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Ep. 24 – How to Land a Successful Rebrand with Mai Fenton of Superscript

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This week Eric chats to Mai Fenton of Superscript, a customizable bespoke insurance company for small businesses. Mai joined a few years ago as the first CMO, and oversaw a major rebranding from Digital Risks to Superscript. By 2020, the name Digital Risks no longer represented the brand, as its customer base shifted from purely digital and technology businesses to all kinds of businesses seeking customizable insurance. It was clear the company needed to rebrand to unlock growth opportunities and challenge the insurance market.

You’ll hear some of Superscript’s engaging radio and podcast spots. Click here to learn more about Superscript’s rebrand journey.

To listen to this conversation on your preferred streaming platform, click here.

If you prefer to watch this episode, visit (and subscribe!) to Rival’s YouTube channel.

Transcript

Mai: When I think about challenger brand, challenger mindset, for me it's really about looking at what the rest of the industry is really doing and trying to do it distinctively in a way that benefits the customers.

Eric: I'm Eric Fulwiler, and this is Scratch Bringing You Marketing lessons from the leading brands and brains rewriting the rule book from Scratch for the world of today.

Hey everyone, my guest today is Mai Fenton Chief Marketing Officer of Superscript here in the uk, Superscript, originally known as Digital Risks, launched in 2015 with a quote, simple Ambition to make insurance better for digital businesses as they grew beyond digital only businesses. And this is what you'll hear Mai talk about is the main focus of our conversation today. They needed a rebrand. So Mai joined is their first CMO in 2019 and in 2020 rolled out a rebrand going from Digital Risks to Superscript. So we talk a lot about the approach to the rebrand and I like how much she ties it back to commercial results and how the rebrand actually grew the business in the way that they hoped that it would. So it kind of wasn't just the high level brand comms visual identity stuff. Of course we talk about that, but we tie that to real business results or she does of course have nothing to do with it.

But I like how she talks about that. We also talk about her perspective on being a challenger brand. So every brand can be a challenger. That's what we believe at least. But Superscript is very much the definition of a challenger taking on some of these big established incumbent insurance companies in that space. And she talks about how they've approached that as well. And then we talk a bit about her experience. She's worked in big organizations and also in startups and has had commercial experience as well of marketing experience. And we talk about why that matters and hopefully people can find something helpful in that for their own careers too. So without further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Mai Fenton CMO of Superscript.

Hey, just a quick note from me to let you know that after this week's episode we're going to be moving to fortnightly releases of Scratch. So every other week, instead of every week we need to make space for Punchy, our new marketing news podcast, which I hope you'll check out, which we're really excited about. But that is going to be weekly. So Scratch is going to be fortnightly going forward, same shows, same format just every other week instead of every week. Thank you. Hey Mai, how are you? Thank you so much for joining us today.

Mai: Hi Eric, I'm very well. How are you?

Eric: I'm doing great. I'm excited for this conversation. I have been an rival, has been a superscript customer. Well I guess not for all that long now, but we are on board and so I'm excited to hear a little bit more about the work you're doing behind the scenes to build the brand and build the business.

Mai: Okay, great to hear. Thanks for having me Eric.

Eric: Of course. So my, let's start with you. Can you give our audience a little bit of context on your background, how you ended up at Superscript and then particularly for people who aren't in the uk, just kind of a general overview of what Superscript is, that'd be great.

Mai: Sure, Sure. Right. Well I'm a French born Vietnamese who moved to the UK after I graduated from a French business school. Spent a long time ago. I've been in marketing for 20 years, but I've worked across quite a spectrum of industries. I starting in consumer package goos and I moved into lifestyle retail, e-commerce, marketplace workforce, small seed and or pre-seed startups all through to big corporate. So quite varied experience. And I joined Superscript to just in a two and a half years ago as their first cmo. So who are superscript, like you said, for non UK listeners? We are an Insurance challenger brand an I tech scale up that provides customizable and flexible best book insurance specifically for small businesses. So that's from micro-businesses to tech startup and high growth businesses too.

Eric: Amazing. And before we get into talking more about Superscript and the whole rebrand that you oversaw, I'd love to just double click on your experience and background for a second because you're in a scale up now and you have some startup experience, but you also worked at some big businesses, Kimberly Clark TK Max. So I'm just curious for people listening who are maybe still building their careers in marketing, is that advice or would you give people that advice of experiencing both big brand and startup and I guess especially for people who are maybe more interested in the startup, do you still think it's worth it to get that big brand experience? How has that been for you?

Mai: For me it's been very beneficial and I don't think I would've joined Superscript if it was for fact. I had such a broad range of experience across industries, but also company sizes. It's worked for me. It's gained tons of experience working for large corporates on the good stuff, the stuff maybe not to do. And I guess especially earlier in my career when I was working in consumer packaged goods, I think marketing is really the king, right in that industry. So you owned a strategy, new product development, you know own p and l you, it's such a central role that works across customer marketing, research and development sales and so on that I learned so much in those years perhaps not working on products that I had a personal affinity with. But I think in terms of training, it's been hugely beneficial for me. And then I transferred a lot of these skills into different sectors. So retail and e-commerce is again wild, wildly different part. It's more direct to customer, it's more by high frequency of engagement and I move to seeds seed startups and I think for me I've learned so many different skills and so much different experience that that's helped me be what superscript, the superscript founders needed to head up marketing at Superscript. Cause I see in my role at cmo, I see it at the senior table and my remit is more than just marketing, but it's contributing to strategic discussion to the direction for the business. And I think without all that I've gathered through my different roles in different sectors and settings I probably wouldn't be able to add so much value as I think I am now. For sure. And I think from my perspective, I have the things in the right way. I think if you have to do corporate and startups, it's probably a good thing to start with a big corporate. And I learned what I loved about it and why I didn't so much about it. I think obviously working with big companies, it's inevitably is Anarchical decision making is lower than it could be at a startup and I didn't love that side of things. I'm quite a hands-on person. So moving to a smaller startup scale size has been great because you get involved in the strategy but also you get stuck in and I still to craft to produce and to deliver as well. So I guess it depends on the kind of what makes you tick, but certainly my personal experience being amazing and I would recommend it to people who are considering it, give it a go. It's

Eric: Interesting in a way, I mean I am not a big corporate guy and the only stint I had working at kind of a corporate organization was Forbes back in the day it was actually forbes.com when it was a separate thing from Forbes, the magazine. But I think about that in my career. I do wonder, and obviously I've worked with many very big organizations on the agency side or on the consulting side, but I do think it would've been helpful for me to have kind of big company brand side experience. So I don't know I'm not a fan of thinking about how you do things differently if you had to do them all over again. I think it's about moving forward, but that is something I've thought about and if you replayed my career in a few different ways, maybe that is something that would've been helpful for me to go get. So just always, especially when people have varied backgrounds, really touching on that because I think that for people who are still coming up thinking intentionally about how they build their experience towards the career end goal they want to get to is really important and isn't often talked or thought about enough. So let's talk about superscript. So the focus of the conversation today is going to be on the rebrand that you undertook. So superscript was not superscript when you got there, or at least it wasn't called superscript. So the question I always like to ask when we're talking about a specific campaign is what's the business problem you were looking to solve? So can you talk to us about where things were when you got there and what was the business problem that you were looking to solve with this rebrand Campaign?

Mai: Sure. So yeah, this is the story of digital risks who reinvented itself as superscript in summer 2020. And I think I need to give a bit of context to explain what that problem was really. So digital risk was originally founded to provide innovative, customizable protection for then niche, but fast growing segment of SMEs, the early stage high growth, digital and technology businesses hands the name digital risks. But as the business grew, we quickly realized that our customizable digital insurance solution and monthly subscription model was relevant to other types of businesses, digital or not. So from a construction business to shop owners or beauticians agencies like yours, these business types also wanted a digital experience that is personalized and flexible. So we started to expand our underwriting footprints and to deliver this world class experience to more customers regardless of business size, activity and complexity. And we realized that we could serve customers are no longer just digital businesses but all kinds of small businesses. So the problem was very simple, the name Digital Risks, without growing it, we could no longer it longer represented the brand while we exist and what we do. And I think a rename has to have a solid reason like this. I mean it's not about new CMO wanted to make their mark. Actually there was a fun one probably if we wanted to get that greater share of the SME market save. So serve more SMEs. We had it to rename into a brand that is more relevant that they could have a personal affinity with. Because we knew from anecdotal feedback that digital risk says cyber security, digital business. We had customers not sure that we could serve them because they were like a now technician or fitness instructor. So it was very important for us because upper position was so, it's so universal really and there's no way we could unlock that growth by keeping the name digital risks. And it was quite a hard decision to make when you think about it for our founders especially. But at the same time where we can see that the growth opportunity, it was inevitable.

Eric: Yeah. So the business problem was really getting to that next level of growth, feeling like you had outgrown the mold of where the brand kept you. And I totally agree. I think, well first of all, I think a lot of marketing is done for marketers as opposed to commercial results or growth of a business, whatever that might mean. And it's not just about profit in today's day and age, it's about purposeful, sustainable growth. It's very multifaceted. But when it comes to rebrand conversations, I think of it as, I think a lot of it is kind of moving the furniture around. New CMO comes in, wants to put their mark on something, wants to have a project to extend their tenure. I think a lot of that actually does happen, but clearly with where you were and a brand that was very literal is what it says, maybe was a vessel or a platform that wasn't big enough to provide the foundation for the growth that you wanted to see. So talk us through maybe the next level down to the next stage. So that's what you came into and I'm assuming, and knowing Cameron, your founder and CEO a little bit, he comes from a marketing background, he's not just a technology and product and insurance sector guy. So was that part of the conversation with you coming on board for CMO of hey, we need to rebrand, we need a bigger platform for how we want to grow the business. And then what were the steps you took after you decided to do that?

Mai: Yeah, so that wasn't in my REIT from the start. I mean wasn't brought in with this in mind but obviously when I started we were already starting to see quite some growth beyond digital businesses. So we're having loads of strategic discussions with Cam and Ben are two co-founders about where we could be, where's the future, how big could it get? And what share of that do we want to take? What's our ambition? So a lot of strategic discussion leading onto actually, do we need a new name to get there? Can we grow under the digital risks? Can we grow under brand architecture that presents digital risk name? What are the options? We have built some equity in digital risks for this very niche segment of the market. What are the risk of losing iba? What can we gain? So it was really interesting, the choices where do we try to build around digital risk one way or another through some kind of architecture? Or do we build a new brand from scratch? And we looked at customer feedback, we look at way the pros and cons. There's considerations if you build a good domain authority starting from scratch, isn't it <laugh> with the new brand. And I think we are a challenging brand, we ambitious, we take risks, we in the business of risks in a way. And then we concluded actually a rebrand is needed. The opportunities are huge and we recognize the limitations of trying to grow under the digital risks. Name rebranding would open the doors to a larger addressable audience. And so we went with it. But it required a lot of open-mindedness. And I guess, you know mentioned you Cam you'll, you'll know he's very open-minded guy. He comes from a marketing background as well. So he understands that. So the conversations moved on to your, okay, so how do we do it now? Okay, we've made a decision. Do we try to do it? Do we use freelancers, do we use an agency? And we thought actually what I wanted to do is to do it very well. It's big going to be a big change and to do it really well, I wanted to make sure that we have the audience inside the research that we need to make sure that we build a strong platform from in terms of articulating our purpose and our brand, et cetera. So we look to an agency that can cover off the breadth of research and insight through to naming and IT development. That's for the rebrand part, but always with the view to building an in-house creative team to take this to the level of creative execution for advertising and brand activation, et cetera. We had just closed our series A round of funding in February, 2020. So it was great. We had a bit of money, we closed 8 million so we could afford to do it with the help of an agency. And yeah, we kicked off the projects in March, 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic as well, which was very interesting. Having all sort of creative workshops and customer research and interviews all remotely. But actually if you really focus, you've got the passion for it, you can do anything. For us, it was the first completely new thing to do everything remotely, but the drive that we all had behind it was absolutely amazing. You need the founders to be completely involved and engaged as well. And we had that lucky to have that with Cam and Ben.

Eric: Amazing. So let's take a look at what that looks like. I wish we had some before and after that would actually be fun, but I know we at least have the after for what superscript looks like now. So some things that we'll put in the show notes. So there's a visual overview that you put together for an entry into the drum B2B awards for best reframes.

Mai: The first slide is the before Eric.

Eric: Oh is there before and there? Yeah,

Mai: If you look at the first slide, is Digitalist the very blue

Eric: Perfect

Eric: Perfect Because in terms of the brief, what we wanted to achieve with this is first we wanted the new name and the brand to be customer centric. So we challenge a brand in that we are really customer centric and it's not the case necessarily for traditional insurance. We wanted that rebrand to embody our goal to set higher standards for business insurance. That's where we are here to disrupt the market for. And also we wanted to humanize our brand especially cause we are a B2B brand. So that rebrand was about being more human to human and not just about a business to business as such. So which probably was more digital risks.

Eric: So let's what I'd love to do and we can do this together and let people follow along with us, I'm just going to change my speaker output for a second. So we got the visual overview that we'll include in the show notes, but then I thought we could play one of the audio that you made and talk about your take on how behind the scenes as you were producing this, how you guided this rebrand into the actual creative output that came in contact with customers that actually went to market.

Mai: Eric, do you mind if I first give a bit of an overview of the brand because you will set the context for the audio ad. So the digital risk used to be really blue <laugh>, really blue brand. So when we rebranded from digital risk, the first thing was the name obviously superscript borrowed from typesetting and here we suggest a highest standard. So how we move insurance above and beyond the norm and elevate our customers to new height. And because we really want to do this with a challenger mindset. And so what was very important, and actually we transpired through all of our marketing and advertising is the guiding principles that we established to deliver that which are unafraid, unstoppable and expected and assuming. And they all start with UN because they're about challenging current behaviors, but what they do is they embody an attitude. We can call them values or virtues, but they are behaviors. We are showing you their attitude and what they do is they inspire everything we do action execution. So when you play play these ads, you will see how different the sound. But in terms of our identity, what we wanted to do is also to the visual identity, I mean is to stand out from the industry norm. So from the outside we decided to do the opposite of what the industry does. So what that means is actually when we started off, we looked at what the competitors are doing with the general landscape of insurance, we cut out all the cliches and we knew that would inform what we wouldn't be doing. So things like primary color being a vivid mean green blues are dominant. You think Aviva a Axa, marsh Gallagher or Reds direct line and Hiscock? No. So we went for a completely different color on the spectrum, the bright, energetic, energetic and optimistic green. And we have a develop a stylized word mark, but also the asterisk brand symbol, which I'm sure you've come across because we feature it a lot. It's a bit of visual shortcut to superscript. I mean that was brave because the asterisks in insurance is really about denoting the small print and insurance has got a bit of necessarily not a good name. It's the asterisk what you trying to hide in the footnote. But for us it was very different. It's actually first is in the detail, but actually we make it very transparent and important as we bring asterisks to the fore. It's big, it's large, it's above the line and the line and we we've turned things on this head that way. So yeah, let's move on to the radio and ads maybe and then I can build on that in terms of how that translating into audio.

Eric: And so these were radio ads, that's where these were distributed

Mai: Radio and also podcast advertising.

<Radio Ad Starts>

Whether you're starting your business

Or starting to get noticed,

Spotting typos

Or spotting trends,

Making a difference

Or making a deadline,

Moving on up

Or moving online,

Sealing a deal

Or sealing a leak

Reading the room

Or your first five star review

At Superscript, we know that business never stops.

So go all in with superscript and leave the details to us

Monthly business insurance shaped around you.

<Radio Ad Finishes> 

Mai: So this was from our first launch campaign and it's part of a campaign that we internally called Moments of Harmony that's really picking on the special moments in the life of a small business owner that means so much to them. And it's really about showing how we actually care and understand how this small moments actually extraordinary for a small business owner with a tone of voice that is hopefully green and really, really fresh and sounds very different. I think for us a brand is not just an identity and a visual and some nice photography, but it also translate into a tone of voice that has to be on brand. If you're talking about being an expected and unafraid, we took an approach that is just that really. So through the audio ad you could really see how we are relating to the customer. We understand these more moments, they important, we elevate you as a customer in your day-to-day life. And it leads on to how super scripted actually is also a more adequate insurance brands for you because we understand the uniqueness of your small business. But I think language is also something that we've taken a completely different approach to also in print ads, whether they're out of home or press ads as well. Because I think you mentioned you've been exposed to some of our billboards and you could see how we use big headlines that are kind of again really relatable for the customer. Not too wordy bit casual, but with the right level of seriousness again. So we spend quite a lot of time making sure that the tone is it relatable but is right as well for you. And it's a very different approach I think to a lot of in insurance brands. I think we could probably play cake if you like now or recipe from our most recent radio campaigns,

<Radio Ad Starts>

Many aches, bunch of flour, sing of milk, five butter, lots of sugar, some baking powder, a bit of zest, then cherries, jam, cream splash here, dash there, whip it, oven it not a cake. Amounts matter how long and when getting business right means getting just the right amount of everything including insurance superscript, monthly business insurance shaped around you.

<Radio Ad Finishes>

Mai: So this campaign is part of our 2021 campaigns that we called Amounts Matter and it's really about taking a more experimental, entertaining approach to bringing to life the customization uniqueness of our product. And again, it's about, for me above the line advertising where it's out of home and radio, it's in the business of trying to capture people's attention, right? It's really, really hard to break through when your small brand, when there's so much going around. So I always take the view that if you're going to do billboards or radio, it's a bad, it's about cutting through the noise and grabbing the attention first, creating some intrigue to get people to listen through to the ad and then conclude with your proposition. I think if we started the ad with, hey we are super script business insurance, I can guarantee you best people, we we'll turn off and move to another channel. But again, at the end that was very successful on many levels, both campaigns. But what's been really nice is the feedback we had about these ads, the print ads or the radio ads from customers that came through our customer success lines or even in our Trustpilot reviews, et cetera. We had people googling as well for some of these, which was really interesting. Subscript plus some of the keywords that came through our radio ads and print ads. And again, it's because we zagging when others are z. Just to borrow one of your favorite phrase I'm sure, so this is for me why the campaign A above the lines be so successful and obviously we are talking about radio, we're talking about of home, but these are only the sort of top of the funnel channels. The whole media mix included lots of digital display, programmatic display advertising, paid social advertising as well.We did podcasts, podcast sponsorships as well partnerships with Korea magazine for entrepreneurs. So there was a lot that was happening more towards the lower level of the funnel. Obviously with different messaging. The lower down the funnel we'd go, the more sort of functional and emphasizing the USPS would be. But again, the channel worked really, really well together. It's interesting because when we measured the impact of our brand campaigns through a brand tracker, every single channel had such dominance. It wasn't one or another that was remembered, but the combination of them all drive some very strong brand recall.

Eric: So I did want to ask you to the extent you can share about your media planning and channel mix, because like I mentioned before we hit record anecdotally for me here in North London, I see superscript ads out of home. I'm trying to think specifically where, well I guess you would know I think that bus stops or something like that, I've seen those, I haven't seen as much digital. So how do you think about, because, and I do want to talk more about the challenger mindset, challenger brand because I think that applies to not just the brand you build, but also how you go to market and where you make your investments. And obviously the very generalized typical challenger type of approach I would argue is more investing in the digital because budgets are smaller, it's more targetable, more controllable, et cetera. So at a certain point you a lot of brands do need to go above the line just to reach the scale that they're looking for. But how have you thought about your media mix and channel planning when it comes to embodying that challenger to the traditional players in the space?

Mai: Yes, the out of home is more of an add-on if you like. So always our channel mix has always been highly digital as a challenger brand. But what that means was perhaps more focused on the lower parts of the funnel. And when we secured that series amount of funding, it was our chance to actually go onto the public media to gain that trust. That is very hard to gain when you are a startup in financial services, isn't it? So I guess he was, it's not really changed what we do in terms of our digital marketing, but it's allow us to drive that, I want to say mass, but mass <laugh> mass awareness at above the line through of home and radio advertising, which we couldn't afford before at all. And for out of home we focused on London mainly, which is probably why you've seen a lot of it because my view was that rather than trying to spread our budget nationally and in a scattered way was best to go big in London, in greater London. But with radio we're able to go more or national we advertise on LBC and heart. But again, I would love for this to be more of a ongoing activity. This will probably happen after our next round of funding, but for now we peaked the key we felt were key seasons for us to dominate. So September, october this year. And then we also run earlier this year in May and June. But like I said before, if you look at the impact of home, it's also we continue with the digital advertising, but actually out of home and radio have such a positive impact on our digital advertising performance. So we've seen clickthrough rates improve but quite dramatically in and after out of home campaigns, you're talking like five percentage points, really, really big improvements, higher direct and organic search sessions. There's some really won wonderful impact it's had also in digital marketing. So it's as much as it's kind of upper funnel, I think the benefits throughout the funnel are really significant.

Eric: Yeah, I mean that's one of a lot of the conversations that so many of us have as marketers, whether you're on the consulting side or whether you're on the brand side, is what's the ROI of what you're doing? And I've been trying to push people to think a little bit more broadly about that because really the job of marketing is not necessarily short-term return, depending on the business, it should be contributing to that. But the reason that you have marketing is to drive long term growth of the business, which is not captured in an ROI model, especially if it's this campaign or the next 30 days if it's short term. So I think there is a way to expand on that. But beyond the kind of high level case of it's about long-term cash flow, it's about long-term growth. There is the very real impact that it can have on short-term metrics just by, I think of it as greasing the wheels of the commercial machine, the more brand awareness, affinity, consideration, whatever KPI you want to focus on in terms of how it's shifting people's perception that then does change the behavior once they're in funnel. So that does make sense. Yeah,

Mai: And when you think about it, Eric, if you think about the problem we're solving, right and why we decided to rename it to rebrand and we did that to capture a bigger share of the market, to serve more trades really well, the first way to verify that is to look at actually how has our customer mix change in terms of the different industries that we've managed to serve. And it's been phenomenal. So obviously our growth since August, 2020, it's been absolutely phenomenal, especially considering we went through a pandemic, but if I look at the industry mix, we achieved that. So we used to be highly reliable, rely on tech and media and professional services based on our very initial proposition of digital risks. But now the mix has really grown and you could see that non-digital business as such a big partner of our business. So health, beauty, wellbeing, trade builders, hospitality, etc. So that's fuel that growth. We continue to grow in tech and media, but actually that that's accelerated our growth because we're able to capture this non-digital businesses. So impact on trade makes growth, revenue, grocery premium as well. So the commercial KPIs, which is what matters the most really for reason ours that of net customer growth and revenue where I met and really exceeded my expectations. And then obviously you've got the software metrics of, we talked about website traffic, we talked about clickthrough rates on digital ads improving the economics obviously very important. We run the brand tracker, which again, very soft metrics, the things like prompted awareness, purchase intent, brand association, etc, and all very positive and going the right direction.

Eric: I think it's obviously having done at this point, I don't know, a dozen of these interviews had the FinTech marketing podcast and my day-to-day for the last decade it's been working with senior marketers. But I think you can always tell the people that have had some type of commercial experience, and I mean this is a compliment because I think it is so important, the role of marketing is to drive growth of a business. And so having that commercial skill set and experience of managing a p and l or working in sales or just being grounded in what marketing is doing to drive the results, it always comes out. And I know you had some of that background and it definitely is clear talking to you. It's not the rebrand for the sake of rebranding, it's actually with the hypothesis of how this is going to drive growth in the way that you want it and then tracking to the results of how it's done that. So it's one of the things I think is really important for people, again coming up is thinking about how they can get that kind of commercial experience in some way, shape or form. Because I think it makes you a better marketer.

Mai: Absolutely. And I really want to quickly go back to what you said, which is so absolutely right about just focusing on digital or ppp. C or P is a good way to drive short term results. It's difficult to scale rapidly as well, isn't it? And so you have to think about the long term impact of on growth that brand building can help you achieve. And for us, certainly we believe that building a strong superscript brand will help us accelerate our growth. It helps us having a strong brand and equity removes things like price sensitivity as well. Cause we are not in the business of being the cheapest at all. We want to be the best value for every small business. So the best coverage are the best price with the best experience. So there's kind of metrics like this that matter as well. So much for us for the long term. And as we about to embark on our next round of funding, I think it's been good to see that actually we already can demonstrate some of the positive returns from all this brand rebrand in the brand building activity we've run.

Eric: So let's zoom back out for a second and talk about Challenger. And we think at rival every business can and should be a challenger, whether that's to somebody else, an incumbent in their industry or to themself. Because if you're not trying to put yourself out of business, then you leave an opportunity for somebody else to do that. But for you, superscript is directly the typical, the definition of a challenger taking on some very big incumbents in the insurance space. So you've already touched a little bit on how you've embodied that, and you even mentioned challenger mindset, which is something that we think about a lot because how you act is a reflection of how you think. So it does need to start there, but what does challenger brand actually mean to you? If you zoom out for a second, think about your career what does that mean? And then maybe you could touch on a few more things about how you think about that with your team and how that has driven the success of the marketing and the business to date.

Mai: When I think about challenger brand, challenger mindset, for me it's really about looking at what the rest of the industry industry of doing and trying to do it distinctively in a way that benefits the customer. So I think I've always got the customer in mind. I think it's whatever we do is to benefit them ultimately. That's certainly a purpose. So with insurance, I mean it's quite clear to see a lot of the issues that exist, it's published broadly in white papers and so on, is the fact that this industry is highly flexible, lacks transparency, it's complicated. You know, you're locked into 12 month contract, etc. So we look at that and clearly it's not customer centric. So we being a challenger is it's challenging yourself as well to flip things on their head and to take the opposite approach to what the rest of the industry landscape is doing. So if everybody's going 12 months contract, what we're going to offer monthly subscription. If it's so hard to be transparent through a usual insurer, well we're going to build a quote a product builder, a quote builder that shows you how your price changes depending on the options that you add and so on and so forth. You can talk to somebody on the phone if you're not entirely sure, you can get assistance along the way. So that's really our approach and we really pride ourselves on offering a very good customer experience because it's often more fun than not. You don't in the world of insurance, right? It's so painful, so driven, PDF driven, et cetera. We provide a digital experience that allows you to get more control of your insurance. So for example, your customers who you'll know, but we've got a customer account, which is quite unique in commercial insurance, it's probably there already personal lines, but you can log in, you can view your policy documents, you can edit your cover if your circumstances change from one month to another And that's for me's embodying, okay, if this is a pain point that we know exist, no one else wants to touch activation, we will find a way to do this. And that takes a lot of bravery I suppose if you think about monthly subscription if we were in the business to just make money, we'd probably stick to 12 months contract, get somebody to sign up and stay with us for 12 months and charge 'em a penalty. They need to change their cover whilst we are the business of working for you a customer and making it flexible for you. Yeah, I think it's well embodied through our guiding principles as well, unafraid and unexpected. For me it's a big part of the challenger mindset and we even breathing every day in marketing and in the whole of the company. And in fact the guiding principles were a big thing when we rebranded because you can imagine that even if our primary audience was this audience of small business, small business, small businesses, sorry, the first people that we needed to buy into this rebrand were our people our employees. So we spend a lot of effort in terms of internal communications and KE keeping them in the loop of the progress with the project and sharing et cetera, and getting them really excited about our purpose and our values. We celebrate every day. We celebrate anyone who shows moments of being unafraid and expected unstoppable, and assuming we've got the slack icons, we've got the awards, we've got everything. And I think that's so important. It has to be completely embedded I think in your culture. And this is how I think as a business, we can all move together to completely challenge how we do this better, how we can better serve the customer what others aren't doing that we should be doing. It's a long answer to your questionnaire, Eric, so I got carried away.

Eric: Yeah, and no, no, it's a great answer. I mean it touches on a lot of the things that I believe in that we believe and try to embody and do here at Rival. You don't need to be a startup to be a challenger. And actually it's interesting hearing you explain how you approached it, particularly the focus on purpose getting buy-in internally, consistently reinforcing those values and that perspective on what you're trying to change in the world and why you're trying to change it. Linda Boff from ge, the CMO of GE, said a lot of the same things about their purpose campaign. So a lot of what I come back to and why we really believe in this, you don't need to be a startup to be a challenger thing, is it's just good marketing fundamentals at the end of the day because it's all about people. The reason that people change their perception or behavior or feel bought in to working at a company or a culture, it doesn't change that much. Like the dynamics of that don't change that much if you're at a startup or if you're a big company, how you need to communicate them to a hundred thousand people versus a hundred people that change. But it's all human principles and truths that underline all of this. And I think the successful internal and or external marketing campaigns, they all tie to that in a very similar way.

So we are up on time. I really appreciate you joining us. Before we break though, I did want to touch on something else that I pulled from your LinkedIn. So you are a mentor in Brightside and that is working to help. Well, I'll let you explain it, but the line that I pulled from your bio that I really liked is that access to the best opportunities in life is often determined more by where a person grew up or what their parents do than where their talents are. And I'm very passionate about that and we're trying to do our bit to change that at rival and just try to take the bias and the inefficiencies and inequalities out of the industry as much as we can. So I'd just love to let you talk for a minute about Brightside, promote them, maybe there's some people who want to get involved and just give us your perspective on why you think that's important and why you got involved.

Mai: Sure. Brightside is a wonderful charity that supports young people in education from disadvantaged backgrounds, especially cold spots in the uk. They're people who, young students who probably don't have much of a network to help them or to talk to, help them identify their options In terms of education and future jobs I feel I've been very privileged to be honest. And I've benefited from mentors throughout my career and I wanted to give back. I actually started to be a mentor in March, 2023 during the first lockdown because I had that bit of extra time on my hand and I came across Brightside through one of my connections on LinkedIn and I thought, oh well that's really great because I do a lot of mentoring myself in a not very structured way where offer my time to young people friends children, et cetera. And I thought I would be able to do this outside of my own network with people that really need it because they don't have that network.

Mai: So I joined Brightside as a mentor and what they do is they have regular programs with universities where they connect students with professionals or young graduates. It doesn't have to be an established, you don't have to be an established professional and it's all happening online. So there's a lovely app that allows students to ask you questions. Obviously you guided through the whole experience, each program last six weeks I think, if I remember correctly so that you get some training obviously to become a good mentor and you build this sort of remote anonymous relationship with a bunch of mentees. I usually have three at a time just answering their questions and guiding them and yeah, it's just really wonderful because you can really feel the difference that you make. The questions are they asked that without Bright Side they probably wouldn't get much answer to and they might give up on something that they really want to do, but dunno how to go about. So I find it, I find it. I would like to encourage listeners to take part to sign up. It's bright site.org. There's another program that I'm starting in January again.

Eric: Great. Well we'll include a link to them in the show notes as well. And of course we'll include a link to Superscripts, but if people want to connect with you or find out more, where would you like to send them?

Mai: LinkedIn is the best way I'm most active on this platform, so just reach out to me

Eric: All right. Well thank you so much for making the time. It was great. Great to spend this time together and hear more about the work you're doing.

Mai: Thanks for having me, Eric. It was great chatting to you.

Eric: Take Care.

Eric: Scratch is a production of Rival. We are a marketing innovation consultancy that helps businesses develop strategies and capabilities to grow faster. If you want to learn more about us, check out we are rival.com. If you want to connect with me, email me eric@wearerival.com or find me on LinkedIn. If you enjoyed today's show, please subscribe, share with anyone you think might enjoy it and please do leave us a review. Thanks for listening and see you next week.

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