Insuring a Client Connection – The New Road to Growth
Northwestern Mutual is a 150-year-old financial services company with over 5,000 corporate employees and more than 330 local offices, each supporting multiple field representatives. The decentralized structure had led to a fractured brand look and feel, and messaging that didn’t hold particular sway for clients. Trinity Brand Group crafted a distinctive new brand strategy and shaped an iconic visual and verbal identity system. Now former internal naysayers are Northwestern Mutual’s biggest brand advocates. Recognition and consideration is growing, and the company expects to pay the largest dividends of its history in 2015 – more than three times its nearest competitor.
Finding the Right Path
The brand’s messaging, which focused on its past successes, wasn’t relevant anymore. Product marketers and field representatives didn’t understand the potential of a cohesive Northwestern Mutual brand and were actually requesting their own unique collateral to differentiate amongst each other. This was inefficient. Potential clients felt the inconsistencies. And the brand was getting diluted.
Planning for the Journey
Through rigorous inquiry, we uncovered the emotional truth that, for Northwestern Mutual, a client’s relationship with the brand is a journey not a transaction. It takes place over the course of a lifetime – people get married, buy a first house, have kids, plan for education, retire and so on – all with the same trusted financial representative. We crafted a new brand compass: engaging clients on their lifelong journey towards financial security. Clients identify with the idea and representatives across the country are inspired by it.
Taking the Steps
We created a brand architecture, identity system, brand voice, photography and illustration style, and robust guidelines for Northwestern Mutual to build a cohesive brand and bring it to life. With these tools in place, the internal marketing team was able to create and update over 2,000 consistently branded marketing pieces within 18 months of launch.
“We’re proud to see the fruits of [Trinity’s] labor in action today. We have a unified look that holds together. We have home office colleagues at all levels actively talking about the brand and where it’s going. And we have field members who are proud to represent something bigger than themselves.”Paul Barthelemy - Assistant Director, Brand & Advertising, Northwestern Mutual
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