A few years back I was lucky enough to work with and cross paths with Mai Fenton, one of my marketing crushes, who is now the CMO at an amazing B2B brand named Superscript, which makes the process of buying business insurance as quick and painless as buying a new pair of shoes.
We sat down (virtually) with Mai to find out WTAF is in her secret sauce as we’ve been crushing on Superscript since she arrived there. Let’s be honest: insurance isn’t the sexiest thing on the planet, but somehow, under Mai’s magic wand she’s made it engaging, witty, and human. In other words, she’s in our club of banning boring marketing, ESPECIALLY as it relates to B2B. As we’ve said before, B2B doesn’t have to be boring. And Superscript is a shining example of this.
Now, the Q&A:
1. How and why did you go about building Superscript’s rebrand?
Mai: I wanted our brand to be grounded in our purpose.
Superscript was originally born as Digital Risks, a name that was descriptive of the problems our solution was solving, which at the time of the business’ inception was to provide customized and flexible monthly insurance for digital businesses. We have since grown to serve all types of businesses with all kinds of risks - digital or not.
Our rebrand, and the name Superscript embody the business’ bold purpose to set higher standards for business insurance - by creating an experience that elevates our customers and ultimately helps them to find the freedom they need to thrive: effortless, fairer, bespoke business insurance, specifically designed around their needs.
A bold new name that deliberately doesn’t scream insurance, and a bold purpose, need a bold brand identity. We deliberately moved away from the industry’s established visual language and colour palette with large print and bright mint green as our primary color; and turned things on their head by making an asterisk set above the line our brand symbol: enlarged and heroed, in an industry where a small asterisk is used to refer to the small hidden print. We are all about simplicity and transparency.
2. What was your biggest hurdle (internally AND externally)?
Mai: A rebrand involving naming is a huge undertaking and has significant implications including a new domain and site migration, and rebuilding a hard-earned presence from scratch under a completely new brand name. So inevitably, there was a lot of stakeholder management involved! Not just internally, but probably more so externally (investors, underwriters, distribution partners and our existing customers).
I worked with Siegel+Gale London to develop our name and identity. To get buy-in internally, I involved stakeholders from the beginning (founders and representatives from all departments), and provided regular updates in our company All Hands and to our Board on the progress and direction we were taking; bringing them on our journey means that it all made sense when the name and brand were revealed.
A strong business justification from the outset was also imperative; this was not a vanity project from an incoming CMO. But rather, a growth enabler. You need to think about what matters to the different stakeholders to show them the present and future value of a rebrand: my conversation with our CFO and the Board was very different to that with our Sales team for example.
3. As a digital-first company, you’ve done an incredible job and launched OOH during COVID can you talk a little bit about how and why you did that?
Mai: When our country moved into lockdown at the beginning of last year (straight after we secured our Series A round of funding), I increased our brand presence on digital and audio channels. I also started to plan for OOH(out-of-home advertising) with JCDecaux (whose Nurture venture works with promising startups to enable them to advertise effectively with a modest ad spend), as part of a multichannel brand campaign in September-October.
Superscript only rebranded in August, so as a very young brand that too few small businesses had heard of, it was important to grow awareness and memorability fast. Business insurance is not a frequent purchase (most companies are on annual contracts), it’s a long term game. You need to get out there, get your audience to take notice and make sure they have you in mind for when the need to purchase insurance arises. With such a bold and vibrant brand, OOH was a good platform to deliver that reach with visual impact. Off the back of a successful fall campaign, we are running OOH again nationally this spring.
We’re a challenger brand, so I wanted our campaigns to stand out and bring personality to a category that distinctly lacks any. The visual expression is unexpected, bright and attention-grabbing, yet relatable. Our verbal tone is fresh and real, representing the way in which Superscript rewrites the traditional script of insurance to customize coverage for each customer.
All our creative is concepted, developed, art directed and produced by our tiny but talented and resourceful in-house team, put to the test with planning and executing photoshoots under tight Covid restrictions! Crucially, the campaigns are delivering exceptional results in terms of both brand uplift and commercial KPIs.
Credits: Creative and art direction by Mike Scott @ Superscript | Copy by Letterhead | Photography by Michele Panzeri
5. Finally, what’s your advice to other B2B brands who want to move outside their comfort zone?
Mai: By fitting in, you won’t stand out. I think there is a certain playbook to B2B marketing that assumes that all that matters to B2B buyers is based on rational factors such as technology, features and price - in fact, B2B marketing tends to focus on the product, on the basis that decision-making is 100% rational. I don’t think that’s true. Decision-makers are humans that are also influenced by how they can emotionally connect with your business.
It’s worth investing in your brand and building its personality and voice, to drive preference. What you stand for matters as much as what your solution functionally delivers. Building brand equity also reduces price sensitivity over time, and turns your brand into a valuable intangible asset, which has true financial benefits!
If you’re nervous about stepping out of your comfort zone, start small. For example, with our OOH, we ran our first campaign in the London/Greater London region only (which has the highest density of small businesses). Econometric modeling demonstrated the positive impact on brand and sales uplifts in the region versus the rest of the UK, which allowed me to confidently roll out OOH nationally for our Spring campaign.
So start small. Start with a test, assess, prove its worth, optimize and then scale.
About Mai: Mai Fenton is Chief Marketing Officer at Superscript, a London-based Series A tech scale-up that provides flexible, customizable business insurance for small businesses by monthly subscription.
Mai has worked across a range of businesses from startups through to multi-million pound global enterprises, with a diverse background which spans consumer packaged goods, lifestyle, retail, e-commerce and technology.
Hats off to Mai and her team. Superscript and Mai are an amazing example of why B2B brands should ban boring. And for those brands thinking you need to hire B2B marketers only, I’ve got news for you. Mai’s background up until Superscript was all B2C. Being open minded and trying new things can work wonders.
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