Page 3: Reasons for change
AEGON had historically been successful but government-imposed price controls had reduced profitability. Compared to its competitors, AEGON was not well known by consumers. It had developed good products and services and had a good reputation with distributors, particularly in the area of pensions which were a key strength of Scottish Equitable. However, it was not as well recognised in areas other than pensions. Often these other areas, such as offshore investment products, were more profitable. If consumers are to invest in a product long term, they need to know more about the organisation they are dealing with. They need to recognise the brand and understand more about the brand valuesthat it represents. As AEGON traded under a number of brand names it was not always easy for financial advisers and consumers to recognise the breadth and depth of the company in the UK.
How to move forward?
With a new Chief Executive (CEO) in place, AEGON underwent a discovery phase. The purpose of this was to find out what it had to do to meet the CEO's goal. This goal was to build 'the best long-term savings and protection business in the UK'. This time of discovery focused on three key questions:
1. What do we stand for in the UK?
2. What do we want to stand for in the UK?
3. What should we be doing about it?
To answer these questions AEGON undertook a brand audit. This audit looked at two aspects:
- the company internally
- how the organisation was positioned externally.
The purpose of the audit was to find out more information about the organisation. This helped AEGON to provide a more informed approach to the decisions that were needed to start the process of change. The audit showed that AEGON was solidly placed within the market. Its staff were known for their considerable expertise, innovation and clarity of communication. The external audit also helped to discover where AEGON was positioned in relation to its competitors. People who were aware of AEGON saw it as being a refreshing and different organisation. However, there was evidence that people were confused about the breadth of what AEGON did because it traded under a number of different company brands.