​AUB Group CMO's 5 tips for a successful rebranding strategy

Marketing leader talks through the recent rebranding from Austbrokers to AUB Group as part of a new global brand identity

Successful rebranding requires patience, good timing and an engaging strategy, according to AUB Group CMO, Vanessa Lyons.

Lyons was instrumental in the recent brand evolution of the risk and insurance solutions provider, formerly known as Austbrokers Holdings. The rebranding was 18 months in the making and got into full swing in the last six months, launching to coincide with the company’s 30-year anniversary.

AUB Group, a publicly listed company, announced its name change approval at its last AGM in November. The rebrand is part of its evolution in the specialist underwriting agency and risk services areas throughout Australia and internationally.

“Austbrokers implies insurance brokers or broking, and about three years ago our CEO started on a diversification journey to expand it beyond insurance broking,” Lyons told CMO.

“We now have a very big risk services areas as we now call it, and we’re also going quite strong in New Zealand, looking abroad and internationally. We wanted to evolve from the holdings brand to something that would take us more effectively into the future.”

Here are five key lessons learnt by Lyons as part of the rebranding exercise.

1. Prepare for the risk

Just like any major organisational change, Lyons said rebranding is not without its challenges, one of which is the risk of losing a recognised and valued brand. Going through the motions of moving the name to something more agnostic, she said, while still maintaining Austbrokers where relevant, proved the best way to go to market.

“Every organisation has a very strong asset in their brand, and Austbrokers as it is known has very strong equity - people really recognise and value it,” she explained. “Moving the organisation away from that completely in some respects, was a bit of a risk.”

2. Focus on change and restructure first

During her 18 months as CMO at the AUB Group, Lyons has faced the challenge of organisational change and diversification head-on by first focusing on the journey, before tackling the brand.

“This is a very difficult exercise, especially given the stakeholders we have,” she said. “We have a lot of investors and analysts and it is really important for them to understand the full repertoire. Ultimately, it required a lunchtime discussion to say we’ve reached tipping point, we’ve diversified enough now, and from a marketing perspective, it is time to revisit representing our brand correctly.”

Lyons presented the rebranding strategy to the board of directors and showed them that it presented minimal risk and was a positive step in the organisation’s growth. She also showcased what the rebranding would actually look like.

“Then internally, from a culture perspective, the organisation changes very rapidly and with that comes a lot of change,” she added. “This is one more change we had to put into the mix.

“But our staff sense that it is really the next era for our organisation. They’re a lot more excited about it now, because they can affiliate themselves with the organisation’s vision that we have been talking about for two years.”

3. Patience and timing are key

According to Lyons, there is a time for everything and while some things may seem quite logical from a marketing perspective, it might not be the most optimal time for the organisation to go through change.

“We waited to pick the most optimal time, and obviously I would have loved to have rolled out the rebranding even sooner, but now it makes sense for us,” she said.

Lyons advising waiting until the time is right to make the biggest impact.

“You’ll see larger organisations do this very well, especially if they have a large project team behind the hard changeover,” she said. “From an internal perspective, it’s also important to do the hard changeover and engage staff all the way.”

Lyons said the team spent three months getting everyone to understand what the new brand is, what it stands for, getting them excited and ready for the change.

“That way they, also feel involved and engaged,” she added. “It’s important never to forget people as part of the rebranding shift.”

4. Engage brand ambassadors

To ensure a smooth and seamless transition, Lyons said the AUB Group engaged fantastic ambassadors from various technical functions, who ensured a lot of the testing was done before it became effective

“It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been very smooth,” she said. “We’ve been receiving a very good response both internally and externally on what we’ve done.”

5. Having a global vision

With the AUB Group having equity and a 50:50 shareholding in about 75 businesses internationally, Lyons said the next phase for the organisation is to apply its strategic marketing thinking to these businesses.

“It’s about trying to help them grow by applying more group-wide marketing thinking,” she said. “We’re currently in pilot to expand this out on a bigger scale. It’s all about growth now, so it’s fair to say we have our house in order. We look, we feel and are represented as one organisation and one group, so now it’s a real focus on essentially the bottom line.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

People in vegan houses shouldn't throw bacon

Picture this. You’re at a Gourmerican burger joint chomping a cheeseburger, when an outspoken vegan friend starts preaching that you’re killing the planet. Last week, that same vegan downed a pricey glass of pinot before their flight to a far-flung destination, armed with their strongest mossie repellant and first aid kit. Anything amiss?

Abbie Love

Strategist, Ikon Communications

The role of the CMO is evolving: Are you keeping up?

My (amazing) vacation in the Galapagos Islands earlier in the year got me thinking about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. What does this have to do with the role of today’s CMO, you ask? Plenty.

Sheryl Pattek

Vice-president, executive partner

Getting your business ready for the Entrepreneurial Consumer

We all know the digital revolution has completely transformed the way consumers are interacting with brands, and that a lot of businesses are finding it hard to catch up. One way to closing this brand gap is to understand consumer behaviour and build a brand experience that meets these new needs.

Pip Stocks

CEO and founder, BrandHook

It’s excellent aiming to resurrect the complete within the hearts and minds of connected customers, moreover because the terribly relevan...


CMO Interview: How Kodak’s global CMO is bringing the brand back from the brink

Read more

Great to see ActiveCampaign's growth funded with some serious money.As a platform, it's up there with the usual suspects in terms of feat...

Lawrence Ladomery

CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 13 October

Read more


Kerry Edwards

Open Colleges taps into social for better student interaction

Read more

Or just go to sites like www.shopsthatshiptoaustralia.c... and others and be sure that the stores will send to where you live :-)


Why online shopping is like dating – RedBalloon CEO

Read more

Personalisation is the key. Customers demand a very relatable and well defined CX where the sincerity and understanding of their disposit...

Hitesh Parekh

In pictures: Improving cutomer experiences through smart personalisation

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in