Canadian Underwriter

How this brokerage pivoted to forge community ties online

July 6, 2021   by Adam Malik

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When a global pandemic shut down in-person events, one brokerage created a new communications strategy to reach people where much of the world shifted — online.

For Antigonish, N.S.-based brokerage AA Munro Insurance, it was important to tell their clients, both current and prospective, they were still connected to their community through the virtual world, said Angus MacCaull, the brokerage’s communications analyst.

For example, they created a “healthcare heroes” photo campaign, which highlighted people in the healthcare sector who had made a difference during the pandemic. The online campaign concluded with randomly selected winners, MacCaull explained. The brokerage already runs an annual firehall photo contest, so they took a pre-existing concept and expanded on it.

The campaign leveraged the brokerage’s previous experience in building an online community, MacCaull told Canadian Underwriter. Planet Studio

In another example, one of the brokerage’s local branches bought gift certificates from a pub across the street from its office. The branch gave away the gift certificates when the pub was able to re-open a few months later.

With lockdown and physical distancing measures in place, traditional events like community events or conferences were not an option for brokerages. MacCaull said AA Munro decided to redirect dollars spent on those types of events into other marketing ideas, such as increasing the amount of advertising on the radio or investing in paid search online.

“We just looked at what we had available and looked at the types of channels, like radio or social media, [where] people were gathering even if they couldn’t gather in person,” he said in an interview.

The brokerage didn’t direct how each of its local branches should connect with their communities, MacCaull pointed out. It was up to each brokerage leader to determine what made sense in their area since they knew their communities best.

“We talked with different partners, talked with different brokers,” MacCaull explained. “Each of our office teams have a marketing lead — someone very rooted in the community, whose responsibility [was]…to know [whether or not] this local agency or that local outlet [would be] a good fit for us.”

One idea was embraced company-wide. One broker painted rocks with the AA Munro logo on them, along with the phone number of the local office. The rocks were placed on trails and in other areas of the province. Whoever found a rock could call the brokerage and win a $25 gift card to a local business, MacCaull said.



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