When the people at the top get it, the role of brand goes beyond marketing to become a valuable part of business strategy.
In 2023, Allianz continued its rise up the Best Global Brands Ranking, coming in at #31 (+3), retaining its #1 insurer status for the fifth year running and recording a total brand value of 20.85 billion USD.
But being the #1 insurer is just the start. Allianz is looking beyond the industry and aims to compete with the world’s most valuable brands. And the one thing all brands of this “Super League” have in common is this: an understanding of the value their brands bring to their businesses. For this reason, during the past twelve months, Allianz has doubled down on doing the same, becoming one of the global leaders in leveraging what we call the “Asset Imperative”.
From #1 Insurer to a global leader of the FUND Arena
The “Asset Imperative” means the direct monetary value the brand brings to the business and what role it plays in strategic decisions. As a part of maximizing the impact of this branding dimension, one of the most fundamental decisions to make is around brand architecture and portfolio strategies. Brands need to be clear which roles are fulfilled by which brands, which sub-brands are needed, and which ones should be streamlined under a clear and purpose-led master brand. Only by harmonizing experiences and aligning strategically connected areas of your business, traits like trust and loyalty of your customers will spread throughout the business.
Following this route, Allianz has deployed a global ‘One Brand Strategy,’ bringing together various entities, including the recent rebranding of Euler Hermes into Allianz Trade in 2022, enabling a consistent and coherent go-to-market and customer experience across regions. On top of that, in March 2023, Allianz bundled its Mid-Corporate and Large-Corporate insurance businesses under one strategy and market approach – the newly created Allianz Commercial. With this move, the German headquartered insurance-giant follows a strategy that is shared among the leading global brands, aiming to simplify B2B brand experiences and learning from the successes of the consumer side of the business.
Making something intangible tangible: bringing the brand as an asset into the real world
A core function of a well-established brand within the “Asset Imperative” is that it systematically enables the business behind the brand to expand into areas beyond their core category. This roots in a strong customer-centric perspective on strategic decision-making. Ultimately, the trust the brand evokes needs to be strong enough for the customers to seek more and more diverse solutions from partners they already know, asking them to play a bigger role in their lives. As businesses that mainly sell financial security through a variety of intangible complex products, for brands like Allianz, it can be difficult to create experiences that foster this level of trust.
One way Allianz set out to make the brand more tangible and build trust was through dedicated global customer experience initiatives. The introduction of the customer-centric "Xperience Habits -appreciation, heart and help" improved the way call center colleagues interacted with customers. The insurer took a proactive approach to reviewing policies with customers, while giving greater transparency and clarity on claims and renewals. Allianz also offered customers practical, preventative measures to help them better prepare for severe weather events. These changes all came from customer feedback - and by acting on this feedback, both Allianz and its customers are benefiting from a more seamless customer experience.
"We care for and trust our colleagues and agents to act as our brand ambassadors around the world," continued Heinemann. "Their commitment to living out our global values while offering a personal, local service to our customers is a crucial part of what makes the Allianz experience so unique."
The insurer also took this approach into partnership & sponsoring, creating real-life touchpoints that connect their brand and business strategy. Allianz’s experiences, such as the family of stadiums, its global partnership with the Olympic and Paralympic Movements, and many other culturally relevant organizations that customers identify with, have enabled the brand to be perceived in a much more tangible way, leading to high performance within the 2023 Brand Strength Assessment.
Learning from the Best Global Brands: the role of Brand Leadership
For the most successful global brands, maximizing the impact the brand has for the business correlates strongly with another dimension of modern branding: the “Leadership Imperative”. Leadership in this case refers to the social responsibility businesses are willing to take and is therefore strongly connected to the business strategy as a whole. It touches areas like brand ambition, promise, and purpose plus influences many of the individual decisions that need to be taken to increase the role of the brand within the lives of its customers. For Allianz, another priority was actively demonstrating leadership through a vast variety of initiatives, bringing its promise 'confidence in tomorrow' to life.