Simply Business brand refresh

Online business insurance provider, Simply Business, needed to address a complex set of challenges in order that its brand platform, communications and visual design could keep pace with its ambitious growth plans following acquisition by Travellers of the US in 2017. 

To better engage target audiences, Simply Business required greater differentiation from its branding and more relevance from its communications. Recognising a direct correlation between site visits and purchase, there was a practical requirement to increase online traffic which stood at around 360,000pm. And, after twice winning Sunday Times ‘Best UK Company To Work For’, Simply Business needed to bring its core brand values to life in a meaningful way for customers, as well as demonstrating continuing progress to employees.

Brand health audits, online tracking, focus groups with customers, non-customers and employees, and other sources of customer listening provided Simply Business with a wealth of qualitative and quantitative data. Findings suggested brand perceptions lagged employee and customer sentiment for online business insurance and the brand had low awareness across non-customers within its target SME audience group. 

With a need to interpret research findings, ahead of a planned US launch, Simply Business appointed Start Design to undertake a comprehensive brand refresh and Start’s sister agency Truant to devise a communications campaign. The purpose being to establish a new brand platform, with simpler product propositions, clearer branding and communications and more memorable visual design.

Getting Simply Business closer to small businesses

From the outset, the management team at Simply Business were clear about their goals and what outcomes were required from a comprehensive brand refresh. There was a shared understanding and mutual excitement about the challenge and the opportunity. The space for growth and the audiences were well defined. And, importantly, Simply Business – a certified B Corp – was already successful. 

In a truly collaborative process, the brand refresh streamlined the existing ‘spirit’ helping to refocus on the tangible customer benefits of Simply Business as the UK’s leading online insurance specialist.

The Simply Business product proposition was restated: to help every customer find the right level of cover at the right price. A new brand proposition was introduced to sharply focus Simply Business and its employees on the needs of each and every customer. “Business Insurance Made For You” was launched as a new customer-facing brand line, acting as the point of resolution to the new customer proposition: “You name it, we insure it”. Devised by Truant, the “You name it, we insure it” campaign celebrated the unique creativity of people behind so many British small businesses.

Atypical for the insurance industry, the brand refresh for Simply Business was engaging and fun. It successfully built on the energy that had served Simply Business so well, whilst simplifying and clarifying the proposition and purpose.

The results have been encouraging. Since the brand refresh and campaign launch, overall customer numbers have increased from 425,000 to 600,000 – up more than 40%. The key metric of average monthly site visits has more than doubled from 360,000 per month, in August 2017 to over 740,000 per month and peaked at 1.1m in April 2019 after a second burst of the ‘You name it, we insure it’ campaign. In April 2018, Simply Business won gold for Best Rebrand of a Digital Business at Transform Awards Europe.

Simply Business brand refresh campaign ‘You name it, we insure it’.

The campaign showcases the diverse range of small businesses, covered by Simply Business’ insurance products, using many amusing, memorable business names – often incorporating puns on well-known celebrities. Some highlights are vehicle valeting service – Spandau Valet; hairdresser – Barber Streisand; florists – Floral and Hardy; bathroom tile fitter – Bonny Tiler; and removals firm – He-Van (Movers of the Universe).

Mike Garvey, Head of Brand and Communications at Simply Business commented: “Our ‘You name it, we insure it’ creative idea chimes perfectly with our customers, our proposition and our brand. It’s fun, authentic and celebrates our customers with pride – all whilst showcasing the breadth of our insurance expertise. Truant have helped us bring this to life brilliantly, to create an ambitious, digital campaign which we’re confident will prove a great help in our push for growth.”

Truant’s MD, Chris Jefford, added: “Simply Business is a brilliant company with a unique company culture. We are delighted with the warmth and authenticity of the work. We’re here to help our clients adopt a spirit of disobedience when approaching communications. We think this resonated well with Simply Business and is a trait that is perfectly exemplified by the many, truly inspiring small business owners who form their customer base. Truant Media put together an outstanding media plan, including a partnership with WeWork.”

“This new brand identity and design refresh signifies a bright, exciting new phase for Simply Business. Our brand celebrates individuality - that of our 600,000 customers and 500 employees - so we felt duty bound to create a simpler, better identity to embody this. "We continue to activate the brand across multiple touchpoints as we look to continue our UK growth and establish ourselves in the US. Simply Business is committed to making it easier for small businesses get the insurance they want and the brand refresh helps us to keep delivering on our promise."

Fiona McSwein
Simply Business CMO

“Simply Business is a rapidly growing company but, it became clear that our branding hadn’t kept up with our expansion. We knew that we needed a truly world-beating brand to reflect what we’re trying to build: one of the best companies in the UK, and worldwide. To achieve this, we embarked on an ambitious project with Start Design: a full refresh of the Simply Business brand. “We think the rebranding went well – and others agree. Last year we won the Transform Europe Award for Best Rebrand of a Digital Business. At the same time, we’ve seen double-digit growth in brand awareness, plus growth in new business and record retention levels.”

Mike Garvey
Simply Business Head of Brand and Communications
Thousand new customers since refresh
Increase in monthly site visits