A health insurer deliberately catering toward digital natives.
New US health insurance company Oscar has been called the Warby Parker for health insurance. Warby Parker is a Silicon Valley darling, an online glasses retailer who came out of left field in the US to disrupt their category. Digital? Silicon Valley? Disruption? What the hell can be going on with this kind of comparison for a health insurance company? you ask.
Oscar is an insurance company launched at the end of 2013 by co-founder, Josh Kushner, was responsible for funding companies like Warby Parker and Instagram, another co-founder Kevin Nazemi is a Microsoft veteran; and co-founder Mario Schlosser is a MIT Media Lab veteran and hedge fund guru. The package also includes former Tumblr executive Fredrik Nylander as CTO and Peter Thiel’s Founder’s Fund and Vinod Khosla as investors. Oscar is based out of Silicon Alley’s iconic Puck Building, Warby Parker’s offices are down the street, and Kushner’s Thrive Capital is found a few floors up in the same building.
From the start, Oscar was no ordinary health insurer, tech and community sit at the very heart of its DNA.
Fast Company magazine ran an article on Oscar, describing it as “pioneering digital data usage for health insurance by collecting performance reviews and customer recommendations on the website, amounting to something like Yelp for doctors”.
Unsurprisingly, Oscar does not look, feel or speak like other health insurance brands, but if the considerable hype is to be believed, the experience for members they deliver is the real brand differentiator. Oscar’s ‘Simple’ plan provides free checkups and preventative care, generic drugs without a referral, and telemedicine – where members can talk to a doctor over the phone any time, with the promise of a short wait (less than an hour). By using Oscar’s Flash fitness tracker, customers can also get paid for working out and staying healthy.
Oscar’s brand identity is fresh, contemporary, friendly and very ‘un-health insurancy’. The brand voice is a clear reflection of the brand personality – simple, engaging, friendly and effortless. The role of brand design and voice cannot be underestimated for a brand looking to challenge a category. By understanding how a category looks and speaks, businesses are able to develop a brand that differentiates and disrupts from the first consumer contact.
Like most contemporary, digitally savvy brands, Oscar’s content marketing feels effortless and natural, like that funny guys at the party everyone wants to hang with. There is a blog called Hi Oscar, which includes accessible and informative posts like “Does an Apple a Day Keep the Doctor Away?” The blog also includes posts from Oscar’s Instagram feed, where followers get to ‘meet’ notable Oscar members who are doing interesting (and on-brand) things.
The company’s offer has been designed for web and mobile from the ground up. There can be no comparison between new brand offers created by digital natives and traditional offers with digital applications. The very way a brand thinks, breathes and acts when the digital ecosystem is in its DNA cannot be replicated by transplanted web, mobile and ap design.
Oscar also has its own YouTube channel which includes loads of engaging content such as animated ads in English and Spanish, and a video series called “Fixing Healthcare,” in which Oscar CEO Mario Schlosser explains how the company plans to provide better and more personal experience for healthcare customers.
David is the founder of Truly Deeply, a brand agency with 25 years experience working with brands to position them for growth. His deep expertise is in the creation of high engagement brands that attract the attention of their audience and stand out from their competitors. David has extensive experience working with corporate, retail, food & beverage and entrepreneurial clients. Find out more here
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