Marsh, Inc. Seeks To Restore Brand Image With New Campaign

Calling its new brand campaign the most ambitious in the firm's 136-year history, Marsh, Inc. is seeking to project a new, more capable image after years of scrutiny and disappointing sales results.

The campaign broke in advance of a decidedly poor showing in the first quarter during which profits fell 36%, according to a statement issued yesterday by Marsh & McLennan.

The company lost brokerage clients at Marsh Inc., its biggest division, after CEO Michael Cherkasky replaced 25 of the 65 U.S. office managers. Bringing in better-performing leadership is worth the short-term cost, Cherkasky said in a conference call. Revenue fell for an 11th-straight quarter at the unit, dropping by less than 1%, to $1.14 billion, according to a Bloomberg news report.

"It is clearly disruptive, but our philosophy is pay the price now for the benefit later," said Cherkasky, who has cut more than 5,000 jobs and reduced office space after a 2004 New York state probe of sales practices eroded revenue at the brokerage.



In its new campaign, Marsh--perhaps projecting lessons its own senior management has learned under duress--encourages businesses to view risk in a new light, to find opportunity in challenge.

The integrated branding effort includes print, out-of-home, direct mail, event marketing and online components and suggests that opportunities can be found in such hot-button issues as climate change regulations, supply chain disruptions and expansion into China.

"This campaign expresses our belief that there should be a new, more complete approach to managing risk going forward and also signals to our clients and the market that Marsh is back on its front foot," said Marsh CEO Brian Storms in a release. "There's no company in the world better positioned than we are to help clients understand the new realities of risks, mitigate them and turn them into opportunities for upside."

Out-of-home ads exchange traditionally positive words for the word "risk." These ads feature phrases such as "Risk Upon a Star" and "To Risk Perchance to Dream." Marsh says that managing risk smartly can give proactive companies a competitive advantage in their marketplace.

The Marsh campaign is running in print publications both in the U.S. and globally, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times and key local and trade media, and outdoor in major cities, including New York and Chicago.

Said Marsh CMO Nancy Elder: "We fully expect to create a new level of consciousness among risk managers and business leaders that should deliver new revenue opportunities for clients."

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