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Jan Gooding, one of Hot Topics' 50 most influential financial services marketers, discusses the journey of engaging people in her sector, through digital and mobile strategies.

Aviva‘s Group Brand Director, Jan Gooding, is attempting to make customers reconsider their relationship with the insurance and savings industry.

Gooding believes that in the current climate of low interest rates and low engagement levels in financial services, it’s becoming increasingly important that consumers readily interact with their investment networks and understand more about their policies.

Leading one of the UK’s, and Europe’s, largest insurance, life and pensions products brands, Gooding has an opportunity to, “change the level of engagement that people have with the sector as a whole, and with us in particular.”

There are 31 million people worldwide that count themselves as Aviva’s customers, and this base is where Gooding begins her focus, to consider the big picture whilst attempting an industry-wide goal.

That big picture heralds a lot of change for Aviva, and its industry.

“There is absolutely no doubt that financial services brands, like all others, are having to think about the changing purchasing process and post-process. So there is nothing unique about us in that sense.

“What I would say, however, is that we are extremely well suited to a digital world, because, in a way, we are a digital promise; we can express what we can do for someone and make it possible for them to interact with us to see how things are going to be visualized digitally.”

Of course, no overarching engagement strategy today could work without embedding digital.

Online and mobile channels have completely restructured the insurance marketing landscape, and the interactive relationship between brand and consumer.

It means customers can receive personalized, focused and relevant content, products and services from businesses, and they can call, text, email or tweet their companies in faster and easier methods of communication.

“We are not like Unilever’s companies, for example…brands that have to typically appear on a shelf somewhere in order to be consumed. There are many benefits for us to move from a very paper based interaction to a digital one: it reduces our costs and people find it hugely more convenient.”

Taking advantage of people’s increasing use of digital and mobile channels, Gooding and her team have narrowed their focus so that certain geographies receive relevant content insurance marketing based on customers’ habits.

Aviva acts as a composite insurer in the UK, for example, meaning they provide customer cover in areas such as health, car, home insurance, and offer savings and investments to complete the range.

It’s a lot of policies, especially for a customer who doesn’t engage with their policy providers, so Aviva’s mobile app and website, MyAviva, “bring together the products that help protect your life, health and possessions in one place.”

Single mobile and digital platforms are where insurance marketing teams now foresee most of their existing customer interaction and engagement occurring, and because ease and efficiency is a main instigator in driving new clients, these single points of contact can be looked upon favorably by potential customers.

In terms of specific insurance marketing strategies, Gooding wants to focus on campaign-based initiatives, to encourage more thought and debate around the industry topics.

One such strategy launched in the UK on Christmas Day, 2015, to help the public think more carefully about their driving habits, and in turn make their roads safer.

“Creative thinking encourages people to do more than just purchase particular policies, an example of which was to create a challenge to see how good a driver you are.

“People could download our Drive App, which they switch on whilst driving, and it gave them a rating of how good a driver they are. The benefit being that if you are a sufficiently good driver, you may get discounts on your premium.”

Aviva’s next social campaign looks towards saving, and how to save more.

These kinds of public campaigns mark a shift in focus for the brand, famous, in the UK at least, as a car insurer that Paul Whitehouse advertises.

Rather than following traditional methods of insurance marketing to expose products, Aviva wants to engage with targeted and emotional strategies that are digitally enabled, and aligned to their journey of engaging more people in the industry.

“We have completely changed our media schedule so we can be more digitally orientated, and our campaigns are new in terms of their creative vehicle. The plan is to build up our reputation as a savings and investment brand, to challenge people’s view of us.

“We’re a very well known brand, but people can forget what [financial services products] they have with who, so we aim to give people a better understanding of the offering Aviva provides.”

This ties into the overarching campaign that Gooding is evangelizing.

By understanding the services of one insurance, investments and/or savings provider, people may be inclined to learn more about the industry as a whole, and once that trend begins, the conversation can then turn from driving customer interest, into one about loyalty.

Brand loyalty is another topical conversation for insurance marketing teams, in particular, especially as digital and mobile tools have the potential to drive this parameter up.

Aviva’s early data shows positive results, “we have had a lot of downloads on our app, for example, which number around 140 000, and we are ahead of the plan in terms of quotas and sales too.”

The ambition of the brand is still focused on education, however.

This industry, according to Gooding, now offers a broader range of financial services products that people need to be more aware or, to make more informed decisions about aspects of their life that are important to safeguard.

Aviva’s brand wants to get that message out there, through increasingly digital and mobile methods, to engage customers and allow them to, “view our industry differently.”