Meerkats and Insurance Brands

Catherine Stagg-Macey
Insurance Experts' Forum, April 13, 2010

The Economist this week made an interesting point about brands. The public downfall of Tiger Woods is attributed to wiping off $12 billion in value of his then sponsors, Gatorade and Nike. From someone who is not an expert in the world of marketing, this seems like a devastating consquence that was out of the hands of the brands. Since insurance isn’t a consumer brand, it’s hard to imagine such a negative impact of the brand association. When Swiftcover launched their Iggy Pop ad campaign, and the press released the fact that the insurer didn’t cover musicians, it was hardly a black day for the insurer.

So whilst there isn’t much negative impact on the brand, there are some examples of a posititve impact. In the United Kingdom, there is a delightful campaign around Aleksandr Orlav, the meerkat—a fictional meerkat character used by BISL Limited in its CompareTheMarket.com advertising campaign. CompareTheMarket.com has an advertising campaign based around a mock similar Web site. Originally the name was selected to highlight the “market” element of the Web site, since “compare” is a common term now in UK aggregator Web sites. The meerkat character has appeared in television, print, and online media adverts.

It’s a bit like marmite—it’s a love or hate relationship, but no one I know has been put off using CompareTheMarket’s Web site. And what’s really interesting is the effect of brand association with the meerkat. As the figure below shows, the meerkat campaign has helped increase traffic to the “sponsor” Web site.”

The meerkat also has the highest number of followers for UK insurers in social networks (Twitter and Facebook). This is one of the few examples of a succesful social network strategy, even if we measure the success only on page hits. What’s clear from our conversations is that insurers are puzzled about how to leverage this new technology, and worry about chasing rabbits (or meerkats) down dark holes.

We’ve pondered this topic too and will publish a report next week—here’s to navigating rabbit holes and meerkats together.

This blog has been reprinted with permission from Celent. Catherine Stagg-Macey is a senior analyst in Celent's insurance practice, and can be reached at cstagg-macey@celent.com.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Catherine using the “Add Your Comments” box below.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

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