Legal & General’s starting steps into transformation bring back immediate value beyond ROI

Jennifer Armstrong / October 2017

Against the backdrop of a strategic shift from a performance marketing focus to cross-channel brand marketing, Legal & General Insurance turned to the Google Digital Academy to embark on their digital transformation journey. The starting point: develop digital capability and new ways of working that would put digital-first thinking into everything they do.


Transition strategy from performance to broader brand engagement

Build capability and embed a digital-first mindset

Come away with insights that impact how campaigns deliver against KPIs

Demonstrate true innovation in customer communication


Understand: identify digital skills gaps

Educate: attend relevant training to fill those gaps

Act: bring all stakeholders on board to commit to change


15% uplift in ad recall

250% increase in CTR

100% increase in YouTube channel subscribers

145% lift in brand interest

Established in 1836, Legal & General help their customers with savings, investments, retirement and insurance. Their long heritage has seen the company evolve over the years, adapting to changing consumer needs and behaviours. Traditionally their insurance business was focussed on sales-driven performance marketing, but a recent strategic refocus on digital brand marketing turned internal discussions to upskilling and the need for wider digital transformation within the business. Here’s a look at the starting moves Legal & General Insurance made, which other brands can follow too.

#1: Figure out where you already sit when it comes to digital skills

Drawing up a roadmap for the right digital skills to develop was essential for L&G to move off the blocks in the right direction. Whilst their performance-centric approach had been successful for a number of years and meant the Insurance team were strong in search and display – programmatic advertising was relatively unexplored territory. This was quickly flagged as an opportunity to significantly improve their communications.

#2: Got a plan? Know what you need? Get learning

The Programmatic Masterclass is a two-day Google Digital Academy-designed workshop that brings CMOs, marketing managers and their agencies together to learn how to build a programmatic change plan for their business. Legal & General had their first truly transformative lightbulb moment during day one of the workshop.

"It was right here that Google introduced us to the See-Think-Do-Care model," explains Paula Llewellyn, Insurance Marketing Director at L&G. "Suddenly we had the answers to a lot of the marketing and commercial challenges we were facing around creating brand awareness, without compromising sales and efficiency.

See-Think-Do-Care was a real launch pad for us; but what we didn’t anticipate is how we’d soon place it at the centre of everything: from the way we brief our agencies, to how we plan campaigns."

#3: Create a holistic workflow to drive collaborative change

Everything dropped into place. Two weeks later L&G invited their media partners Periscopix to attend a custom session to decide how to best implement See-Think-Do-Care for their customers. Then a 1-day workshop to 80 L&G marketers brought the resulting framework directly into the business. As one team they aligned on the action items and organisational changes needed to apply it to all campaigns and accelerate personalised advertising at scale across L&G insurance products. Now all above-the-line life insurance campaigns are briefed and planned in line with the STDC model.

"We gather more in depth customer insight at the early stages of campaign planning to inform media mix, content messaging and audience and affinity targeting,’ says Paula. ‘We’ve also implemented sequential targeting as part of the model which maximises the capabilities of our internal marketing teams, agencies and technology."

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Pivoting their strategy in their latest campaign has helped L&G Insurance increase brand recognition by 15% and brand lift by 145%, and improved performance of the ads by 250% on CTR. Next step is to roll out the methodology across all their products and channels, and Paula is optimistic and excited to build on the new approach they’ve created from scratch.

"We’re not just seeing results in terms of ROI, we’ve seen a shift in the way we work together as a marketing team. As a brand, we can communicate better with our customers because we’re all on the same page. It’s helping to shape our culture, optimise our budgets to drive better outcomes and improve our capabilities."

Here’s what to take away from L&G’s transformation story so far:

  • Momentum is important: Once they’d found something that fit, L&G went from a-ha moment to strategy roll-out in just over a month. Timely turnaround makes it harder to revert back to old habits or legacy behaviours when you’re embedding something new.

  • Transformation requires cultural and procedural shifts: For new plans and strategies to stick you need to bring everyone on board, inside and outside the organisation.

  • Once you’ve carved out new knowledge, share it: L&G digital marketers now support non-digital colleagues in best practice and evangelise what digital can do. Participants from the very first Programmatic Masterclass led parts of the follow-up sessions and now train internal teams and run workshops.
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