COVID-19 Content Best Practices: Retirement

COVID-19 Content Best Practices: Retirement

The retirement industry caters to a number of different audiences — two of the most important being individuals who participate in workplace plans like 401(k)s, and the employers that sponsor them. Both are grappling with their own sets of challenges.

  • Participants worry about accessing their savings and whether they should take action amid volatile markets.
  • Plan sponsors and administrators want info about the CARES Act, its impacts on their plans, and how best to communicate with participants. They must also ensure each communication targets the right audience and delivers what that audience really needs.

To uncover standout examples of communications in this space, we turned to our friends at Corporate Insight, who track communications, products and the overall customer experience delivered by companies in a variety of industries. Our team here at Imprint leveraged their library, supplemented by our own research, to evaluate COVID-19 communications in the retirement industry. We applied these four criteria to all the communications we found:

  • Client-centricity: Are brands putting their audiences’ needs at the center of their content—or talking about themselves?
  • Tone: How are brands speaking to their audiences?
  • Formats: How are they packaging their content? Video, long form, visual storytelling?
  • Differentiation: Do brands’ communications stand out from competitors’?

Here’s what stood out to us. Click HERE for last week’s roundup of the healthcare industry.

An emphasis on advice

Long-time retirement plan provider TIAA strikes a comforting tone with its COVID-19-related content. Not surprising, given that it has been serving teachers, academics, medical professionals and other care-givers for over 100 years.

  • Its communications acknowledge both the financial and emotional toll of market volatility, highlighting the role expert guidance can play in keeping people on track for retirement.
  • TIAA concisely explains what the CARES Act means for retirement savers.
    • The piece below includes a discussion of new rules expanding access to retirement plan loans.
    • And they also offer smart content explaining the long-term cost of that short-term move.
  • Articles aimed at retirement savers are put through a COVID-19 lens, making them feel timely and relevant.
    • TIAA Senior Director Kelly Greene has penned several thoughtful and personal essays offering advice to retirement savers struggling with a historic spike in stock market volatility.
Guiding you through turbulent times (TIAA)

Tailored for individuals

Retirement and other employer benefit plan participants access Fidelity’s workplace COVID-19 Resource Center via Fidelity’s NetBenefits site. NetBenefits provides participants with both the plan-specific information they need and general information about the pandemic.

COVID-19 Resource Center (Fidelity)
  • The site highlights the features of each user’s plan, helping them find content that applies to them.
  • Fidelity also includes general information that’s top of mind for many participants such as info about 401(k) loans, and Required Minimum Distributions on inherited IRAs.
  • The content Fidelity provides extends beyond retirement to include other benefits topics such as smart ways to use Health Savings Accounts to what the CARES Act means for student loan borrowers.
  • A COVID-19 stimulus recap, originally published on Fidelity’s public site, tidily explains new legislation such as the CARES Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The article gives a just-the-facts treatment to these stimulus measures, and offers links to each piece of legislation on the US Congressional website for readers who want to dig deeper.
What the CARES Act means for student loan borrowers (Fidelity)

Answering clients’ top questions

Retirement provider Empower addresses readers’ most pressing concerns via a no-frills, curated list of resources.

  • The market volatility resources provide a helpful mix of educational and actionable content for anxious retirement savers.
  • For plan sponsors, Empower offers creative and informative takes on topics such as using plan data to learn about participants’ behavior in volatile markets.
Financial Markets Perspective and Relief Programs (Empower)

We reviewed Milliman’s plan sponsor-focused COVID-19-related content:

  • Readers are served by a deep well of resources that appeal to a wide audience, from pension plan providers to 401(k) plan sponsors.
  • The focus of timely, in-depth articles include the crisis’ potential impact on pension plans, and the unintended consequences layoffs can have on corporate retirement plans.
  • Strong design and a variety of content formats elevate Milliman’s approach to its communications around topics related to COVID-19.
Navigating a global pandemic (Milliman)

(Note: We did not have access to Milliman’s participant site, and did not include that content in our review.)

The variety show

 

How we’re helping in uncertain times (Principal)

Principal engages readers using a wide variety of formats.

  • Users’ options range from videos and infographics to quick-hit listicles and longer-form articles.
  • FAQs answer key questions quickly (“Should I take my money out?”) and guides readers to more in-depth content.
  • An eye-catching chart illustrates the dangers of market timing for individual plan participants.
  • Principal’s Milestones educational offerings serve up the most popular resources first, meeting most participants’ needs in the process, and have a strong design aesthetic.
Principal Milestones (Principal)

Let us know what you think, and feel free to share other pieces that you think exemplify best practices as well. You can email us at imprint@imprintcontent.com.

Here are links to the coronavirus microsites or information pages for each company featured above. (NB: Fidelity NetBenefits is only accessible if you have an account with Fidelity.)

TIAA

Fidelity NetBenefits

Empower

Milliman

Principal

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