What’s in a name?
When I joined the Tasker Insurance Group one thing that was commonly asked was, will you change the name of the business, will you keep the old Tasker name?
I got it. People thought, perhaps assumed, that because I had taken over from Paul Tasker as CEO then I would have an issue with his name still being above the door. I am not quite sure what people thought I would change it to, certainly not my own name, and let’s face it, as well known as Paul was within the business, most of our existing clients and almost all of our prospective clients wouldn’t know a Paul Tasker from a Robert Organ.
To me, the question of brand was nothing to do with Paul leaving and me joining. In fact, I respected that Messrs Tasker, Reynolds and others had worked hard to create a business, starting out with a Lloyd’s broker and building a more complex insurance intermediary business. There was at least some comprehensible reason behind the Group’s name, which can’t be said for some of the recent rebrands within our industry.
No, to me the issue with our brand was more that we hadn’t been deliberate enough, we had a leading brand, but we hadn’t then leveraged it consistently across the Group. This resulted in a fragmented group of businesses trading under a variety of different names, with too many silos, not enough synergies and no real sense of group or family.
In fact, our approach to our branding unsurprisingly reflected how we ran the business. A variety of different businesses, competing against each other in some areas and certainly not supporting each other enough. With no common external face, it was hard for the market to understand us, which impacted our trading relationships and opportunities.
How did I know this? People told me. Insurers, suppliers, clients and most alarmingly our own people. In fact, the message came through loud and clear, particularly in the staff survey that we did just a few months after I joined. To me, this was astonishing. How could we expect insurers, suppliers and clients to understand our proposition if our own people were confused?
We were making life harder than it needed to be. Something had to change.
Internally we have changed, we have brought the business together more than ever before, and I mean quite literally together.
- Starting at the top, the leadership team meet and behave as a leadership team, which was new, in fact, I introduced some members of the team to each other myself, and as the new boy, that seemed wrong.
- We held our inaugural annual conference where all our people came together for the first time to celebrate their achievements and share their plans.
- We set about merging our various retail businesses into one, still with several geographical locations, but one business.
- We have monthly communications to everyone in the business, keeping us all informed on how we are doing with the achievement of our plans, the ones we shared at the conference.
- And we have a new common purpose, as a group we are embracing our corporate social responsibilities and have chosen to support Mind for the next twelve months.
With all that change, coming together, recognising and celebrating our collective strengths, it seems quite natural that our brand and brand strategy should reflect this. We are proud of our pedigree, and so we should be, we don’t need to start over, build something from scratch, we can build on what we have worked hard to create.
Tasker & Partners was where it all started, a successful and well-respected Lloyd’s Broker that continues to go from strength to strength today. We can build on this solid foundation and have done so, leveraging the name and the branding style across the rest of the business.
Whilst our Lloyd’s Broker is different to our MGA, which is different to our retail business, which includes some well recognised and differentiated niche specialisms, they are all part of the same family and are now recognisable as such.
Within our retail business, now that we have achieved a sense of togetherness, we can continue to recognise our differences. We have several strong specialisms that are stand out offerings within their market; Travel Risk Professionals, The Guest House Insurer and ProPublican to name a few, deserve to be recognised as different, but at the same time, they (and their clients) acknowledge the value of being part of the larger Group and so we recognise this within their branding.
So, we have rebranded, building on what we had rather than starting afresh. Our brand reflects our business, our togetherness, our differences, our specialisms, it has pedigree and this is proudly supported by our people which is just as well, as without them, what they do and how they do it, our brand is little more than a name and what’s in a name anyway.