Putting the umbrella back where it belongs

Travelers Insurance recaptures the essence of a beloved symbol

A simple red umbrella is one of the most recognizable and iconic images in the world. For decades, it has personified Travelers Insurance, a company with a rich history and more than 30,000 employees. A Travelers executive, quoted in the New York Times in 1964, said it best: “It illustrates the concept of protection, it is friendly, it is warm, and it is very merchandisable.”

Hard to believe, then, that for several years Travelers was unable to use the symbol so closely linked to the firm. A saga of mergers and spinoffs left Travelers in this awkward position. In the late 1990s, Citicorp and Travelers merged and continued to use the red umbrella. Just a few years later, Citi and Travelers went their separate ways – with Citi getting the iconic umbrella in the “separation agreement”.

What followed was a nine-year odyssey that ended when Travelers repurchased its beloved symbol. The price was never disclosed, but it was worth it. Market research showed that even after all that time, the red umbrella was still associated with Travelers – such was its enduring power. For marketers, this is a powerful lesson in how brand serves as a tool to create recall and association with consumers.

Using the umbrella to reclaim Travelers’ heritage

Travelers understood the umbrella’s importance and its potential to revitalize the company’s presence in the market. With the help of Tenet Partners, Travelers seized the opportunity to make a splash and infuse the evocative shape throughout its brand. From the digital space to signs and printed pieces, the gentle arc of the umbrella reminds people that Travelers is always by their side, at every turn.

The new visual system offers great creative range. That is important for a company like Travelers with a broad range of businesses reaching out to varied audiences. Travelers now has a connected way to touch everyone… from everyday drivers looking for auto insurance to global enterprises in need of a risk management partner.

Maintaining the integrity of the Travelers brand

For a company as old and well-respected as Travelers, it is vitally important to represent the brand consistently at every touch point. With tens of thousands of employees and operations that span international borders, that can be a challenge.

Travelers took advantage of Tenet Partners Brand Ensemble to help its employees deploy the new visual system and bring the brand to life, as well as maintain high standards of quality across the company. Brand Ensemble gave Travelers a gathering place for all things brand-related: guidelines, images and templates. It is now easier than ever to keep the Travelers umbrella where it belongs – at top-of-mind for consumers and investors, everywhere.

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212 329-3030

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