Finding the Golden Thread

To identify, articulate and apply a common set of values and unifying thread across the Standard Life Pension and Savings family. To also provide each of its unique service channels with its own personality and positioning to ensure relevance and resonance within their distinct market segments.

Duration: 5 months

3 devoted team members

+  customer insight 

+  purpose and promise

+  values and colleague story

+  personality and positioning

+  proposition story capture

+  identity and messaging

+  brand storytelling

+  GTM planning and activation

The Brief

Standard Life was a brand that many recognised but few really knew. With multiple products, channels, clients, customers and commercial drivers it had been hard to articulate the unique and unified proposition that the business stood beside and operated from. They not had identified their values and had not been able to agree on a unified brand platform for their savings and pensions offer, at least not one that communicated their common belief.  


In broad terms, the challenge we were presented with was twofold;


How could we create a unique positioning for their product distribution channels, without Standard Life becoming a house of brands, without creating a conflict between priorities and goals - without saying words that many others were already using? 


How could we then enable each area of the business to feel like they owned their space, had their own voice and style - while keeping them connected to one another through the broader business? How could we unify them under a master brand positioning that would work for all? How could we develop the brand platform so that it inspired colleagues, continued to resonate with businesses and advisers and at the same time hold meaning to customers?

Our Response 

We worked directly with over 140 members of the Standard Life team, first on a channel (business unit) basis for their positioning and then as a mixed/wider group to capture their personal beliefs, traits, values and narratives. 


The Standard Life colleague story was written and refined by over 120 people across many functions, offices and countries - through its development we were able to identify 5 key values that each team member was able to endorse, subscribe to and stand behind.  


By working closely with numerous teams across the firm we were also able to create a comprehensive strategy and brand platform for the business to build from. Identifying, a ‘golden thread’ that enabled us to connect up every element of the business and the various market-leading propositions it offered.

The Outcome  

On a tactical level, the brand positioning work within each of the business units enable team to bring to life tone of voice and visual materials that clearly identified the Standard Life offering as unique, compelling and relevant. 


From a strategic point of view, the golden thread, which represented the promise of the brand - ‘to move forward in a way that makes sense and matters to you’ and the brand line developed through our work in the customer channel ‘there’s a lot to look forward to’, not only enabled the business to relaunch in market, but also continues to inform and strengthen many of the communication and cultural decisions the business made - from sponsorship to colleague incentives.