IMCA Showcase Award-Winner Spotlight


IMCA spoke with Jennifer Miller, integrated marketing manager at Grinnell Mutual, about the process of putting together her team’s award-winning magazine.

Insurance Marketing & Communications Association: Congratulations on winning not one but two IMCA Showcase Awards for corporate print communications! Your team won for its 2018 annual report, which is crisp and engaging, and for its 2019 Q4 Teamwork magazine. Since the annual report speaks for itself, let’s talk about the magazine. Who do you publish it for and what is its purpose?
Jennifer Miller: The intended outcome of each Teamwork issue is to have informed and engaged agents and mutual members. Our secondary audience is employees—the magazine offers a good way to highlight business areas of all types and to keep our employees engaged in what’s happening outside their own areas. It is also an opportunity to showcase our marketing department. 

IMCA: What goal were you trying to meet? 

JM: It’s important that our employees, agents, and mutual members all have a sense of Grinnell Mutual’s character and take pride in being part of a culture of trust and respect. That’s always our goal. With this particular issue, the focus was to showcase our corporate efforts to foster a company culture of belonging and inclusion. We recognized and honored the culture of our South Asian employees, featuring the company’s now-annual Diwali celebration. We also recognized employees whose activities expand beyond their desks supporting their communities. We really wanted to showcase how our company does well because, collectively, we do good. 

IMCA: Very cool! Had you considered other ways to reach this goal before you settled on the magazine as your communications vehicle?

JM: Teamwork has, for more than 80 years, been one of our best tools for sharing our stories outside the company. In the past, the magazine focused more on pure business-related topics. In its modern format, it not only addresses Grinnell Mutual’s performance and business initiatives, but how our core values translate to action—human stories.

IMCA: Were there any hurdles you had to overcome while working on this project? 

JM: Just the usual—time!

IMCA: What made you enter the Showcase Awards?

JM: We feel that our team puts together high-quality work that is comparable to or better than that of others in our industry, especially those of similar size. Entering various pieces (a quarterly publication, annual report, and marketing campaign) made us think more concretely about what we do and why we do it, and gave us a chance to reflect on what went well.

IMCA: How did winning the award impact your team?

JM: For one thing, it was a much-needed bright spot in a pretty challenging year. Our team hasn’t been physically together since March, which is especially hard for a creative team, so it was nice to have something to celebrate. We very much value the recognition for producing great work that is not only meaningful to our customers but also well-respected by our peers.

IMCA: How will you push the envelope in 2021? 

JM: The recognition from the IMCA Showcase awards gives us the credibility and motivation to push leadership for more opportunities.

IMCA: What advice can you offer other marketers/communicators who are looking for better ways to break through the clutter?

JM: We all know that effective marketers need to tell their company’s story in a way that resonates. Don’t overlook those customers, team members, or business partners who may fly under the radar but significantly impact your company—not just its bottom line, but its culture and its ethos.

IMCA: Great advice. Thanks for talking with us, Jennifer!
JM: My pleasure.