‘Orange House’ Retirement: 5 Questions With Voya Interim CMO Karen Eisenbach

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Voya Orange House Sweepstakes

Voya has been spreading the word for a while now and it’s pretty clear that the target baby boomer cohort is starting to understand that “orange money” is what you should really put away for retirement instead.

The latest iteration is the launch of an “Orange House Sweepstakes” Voya is promoting with a fully integrated media campaign that includes TV and a range of digital platforms. One winner will get $300,000 that Voya hopes they will apply toward the home they want in retirement.

The house-centered initiative follows earlier phases of the campaign in which Voya introduced “Val” and “Vern” as a squirrel and a rabbit that serve as metaphors for saving and enlisted real-life celebrities Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) and Allison Janney (Mom; The West Wing) in an ad.

Given that Voya also represents an 18-month-old rebrand from ING, Interim CMO Karen Eisenbach is pretty happy with the progress the company has made in implanting the idea of orange money in consumers’ heads.

“We felt very passionately that there was a spot in the market for a company to redefine how Americans think about retirement,” Eisenbach told brandchannel. “You see that through our ‘Orange Money’ and our two animals Val and Vern.” Such elements “combine to really help us deliver on our strategy, and ‘Orange House’ is just another extension of that.”

brandchannel talked with Eisenbach, who also is CMO for Retirement for Voya and came to the brand last fall from JP Morgan Asset Management:

bc: How effective has the rebranding been?

Karen Eisenbach VoyaKaren Eisenbach: More than half of people who know Voya as a brand recognize that we’re serving the retirement market, which we’re excited about. I really believe that creative ideas like Orange House cut through the clutter and make those connections stronger.

bc: How has the campaign been going? 

Eisenbach: We evolved our campaign from 2015 and were leveraging Jesse and Allison in our campaign, and then having Val and Vern speak, taking our advertising to the next level. That’s been going really well. We received really good feedback around our advertising and engagement, and in the retirement business we’re working hard to pull that through the organization.

Voya Orange House Sweepstakes

bc: How are you leveraging digital technology?

Eisenbach: It’s central to our strategy. We have invested about $350 million over three years on digital and underlying technology. One area you see impacting our business is our “My Orange Money” website. We’re changing the conversation from how much money is in a lump sum account, like in a 401(k), to how much a paycheck will look in retirement. Making it fun and engaging and digital enables you to do that.

We’re digitizing and enabling our entire organization and as we think about the consumer and that whole journey we’re helping them engage with us in a more effective manner. One place in retirement planning you see that is our app. People can interact with their orange money whenever they want to. It makes it more accessible. And that’s what we’re trying to say with all of our marketing: that it’s really about connecting with the consumer, making it simple and making it actionable. We have a framework of making it about awareness, and the idea of discovery. With “My Orange Money,” you get to discover where you’re at. It could be good or bad but the idea is that we’re going to help you take action, and that action has an outcome.

bc: What’s the specific goal of “Orange House”?

Eisenbach: Awareness and connecting to the Voya brand. We want to make sure we reinforce the whole topic around holistic planning and you’ll see that in our commercials. It’s really important to be prepared and organized and have a plan.

“Orange House” is about one of your largest expenses in retirement. We found that all of us have been conditioned to pay off our homes before we retire, with 30-year mortgages and so on. The 2008 financial crisis turned that upside-down for some people. Eight in 10 plan to pay off their home debt before retirement, but more than a quarter still have an outstanding balance. The reality of life and the economy gets in the way of that. And when you think about housing expenses, you still have property taxes, insurance, utilities, and the costs of repairs and maintenance. So it never really goes away.

Voya Financial Jesse Tyler Ferguson rabbit

bc: There’s a proliferation of brand messages about retirement saving and planning these days, yet we’re seeing in the media that many Americans face a discouraging situation in that regard. How do you both encourage people about that idea and also differentiate your brand?

Eisenbach: It’s twofold. Having “Orange Money” as the centerpiece is the start of that differentiation, and trying to understand where people. And the whole thing around planning is what can one do about it and where are the resources that are going to make it happen? At the end of the day, all of us have to change our behavior and save more. But if it’s too hard you won’t do it—you’ll put your head in the sand and hope for tomorrow.

So when I go back to our brand and think about the words that describe us—optimistic, straightforward, forward-thinking, approachable, bold, relevant—these are the kind of words that align ourselves with being a different kind of company and putting the assets of our organization in play so engagement feels realistic, that it actually can make a difference, that we can take an action and be better off. Even if it’s just saving another $10 a week. Sometimes folks think it’s too late—but the opportunity to save more whenever you can save more makes a difference.

Voya Financial Vern rabbit TV commercial 2016


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