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Best Internal Marketing Strategy

Marketing Strategy AIA

When AIA bought Sovereign, they faced the challenge of bringing together two different businesses to relaunch to market. They did this by unifying their 1,000+ team towards a collective dream.


The Challenge 

In July 2018, AIA bought New Zealand’s largest life insurer Sovereign. Internally, AIA had to bring together the two businesses on a cultural level. The company had undergone massive change: a new executive team structure, a shift in location for some teams, and the announcement that the strong, well-known Sovereign brand would be retired. 

A core component of AIA NZ’s business strategy was to shift customer perceptions of life and health insurance from death to health and wellbeing. They hoped to achieve this through the launch of their AIA Vitality health and wellbeing programme, which provides people with tools to improve their health and offers rewards to keep them motivated. 

AIA Vitality was a new concept to New Zealand, and not at all like traditional insurance products, so staff had to understand its unique value proposition. By offering employees free access to AIA Vitality prior to going to market, the aim was to improve their health and wellbeing, create a team of advocates to help deliver the value proposition to the market. 

The Response

AIA Vitality launched internally at the end of May 2019. The company set a goal of having 75 percent of staff activate their membership within 90 days, and for engagement to continue throughout the year. To create a big-bang launch, a committee of 10 staff across Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch got together to drive engagement. A free Fitbit and branded gym bag was offered to every employee, and a grand launch was thrown at the Town Hall, with AIA Vitality ambassadors Dame Valerie Adams, Ian Jones and Jessica Quinn as guests. 

The momentum carried on with a month of events such as smoothie bike races, yoga, mindfulness, a Q&A panel with ambassadors, lunches and one-on-one sessions with partners Forme Spa, Mission Nutrition and Molemap. AIA continued to drive engagement throughout the year via a 30 Day challenge, matching employee donations to charity partners, offering a weekly after work run club, and having strong staff representation at Round the Bays. 

The Result

Eighty percent of employees activated their AIA Vitality membership within three weeks of launch, surpassing AIA’s goal in both numbers and time. One year on, AIA still sees engagement of around this level. Considering the changes staff have dealt with, this was pleasing for AIA. Responses also indicated that staff appreciate how AIA looks after their wellbeing and noted an inclusive environment with strong working relationships. AIA have noticeably seen more staff make health and wellbeing a priority through lunchtime yoga, walks and taking the stairs. Through AIA’s ‘dress for your day’ initiative, more staff choose activewear, and AIA Vitality t-shirts have become popular. 

Event attendance has also continued to be high: over 500 staff participated in the AIA Vitality 30 Day Challenge in September 2019, over 400 completed the AIA Vitality Treadmill Heart Week Challenge in February 2020, and over 400 ran as part of the AIA Vitality team at Round the Bays.

Entry details

Category: Best Internal Marketing Strategy
Company: AIA NZ
Marketing Initiative: Innovative Launch Unifies AIA Team
Marketing Partners: Uno Loco
Judge’s Comments: “A comprehensive, well-executed internal strategy, which tightly integrated the imperatives driving the rebrand.”
Finalists: Meridian Energy, Tonkin + Taylor


This article was originally published in the December/January 2020 issue of NZ Marketing. You can subscribe to the magazine, here. Or read the other winner stories, here.

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