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105: Jennifer Halloran on leading MassMutual’s comprehensive rebranding efforts

In this week’s episode of “Marketing Today,” Alan’s conversation is with Jennifer Halloran, head of brand and advertising at MassMutual. The beginning of Halloran’s tenure at MassMutual was marked by a complete rebranding effort across all aspects of the company, including the hiring of two new agencies of record. In a decision to go with a roster model, they chose Johannes Leonardo as their creative lead and named Giant Spoon to handle media responsibilities.

During the course of her conversation with Alan, Halloran talked about the process of hiring those two agencies as well as the campaigns and initiatives MassMutual has launched in the past year. In addition, Halloran touched on adopting and implementing a nimble approach to capitalize on big cultural moments through timely creative and the resulting media opportunities. “I think you really have to be fluid,” said Halloran.” You don’t buy a media plan that’s set for the year anymore — we call it a blueprint.” She went on to add, “You don’t set it in stone at the beginning of the year and say you’ve got it…we have to move with what’s happening with our customers, in culture, and in technology, and you’ve got to stay on top of it.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:

  • Halloran discusses her background, how she thought she’d end up in consulting but instead found herself focusing on one industry, and the monumental effort of rebranding MassMutual. (1:20)
  • Halloran describes the complexity of launching MassMutual’s rebrand and refresh (6:26)
  • Starting from the inside out — Halloran provides insight for fellow marketers faced with relaunching or rebranding a company. (10:01)
  • “I didn’t want to make them guess.” Halloran on the very different kind of process MassMutual used when looking for an agency of record. (12:56)
  • Halloran’s advice for others going through an agency search: “Go with your gut on what you know is going to be important.” (21:49)
  • Halloran talks about MassMutual’s “Adopt a Runner” campaign for the New York City Marathon. (24:05)
  • MassMutual’s “Unsung” campaign hinged on authenticity. (30:53)
  • “That could be me.” MassMutual’s “Acts of Mutuality” was a multi-generational story that appealed to something in everyone. (41:26)