Hughes Breaks Through in a Crowded Market

Learn how AV Browne helped Hughes Insurance thrive in a market awash with new entrants.

The insurance market is busy, with plenty of deep-pocketed firms fighting for consumers' attention. Price comparison websites (PCWs) make this arena more competitive. What chance does Hughes, a home-grown insurer from Newtownards, stand against these behemoths? Quite a good chance, to be fair. With our help, Hughes leveraged their personal touch to reach Northern Ireland's insurance consumers in a way that others can't. It began with a rebrand in 2016.

In 2017, Hughes tasked AV Browne to embed their new brand and drive conversions. We responded by developing fresh TV and radio ads, and a digital campaign that reached consumers at important points on their journey to purchase.

Rather than opt for celebrity endorsements, or stuffed toys and cute robots, we decided to show the reality of how Hughes works. Our TV ads featured scenarios when customers need to turn to Hughes—a collision on the road, a flooded kitchen, moving into a new home. These customers picked up the phone and were answered by real Hughes consultants. We produced a behind-the-scenes cut and shared it on social media. This encapsulated Hughes' selling proposition: when you call Hughes, you're talking to a human (not an algorithm), a local who will care about you at a difficult time. A direct response version of this ad proved that Hughes is also competitive on price.

The digital component of the campaign capitalised on the recognition that the Hughes brand now enjoyed. Continuously optimised remarketing, social media, and paid search advertising reached consumers at critical points. We made valuable insights into how each performed through a suite of analytical tools, and tweaked our message and targeting accordingly.

Hughes has experienced the highest new business rate in two years, and their highest ever customer retention rate. Insurance sales are seasonal, with take-up dropping off toward the end of the year. 2017 has been different. Sales in this period have exceeded even the strongest months. Hughes is punching above its weight in the head-to-head competition of PCWs.