As Chief Marketing Officer at Voya Financial, Ann Glover presided over a massive rebranding effort when the company split from its parent, ING, last year. According to reports, the company allocated $150 million in marketing to support the rebrand — not a meek undertaking in a rapidly shifting financial services landscape. Unwilling to rest behind its new signage, last fall Voya also launched its Born To Save campaign, which caught the attention of millions of consumers, most of whom, it’s safe to say, probably weren’t thinking too much about retirement or, at least, the financial planning needed to support it.
Glover and I participated in a panel discussion at National Underwriter’s Executive Conference last December. I followed up with her recently to get some insight on Voya’s strategic initiatives and the marketing platform she’s building to support them.
JG: What are the biggest challenges you’ve encountered while rebranding from ING?
AG: This project was extremely exciting, but complex. More than 16,000 pieces of marketing materials, communications, and forms had to be refreshed, 7,000 employee email addresses were changed, and over 500 IT applications, webpages, and other digital assets were analyzed and updated. 200 product filings had to be reviewed with individual states, and more than 70 legal entity filings with state insurance departments, SEC, and FINRA. It was quite challenging to sequence the rebranding of the company’s assets to align with our legal entity rebranding.
During April and May of 2014 our publicly-traded parent company rebranded from ING U.S., Inc. to Voya Financial, Inc., as did our Foundation and Investment Management business. The Employee Benefits business also began its transition to Voya during that time. On September 1, 2014, we reached our final milestone with the rebranding of our remaining Retirement and Insurance businesses, as well as all other legal entities that incorporated our former brand name.
We also launched a new consumer marketing campaign which included television, digital, mobile, search, social media, and trade advertising. In our television commercials, we introduced Voya Financial as a “new kind of company” that is “changing the way you think of retirement.” All advertising drove customers to the new Voya.com, which was designed to deliver an innovative consumer experience.
The process was very carefully planned to ensure a smooth transition for our customers, distributors, employees, and stakeholders. And I’m proud to say that we remained true to one of our most important operating principles, which was that we wouldn’t disrupt our customers and distributors, or lose a single day of business as a result of the transition.
JG: You’ve told me previously that you want to position Voya as a “retirement company” rather than an insurance company. Why is that a critical strategy for Voya?
AG: Voya Financial comprises three main businesses: Retirement Solutions, Investment Management, and Insurance Solutions. Each of these businesses offers solutions and services that contribute to the financial security of our customers.
In our advertising we say that we’re “changing the way you think about retirement.” What we mean is that saving for retirement is absolutely essential, but just one piece of the puzzle. Retirement readiness isn’t just about how much money you have in your qualified plan. It’s about maintaining an investment portfolio that supports your long-term financial goals. It’s about having enough life insurance to protect your family from unforeseen circumstances and taking advantage of workplace benefits that could help you pay for certain medical costs. We want Americans to think holistically about retirement, and we offer the solutions they need to work towards a secure financial future.
JG: What impact has the aging of the advisor population had on your marketing strategies?
AG: We work with financial professionals across all our businesses, and each industry has its nuances. What we’re focused on is listening to, and working closely with our advisors and agents to provide products, training, and support that help them engage with clients and offer products to meet their unique financial needs.