Walking up to the historical buildings of Allianz, located adjacent to the famous Englisch Garten in Munich, you get the sense you are being transported to another time and place. The simple, yet modern elegance of the offices make it easy to lose sight of the fact that you are in one of the world’s oldest and largest insurance companies and financial service providers in the world. Yet nonetheless, here we are. Following the invitation from Christiane Hach (Head of Communications at Allianz Investment Management), the MSc students in Brand Management headed south to experience a day in the life of an ‘Allianz-er’.
After filing into the company’s historical archive, we are warmly welcomed by Christiane, who introduces us to Allianz’s intricate history and ongoing ventures. Did you know that Allianz is one of the top insurers of Hollywood and Bollywood films? They also insured the Titanic, but luckily, only part of it. We also discussed Allianz’s role as an asset manager: To be sure, much responsibility comes with managing over 650 billion euros in assets. And of course, all of these activities require a carefully and strategically designed branding strategy. This is where the Global Brand Management team steps in. Here, we learn about Allianz’s unique endeavors and challenges that come with being a global insurance company. Nonetheless, Allianz has managed to rank among Interbrand’s top 50 brands worldwide for seven consecutive years! “Explore with us” summarizes the key message that Allianz hopes to communicate with its customers.
Now the strategic expertise of our students is required. The challenge: How can Allianz become a partner in their lives – one that allows their generation to explore the world without any unnecessary worry and stress that somehow creeps up in our daily lives? Putting their heads together, the students came up with some really creative ideas: ranging from catchy slogans and hashtags to go-pro film promotions – ideas that Allianz might implement in the not so distant future!
Switching gears a bit, but staying with the spirit of the day, we tour Allianz’s historical archive: A three-story museum dedicated to Allianz’s rich (nearly 130 year) history. Here we learn about how the branding and advertising strategies have changed over the years to accommodate the evolving nature of the insurance business: moving from serious to funny to empowering themes, it’s clear to see how they’ve managed to be successful over all these years.
After breaking for lunch, we are picked up by the colleagues from GCORE (Group Communications and Corporate Responsibility) to tour their newly renovated work space that rivals that of Google. The sense of community cultivated by the space is not lost on us as we all gather around for the last presentation. But now we aren’t just talking about insurance anymore – no, we’re talking about football, Formula E, drone racing, and the Modern Museum of Art. The sponsoring activities of Allianz are big business and allows Allianz to be a forerunner in new technologies and amongst its customers and employees.
As we depart Allianz, I reflect on my own time here. Having spent some time working with Christiane and the GCORE team before finally arriving at ICN – I am reminded of all the valuable opportunities I was granted and am thrilled to be able to share those with my students.
We, at ICN and particularly the MSc’s in Brand Management would like to extend our gratitude to the employees at Allianz who made our visit possible. An especially big thanks to Christiane Hach who organized everything, Claus Stickler, who supported us, and the AIM and GCORE colleagues who helped to make the trip so enlightening!