The not-for-profit health service is also introducing the Benenden Health consumer brand and “Because life is precious” strapline as part of its efforts to raise awareness of its services and grow its membership. Until June 2012, it was exclusively available to public sector workers.
The shift will be overseen by Marc Bell, who has been promoted from marketing director to CEO and will take over the post imminently.
Speaking to Marketing Week, Bell says Benenden has “significantly increased” marketing spend to support the organisational shift and claims it has created an “appealing” consumer facing brand in a bid to compete with Bupa, Aviva and Axa.
Benenden’s policy costs around £93 per year, compared with around £1,000 for broadly similar Bupa services, says Bell.
Its first TV ad campaign launched yesterday (28 January) during Coronation Street on ITV and will be supported with press, radio and outdoor activity. Ads focus on price, Benenden’s mutual status and that it was voted the UK’s most trusted healthcare provider in the Moneywise consumer survey in 2011 and 2012.
Bell says: “For 107 years no one’s really heard of us. We want people to know who we are and emphasise the price, mutuality and trust. We needed to modernise and invest in a building a brand to create a fresh new face that appeals to people. Our space [in the market] is very insurance-based and functional so we want to be more emotional.”
“There’s been a resurgence of interest in mutuals [such as Nationwide and the Co-operative Group] and we want to take advantage of that tide of interest.”
Benenden has 920,000 members in the UK. Bupa has 11 million members worldwide.