Star Awards: Retirement Winners Speak!

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For over 20 years the IMEA Star Awards have honored the best of the best communications in the investment managing industry. The Star…

For over 20 years the IMEA Star Awards have honored the best of the best communications in the investment managing industry. The Star Awards were presented last month in 30 separate categories across three major classes of communications: investor, advisor and retirement.

We spoke with three winners in the retirement category for an inside look at what goes into a retirement campaign to make it special and bright enough to catch a Star.

As a longtime sponsor of the IMEA Star Awards, Imprint congratulates all of the talented, hard-working winners.

“I’ve seen so many fantastic examples of retirement communications over the years—meaningful campaigns, thoughtful insights—and the winners really focus on their customers and what those customers need,” said Imprint Managing Partner Andy Seibert in the run-up to the awards celebration. “This year, when there’s so many things going on in the world and here at home, marketers have really stepped it up and sharpened their skills.”

“There’s one aspect of the Stars which I really love, and that’s that the judges are your peers,” Seibert added. “So when you win a Star Award it’s getting the applause of your contemporaries, which is really special.”

Here’s what three winners in the retirement category had to say:


Lincoln Financial — CARES Act Participant Campaign

Project goal: The objective of the CARES Act participant campaign was to create targeted, concise communications for plan participants that made it easy for them to understand the CARES Act provisions, and to clearly explain how to take action. A secondary objective was to provide these materials quickly, and to minimize administrative tasks and questions from participants that would otherwise be directed to the plan sponsor.

Biggest challenge, and how it was solved: Our biggest challenge was creating CARES Act education pieces as quickly as possible and distributing them in a tailored, scalable way. Our solution was a series of print pieces, each focused on a different CARES Act provision or set of provisions. The pieces were offered in participant education “packages” tailored to the specific CARES Act provisions chosen by our clients. This allowed us to create and make the pieces available in a nimble, scalable way.

Winning ingredient: The winning ingredient in our campaign was the ability to quickly create a streamlined suite of electronic and print pieces that made it easy for participants to understand the options available to them and gave step-by-step instructions for taking action.

Check out the work:


Principal — Super Savers

Project goal: Our goals were to unpack the key motivations and drivers of super savers so that we can better understand how to inspire and encourage long-term thinking and positive savings behaviors across our customer population. Plus, identify new opportunities for them to save and invest. We also wanted to determine ways super savers prioritize savings and financial independence.

Biggest challenge, and how it was solved: Defining a super saver was our biggest challenge when conducting our survey. We wanted to make sure our surveys included participants across all income brackets. As a team, we identified plan participants who either save 90% or more of the IRS max, or defer 15% or more of their salary to their employer-sponsored retirement plans. Adding the deferral amount of 15% helped open the survey up to more participants within the lower income brackets.

Winning ingredient: The winning ingredient to our thought leadership about super savers includes highlighting things plan sponsors can do to help their participants save more. For plan sponsors, we seek to help them with their fiduciary responsibilities and provide insights into plan trends. We use the research to create materials, such as the white paper, to show how plan sponsors can use plan design, additional savings opportunities, and education to help create more retirement super savers.


Charles Schwab — Biagnostics® for Defined Contribution

Project goal: To build awareness and credibility for Schwab Asset Management through an impactful value-add educational program on behavioral finance for our plan advisor, plan sponsor and plan participant audiences.

Biggest challenge, and how it was solved: We originally planned to leverage existing materials from our behavioral finance program for advisors. Once we began, we realized since the defined contribution audience needs were unique, it wouldn’t be quite so simple. We had a steady cadence of communication with sales and channel strategy to learn more about the role and challenges of plan advisors, sponsors and participants. Getting valuable feedback from them throughout the process enabled us to create relevant and effective content for each group.

Winning ingredient: Collaboration! It’s a big part of our culture at Schwab, and conversations with subject matter experts throughout the process allowed us to create a successful turnkey program that our sales team can promote now and in the future. Marketing’s strategy was to have an open dialogue across CIO, sales, channel strategy, investments, retirement plan services and marketing teams, which helped us uncover perspectives that we may not have considered otherwise.

Check out the work:

So, what’s next?

We’d love to hear from you! Did you face similar challenges in 2020? What strategies did your team develop to tackle them? What lessons from 2020 are you keeping front of mind in 2021? Email us at, mention us on Twitter @imprintcontent or ping us on LinkedIn.

To read Part I: Investor Star Awards Winners Speak! , click here.

To read Part II: Advisor Star Awards Winners Speak! , click here.