Following the merger of two fierce rivals, in a confusing and rapidly changing retirement income market, we created Just — a bold beacon brand, with a strong social purpose at it's core.

 

Insight, strategy, branding, marketing innovation and capability building.

 

 
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An annuity is effectively life insurance that pays you an annual ‘salary’ from the point of retirement. In the past almost every retiree used his or her final pension pot to buy an annuity. Hundreds of thousands of annuities just ‘sold themselves’ every year. Then in 2014 the Chancellor introduced pension freedoms. Customers were left confused by choice and many without access to financial advice. Annuity sales declined rapidly. As a result, Just Retirement and Partnership decided to merge.

Working with Jenny Burns, their Director of Brand and Customer experience, and a changemaker, we realised that the business had a moral core. They didn’t just want to sell annuities, so we worked with the senior executive team to develop a purpose statement – “We believe everyone deserves a fair, secure and fulfilling retirement”. This led to an opportunity to create a unique, human, beacon brand that could stand out in a hugely complex and misunderstood market. (Jenny Burns has since joined Albion as our CEO!)
 

 
 

 

A bold beacon brand needs a visual identity that stands out, so we developed a design system that divided opinion. However with extensive customer and accessibility research underpinning the thinking no one could argue with coral – the hero colour.  We also created a handwritten typeface designed specifically with accessibility features in mind — critical for people with impaired vision.

 

 
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Following the merger employees quickly lost their sense of belonging, along with not knowing whether they had jobs or not. It was imperative that we moved with pace to name the new business, generate excitement and improve morale. In order to do this we involved all employees in the development of the new brand strategy using Yammer and hosting small focus groups. In addition (along with two partners — Belong and Connectwell), we supported Jenny to recruit and develop a group of fellow changemakers from all walks of Just life. These Just Makers  became brand ambassadors and a force for change within the organisation.

 
 

We marked the start of the “new company” at an award winning innovative event that Just claimed was a “watershed moment”. The Just Makers designed and hosted the event, so no PowerPoint or boring speeches from a stage. The event was an empowering experience that immersed everyone in the world of Just.

As well as mobilising Just employees, we spent a great deal of time with Just’s potential customers who were in preretirement. It became quite apparent that most people aged 55+ were spending the majority of their time talking about every aspect of retirement apart from their finances, so we used this insight to create a powerful digital platform called The Tonic. We created great quality and intentionally provocative content that the over 55's loved.

 

 
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The results speak for themselves:

The merger went surprisingly smoothly, in large part due to the strong shared sense of purpose we uncovered and put at the heart of the new Just business.

The conservative broker and press audience have embraced the bold new vision for Just, recognising the need for real change in the retirement income sector.

Just’s share price has risen 30% since the merger, as a result of faster than expected merger benefits and strong new business performance.

 
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Just are now busy developing new services, led by customer needs that diversify their business beyond purely products.

 
 
 

If you’re about to go through a merger and have an ambition to make it more than the sum of the parts, then we can help. Get in touch

 
 
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