Q&A: Allianz’s first ever Director of Brand

Alex Sword

Editor

The Financial Services Forum

Allianz recently appointed its first ever Director of Brand, who will look to further the firm’s focus on building its brand in recent years. Carolyn Rich will lead the firm’s strategy across its brands, including LV=, General Insurance and Petplan.

 

FSF: Can you talk a bit about your new role and why it was created?

We are in the fortunate position of operating with a number of major brands in the UK including Allianz, Petplan, and LV= General Insurance. My new role will look after all our brands. We wanted to create a more senior role that focuses on leveraging our brand portfolio fully. My aim is to keep strengthening our brands so we continue to have a range of market-leading names which both businesses and consumers know they can love.

 

For an insurer, a brand obviously manifests at several levels including marketing but also day-to-day customer service – how does your role connect with these different parts of the organisation to ensure the brand promise is being delivered on?

The level of trust we have among businesses and consumers is a big part of how we measure our success, both within brand and marketing, and across the whole company, and it is something we survey regularly. So that captures all kinds of aspects of the business, particularly customer service and how we deliver on insurance claims. The marketing and brand team work very closely with that data and with colleagues in other areas to ensure that trust in our brands strengthens.

 

Can you talk me through Allianz’s brand strategy and how it will evolve? Where do you hope to be in a year’s time?

Allianz is the number one global insurance brand, and our goal in the UK is to be the number one insurer. At the moment we enjoy strong awareness amongst insurance brokers, who are one of our core target markets, but we are less well known amongst consumers. We want to do develop much more market and customer recognition.

We are growing the number of products available to consumers under the Allianz brand, which has previously been mainly a commercial insurance brand in the UK. With our motor insurance and personal lines broker businesses now under the Allianz brand, our next step is to rebrand our consumer home insurance offering.

 

What channels and tactics do you plan to use to achieve this?

We’re leveraging a broad media mix of traditional, digital, social, and sponsorships. We are lucky enough to have a range of partnerships with the Olympic and Paralympic Movements, England Rugby, Formula E, St Andrews Links, and our global family of sports stadium sponsorships. These create all sorts of brand opportunities that really help us raise visibility.

In sponsorship terms, it’s a particularly exciting year for us with Paris 2024, and this gives us a unique way of reaching new audiences. We’ve also just announced a major sponsorship of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games across Channel 4, More 4, and social channels.

 

In a world with tight budgets, brand often suffers at the expense of performance marketing. How can marketers defend the importance of brand?

Brand is key to business delivery, and we can see the power of that through the Interbrand rankings which puts an actual monetary value on brands. Allianz is the number one insurance brand and is valued at $20.85bn and we can see the strength of our brand across the world if we rebrand one of our businesses to Allianz. There is a known link between brand awareness and consideration and increased sales – it’s just a longer-term strategy than performance marketing where you can see immediate wins.

 

How do you think new developments in AI are impacting the world of brand building?

This is a really exciting area for brand, and the potential is huge, as it is for most areas of business and for our lives in general. For example, brand governance and ensuring consistency of brand usage is a key role of any brand team. It is vital to ensure design and photography is compliant with brand guidelines and that text is aligned to a tone of voice framework – and this is checked manually at the moment. It’s easy to see how that could be replaced by AI and free people up to do other things and just be a final pair of eyes on the work the AI had done.

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