Aviva on how it flipped its marketing ‘360 degrees’

A year since Aviva introduced its ‘Good Thinking’ brand strategy the company is seeing an increase in sales and revenue by focusing on values rather than “flogging product”.

In December last year, Aviva introduced its ‘Good Thinking’ strategy to its UK business. It is described by the insurance brand as “an internal mantra externalised through its communications”, and aims to find news ways of serving customers in a “better or different way” – all while honing in on big societal issues like saving money or safe driving.

It all started with the Aviva Drive app, which monitors young people’s driving skills and gives safe drivers a discount on car insurance. And now, the brand is looking to tackle pensions. In a new campaign launched this month, Aviva challenges Brits to face up to their older selves.

The ad shows two members of the public exploring what it could be like to live like their older selves. Wearing prosthetic masks and dressed as they might in their mid-60s, the participants get a glimpse of what life could be like living on the income their current pension provisions might allow them. 

It has also launched a ‘Shape my Future’ tool, which is designed to give people an insight into what their lifestyle might be like when they retire. Other campaign activities include digital, radio and social media.

READ MORE: BBC, Aviva and Virgin Atlantic on swapping TV for social content

While adam&eveDDB devised the strategy, creative and integrated creative approach, Razorfish led the development of the concept, design and user experience behind the Shape my Future tool. Zenith ran the media campaign for Aviva, which included media partnerships with Vice, Buzzfeed and AOL.

“Nine months on from the ‘Good Thinking’ launch, we have transitioned our communications 360 degrees. We’re now focused on value-led messaging to talk about what’s important to customers,” Aviva’s UK customer marketing director Lindsay Forster told Marketing Week.

“At no point in the campaign are we trying to flog people products, this is the embodiment of an organisation playing out a customer agenda and not leveraging a commercial position. Of course, we do hope that as we develop a level of brand trust [customers] will start to think about Aviva for their needs.”

Leading societal change

With its new strategy the company has also put a bigger focus on the younger generation. The brand has more than 33 million customers worldwide, many of whom Forster describes as “mature customers” that have been with Aviva for a long time.

“As a brand, our strategy has not historically been to target younger segments of the market. The new campaign is part of how we’re evolving the brand as we absolutely need to be relevant to the next generation. What I’m championing within Aviva is that we really have to lead a societal change in how people engage in their financial futures,” she explained.

And so far, Forster said its focus on tackling societal issues seems to be paying off. While she admits that “Aviva doesn’t have the magic formula and that there is a huge amount more to do”, customers seem to be responding well to the brand’s new approach.

YouGov BrandIndex figures seem to back this up. YouGov BrandIndex measures the public’s perception of brands on a daily basis across a range of measures, including value, impression and satisfaction. Aviva is currently placed second on a list of 42 insurance brands, with an overall index score of 10.6. This has increased by 1.1 points year on year, thereby marked “statistically significant”.

“We’ve made a phenomenal level of progress, where [we’re] actually growing in terms of sales and revenue.

“This proves to me that when you do the right thing for the customer by having conversations customers want to have, it will bear fruit commercially.”

Lindsay Forster, UK customer marketing director, Aviva

Learning as you go along

At the beginning of this month Aviva was fined £8.2m by the Financial Conduct Authority for breaking its rules on the protection of clients’ savings.

The problem occurred when administration was outsourced to a platform used by financial advisers between 2013 and 2015. The company quickly apologised, and said its clients’ money was now properly protected.

Speaking on the issue, Forster said “no brand gets it right every time”, and that most importantly there was no customer impact. She also believes that its fast learning process is all part of the brand’s new strategy.

She concluded: “We’ve held our hands up and said ‘We have fixed the issue, and we have learnt from it’. In any industry, there is great scope for improvement, and there are always practices that can be improved. For me, ‘Good Thinking’ is all about accepting we don’t get everything right all the time. We’re learning as we go along.”

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