Editor's Note: This post was written by The Ad Club's Laura Kinson.
We joked around in The Ad Club office that, like Massachusetts health insurance, this CMO breakfast would be mandatory. While it’s obvious that that particular saying is lighthearted in nature, this morning was no joking matter when it came to explaining the complexities behind brand relevance in the health care sector. Robert Mead, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Product, and Communications at Aetna wowed the crowd gathered at Microsoft’s NERD Center with his focus and overwhelmingly thorough overview of Aetna’s brand evolution over the last year.
Starting out with a quick company profile, Mead pointed out all the firsts Aetna has managed to accumulate in its marketing and health care tenures: first to roll out a broader set of mobile application features; first national, full-service health insurer to offer plans with health savings accounts; first to launch an integrated strategy to improve racial and ethnic disparities; and first to launch a Personal Health Record with health alerts. Not surprisingly, Aetna’s core strategy includes the words leader, excellence, quality, and empower.
Segmenting Aetna’s areas of focus in terms of brand levers, Mead carefully outlined their campaign’s marketing precision, member experience, and advertising areas that each promoted a goal related to their overarching objective of a differentiated brand experience. Defining Aetna as the only health care provider to give users simplified, easily accessible access to their health history, current health options, and future steps, Mead showcased a variety of creative techniques that are putting Aetna on a health care pedestal. (Thanks, we have to humbly say, to Arnold Worldwide, their agency of record and an Ad Club member!)
From more personalized and visually appealing welcome letters to web and mobile redesigns, Aetna’s comprehensive campaign delivers on best-in-class products, programs, and services across member touch points. Taking a strong stance on health care transparency, Mead also illustrated how Aetna is taking steps to provide an easy-to-understand version of health care costs.
Rather than shy away from a decidedly newsworthy topic, Aetna is embracing the market forces and health reform encircling the health care world to leverage this unprecedented opportunity. Accepting the challenge, Mead pointed out that Aetna has transformed into a lifestyle brand focusing on experience. By studying how their consumers live the product and by putting the power back in the consumers’ hands, Aetna has reinvented and transformed their previously all-buttoned-up persona. It’s definitely easy to say that bacon wasn’t the only star at today’s breakfast!