Porter helps council change perceptions of retirement insurance products

The Indexed Annuity Leadership Council and Porter Novelli aimed to change negative perceptions of fixed indexed annuities.

Porter helps council change perceptions of retirement insurance products

Client: Indexed Annuity Leadership Council (Des Moines, Iowa)
Agency: Porter Novelli (Washington, DC)
Campaign: Fixing the Fixed Annuity Perception
Duration: March 2014 to October 2014
Budget: $100,000

The Indexed Annuity Leadership Council (IALC) is a consortium of life insurance organizations formed in 2011 to provide information about indexed annuities.

This year IALC and its AOR Porter Novelli aimed to change negative perceptions of fixed indexed annuities (FIAs), which are insurance products often used for retirement savings.

"We found that public policy makers, media, regulators, and consumers had a fundamental lack of knowledge about FIAs," explains IALC executive director Jim Poolman. "We wanted to provide an educational campaign to change that."

IALC was positioned as an expert resource for media to help perpetuate positive and factual information about FIAs.

Partnerships, a campaign website (www.fiainsights.org), social media outreach, and select paid relationships helped educate audiences.

"We created a positive environment for FIAs by bringing educational information to target groups and motivating audiences to seek additional FIA information," says agency account manager and new business development lead Tina Beaty. 

Financial expert Ellie Kay served as spokesperson for an SMT that kicked off the effort. She also provided content for IALC’s www.fiainsights.org and @IALCouncil, and also drove messaging on her own social channels.

Reporters who had portrayed FIAs negatively or were covering retirement saving options without including information about FIAs were targeted throughout the campaign.

Pitches included an FIA infographic and straightforward retirement savings content. Poolman and other IALC representatives gave interviews.

Mom bloggers who cover financial and savings information were also pitched. Paid relationships were established with three.

The agency used the @IALCouncil handle to post earned media coverage and links to related content on IALC’s website and blog.

Poolman contributed retirement planning content to FinLit, a new financial site targeting Millennials.

According to Poolman, financial services trade association LIMRA reported industrywide annuity sales hit $56.1 billion during first quarter 2014, up 13.1% year-over-year. He says LIMRA largely attributed the jump to a year-over-year increase in FIA product sales, which climbed from 38% to nearly 155%.

Sixty-three stories ran, garnering 78 million impressions (the goal was 25 million). A news capsule press release generated an additional 179 million impressions.  Outlets covering the story included Fox News, US News and World Report, Yahoo! Finance, and the Chicago Tribune. Beaty notes 95.7% of placements included a key FIA message or IALC mention.

"We’ve gotten significant earned media traction," Poolman says. "IALC has become a go-to source for information and opinions related to retirement planning."

Unique monthly visits to www.fiainsights.org were up 130% in Q3 2014 compared to Q2 2014. Time on site was also up from 1:08 to 1:14.

Beaty says monthly Twitter followers are increasing by 11% on average, while engagement (retweets, mentions, and Bit.ly clicks) is increasing by an average of 26%.

Plans include launching a new educational video on www.fiainsights.org and promoting proprietary data derived from a retirement savings trends survey. The team is also developing a campaign that targets women.

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