Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
20 September 2016
The different world of John Hancock
Readers of this blog, visitors to our site and all our clients know that Stealing Share develops brands that are a reflection of the audience. That’s how you build preference.
The shocking thing to us is how few brands actually practice that. Most brand messaging – or just messaging in general – is either identical to the competition or about the brand itself, or both. That’s the single biggest reason why there is stagnation in most markets.
Therefore, there’s always a bit of elation when a brand actually practices the art of having a brand face, who customers believes they are when they use the brand.
Even though it doesn’t go far enough (more on that later), the new ad campaign for John Hancock does it right. The campaign, with the heading of “Different World, Different Approach,” actually considers who the target audience has become.
One of the spots features a variety of couples getting married, including interracial and same-sex couples. That ad is nice, but the one tilted “CEO” is the winner.
It works because the hallway of past CEOs represents the old way of doing business. In an indirect way, it positions John Hancock against the competition. When the young Hispanic woman walks past the row of profiles, we know it is a different world – a direct reflection of the world we live in today.
The brand of John Hancock needs to make the next step.
Kudos to John Hancock and its ad agency, Hill Holiday, for this campaign. The campaign is terrific, but here’s the problem. The brand is still the same. This is just an advertising campaign. It does not signify a radical shift with the brand. It may be a different world, but it’s the same old John Hancock.
So, this campaign will air over the next few months, then John Hancock will switch to another ad campaign and what the brand of John Hancock means will remain unchanged.
To prompt a true change in the market, one that creates preference, John Hancock needs its brand to reflect the target audience. It’s all well and good that it has a campaign that does, but long-term preference comes from the brand.
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