Quick thoughts on branding

Jennifer Fitzgerald Policygenius


Jennifer Fitzgerald

Jennifer Fitzgerald

CEO and co-founder

Jennifer Fitzgerald is the CEO and co-founder of Policygenius, a leading provider of financial protection, from insurance to wills.

Published September 25, 2013|1 min read

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The clown in the photo below:

A) Is from a 1973 horror film called, "Chuckles in the Dark Place" B) Will haunt your dreams tonight C) Represented one of the world's most powerful consumer brands

If you answered B) and C), then you are correct. That clown was the original Ronald McDonald. Yes, the world's most recognizable consumer brand mascot started off as a homicidal hobo clown (trivia bit: those soulless eyes belong to former Today Show weatherman Willard Scott).

At PolicyGenius, we've been thinking a lot about branding and its importance for a startup looking to shake up a stodgy industry. The early branding approach of McDonalds has been instructive for us:

  • We ditched our first owl mascot, which was, coincidentally, homicidal hobo owl**

  • We learned that, for even great consumer companies, branding can be trial and error. And listening to feedback is key.

We've received pretty consistent feedback about our hipster owl, Virgil; people love him. But we've got a split read on our name, KnowItOwl. People either love it or hate it. Some people love the play on the phrase "know-it-all" and how it relates to our mission of helping people get smart about insurance. Other people think it's too clever by half. "And it doesn't tell me anything about insurance!" Fair enough.

So we're sorting through this feedback now. And we welcome any thoughts in the comments below or email us at geniushq@policygenius.com

UPDATE: we changed our name from KnowItOwl to PolicyGenius. More on why and how we did that in this blog post.

** Just kidding. This brilliant image is courtesy of: http://wallpaperswide.com/