Ron Adams – Allianz Direct

Ron Adams – Allianz Direct

Ron Adams is the Head of Marketing and Sales and MT member for Allianz Direct in the Netherlands. An online insurance company formerly known as Allsecur. In 12 years, Allsecur has become the specialist in car insurances and has added Home to their portfolio in 2018. Since October 2019, Allsecur has continued as Allianz Direct, part of the Allianz Group.

Main ingredients for growth

Ron explains that brand growth has been an important theme for a few years. Ron: “I have been working here since 2007. In 2008 we launched Allsecur, and in 2013 we started the campaign with Tim and Tom Coronel. They have been ambassadors for the brand for the past 7 years and have meant a lot in our brand growth. In 2018 I heard that we were rebranding to Allianz Direct. From that moment on we have been thinking on how to position the brand. Innovation is one of our main drivers for growth. Not on product level, but on consumer level. To me, innovation is much more focused on convenience, service, how can you make it faster and easier for the consumer? You need to focus on what the market needs. In the past two years, I have made a switch from thinking in product innovation, to thinking in service innovation. I feel that the service model is where brands can truly win. With Allianz Direct we want to be frontrunner in service, but we’ve only just recently started. It’s something you need to earn. So, in addition to car and home insurances, we want to develop more services and products in the future. Our growth will come from the fact that we want to bring more to the market to service consumers and meet their wishes and needs.”

Ron: “With Allsecur we primarily focused on the Dutch market. Allianz is a global brand, and we are launching Allianz Direct in 4 different countries; the Netherlands and Germany which are already live, and Italy and Spain. In all countries we have conducted extensive studies among the target group in order to find insights to position the brand. We found that people are more and more looking for direct fulfilment of their direct needs, and that’s the spot we want to take. Offering fast, easy services and convenience when needed. Always being mobile first. And I get that a lot of insurers are saying that, but with the current way we’re positioning the brand, with Usain Bolt for instance, we are truly portraying that speed and ease.”

Creative value

Ron: “I believe that creative is important in brand growth. But how you define your brand is something different than you show in your campaign. When you put those two alongside each other, you might think; why have we chosen Usain Bolt? Why opt for this storyline? That’s creation. We are continuously looking at fulfilling that constant need, so we were looking for a man or a woman who wants everything right now, doesn’t have that much time. That’s how we came up with the idea of having Usain Bolt in our campaigns. Creation is needed to position the brand and to build the brand. You can build a long-term strategy with creation, like we did with Allsecur with Tim and Tom. And we’re not going to just create one campaign with Usain either.”

Ron describes that when he thinks of creation, he thinks of creative value. “That’s what the consumer is looking for nowadays; What’s in it for me? Why would I choose a specific brand? When I look at the different channels we are using, we are not going to use a personality on every channel. On social for instance we will be using more direct messages from the brand, to trigger people to do something. That’s creation too; how can you creatively shape the brand on various layers? And let’s not forget the internal culture; the switch from Allsecur to Allianz Direct in the company itself. The two brands are related, but there are differences in nuance you need to pay attention too. If you can’t communicate about it within the organisation itself, you can’t communicate about it on the outside.”

The creative process

Ron explains that the creative process within Allianz Direct includes a lot of research. “We need to be consistent throughout the 4 countries, so we for instance have an overarching brand tracker for all 4 countries. For the launch of the brand we tested the campaign in all countries, as well as the personality. It was interesting to see that there were quite some differences between the countries. In Italy and Spain, the campaign scored fantastic, in the Netherlands and Germany the scores were good too, but not as great. The campaign was even in the top 20% of best performing campaigns in Italy and Spain. Next to that, the 4 countries come together once a month for a marketing meeting. We discuss new themes for campaigns, which will depend on the services we are already offering in all countries. After which, we send a briefing to the creative agency, and include our online agency as well. The creative agency develops the campaign for all 4 countries, and our online agency develops the online formats. Our way of working is still quite traditional in the sense that we use TV as our starting point. But I can imagine we will sometimes be starting from a different angle in the future. However, TV is still the most powerful medium to present your campaign in a big way. Our challenge is to make Allianz Direct one of the top 5 online brands in Europe, and for that, you need that power.”

Making choices

Ron: “The inspiration for our creatives begins with research. The entire brand is based on that. Gaining good insights and making sure the insights are universal. Research is testing an idea, getting to the executional phase, and then testing the commercial again. You must test your creatives in order to let your consumer have a say and voice their opinion. It helps us make choices, because if we don’t, we’ll just be making generic campaigns. Of course, you want every campaign to be a top performer, but not everything works. You have different messages you want to bring across and therefore different campaigns and creatives. So, there will always be a campaign that doesn’t perform as well.”

A tiny car

To determine whether a campaign has performed well or not, Ron explains that attention is important for Allianz Direct: “Because Allianz Direct is a new brand, you start off with attention value. How long is someone watching the commercial for? Have they watched the entire commercial? Of course, we want people to remember the brand. But that can be difficult, it’s the first campaign after all. It’s something we’ll be working on over time. For me, the focus lies with likeability and differentiation. And we noticed that in the commercial with Usain. People said they had never seen anything like it, it was completely new and different to them. With likeability, people spoke about the humour and about finding the commercial sympathetic. And that says something about your brand. We’re also looking for some kind of friction in our commercials. For instance, we’ll not be portraying Usain as the big legend he is. After all, we have put him in a tiny car with his mom.”