Royal London: The rebrand story so far

Royal London: The rebrand story so far

The names of Bright Grey and Scottish Provident will soon vanish as they adopt the Royal London moniker. Jennifer Gilchrist explains how providing quality customer service will remain the company's sole aim

The rebrand of our protection businesses Bright Grey and Scottish Provident sees us enter a new chapter for Royal London, with all our intermediary businesses operating under the Royal London brand.

But it’s not just about the quirky imagery, the colour purple and a pelican called Gilbert (one of the core elements of our new brand). 

By operating under a single brand, we can leverage the strength of the Royal London Group to continue to develop our proposition, delivering even better outcomes for our customers. 

Although our names may be changing, I feel it is the quality of our service and our products that are a measure of our strength, not what colour our logo is

Incidentally, Gilbert was chosen as the brand’s icon as the pelican is a proud and dignified creature, representing the role of ‘provider’. These sociable birds co-operate to catch fish and rear their young side-by-side in colonies.

They have served as a heraldic symbol of generosity for centuries and have a royal past. Our Gilbert is a friendly, contemporary reinterpretation. 

Grey’s anatomy

But let’s take a step back to see how we got to where we are today. In 2003, a new protection provider entered the market. It was different. It was pink (well, magenta to be exact). It had the aim to challenge convention and existing practice in the protection market as the products were perceived by consumers and the media to be complex and confusing. 

The very name Bright Grey was chosen to reflect the contrast the business would offer in a grey market. Its ethos was to bring clarity and bright new thinking as well as assurance and support during difficult, grey periods in people’s lives.

This new provider was set up by Royal London to offer people a new approach to protection and was founded on the premise that protection insurance should not only be there to help people financially, but also to support them emotionally. We did this by offering customers a support service that they could turn to at any time, not just when they had made a claim. 

The depth of the service meant it offered all the counselling and helpline services you would expect but, more importantly, it was designed to help people recover. And 12 years on, our Helping Hand service is still one of our strongest selling points. 

While this new kid on the protection block was gaining a loyal band of adviser followers who appreciated its fresh approach, especially to customer communications, behind the scenes Royal London was preparing to acquire another protection business. And on 4 December 2008, it acquired Scottish Provident. 

Many people questioned the reasoning for Royal London having two protection brands. But in contrast to its younger magenta sister, the Scottish Provident brand brought with it more than 178 years of experience. It was a pioneer in the menu-based approach to protection and a premium brand with a proud heritage. The two brands appealed to two very different audiences, but at the same time they complemented each other very well.

This was a defining moment for Scottish Provident. I had worked for the provider for 20 years and was a key member of the propositions team that launched the self-assurance menu plan in 1999.

Following Abbey National’s acquisition of Scottish Provident in 2000, it had been a rollercoaster ride and when we were taken over by yet another company, staff morale was not high.

However, Royal London valued our expertise and made it clear from the outset that building up the protection business was a high priority.

Two become one

Fast forward to 2013, when Royal London announced it was to rebrand its UK life, pensions and investment business under a single master brand.

The decision to rebrand long-standing trading names was not taken lightly and the main message we conveyed to our customers and advisers was we remain fully committed to supporting advisers. 

So our rebrand journey began. As anyone who has gone through a rebranding exercise will know, it is a huge undertaking, not least when you are joining two very distinctive brands together. This was not just about changing a logo, a strapline and corporate colours. 

Through the blood, sweat and tears, we knew this was an opportunity not to be missed to take a good long look at our propositions and identify what was working, what wasn’t and what we could improve on. 



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