earned media features over 8 years
increase YOY in visits to content hub
top-ranked branded keywords
Whoever said insurance is a commodity was right. For The Graham Company, the Mid-Atlantic region’s top commercial insurance and employee benefits firm, that means working that much harder to engage clients at a level that effectively removes price from the prospecting conversation. While the firm offered a level of client service that was unparalleled by its competitors and had a sterling reputation among the business community, Graham historically failed to articulate its points of differentiation in the marketplace. Amid those challenges, we sought to create opportunities for meaningful brand engagements among decision-makers seeking risk management expertise, resulting in a measurable impact on business development and lead generation.
The solution was to first define Graham’s approach to the insurance business as different from competitors, and then tell that story through its clients’ voices. While other firms take a passive approach and react only to claims, Graham sees their business as an active vocation. This insight formed the basis of a new brand, rooted in the tagline “Actions Matter.”
To prove the brand in the marketplace, Brownstein Group surrounded C-suite audiences from a variety of key industries with relevant benefit-based messaging and themed content across multiple channels, including: third-party media outlets; owned properties such as corporate website, social channels, and digital communications; and paid distribution mechanisms, all of which had a clear call to action.
This integrated thematic content strategy (illustrated below) effectively proved that a strategic P&C and employee benefits program is mission critical to business viability. In addition, it aligned Graham’s insurance expertise with themes in the mainstream news cycle and relevant risk issues across a variety of audiences and key segments.
With a durable and compelling industry-specific messaging platform in place, the public relations team successfully led an aggressive thought leadership program targeted at financial executives and risk managers in high-risk industries such as construction, real estate, health care, and manufacturing. The program provided a much-needed marketing focus to this sales-driven organization. It helped shorten the sales process and introduced the brand to new prospective clients. The results have been evident in the continuous stream of prospect inquiries, increased volume of inbound RFPs, and client acquisition within stated target industries.
More than 75 earned media placements, including 15-20 complex subject matter white papers, are now published annually – reaching an average annual audience of more than 15 million and resulting in a 10x return on Graham’s annual agency investment, based on advertising equivalencies.
BG knows that success is not just defined by headlines. With a comprehensive online library of thought leadership materials, including a variety of both short and long-form content, blog, news stories, press releases, and newsletters—all housed within a robust “Knowledge Center” on the corporate website—the public relations team recognized an opportunity to better connect prospects with this highly-technical content. By aligning the content that was already being generated as part of existing media relations and marketing communications with key audiences’ online search behavior, the public relations team was able to develop a search-informed content generation program that resulted in a 69 percent increase in unique visitors to the Knowledge Center within the first 90 days. To achieve this, content topics are now dictated based on real-time search behavior and keyword performance. Then, the PR team translates these in-demand search topics into white papers, newsletter articles, blog posts, Tweets, and LinkedIn posts – all hitting the Knowledge Center simultaneously.
In addition to overarching brand content, BG’s PR program included support for several of its specific business lines, such as health and human services and employee benefits. With aging baby boomers creating a growth opportunity in health care, BG aimed to build greater brand equity within the long-term care (LTC) sector. While Graham has had an established and experienced health care practice group since 2004, it had never supported the group with a focused marketing program.
Over a two-year campaign, an integrated mix of media relations, search-informed content marketing, advertising, and direct marketing was targeted to CFOs in the LTC industry. As a result, Graham’s health care division’s annual growth rate skyrocketed from 5.3% in 2012 to 14.1% in 2014 – demonstrating that this campaign was critical to new business development and the growth of the LTC client portfolio. Select results include:
We systematically overhauled Graham’s brand materials and collateral to reflect the brand messaging and elevate the company’s appearance, further differentiating it from its competitors in the space. The comprehensive re-branding encompassed a new website, sales collateral, trade advertising, quarterly newsletter, brand video, and social media platforms, all of which utilized personal and emotional stories from Graham’s clients.
Over eight years, the earned media strategy has resulted in more than 200 million impressions across 600 unique feature stories, including: USA Today, Voice of America, The Philadelphia Inquirer, CFO.com, as well as most-trusted industry trade publications such as Healthcare Risk Management, Commercial Property Executive, and Engineering News Record. In total, over 15,000 positive brand mentions helped achieve a more than $3 million return on investment. On content, the team delivered more than 120 white papers, 100 blog posts, and 30 newsletters – all working to increase the brand’s visibility in connection to their prospects’ keyword searches. By doing so, we increased direct visits to the online content hub by 15% year over year.
Awards and Recognition: