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Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Have they cracked it with nest?

Well I’ve read the research on the PADA site (am I sad?) and seen the video

And 10 out of 10 for transparency and accountability for a branding project. It’s also been developed cost-effectively. You can see why PADA have gone with this route and it clearly has resonated with target audiences. So what do I think?

Well to be honest I don’t thing a name and logo is that important, it just won’t be what will encourage workers to participate in the scheme. Sure it can’t be a complete turkey and as our Planning Director David said the other day, it sounds like many 90s brand names, like the Eggs and Cahoots of this world, which haven’t exactly been success stories have they? I also think calling it a Savings Trust misleads – this is for retirement isn’t it and as far as I know there are no plans to have 401k flexibility? But that aside, it’s simple and accessible which I really like.

Powerful and successful brands are those that understand that it isn’t just what you say, but also what you do and what others say about you. And with an estimated 6 to 8 million people expected to save into nests and £8bn annual investment, the stakes are high.

So what are they doing to make this a success and what are others saying about them?

The most important change is auto-enrolment and this single decision will make the difference to how we save as a nation. Any watering down of auto-enrolment will just mean we have a new stakeholder by another name. Ensuring that employers know how to communicate this effectively to their employees will really be the key to success.

Nests’ reputation will be badly tarnished if companies, who already have company pensions, cut their contributions down to the new levels of 1% - rising to 3% by 2017. The LibDems have estimated 40,000 companies may do that, the Assoc of Consulting Actuaries think a quarter of employers will reduce their scheme benefits and 15% may close existing schemes altogether and move to nest. That will mean that the very people the Government are trying to help will have even less in their nest egg for retirement. The issue of means tested benefits also needs addressing urgently too.

There is a real opportunity for social change and to encourage saving for retirement in this country, so let’s hope that in the next 6 years the focus is on making sure that:
auto-enrolment stays and there is fantastic communications support for employers to employees that is simple and motivating;
that contribution levels go up;
and the underlying investment choices are robust so that the retirement nest egg will be much more than means-tested benefits.

Then nest will be a cracking brand. At the moment it is just too early to say.


1 comment:

Carly said...

When I saw the branding I too immediately thought of egg and smile etc, but that could be because I'm in the industry. However I'm just wondering whether the man in the street will consider £199,000 to develop the name (as reported in Citywire the other day) was cost effective use of money - Especially as it's a saving 'scheme' launching in a recession.
I agree this brand will be much more than just a logo and I hope the guys over at Nest have their focus on the experiential / engagement side of the brand - as we all have a lot to do to change the savings culture of this nation. Engagement and the movement away from a 'saving for savings sake' to a 'save today so I can live tomorrow' way of thinking is where we should all be. So I look forward to seeing some quite innovative thinking coming from these guys, because that's what it will take to make this brand come alive.
Steve Smith