE of Confidence” campaign aims to help people think differently about their financial lives and enable financial confidence, according to the company.

The campaign will be rolled out across digital, social and traditional media, and includes a web and mobile experience, where South Africans can learn lessons through various life stages for them to apply in their own lives.

Zesande, which means ‘let us grow and prosper’, will play a key role in the campaign, teaching people the value of planning and having good financial standing at all life stages.

According to the company, LI:FE of Confidence uses computer-generated technology to plot out Zesande’s life in the space of 24 hours. A key part of the initiative is a web experience that sees Zesande meet South Africans where they are − at their age − via a web and mobile experience, and share lessons through various life stages for them to apply in their own lives.

As Zesande enters the various life stages, she educates consumers about the big financial decisions and plans that need to be made at each stage to live a life of financial confidence.

Concepts such as compound interest, retirement savings and life insurance are explained and linked to the time of life when those are most important for individuals.

Matt Ross, group executive creative director at South African marketing agency King James, comments that the concept leans into the zeitgeist of the new digital world that is on society’s doorstep.

“The lack of limitations in the metaverse is a strong creative enabler. It allowed us to present a financial education message in dramatic and fantastical ways that would not be possible in the real world.”


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