Now that Voya Financial has gotten Americans used to the idea of orange money—representing the money they’re supposed to save for their retirement versus the usual green variety—the New York-based financial services brand is taking the next step in its awareness-building efforts in the US market.
This week, Voya launched a new marketing campaign featuring Vern and Val, the origami animals introduced last year in partnership with BBDO Atlanta and Reset. The embodiment of Voya’s Orange Money, they are joined by TV stars Allison Janney (the former West Wing star who can currently be seen in the CBS sitcom Mom) and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (of the ABC hit Modern Family).
It’s the latest chapter in a $100 million effort by Voya to root its brand in America, coming two years after an IPO by the brand formerly known as the US arm of Dutch multinational ING Group, reinforcing earlier efforts in the rebranding process.
“We know our work is not done,” Voya CMO Ann Glover told brandchannel. “We set the foundation just over a year ago with our transitional orange money advertising and some very creative brand-building campaigns, including our unique and highly successful Voya Born to Save program.”
“We kept the momentum of the rebranding moving forward with our 2015 media activities and integrated marketing campaigns, and these efforts have evolved with our newest commercials,” she added. “We are pleased to see that our brand awareness plans are working. More than half of the people who know Voya as a brand recognize that we are a company that serves the retirement market.”
bc: Tell us about the new campaign with Allison Janney and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Why do these particular TV stars work with Vern and Val, and how would you describe the overall voice and messaging of the campaign?
Ann Glover (right): America loves celebrities and we wanted to tap into that to draw interest and excitement around our brand. The reason we went with Allison Janney and Jesse Tyler Ferguson is because they are relevant to our primary target audience as their approachability and witty traits fit well with our optimistic brand image. Their roles in the spots offer a creative way to get Voya talked about and help draw attention to our Orange Money origami animals. But, the real celebrities are our Orange Money origami animals, Vern (the rabbit) and Val (the squirrel).
bc: How does this integrated campaign aim to reach Voya’s target customer, who you’ve described as “Practical Patty,” as well as men and millennials?
Glover: The overall goal for the two new spots is brand awareness. As a newly branded company, we want to make sure consumers know our name. Utilizing the talents of Janney and Ferguson allow us to reach both our primary audience to keep them engaged, but also hit a broader target to help folks remember our brand and know who we are. We want them to understand how we can help them get organized today so they can plan, invest and protect their savings for retirement.
Voya is also a big proponent of an integrated marketing approach. We want people to understand that it’s never too early—or too late—to plan for retirement, so we’re trying to reach consumers of all ages. Television commercials, digital advertising and social media activity each resonate more effectively with different age groups, so we make sure we have a robust presence on a variety of channels.
— Allison Janney (@AllisonBJanney) January 4, 2016
bc: How are you using data to get better insights and predictive analytics on your customer data so you can test and learn in a meaningful way for your brand objectives?
Glover: In order to help target and tailor our messages to our key audience types, we are doing some exciting work, by customer type, around customer decision journeys. For example, why do you decide to enroll in your employer’s retirement plan—or not? How do you decide how much to contribute to your retirement plan? This sets us up to develop and deliver more effective messages to individuals when, where and how they’d be most receptive to receiving them.
bc: Voya’s myOrangeMoney website is helping millions of Americans change the way they manage and engage with their retirement plan. To extend that experience, what are you paying attention to at CES, for example, in terms of fintech, mobile, wearable tech—even virtual reality—as ways to engage consumers and make retirement planning easier and more flexible?
Glover: We know behavioral science is an area of opportunity for us—understanding how to take what we know about human behavior and use it to overcome obstacles that will then help to make the savings process easier and more automatic. It’s all about reaching people when, where and how they want to engage with us, which includes digital and mobile.
For example, Voya had one of the first mobile retirement apps on the market with full account transaction capabilities. We also recognize the need for cross-device browsing to best meet our customers where they are. An example of this is how we are activating digital enrollment on myOrangeMoney to make it easier and more compelling for customers to join in their workplace retirement plans by immediately seeing the impact of their decision on potential future retirement income. Our Voya.com property is also responsively designed and presents information and functionality in a friendly way across smartphones, tablets and desktops.
bc: As technology opens up more platforms to reach customers, how do you keep the Voya brand consistent across platforms and touch points in your drive for Voya to help America retire better?
Glover: We know that consumers expect multiple channels for engagement from any company with which they interact. Our customers compare their experience with Voya to their best experiences, across any channel. It is not enough to provide the best financial services customer experience; we need to provide the best overall customer experience—regardless of category.
Our primary goal is to help all working Americans get financially organized today, in order to live comfortably tomorrow, and that starts with an easy-to-understand consumer experience across all channels—in person, over the phone, on the web, or through mobile.