GoCompare is overhauling its brand, introducing a new look and feel, new marketing campaign and new positioning as it looks to make its point of difference clear in an increasingly competitive market.
The shift is being led by CMO Zoe Harris, who joined GoCompare almost a year ago from Reach (previously Trinity Mirror). The brand direction aims to better tell GoCompare’s story as a founder-led business that she says puts the focus on offering customers the best deal, rather than the cheapest one.
Speaking exclusively to Marketing Week, she explains: “Within the building there is a real passion and price in the business, and in helping people find the right insurance, not just the cheapest. The question was how we told that story… How we got to the product truth and the brand truth.”
The comparison market has previously relied on its marketing “shouting loudest”, a strategy that Harris credits for getting the brand to where it is today. According to YouGov BrandIndex, it has an awareness level of 87.9% among UK adults, behind only MoneySuperMarket on 88.2%. But Harris now wants to add some saliency, telling the story of what the brand means and what it stands for.
“We were all playing the same games, tricks really, character-led to [keep our brands] top of mind. What we are looking to do is maintain the brand character, keep our top of mind performance at the astonishingly good figures they have, while adding some depth and expertise of what we want to be known for,” says Harris.
The future of Gio Compario
Harris admits there were a number of strategic issues at GoCompare to grapple with, not least of which was that its advertising was “hugely effective and impactful”. While she felt the brand needed some fresh creative thinking, that couldn’t come at the expense of effectiveness.
To help, she made the decision to bring on an external agency – Droga5. Previously, creative work was done in-house but Harris believed the brand needed some external perspective.
During those strategic conversations, the topic of GoCompare’s brand character Gio Compario came up a number of times. He has been hugely effective for the brand but also caused it to resonate less.
Yet getting rid of him was a challenge too. While in focus groups people described him as “irritating”, they also dismissed any scripts without him in. Harris was also struck by Byron Sharp’s book ‘How Brands Grow’ and how long it takes for creative to wear out.
That led GoCompare to think about Gio in a different way. And so the GoCompare song is gone and Gio has been repositioned as the voice of the consumer.
We are looking to maintain our brand character and top of mind performance while adding some depth and expertise to what we want to be known for.
Zoe Harris, GoCompare
“It was time to think about Gio in a different space. If he’s not the opera singer what is he? In the ads we use him to represent the consumer and talk about what we do, positioning GoCompare as experts in insurance,” explains Harris.
The TV campaign, which launches on Sunday (25 August), will see Gio get behind the wheel of a car and re-enact the circumstances that led to real-life insurance claims. Wynne Evans, the actor who plays Gio, will also talk viewers through why having the right car insurance matters.
“It transforms Gio from the person who shouts at you about GoCompare to the person who understands what it is like when you need to make a claim,” she says.
The first ad, dubbed ‘Tree’, and focused on car insurance will be followed by a second spot due to air in 2020. The ad also introduces GoCompare’s new offer where qualifying car insurance customers receive free excess cover worth up to £250 when they buy or switch insurance through the website.
A new brand look
TV will be accompanied by a wide-reaching outdoor campaign that introduces a “bold” look and feel for the brand. While it will use the same colour palette, they have made changes to make these colours feel fresher and more contemporary, while outdoor ads will include “striking” black and white imagery.
The outdoor will run across 14,000 sites and features contextual ads – including on petrol nozzles at petrol stations around the country to highlight how often drivers put the wrong fuel in their car. There will also be radio and digital activity.
“We wanted to move the campaign on from ads that haven’t changed much since Gio started 10 years ago,” says Harris. “This is a new platform now, which is about when it matters giving people a tangible reason to buy with GoCompare.”
Key metrics for the campaign will be to make GoCompare the preferred comparison site among consumers, and therefore boost business performance. For the brand, it is important that it is seen as expert and that consumers feel they can buy with confidence.
“We want more people to think GoCompare is an expert in insurance,” explains Harris. “Aggregators can be seen as machines that churn out prices and are all the same. Actually we are not all the same.”
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