IMCA Showcase Award Winner Spotlight

HOW DO YOU TURN AN ELEVATOR SPEECH INTO A GRAPHIC ELEMENT? MIDWEST EMPLOYERS CASUALTY KNOWS—AND WON AN AWARD OF EXCELLENCE FOR THE EFFORT

IMCA spoke with Renée Lunceford, assistant vice president of marketing at Midwest Employers Casualty, on her team’s award-winning project, the value of peer feedback, and how fashion, technology, and music brands influence her team’s work.

Insurance Marketing & Communications Association: Congratulations on winning an IMCA Showcase Award for In-House Print Communications, Renée! How did this project come about? 

Renée Lunceford: Thanks! The project was part of our ongoing efforts to build and maintain brand equity by demonstrating our value, thought leadership, innovative strategies, and differentiators in the excess workers’ compensation and captive space in an engaging way.

IMCA: Sounds like a challenging project. What goal were you trying to meet?

RL: Our goal was to provide our broker distribution network and decision-makers collateral in a hard copy format for meetings and conferences to use as talking points and/or a leave-behind. The piece provides everything our customers need to know about our company, including our overall value proposition, products, services and a link to our success stories. We wanted to have one piece of collateral that could speak to many audiences.

IMCA: Had you considered other ways to reach your goal before you settled on this one?

RL: No. Since our collateral was already available in digital format, we didn’t want to have to download and print one pagers for in-person meetings or conferences. This brochure is available in electronic format as well but the version we created fulfilled our hard copy distribution needs.

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

RL: The hurdle was trying to figure out the best way to make the piece engaging and different. It was a little challenging to incorporate a graphic version of an elevator speech (with little text) while trying to keep the piece small enough for easy distribution. 

IMCA: Creating engaging pieces is harder than many people might think—there’s a lot of information competing for our attention. So, what made you decide to enter the Showcase Awards?

RL: Entering the Showcase Awards allowed us to get feedback from other marketing professionals in our industry. We typically get feedback from those with no marketing experience or background. Winning was great feedback and it confirmed that what we’re creating to tell our story in the marketplace resonated with those in the field well enough to be awarded for it.

IMCA: How did winning the award impact your team?

RL: Our team was pleased with the outcome. This is a first for us. We’ve never entered any type of insurance or marketing-related awards program. Winning impacted our entire company in a positive way. There was a sense of pride among our colleagues for being recognized for our brand-building efforts.

IMCA: How will you push the envelope in 2021? 

RL: We plan to expand our digital presence in the marketplace through various platforms that will further build our brand presence in the marketplace. This year’s events have encouraged us to look at opportunities to expand such as podcasts, enhancing our existing webinar format, and continuing with the development of videos we create in-house. This is a work in progress. 

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

RL: Continue to get feedback from colleagues and customers in and outside of the industry. Visual messaging seems to work best in our experience, whether it’s a quick 15-second video or a piece that is more graphic-heavy. We also follow trends in B2C industries excluding insurance such as fashion, technology, music, food service, automotive, etc. The concepts may not directly relate to your insurance customers, but staying aware of what resonates with the consumer can spark ideas that result in engaging material that can influence prospects and keep the customer engaged in your value. This may just be the difference that results in someone buying from you versus your competitors. 

IMCA: Great advice, Renée. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us and congratulations again on your win. 

RL: Thank you.

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