Tag: Retirement

Star Awards: Retirement Winners Speak!

Star Awards: Retirement Winners Speak!

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: https://thestarawards.com/2020-star-awards-winners/2020-retirement-crisis-communications/


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: www.schwabfunds.com/biagnostics-retirement

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 imprint@imprintcontent.com, 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.

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.)


Fidelity NetBenefits




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