Aviva invests £1m into community fund to boost brand reputation

Aviva has launched a community fund offering local UK charities, clubs and groups funding as part of a concerted effort by the insurance brand to unite its social projects and boost brand reputation.

The Aviva community fund has evolved from similar projects in the past across other parts of the business. But this marks the first time it has been launched on a national scale and open to the public to apply on behalf of organisations.

The entries will be put to a public vote with up to finalists going through to the judging phase.

Funding from £1,000 up to £25,000 will be then offered to 362 overall recipients. The different levels aims to target small and large organisations.

Speaking to The Drum, marketing director Heather Smith said the insurance company was looking for activity that would unite its many divisions, from travel insurance to retirement advice.

“We’re very much pursuing a customer driven strategy and the Aviva Community Fund felt like something that really unified the whole business and brings everything together at a customer and brand level. Not just a product message,” she explained, adding that it will also create that “bigger brand reputation.”

Smith said it comes as consumers today begin to switch off from businesses that fail to support the communities around them. Her comments echoed those recently made by O2 chief executive Ronnan Dunne who said a generation of business leaders have failed to harness brand power to do good.

“I cannot see how a brand that doesn’t have at their heart some component of social is sustainable for the future," she added.

"People are more discerning, quite rightly. They want to know where they are putting their hard earned money. Ethics and sustainability are equally important but of course social good is in there. [...] It has to be rooted in leadership.

“One of our big internal values is care more. We live and work [in the UK] and we want to put something back into it. It’s massively motivational for our staff too, the fact that they can be a part of it.”

To help consumers see Aviva as a brand that “genuinely cares about the community” it enlisted Bafta winning director Heidi Greensmith to create a series of short documentary films telling the stories of three groups helping the local community.

The films were shot on a smart phone to demonstrate how anyone can use everyday technology to tell a story and will be seeded across a variety of digital and social channels. The campaign will also be supported by its sponsorship deals with Premiership Rugby and Norwich City FC.

Stephen Fry, a board member on the football club, has already appeared in a film highlighting the importance of community.

Smith’s ambition is that the Aviva Community Fund will continue to grow in the UK and across the 15 markets it serves globally.

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