Rahul Sachitanand
Apr 22, 2021

AXA to inject local flavour in APAC to boost global brand recast

The insurer will lean on local KOLs to piece together short campaigns in order to boost its presence in APAC and compete with global and local rivals.

Sabrina Cheung
Sabrina Cheung

Fresh off a global rebranding exercise, evolving its 'Know You Can' tagline, French insurer AXA is set to launch a series of hyperlocal campaigns to expand its presence across APAC, its chief brand and communications officer for APAC, Sabrina Cheung, tells Campaign Asia-Pacific.

According to her, the firm would like to keep a broad global brand intact, but will roll out a series of “heroes spots” across the APAC markets it is present in to tap into local market nuances and regulations.

“I think the role of a global brand campaign really is to really strengthen the overall brand awareness or brand promise to really create a consistent strong identity,” Cheung says. “We want to make sure we can make it locally relevant.” To do this, AXA will focus on “integrating local partnerships, opinion leaders and developing and local content".

AXA’s positioning is the latest example of how the company has been strengthening its brand by supporting its customers through the pandemic, Cheung adds. Over the past year, across APAC, AXA has pivoted its business to keep pace with changing customer requirements.

In Thailand, a recent campaign for iHealthy, a health product, exceeded targets and achieved the highest results in engagement, impressions and lead generation, compared with past campaigns, the firm claims. Online performance showed an improved clickthrough rate (+13%) versus previous AXA campaigns, and cost per action on social channels dropped by 71%. Lead generation increased by 79%.

Elsewhere, in Japan, the recent HPM AXA Style campaign has been one of the most impactful activations to date, Cheung contends. The company took an integrated communications approach to motivate AXA employees and to build confidence among icustomers (SME owners and their employees) amid the pandemic. Awareness of AXA’s HPM offering grew in the high single digits due to the campaign.

Like other insurers, AXA faces the challenge of moving away from the drab business of payments and payouts to becoming more of a healthcare partner for its subscribers. “We have made holistic health a priority,” Cheung says. “I think our communications have been very much focused on that … it's very much one that helps our customers achieve their personal goals of being (physically and mentally) healthy.”

During the pandemic, it was very important for AXA to reinforce this commitment, she adds, since “consumer insights told us that customers often feel held back when they were uncertain … and we've been trying to position AXA as really a beacon of confidence.”

One of the challenges facing insurers, AXA included is how to cater to an emerging category of Gen Z consumers, who are not only new buyers, but are also more digitally aware of competing offerings from new insure-tech players such as FWD and Blue Tie. While some firms, such as Prudential, have signed up with buzzy K Pop act Super M to stay in tune with young consumers, Cheung isn’t rushing into make such collaborationss of her own.

“I have to say Gen Z isn’t our sole target at the moment,” she admits. “When we bring our campaigns to life, we do them through multiple platforms and touchpoints that we're able to connect and engage with multiple segments, and definitely we are more digitally aware nowadays.” Rather than get buttonholed into over-investing on one demographic, Cheung instead focuses on long-standing partnerships with the Liverpool Football Club, a brand the company is "well aligned" with because it shares "the same values". It also helps that Liverpool has over 400 million active followers in Asia.

AXA wants to focus on key issues such as  diversity and sustainability that are relevant to young audiences. “I think we're able to use this emotional power to create positive change through our communications and our storytelling because of this large target audience,” she adds.

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