Hiscox turns to special builds to reverse brand decline

Hiscox turns to special builds to reverse brand decline
One of Hiscox's special builds
The Media Plan

Insurance provider Hiscox launched “the most disastrous campaign ever” in an effort to move from acquisition to brand-building.

Media was handled by independent agency Total Media.

Total Media business director Hannah Moody told The Media Leader: “Hiscox had seen three years of declining brand metrics and increased acquisition costs, stifling their growth. The challenge was to reverse this situation and start to grow the brand back to where it was.”

To achieve this, the brand had to increase awareness in a low-interest category where a “standard” campaign can be easily ignored — while “not having the lofty budgets” of big-name high-street insurers.

Risk awareness was key

The strategy was informed by bespoke research that found, contrary to what the client had assumed given its premium product, customers were “no different” to competitors’ customers.

Moody explained: “In fact, when looking across 30 key attitudes and behaviours, we found a 91% coefficient of determination between Hiscox customers and competitor customers. They weren’t attitudinally or behaviourally different.”

The research showed risk awareness was “the key”, she said, adding that if customers were aware of the risks they face from being underinsured or uninsured, they could be motivated to act.

In fact, 80% of small and medium-sized enterprises are underinsured and 91% do not know if they have sufficient cover.

Fame and creativity

Total Media’s media plan responded to this challenge by putting “a big focus on fame and creativity” to ensure the campaign had “real impact and ultimately changed people’s behaviour”.

Moody said: “Creating a highly targeted campaign would be wasted. We needed to reach as many small business owners as possible with a campaign that demonstrated these risks that couldn’t be ignored — and it was this insight that drove our media approach.”

In order to “dominate the insurance space”, according to Moody, the campaign took to OOH as its “hero media”, with the biggest use of special builds for any campaign ever in the UK. This was accompanied by a bespoke Metro cover wrap, an interactive multi-day takeover of WeTransfer, a takeover of WeWork screens across the country and a radio ad in Spanish.

OOH activity ran nationally, targeting areas where small business owners lived and worked, with more than 20 special builds. One site had running water built in, while another had a “sparking wire”, generating additional PR and standout.

Zig when others zag

The decision to choose OOH as the main medium was very deliberate.

Moody explained: “We knew that TV, whilst a strong awareness medium, was a channel that was ‘owned’ by the big insurers. So our strategy was to ‘zig’ when others ‘zag’ and use channels that Hiscox could truly ‘own’ and be creative with to create disproportionate impact.”

Other activity followed a similar strategy of humour and creativity. The “accidentally blank” Metro front page, as if the ad had not been supplied on time, showed the potential risks of mistakes and accidents to business owners.

Success in the short, medium and long term

Due to Hiscox’s shift in priority from acquisition to brand-building, success was identified by impact on brand metrics over time, with the agency particularly “keen” to focus on the long-term shift of a variety of brand metrics.

Total Media has developed a full measurement framework to capture the short-, medium- and long-term success of the campaign.

In the short term, the agency will measure the uplift in prompted and unprompted awareness through brand tracking on a monthly basis.

Later on, web traffic and search uplift will be examined to see how the audience is changing online behaviour as a result of the activity.

And for the long term, Total Media will run econometric modelling and business modelling to look at the return on investment of its media channels and the lifetime value of each customer.

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