Norwich Union becomes a bus company

Norwich Union have announced that they are abandoning their brand name after over two hundred years.

Norwich Union was founded in 1797 in Norwich, when 36-year-old merchant and banker Thomas Bignold formed the “Norwich Union Society for the Insurance of Houses, Stock and Merchandise from Fire”, a mutual society owned by the policyholders who received a share of the profits. [source: Wikipedia]

Now they’re adopting the name of a bus company, Arriva.

No! I misread it. They’ve become a yoghurt type of thing called Activia. Mmm, Danone.

Nope, wrong again…Aviva is the name. Throwing the baby out with the bath water? Possibly. What do you think?

Anyway, Norwich Union explain:

Why Change? Sometimes a simple change of name can unlock the potential that was there all along. Celebrities do it all the time. They know that if you want people to remember you, it helps to have a name that sticks.

For us, it was just a case of outgrowing the name we started out with. ‘Norwich Union’ fitted us fine in 1797, when we began selling protection against fire in rural communities. It still worked for us 200 years later, when we’d become the biggest insurer in the UK. But since we’ve joined up with Commercial Union and General Accident, we’ve got that bit bigger. In fact, we’re now the fifth-largest provider of insurance, savings and investments in the world.

As a global company, we need a name and a brand that will be recognised anywhere. The name Aviva brings together more than 40 different trading names around the world. It’s perfect for us because it’s short, memorable and feels positive and lively.

Apart from the new name, we’ll be carrying on as usual. We’re proud of our heritage and our values. We’ve got to know our customers, and have found that the best way to provide financial services is to treat every person as an individual. That’s something we’re definitely not going to change.

Right, I understand now. The trouble is how will I remember the name!

I am a partner at Succession Plus. We are specialists in providing proactive, focused and strategic advice for SME owners to help them manage strategic Business Succession and Exit Planning.I am enjoying a career that has embraced product and service businesses at all stages of their journey. I have worked in technology, telecoms, consumer electronics, payments, media, and publishing.

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