In late 2014, PruHealth and PruProtect went through a large-scale rebranding, with parent company Discovery launching the Vitality brand. The rebrand has been a huge success story. Vitality has changed customer perceptions and become hugely influential, due a progressive approach to marketing health and life insurance.
Enchant looks at how Vitality used healthy incentives and customer rewards for achieving marketing success:
Changing attitudes towards health and fitness
Digital trends and technology have changed people’s attitude towards monitoring their health, whilst a lot of work has been done in recent years by government initiatives and commercial advertising to tackle obesity and other prominent health issues. Sport England's This Girl Can campaign is a notable example of this, urging females to exercise and get into sports no matter their shape or size.
Fad diets and celebrity fitness DVDs have been succeeded by more forward-thinking and long-lasting solutions. Gym memberships, pedometers, NutriBullets, Fitbits, running apps and calorie counters are now commonplace, not just for serious athletes or “fitness freaks”. Vitality has tapped into this trend of health and fitness as a hobby and a positive life choice, rather than worry words or reactive measures.
Incentivising and rewarding customers
Their business model is all about rewarding healthy customers and building a relationship with members, to incentivise them through their customer journeys with short and long-term goals, results and benefits.
Health and life insurance in Vitality’s terms is about wellness rather than illness. They have flipped the onus of the sector and its customers to proactive exercising and taking on healthy activities to feel good about themselves, rather than feeling forced into exercising out of fear and due to scare-mongering. Vitality rewards customer with relevant and progressive benefits, as well as fun social incentives.
The Vitality Active Rewards programme is built with regular targets, based on customers’ physical activity points. Cinema tickets, flight and spa treatment discounts and gym membership offers are just some of the carrots on offer for reaching goals.
There are other features available, such as the Vitality GP app, which allows health insurance customers to book a private consultation with GPs online.
Vitality might sound like a name conceived by one the teams on The Apprentice, but it's easy to remember and has emotive impact and connotations of energy and life. This is exactly what a company in its sector should want to promote; a feeling of reaching one’s potential.
And that’s just the language. Accompanying the messaging, Vitality have chosen a fun (and cute) character to act as a memorable icon for its brand. You often see marketing bloggers writing about how to create exciting content in a “boring” industry. Well, using cute characters to associate with your brand is a tried and tested strategy. Think the little orange character from EDF energy and the colourful monster from the Workplace Pension adverts.
Vitality have their perky little sausage dog – who is always full of energy – who drives brand messaging to sink into the customer consciousness with a visual recognition. Here's a clip from their advertising:
This video shows another great move from the brand, as they got Jessica Ennis-Hill on board as an ambassador. Not only is she an inspiration due to her Olympic heroics, but she has an everywoman quality and is an athlete who is also a mother. Vitality’s video advertising is also prominently featured on Sky Sports News and other sports-based advertising slots.
Results and insights
The Vitality rebrand success is reflected in significant revenue spikes, pre-tax profits of £42.8m for year ending June 2015, and new policies increasing by 38% last year. The customer relationship and rewards model is enjoying big impact too, with 61% of new customers earning Vitality points within the first three weeks of taking out a policy.
The model also reaps the reward of engagement insights and data capture to deliver better customer experience interactivity. Marketing Director at Vitality, Keith Kropman said of the benefit:
“Most insurers will get in contact at renewal or time to claim, whereas we’re in touch with you as often as we can be, because we want to encourage you all the time to get healthy and engage with our products.”
The success of Vitality shows no signs of slowing down, as the company received the recognition of Best New Brand at the 2016 Marketing Society Excellence Awards. They also recently launched (13th June) the Everyday Athlete campaign, which has echoes of the This Girl Can campaign, to promote inclusivity in sport and exercising, notably launched just before the 2016 Olympic year. Vitality Ambassador Jessica Ennis-Hill, stated:
"Being an Everyday Athlete doesn't mean you have to run a marathon or climb a mountain, it just means changing everyday behaviours such as walking up the stairs rather than taking the lift, or getting off a bus stop or two early to walk the rest of the way to where you want to go. This campaign shows how easy it is for people to make small changes that can really benefit their short and long term health."
Vitality have created an effective marketing formula, embraced and promoted its brand values, whilst demonstrating a progressive sense of societal and cultural responsibility and diligence.
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