Tag: content

Photos That Maximize Content Impact

Photos That Maximize Content Impact

By Imprint Team

Photographs have superpowers when it comes to evoking emotions. A single picture can spark wonder, warm hearts, invite laughter, inspire confidence, and stir thought. In appreciation of World Photography Day on August 19, we asked our Creative Director Ashley Brenner and Art Director Craig Gartner to focus on how they make sure photos maximize the impact of content. Here’s what developed.

What goes into your image selection process?

Brenner: Whether we’re shooting original pictures or using photo libraries, we consider various criteria, but always start with the intended audience. We keep in mind the tone and the specific message clients want to come through in the visual language. We also keep humanity and empathy in mind and consider what people are going through. A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but there are times when an image seeks to evoke salient key words, whether it’s optimism, expertise, or innovation. 

Gartner: There’s a lot of detective work. Finding photos that precisely convey a client’s message is like mining for gold. Sometimes success comes by being literal when you search. Sometimes it takes a more imaginative or metaphoric approach. 

Has COVID-19 changed the process?

Brenner: Yes, it has added another emotional layer that we need to be conscientious and thoughtful about. It goes back to the idea of having empathy.

Can you tell when a photo is, well, picture perfect?

Brenner: The words are the brand’s voice. Words matter. Visuals matter. It’s not one or the other. When they marry up and become something interconnected with each other is when messaging becomes very clear and very impactful. For a story about small business owners working during the pandemic we ask ourselves, what does that look like? It could look like people further apart from each other and people with masks on. It could look like business owners going into their store by themselves or talking with people on the phone or by videoconferencing. It could show contactless payments. Those are the kinds of behaviors that can come across through pictures.

Gartner: If the copy can speak to key words and then the photos speak to the copy it creates one beautiful, connective stream. That’s the goal. For a story about smart financial moves to make for the future, one possible visual could show trails diverging in a forest, with one going left and one going right to suggest the need for decision-making.

Do clients help narrow choices for visuals?

Brenner: All clients want to make sure that visual imagery and tonality differentiates them, so there are definitely individual client styles. Some prefer straightforward visual approaches, while others take a less literal route. Depending on the preference, one headline, such as “How to Make the Most of your Retirement,” leads to a variety of perspectives and picture opinions. A literal choice could be a closeup of an older couple enjoying a happy moment. A metaphoric choice might suggest the life journey and show the couple walking up a hill. 

Is there one overarching mandate for visuals?

Gartner: Authenticity, above everything, is what’s essential right now. In a story about what the office of the future might look like, for instance, images showing a large cluster of people wouldn’t be appropriate, but a photo of people giving each other an elbow bump instead of shaking hands could address the current reality. Nothing should look pat, set up, or contrived. If you have a relatable photo that looks like you could have been in that picture, and it has the client brand firmly and distinctly in mind, then you’ve got your picture.

T. Rowe Price: 3 Publishing Strategies During the Pandemic

T. Rowe Price: 3 Publishing Strategies During the Pandemic

A video conversation between Imprint’s Andy Seibert and T. Rowe Price’s Gavin Daly

The current pandemic continues to demand that every company continually rethink their strategies, including planning, processes and communication—which is why we’ve made a point to explore what’s working for our clients.

For the third installment of our “Clients on Strategy” vlog series, T. Rowe Price’s Gavin Daly—Group Manager, Investment Editorial Team—sat down recently with Imprint’s Managing Partner Andy Seibert to discuss three key strategies T. Rowe Price has used to successfully pivot their investment editorial division over the last months.

T. Rowe Price’s communications divisions are particularly flourishing—while T. Rowe Price has moved thousands of employees to remote work, including their entire investment editorial division, the pace of their publishing has rapidly increased. Content that used to take 10-12 business days to publish is now getting through in 6 days or fewer.

Listen in to discover how, and more about:

  • What aspects of T. Rowe Price’s internal company culture were most helpful to build upon
  • The importance of having a plan, and communicating that plan, to your internal clients
  • How T. Rowe Price has responded to the technological disruption of the moment, building new infrastructure around video and social media.

What editorial strategies have you successfully adopted during the pandemic? Did your team have similar successes that you were able to build on? Let us know by reaching out to us on LinkedIn, or emailing us at imprint@imprintcontent.com.

Celebrating “Get to Know Your Customers Day”

Celebrating “Get to Know Your Customers Day”

Know your audience. It’s a business rule that’s both golden and evergreen. So carpe diem on “Get to Know Your Customers Day” on July 16. The occasion that falls on the third Thursday each quarter offers a perfect opportunity to take stock of how well you know your audience and how to deepen that understanding. Imprintteam members share ways to do it.

Andy Seibert, Managing Partner

Open the door to humanity

Content marketing is really a partnership. And even though it’s not that you have to be best forever friends with your clients, getting to know them just makes it a better relationship. The key to getting to know your customers is opening the door and letting them get to know you. If they know you, the more comfortable they may be telling you about themselves. That adds humanity, which then brings out more creativity and better discussion, and takes the relationship beyond just transactional. That’s where we strive to get with our clients—to be an extension of their thinking, of their team. 

Meg Staknis, Managing Director

Be all ears

One of the most important elements of knowing your customers is to listen to them—really listen—in order to be the best possible partner

you can be. Listening is now more critical than ever because you are not seeing each other face-to-face as often. And you can both get Zoom fatigue or fall prey to the distractions of multitasking during video calls. (BTW, your customers always know when you’re multitasking. You’re not fooling anyone.) When you are doing other things instead of listening to your customer, you’re not learning about them, hearing what they need, or leaning into the problems they need you to solve.  Active listening is one of the most important things you can do to cement the relationship between the customer and your business. 

Duncan Milne, Managing Director

Get real

Sharing stories about experiences I’ve had as a customer with other businesses where messaging has been confusing or irrelevant; or talking about moments when I’ve been really surprised or emotionally touched by a communication have often helped me encourage a client to think more creatively and more empathetically. Having that anecdotal, real-life conversation often can help make the impact of a communication strategy feel real. By imagining ourselves as customers we’re able to figure out an answer to an essential question—will this communication actually help?

Ashley Brenner, Creative Director

Focus on the brief

Knowing the audience is the thing that drives all the work in content marketing. Any time we start a new project, even if it’s a client we’ve worked with before, we always thoroughly review the brief, which outlines who the work is for, what the communication goals are, and how success will be measured. Initially, the brief might seem like a minor checklist item. But, in fact, the information covered about the audience always points us to the project’s overall objectives. It keeps us on track with the client and engaging the target audience.

Dan Davenport, Editorial Director

Consider context

An important aspect of knowing your clients is staying absolutely current with world events that directly affect them. We may be creating content around, say, saving for a child’s college education, but we know those plans and decisions don’t exist in a vacuum. They happen amid a torrent of news that acutely impacts our clients’ outlook. And that’s an impact we must fully grasp. Then when we write, design and edit work we can more keenly grasp the moment the receiver is in — what they need, and what they’ll best respond to.

Ken Williams, Managing Director

Vary viewpoints

We’re always focused on taking an audience-based approach for clients in order to understand their customers’ needs. When possible at the start of a project, we include stakeholder interviews as part of our discovery and research to truly understand customers’ needs and preferences rather than relying on one person’s view. In addition to reaching out to the end-audience, getting viewpoints internally from sales, marketing, product, senior leadership, and other areas gives them the opportunity to describe their needs, which can lead us to a lot of additional insight. 

How are you working to better understand your customers? We’d love to discuss and hear what’s worked well for you, so please ping on LinkedIn or send us an email at http://imprint@imprintcontent.com

Customer Recovery: The case for multiple content streams

Customer Recovery: The case for multiple content streams

Across the country, we’re following convoluted pathways out of—and then back into—the COVID-19 lockdowns. On top of the months of quarantine, protests against police brutality and racial injustice are taking place in every single state across the nation. And the economy continues to flirt with taking a massive downturn.

With a vaccine still a long way off and social distancing the way we live now, it is still difficult to envision how this and future recovery phases of the pandemic will fully unfold for businesses and their customers. What we do know is that with all this upheaval, there is no single, one-size-fits-all answer.

Different attitudes to a radically different environment

Just as each of the 50 states have different approaches for reopening the U.S., individuals will also have different responses toward the recovery. Those responses are based on their own unique attitudes and emotions, which may have been exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis. 

Do they want to plunge back in? Do they want to go slow and cautiously? Research from Ipsos shows there is a continuum of responses when it comes to the way people feel and the actions they will take as a result of the phase of the coronavirus in their home area. 

Some individuals will be motivated to dive into a re-opening head-first. They may be driven by financial necessity, or the need to achieve, and other factors such as Zoom fatigue or confinement exhaustion. 

Others, concerned with unseen dangers and the lack of a widely available vaccine – or without childcare or with the ability to work from home and not needing to interact with a wide population, will wade back into broad interactions inch-by-inch.

And others will fall somewhere in between. 

Nimble businesses meet customers where they are

The most responsive companies understand this variability in their customers’ attitudes and behaviors. They also know the implications for their solutions, customer experience, and marketing.

Many experienced changes at the outset of the pandemic and adapted right away:

  • Telehealth and virtual care, for example, saw dramatic shifts before and after COVID-19. People are now much more willing to have a virtual doctor’s visit, and many health practitioners adapted quickly to integrate those capabilities into their offerings. 
  • Online grocery shopping and delivery saw a dramatic acceleration in adoption, even though it has been around for a long time. Even smaller grocery stores began providing online shopping capabilities.
  • And many local small businesses and restaurants around the country tried various strategies such as give-aways, gift-certificates, and curbside take-out to keep their customers engaged during the lock-down and re-opening.

Other industries, such as commercial real estate, will continue to face challenges the longer the pandemic continues, with a much greater number of people working from home than previously anticipated, and increased health and safety protocols expected from those who are making their way back to the office. 

This requires multiple content streams—not just one

Put all of this together and the result is that firms will need to develop multiple content streams to address the journeys that represent their different customers’ attitudes and emotions. 

Going back to the Ipsos model, after the initial re-opening phase (Anticipation), there will still be several more phases of this pandemic to contend with, and a varied range of responses for each.

Businesses need to develop content for the next phases of recovery before they arrive

The time to create content streams that will support your customer segments in the next phase of the pandemic is already here. This isn’t the end of COVID-19 challenges. It isn’t even the beginning of the end. Signs point to a complex recovery until this virus is contained. Your customers are going to need you at every stage—be ready for them.

3 Key Takeaways from COVID-19 Content Analysis

3 Key Takeaways from COVID-19 Content Analysis

We’ve been at it for eight weeks now: quarantining and working from home, but also assessing best practices for effective communications during the pandemic.

Imprint has analyzed marketing communications across five industries: insurance/annuities, banking, investments, healthcare and retirement, supplementing communications unearthed by our friends at Corporate Insight with our own research.

We’ve combed through hundreds of web pages, articles, videos and blog posts. When we took a step back to assess the five industries as a whole, these three common traits emerged.

1. They lead with empathy.

The best communications felt like one human was speaking directly to another. They acknowledged the people on both ends of the line—the senders and the recipients. And they recognized the severity of the issues that many people have been dealing with since February and early March.

That human, relatable tone is something a lot of brands try to deliver, yet few really succeed. Some of our standouts:

  • Chase: Their letter from Thasunda Brown Duckett, CEO of Chase Consumer Banking, gives you a window into exactly who she is “a mother, a daughter, a banking executive.” And it succinctly describes the impact of the pandemic in entirely relatable terms: “COVID-19 has affected every part of my life.

A message from Thasunda Brown Duckett, (Chase)

 

  • State Farm: Their tone is simple and clear: We’re here for you. And their messaging reflects a business strategy grounded in today’s reality: fewer drivers on the road means fewer accidents, which leads to a return of premiums.

We’re Here For You, (State Farm)

Guiding you through turbulent times, (TIAA)

2. They’re credible and competent.

That sounds obvious, but let’s not take competence and credibility for granted. We’ve seen what can happen when they are.

Brands stand out from the rest when they differentiate through experience, insight, effectiveness or other credentials. A few of our favorites:

Insights on COVID-19, (New York Life)

  • Northwell Health: The largest healthcare provider in New York state, Northwell Health is at the epicenter of the current crisis. Some of their most effective communications are straightforward infographics, covering such critical info as how to properly wash your hands; comparing cold, allergy or COVID-19 symptoms; and ways you can prevent the spread of coronavirus. Communications heavy on visuals and short on text can be critical for under-served communities where English is not the primary language or literacy rates aren’t strong.

Coronavirus Digital Resource Center, (Northwell Health)

  • State Street: Like many investment providers, State Street is long on sophisticated thought leadership. They also shine with their perspectives on global business continuity, including summaries of the re-opening of their operations in China and India. And they are striving to take a leadership role to determine the industry’s future as a result of the current crisis.

An essential partner when you need it most, (State Street)

3. They pack an emotional punch.

We’re all feeling more frayed than usual. Throughout our assessments, the best communications touched and inspired us. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

  • New York Life: In the middle of the crisis, New York Life’s Brave of Heart Fund both sticks to its essence as a life insurer and supports healthcare workers and the families they’ll leave behind should they be lost in the fight against the virus.

The Brave of Heart Fund, (New York Life)

  • NYU Langone: On April 3, the NYU Grossman School of Medicine became the first medical school in the nation to graduate their fourth-year medical students early so they could join the ranks of MDs. It’s hard to stop thinking about the pride in the newly minted MDs’ faces seen on the screen capture of their Zoom graduation, and the contrast with a video message from their advisor on the hospital floor in full-body PPE. Their subsequent content connects with true emotion, like the video diary of a woman becoming a new mom during COVID-19 or the challenge of dealing with trauma in children as a result of the pandemic.

Early Graduation at NYU Grossman School of Medicine Sends New Doctors to Join COVID-19 Fight, (NYU Langone)

All of this is to say that yes—content marketing can be a complicated undertaking. But as with many aspects of our lives, this pandemic has forced us to look hard at the essence. To home in on the basics. And after our five-week comb through these industries, we learned the most fundamental ways to deliver effective communications in a crisis are these:

  1. Start from a position of empathy.
  2. Demonstrate your competence.
  3. Connect on an emotional level. 

Want more? If you’d like to see our full industry roundups of coronavirus content, you can click through each below.

Insurance / Annuities

Banking

Investing

Healthcare

Retirement

Finally, even these sectors represent just a sampling of pandemic communications. What other firms do you think exemplify best practices at this time? Please let us know—you can email us at imprint@imprintcontent.com.

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

Staying Creative In A Crisis

Staying Creative In A Crisis

In our latest video post, IMPRINT team members share the ways content has changed and how we’ve adapted to maximize collaboration and creativity internally and especially with clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. A brief look at what’s been learned and put into action includes:

  • Communication is everything, inside and out. Using technology that enables you to see your colleagues and clients is invaluable.
  • Getting back to basics and taking a truly empathetic approach to understanding and responding to a client’s urgent needs are musts.
  • Collaboration is key — and that includes you.

Have you come up with great creative approaches to content? Or, are you struggling with a project? Either way, we are holding office hours and invite you to reach out to us and schedule a session.  Email us at imprint@imprintcontent.com.

COVID-19 Content Best Practices: Banking

COVID-19 Content Best Practices: Banking

Like every other industry, the banking industry is figuring out how best to navigate the global COVID-19 pandemic. A customer’s relationship with their bank is especially personal — it is, after all, where they keep their money. And that intimacy presents unique challenges when it comes to communicating with them. The economic issues triggered by the spread of COVID-19 require banks to give careful thought to how they’re reaching out to customers and offering to help.

This week, we’re reviewing content produced by the banking industry to identify the work we think is most effectively connecting with customers. Our friends at Corporate Insight track communications, products, and the overall customer experience offered by leading companies in a variety of industries. The Imprint team has leveraged their research, along with our own, to evaluate COVID-19 communications in the banking industry against these four criteria:

  • 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 this week. Click HERE for last week’s roundup of the insurance and annuities industry.

Deep resources from an industry leader

Bank of America’s COVID-19 website takes advantage of the bank’s institutional heft to deliver a wide variety of smart content that directly addresses clients’ most pressing issues and educates without overwhelming.

  • The site leads with a link to its Client Assistance Program, which was expanded in March to support consumer and small-business clients affected by the pandemic. The program gives customers a direct way to reach out for help dealing with issues such as payment deferrals and recouping late fees.
  • The CAP site immediately allays likely customer concerns, announcing front and center that payment deferral won’t trigger negative credit bureau reporting, and that the bank has paused foreclosure sales, evictions and repossessions.
  • Content is varied, and includes articles, video explainers and podcasts from Bank of America leaders.
  • The site goes beyond banking, linking to outside sources. For instance, parents homeschooling their kids can access lesson plans from Khan Academy.

Few banks have the resources to build such a comprehensive reservoir of content geared toward customers dealing with the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. But this is the type of crisis response one would expect from an industry heavyweight like Bank of America.

 

Coronavirus: Latest Updates from Bank of America (Bank of America)

We’re all in this together

It can be tough to make a meaningful connection with customers when communicating about dry topics like loan deferrals and interest rates. The best bank communications these days break through with a collaborative and empathetic approach.

Take Chase:

  • Chase’s COVID-19 website gets personal right from the start—and that’s good. CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett’s open letter begins, “As a mother, daughter and banking executive, COVID-19 has affected every part of my life.”
  • The effect isn’t cloying; it feels real and vulnerable, and sets the tone for the rest of Chase’s messaging.
  • The site’s other content sticks with that personal and human tone, even while delivering humdrum how-tos for tasks like mobile check deposits and handling billing disputes for cancelled travel.

Chase Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources (Chase)

News you can really use

Clients don’t want to wade through pages of content to figure out how to defer a car payment or fight an overdraft fee. Ally Bank’s communications put the client’s needs first:

  • The bank’s online COVID-19 response delivers easy-to-find answers to clients’ urgent questions, like how to defer this month’s auto or mortgage payments.
  • Direct communications to clients via email offer short and clear explanations of new policies such as waiving overdraft fees.

Coronavirus Response (Ally Bank)

TD Bank executes a nifty client-centric content feat, delivering a thoughtful explainer about how the Fed’s recent rate cuts affect individual clients.

  • The tricky subject is handled in plain language.
  • The content is broken up in scannable chunks so readers can easily focus on what’s relevant to them, including topics such as credit card interest and student loan debt.
  • Bonus points for giving COVID-19 a supporting (rather than starring) role here: The piece pivots quickly from explaining the connection between the pandemic and the Fed’s rate cuts to what a 0% federal funds rate means to the average reader.

What the Federal Reserve Interest Rate Cuts Mean for You and Your Family (TD Bank)

Truist has the added complexity of communicating to two banks’ worth of clients. The company is the product of last year’s merger between BB&T and SunTrust, and its content needs to relay different information to each group of legacy clients. It pulls off this trick neatly, focusing its COVID-19 information on making sure each type of client gets to the right place. Well done for any company, but especially one that hasn’t yet hit its six-month birthday.

COVID-19 Help Center (Truist Bank)

 

Let us know what you think and please share pieces that you think apply best practices. You can email us at imprint@imprintcontent.com.

Here are links to the coronavirus microsites or information pages for each company featured above:

Chase

Ally

Truist

Bank of America

COVID-19 Content Best Practices: Insurance / Annuities

COVID-19 Content Best Practices: Insurance / Annuities

Companies across economy sectors are scrambling to provide helpful content centered around the ongoing pandemic –– financial services and healthcare firms included. Each week we’re reviewing the content in one industry, highlighting the work we think is rising to the top.

Our friends at Corporate Insight track communications, products, and the overall customer experience offered by leading companies in these industries. Our team has leveraged their research, along with our own, to evaluate COVID-19 communications against these four criteria:

  • 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 their competitors’?

This week, we’re diving into insurance and annuities companies. [We’ll add links to the others as we add them.] Here’s what stood out to us from this week’s collection of content.

What’s in it for me?

It must be tempting for insurance companies to remind people how good coverage can offer certainty through uncertain times. But the most effective content we’ve seen is less product-centric and more client-centric.

Take Nationwide:

  • Nationwide is offering helpful messages that are subtly related to insurance and especially relevant now. For example, an engaging infographic offers sheltered-at-home readers tips on making their homes safer. Tasks like cleaning out dryer vents can give restless adults something to do and may result in fewer insurance payouts for Nationwide. We’d call that a win-win.
  • The company is addressing its retirement plan participants directly, walking them through the specific fees and penalties waived as part of the CARES Act.

Check and Protect Your Home (Nationwide)

Connecting on a human level

We like the decidedly human approach annuity provider TIAA is taking in its communications with clients during these challenging times. (Full disclosure: TIAA is a past Imprint client.)

  • TIAA’s coronavirus content pairs a warm tone with practical advice geared to its clients.
  • It’s offering both highlights of government stimulus as well as relief packages and deeper dives into these topics.
  • TIAA is also providing investment-related content—served up in a range of formats, from articles to webinars—about smart ways to navigate difficult markets.

The result is a clear emphasis on the client’s well-being both now and in the future.

CARES Act Summary (TIAA)

We’ve been here before…

Few companies can say they were around during the 1918 influenza pandemic. Insurance company New York Life can—the company turns 175 this year. A recent open letter from CEO Ted Mathas made it clear to audiences that New York Life has helped clients through the 1918 flu pandemic as well as two world wars, the Great Depression and recessions big and small. We like how the company’s communications lean into its nearly two-century history of stability, which immediately differentiates New York Life from many of its peers.

Then there’s the breadth and depth of the company’s coronavirus communications, which includes:

  • Mathas’ letter as the cornerstone
  • Practical FAQs
  • Articles offering tips to quarantined families
  • Strategy pieces that ever-so-gently push New York Life’s suite of insurance products.

The takeaway: New York Life has you covered this time around, too.

COVID-19 Resource Center (New York Life)

Delivering on the Good Neighbor promise

State Farm has taken advantage of a host of formats for its coronavirus-related content, including:

  • Quick-hit videos
  • Bite-sized infographics
  • Social media content, all geared toward the current environment.

We like the variety, but the real draw is State Farm’s empathetic tone. Its opening message to readers of its coronavirus page acknowledges that clients may be running into financial issues, and says that its agents are there to help—whether that means assisting in filing a claim or discusings payment options. Like a good neighbor, indeed.

COVID-19 Resource Center (State Farm)

A simpler approach

You don’t need dozens of pages of unique content to get your message to clients. Case in point is insurer Progressive, which greets mobile app users with a simple popup letting clients know they’re here to help. The message directs clients to a splash page that is sparse but effective. An economy of words clearly conveys what readers need to know about important issues such as Progressive’s coverage assistance and billing leniency.

 

COVID-19 Mobile App Pop-up (Progressive)

 

Let us know what you think and please share pieces that you think apply best practices. You can email us at imprint@imprintcontent.com.

Here are links to the coronavirus microsites or information pages for each company featured above:

New York Life

State Farm

Progressive

TIAA

Nationwide

3 Things We’re Focused On During The COVID-19 Crisis

3 Things We’re Focused On During The COVID-19 Crisis

Like most of you, the Imprint team has begun working remotely. Luckily, two weeks prior we did a “dry run” for a day to test our technology and communications with everyone working from home. This helped make our move to remote pretty seamless.

The other thing we did at the outset was clearly define our focus and make sure all our team members know our priorities. As the news swirls around us, having a shared sense of purpose gives us all some much-needed stability:

1. Family first. The health and safety of the Imprint team and our families is our most important priority. Plus, if we’re not healthy, we can’t fulfill our obligations to our clients.

2. Clients. We’re focused on being both proactive and protective. Imprint’s core strength isn’t creating content during a crisis—it’s strategic, ongoing communications. So as a valuable partner we’re busy creating journey maps, walking in the shoes of our clients’ customers. By understanding and anticipating what these customers need and want, we’re helping our clients think two steps ahead in creating the right content, in the right format, to protect the valuable relationships they’ve built with their customers.

3. Morale. In the time of confusion, when your work family is suddenly not around, it’s incredibly important to be there for each other. To keep spirits up and keep our team moving forward together, we’ve established a morning video huddle. Starting each day at 8:45 a.m. checking in, listening and sharing has helped everyone maintain a routine—which we know is crucial in times of dramatic change. We have a “know your role” policy, which helps for effective and efficient meetings. And now we’re encouraging “know your role, plus.” Bring a story, a joke, an insight into how you and your family are coping. It helps bring some fun and much-needed humanity to each encounter.

Find your points and be laser-focused on them. They’ll help your team, your clients and your business push through this challenge.

Stay safe, stay healthy – and stay home.

We’re here to help, and to listen. Please always feel free to reach out to me at aseibert@imprintcontent.com.

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