Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Making insurance interesting...

I've worked on insurance brands. It's hard work. Insurance is a really low-interest category - something we all need for one thing or another, begrudge paying through the nose for and hope we never need to use. It's a chore. Apathy rules because there's a bewildering jungle of policies and terms to choose from. Clicks count a lot in the insurance market which is increasingly dominated by online direct sales, and where price comparison sites fight for your patience filling in quote forms.

So full marks and rounds of applause to UK insurance comparison site Compare the Market who have done a brilliant job of creating personality for a brand in a dull sector, demonstrating joined up media thinking and understanding the power of social media. For anyone outside the UK, the gist is this: CTM created a puppet meerkat (pun on typo of market), who became their figurehead and alongside his sidekick Sergei, starred in their ads which ran across a range of media platforms including TV, radio, press and online.

Then they took it one step further by creating a Facebook profile for their meerkat character, whose name is Aleksandr Orlov. He currently has just over 500k fans. People who've CHOSEN to befriend an insurance company! That's engagement for you. CTM have done a great job of illustrating how you can use social networking platforms for brand advantage. If you spend some time understanding how people use it, you can then interact in a meaningful and relevant fashion.

Aleksandr behaves just like any of your other friends, regularly publishing status updates, that are short, amusing, regularly topical or just the type of random soundbites we all share daily. He posts photos, video content just as we all do and every action is shared with his many fans.

I am more than happy to be his friend just because his humourous in-character status updates make me smile, and that's worth a lot. Linking positive sentiment with your brand has to be one of the best ways to engender engagement and long term consideration and recall.

They've understood that they can use the power of all those fans to propogate their message and increase their reach in an influential manner as any of his fans interacting with him will have that interaction broadcast out to the rest of their friends. Smart. They've recognised t
he value of creating seemingly specific content for the platform - last week Aleksandr was talking about his forthcoming new video bloopers content following the release of a recent tv ad (also teased via his staus updates), creating anticipation and driving many views/comments when it was eventually published some days later. It's all good.

And if online success needed offline ratification to be taken seriously (it doesn't in my opinion), what more proof do you need than my friend Aleksandr securing a masthead position in the Metro (
free London morning paper), and most of page 3 to himself last week.

Be his friend. Even if you don't live in the UK or ever buy insurance. He'll make you smile and that counts for a lot in my book. This is one of the best examples I have come across of brands making social media work for them really well, without it feeling clumsy or contrived.

If it can be done for insurance, surely the field of opportunity is wide open?

No comments:

Post a Comment