Inconvenient marketing: how Swann Insurance gave customers a reason to ride
Swann Insurance sent motorcyclists on road trips to its pop-up inconvenience stores and the result was a loyalty and experience marketing hit.
This article originally appeared in The Truth Issue, our first print volume for 2019.
Campaign: Inconvenience Stores
Client: Swann Insurance
Agency: CHE Proximity
The motorcycle insurance industry in Australia is highly competitive, with more than 25 brands servicing 849,296 riders in the country. For more than 50 years, Swann Insurance has provided motorcycle insurance to loyal customers. In 2017 however, the company was faced with several big challenges. General insurers began entering the market with lower prices and were offering motorcycle insurance as part of their broader policies such as car, home and motorcycle rolled into easy-to-purchase packages. In addition, other economic factors such as rising costs of living meant that Australian riders were now choosing insurance products based on price rather than speciality or brand loyalty.
Another challenge was the market in general. Only one in four Australians now trusted insurers to do the right thing when it counted – the second lowest in the Western world.
In the past, Swann Insurance had been able to build its brand around the rational benefits of its products and a strong offer of protection and value to its riders. Brand awareness had never been an issue before; however, with an existing positioning and brand platform in market for more than five years, the brand was also tired.
So with trust at an all-time low, the entry of these new players to the market and an out of date positioning, the business had to reassert itself as one of Australia’s long-standing motorcycle insurers or risk losing relevance and market share.
CHE Proximity was briefed to reshape and reposition the brand in the hearts and minds of Australian motorcyclists, forging a deeper emotional connection with them within this new competitive landscape. Moving away from the rational dynamics of the category, the agency was tasked with creating an inspiring and compelling, multifaceted campaign that would increase brand relevance, generate leads, encourage proactive participation and drive direct acquisitions.
Targets were set in three categories: increase fiscal year policies by 10% across the campaign period, increase fiscal year written premium by more than 5% (the industry average was 3%) and actively engage the motorcycling community, including across digital channels.
Quantitative research revealed that as motorcyclists grow older, they struggle to find the time to go out and ride their bikes. Digging deeper into qualitative research, CHE Proximity discovered that this isn’t down to a lack of passion, it is simply because life gets in the way.
These insights also revealed that the iconic motorcycle subculture in Australia is centred on freedom, passion for riding and belonging. This also led us to create a new brand platform: ‘Another Reason to Ride’. The platform turned every product and service that Swann offered into a reason for riders to get out onto the open road.
To launch the brand platform, we built a fully integrated campaign that focused on reigniting the motorcyclist’s passion and stealthily positioned the brand beyond an insurance provider – as an integral part of the motorcycling subculture in Australia. Beyond this, the agency set out to deliver a campaign that proactively enabled riders to enjoy their passion to the fullest and find ‘Another Reason to Ride’. Drawing on the nostalgia associated with the classic Australian road adventure, the campaign doubled down on small Australian towns where often their unique beauty can be found in pubs and bakeries that act as local convenience stores – places where people often stop by along the way to take a break.
In a traditionally risk-averse industry, Swann Insurance set out to do the opposite: focusing on an emotional positioning that celebrated the motorcycling subculture.
With these insights in mind, the agency used owned, earned and paid channels to tell this new story. The campaign turned the everyday errand to the convenience store to grab life’s necessities into one grand adventure. Giving Australia’s motorcyclists ‘Another Reason to Ride’, the creative platform cemented the brand’s repositioning within their lives – that excuse to jump on their motorcycle.
Swann branded ‘Inconvenience Stores’, which were already set up in remote locations at the end of some of Australia’s most epic rides and rewarded those who went on the journey. Riders were finally armed with an excuse to get out and indulge in their passion; getting the milk now meant getting on the bike for hours or even days – some riders even travelled interstate.
These Swann Insurance branded ‘Inconvenience Stores’ were fitted with a bespoke branding experience, including wall stickers, shelf wobblers, sandwich boards, decals and in-store displays, as well as branded free milk, chocolate and toilet paper.
A direct acquisition strategy was incorporated into the campaign where riders could also receive 10% off a new motorcycle insurance quote via a unique code on each of the ‘inconvenient’ products. The strategy also included outdoor billboard placements, sometimes even across a 250-kilometre route that showed riders how far they were from their ‘Inconvenience Store’, and online maps that revealed the same.
A TVC announced the opening of the stores, which was reinforced through digital and social channels. Other owned platforms included website, email database, outdoor billboard placements, as well as Swann Insurance branded toilet paper, chocolate and milk. This was magnified by PR activity including radio interviews, press and online media and rider magazines. Local motorcycle clubs were engaged and influencers were used to generate further exposure.
The campaign ran from September 2017 to November 2017 and the TVC was broadcast during the audience’s biggest motorcycling moment of the year: the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
The campaign was a huge success. It delivered above and beyond the KPIs set against three criteria: policy generation, written premium and engagement.
Swann Insurance policies increased by 23%, delivering well above the 10% objective. There was an increase in written premium growth by more than 22% – which was more than four times the target of 5% – and engagement on social media channels increased by 284%. People engaged with the brand like never before, with motorcyclists and motorcycle clubs coming out in support of the idea and travelling across the country to visit the ‘Inconvenience Stores’. From entire clubs to celebrities, enthusiasts and casual riders – all types on all kinds of bikes began riding great distances to pop out and get some milk.
By flipping the notion of convenience in a way its customers understood, Swann Insurance drove a 29% increase in written premium, proving that it understood riders better than anyone else.
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