"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." - Andy Warhol
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David, thanks for wanting to participate in Brand 3.0 / Brand Integrity!
AIG – A mean-spirited firm or simply stupid?
We are all aware (at least in the States) that AIG acquired 21st Century Insurance. I would love to see the Marketing Plan that called for eliminating the name 21st Century, along with its goodwill and substantial brand equity. Upon renewal, I was harshly informed that I was now insured by AIG, with instructions to continue to address my check to 21st Century. That is a branding issue for another day.
When AIG's brand became seriously tarnished by spending hundreds of thousands of "bail-out" dollars on extravagant parties, suddenly AIG Insurance became 21st Century again. It was announced via a confusing letter and a hastily thrown together new logo.
As a branding consultant, I am both fascinated and horrified by AIG’s behavior. My credentials include the Creative Strategy, Creative Brief and the design of the LEXUS logo.
A brand is so much more than a logo or a name. It is the essence of the organization, its values and its carefully-crafted brand voice. I have saved correspondence from AIG/21st Century which is so mean spirited that it caused me to change insurance carriers, after 18 years as a loyal customer.
It is my impression that while AIG reverted to 21st Century—a High School freshman could have made that call—a significant element of the AIG brand that survived is its vicious customer-facing brand voice.
Are any of you privy to the Marketing Strategy that drove this fiasco, or wish to share positive/negative encounters with AIG? Is it just my reaction, or are they a mean-spirited company who cannot even fake a consumer-friendly brand voice, at the time they need it most?