Network Health: Building a Better Health Insurance Brand
Case Study
Making a Market Leader

# 1
Network Health became most preferred health insurance plan for consumers in market.*
Increase in consumer awareness - the largest of all health plans in the market.*
Employer familiarity rate - the highest of any other health plan.*

“AE Marketing Group is as invested in our brand success as our employees.  They have been critical to boosting our brand awareness, loyalty and experience 26 points in just 16 months.”

Penny Ransom
Chief Administrative Officer at Network Health


From Leap Day 2012 to Leap Day 2016 we transformed the Network Health brand and fueled tremendous growth, new products and services through co-creation, digital community increases of 900%, market expansion, the launch of HIX plans and customer satisfaction scores that not only exceed national, but most importantly Wisconsin benchmarks and competitors.

Watch the four year overview and learn the backstory of this health insurance company below.


Headquartered in Appleton for more than three decades, few companies are more “Wisconsin” than Network Health. But as the rollout of the Affordable Care Act approached, the Appleton-based health insurance provider was facing a serious dilemma: Only 1 in 3 Wisconsin residents knew its brand.

“We had very low awareness, and as more individuals were going to begin making their own choices about health insurance, that was a big problem,” explained Penny Ransom, Chief Administration Officer for Network Health.

“AE Marketing Group helped us resolve it and raise our awareness levels in the market by 26 points in 16 months.” To achieve that metric, AE Marketing Group leveraged creative thinking and an aggressive approach to boost both B2C and B2B brand awareness, preference and experience for Network Health while competing against industry heavyweights.


Illustration and animation are core to brand creative style to breakthrough industry clutter


By drawing on research and customer insights in order to tap unmet needs in the market, Network Health faced industry deficiencies head-on and dared to be different both strategically and creatively. This began by pondering the question of what exactly beyond cost savings do Wisconsin consumers expect from a health insurance company?

It’s likely that Network Health’s competitors such as United Healthcare and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield would say access since, to them, bigger equals better. For Network Health, however, the answer was personalized service and partnership. Even more importantly, Network Health engaged actual consumers and asked them what they expected from a health insurance company.

Customer experience is at heart of brand and co-creation fuels new products/services 


Their insights indicated that they desired help making sense of health insurance, although in an industry filled with jargon, cluttered “me too” ads, and other confusing messages, how does a company help consumers make sense of it all? For Network Health, that answer was simple – speak their language.


On Leap Day, Network Health was rebranded with a mix of strategy and creative never before seen in the Wisconsin health insurance category. Built around the promise of “We Speak Your Language,” clear words became the hero of Network Health. And with a policy to “End the Jargon,” the brand was operationalized from the inside out. The most confusing health insurance terms were translated for consumers through a branded microsite and online dictionary.

New creative stripped away the 4C “feel good” photos used by every other industry advertiser and instead employed illustration to differentiate the brand and keep the focus on the power of words.

Additionally, media was micro-targeted across platforms to maximize both effectiveness and budget. “We absolutely took creative risks with Network Health,” said Brian Walker, Founder and CEO of AE Marketing Group, “but we were confident that those risks would pay off and differentiate the brand. We had to be bold to compete against brands with significant resources and market share. “I wasn’t sure if Network Health would embrace the brand ideation, but early in our partnership it became clear this is an organization that understands brand is greater than creative advertising”

“We Speak Your Language” not only ended the jargon at Network Health, but the health insurance company was recognized with over 10 industry awards, including the highest brand honors, the Silver Telly at 33rd Annual Telly Awards™

Network Health and AE Marketing Group win the Silver Telly Award


*source: Klein Research Study 


Ask most people how they feel about health insurance and you will begin to hear some common themes (and frustrations). By breaking down confusing industry language to operationalize a brand, AE Marketing Group made Network Health a market leader in less than 18 months.

Founded in 1982, Network Health offers a variety of employer group, individual and family, and Medicare Advantage health insurance plans to more than 163,000 customers throughout Wisconsin. To learn more visit
Identify ways to spark awareness about a brand that has been in Wisconsin for nearly 30 years, yet only 1 in 3 consumers in market have ever heard of it.
Network Health became most preferred health insurance plan for consumers in market
• Consumer awareness rose from 32% to 58%
• Employer familiarity rose from 46% to 72%
• "We Speak Your Language” was awarded the Silver Telly, the highest brand honor at the 33rd Annual Telly Awards.