David vs. Goliath: Breaking Through Where Giants Dominate


Situation: A national provider of property and casualty based insurance was looking to stand out in an industry dominated by giants. Since major companies like All-State, State Farm, Geico, and Progressive control media and consumer awareness, the company needed to differentiate itself from the crowd to build brand awareness and drive growth. But, the company did not have a large marketing budget, nor was its team product focused.

Core Strategy Group’s Approach: We immediately recognized that the client needed to introduce a product or service that was relevant to its target audience and different from what its competitors were doing. That product was a GPS-enabled device that relayed their teens’ driving speeds and car locations to parents’ cell phones or computers so that they could “monitor” their kid’s driving. Key to this product was that you could only buy the device if you bought the teen insurance policy. Our research showed that the way to win was by demonstrating to the insurance agent (or “intermediary”) the benefits of this new, differentiated product. Additionally, to build marketing capability, we introduced the Objective, Goal, Strategy, and Measurement (OGSM) Process that enabled the client to develop strategy-driven plans that were focused on their business objectives.

We also introduced them to the “creative brief” process where they were able to provide creative direction, based on strategy, to their agency partners buying media, creating online advertising, developing public relation plans, and conducting promotional events in the local communities. The creative brief was the glue that allowed each agency to quickly go off and develop plans independently, yet still have the work come back looking consistent in communication style, tonality, and message. We also knew that the client needed to build up “talk value” in the media; using public relations and news coverage as a way to drive awareness, particularly since our client had a limited budget. Finally, we advised the client to target by state or local region vs. doing a national campaign in order to maximize dollars and connect on a local level. We partnered up with their marketing team to help them identify and prioritize the most effective communication strategy based on the product attributes and consumer needs.


Results: The launch generated awareness and reach that far exceeded expectations; with coverage of the new product picked up on network television, CNN, and local affiliates. In addition, the online media campaign drove a record number to proactively contact their independent agent to inquire about the new product. Finally, the move towards being an innovative company helped changed the perception of the company on Wall Street; turning it from a small player into an innovative, more forward-thinking insurance company. Additionally, the client was able to adjust policy rates as a result of the “safe driving” that resulted from customers using the product; making them more competitive from a price standpoint.

The Core Strategy Group Difference: The problem that most companies face is that while markets have changed fundamentally, the practice of marketing has barely changed at all. Core Strategy Group combines traditional business focused marketing discipline with the aggressiveness and drive of an insurgent strategic model. It is a model built for clarity, speed and impact. This is the new model for companies who are serious about improving their market performance, revenues, share and return on marketing investment. It provides the most effective way for any organization to compete—and win.