ORLANDO, FL: Hiscox USA, the insurance provider, has boosted several core brand metrics by going against category conventions and encouraging small businesses to "encourage courage".

Russ Findlay, the company's head of marketing, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2015 Masters of Marketing Conference.

More specifically, he suggested the "Encourage courage" effort – which focuses on entrepreneurs who are pursuing their dreams – constituted a direct reaction to the typical tone of category communications.

"We started looking at the competitive marketing communications," he said. (For more, including further details of the campaign, read Warc's exclusive report: Risk insures success for Hiscox USA.)

"And what we noticed was: boy, they seemed to have a particular theme that ran throughout the thread of the insurance industry."

This theme was primarily based around imagery and information such as umbrellas, mishaps and veiled warnings that "bad things will happen to you".

For Hiscox USA – the parent company is located in the UK – this presented an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

"We sure felt as though the insurance companies in the US were a bunch of fearmongerers. And it felt to me that fear … is a short-term motivator," said Findlay.

"You're going to react to that … But it's not going to motivate you for very long; it's a bit uninspiring."

A campaign that champions the willingness of entrepreneurs to take a chance, by contrast, fed into a much more positive mindset.

"The people that were willing to take the biggest risks were the ones that were really looking to make massive changes, and reinvent the category, reinvent themselves, and make their mark," continued Findlay.

"And I think that's by and large a universal truth: without risk, without someone risking something, nothing can happen in the world."

Moreover, thanks to the various components of this program – from online video and banner ads to content featuring notable business leaders – Hiscox USA has posted major upticks in both brand awareness and affinity.

Data sourced from Warc