Brands who want to get the most out of a content marketing program ought to embrace a user-centered approach to developing and delivering that content. The content and the channels that deliver that content should be designed around prospect and customer intent. What do people want to get done, what decisions do they have to make towards an end, what questions do they have.
Design around that not around what you want them to know about you. Good user-based design will always communicate the latter by “showing” not “telling.”
The ultimate utility and the hardest to deliver against is helping to foster behavior change. Helping people stop smoking, get exercise, manage their money, and so forth. In the property and casualty business, we want to help people lead safer lives. So much of that job is in people’s hands. It is the actions big and small they can take to reduce hazards around the house or risks related to driving.
Content to Drive Change: Aetna
Aetna recently released the 11 Initiative by Aetna. To inspire people to reduce or stop smoking (and therefore improve health and health premiums), they created an experience and a content aggregator on Tumblr. The experience (concepted with Ogilvy) revolves around a publicly placed machine that will dispense a rich 11-minute experience for every cigarette surrendered. The core pretense is:
“A recent study found every cigarette you don’t smoke could add 11 minutes to your life. So let’s talk about how you can make the most of them.”
The experiential rewards include petting dogs, a private magic show, seeing acrobats up close and personal. These are essentially the plot lines for online videos to drive relevant awareness of the program.
Users at the Tumblr site are encouraged to post what they would do with 11 extra minutes. For anything displayed on the Aetna site a clear moderation layer helps select the constructive suggestions vs those that may crop up off site.
The 11 Initiative is well integrated into their social channels and has taken over the cover photo on Facebook and Twitter. The one place it falls down is their Web site. It is completely absent. I suspect that has more to do with how hard it is for companies to make easy-to-update web sites rather that a strategic preference to keep it off the site.
Practically speaking, this content initiative will not reduce smoking. Aetna knows this. But it may inspire people to take that step that will help them stop. It also telegraphs what Aetna is about – wellness. And it gives them a platform to communicate other important topics like key concepts in health insurance coverage. They have taken a big health problem and built a well-integrated program to raise their voice and the voices of customers around it.
Content to Drive Change: Prudential
A year or so ago, Prudential launched The Challenge Lab. There are 5 challenges from “I Might Live How Long?: Uncovering why we have trouble imagining a longer life and how that can affect our financial future.” to “I Want it Now: Discovering why we want things now and how that behavior affects our finances later”
It’s all about making us more aware or mindful of our own behavioral economics. What makes us tick or, more accurately, what keeps us from saving for retirement.
This is a terrific site, if a bit cerebral for the average insured. There is a section on risk entitled, “It Won’t Happen to Me: Exploring our tendency to be overly optimistic and how it affects our long-term financial plans.” In each case, professor Dan Gilbert unpacks the issue in about :50 of video. The content is fairly light and leads you down the page to product/service calls-to-action. This is about helping people get smarter, possibly inspired to change and taking an action by connecting with Prudential on retirement planning or other services.
They remain committed to this platform. I am working hard not to call it a ‘campaign.’ That word seems so inextricably linked to ‘ad campaign.’ “Bring Your Challenges” is a creative platform that adds meaning to the brand and gives them permission to talk more regularly with people about financial decisions that are too often “one and done.”
In this case their TV ads do extend the BYC creative concept reinforcing Prudential’s role to help people do what they can – even if that means overcoming some of their most basic human tendencies – in order to save and watch out for their future.
Two user-driven approaches. Two “big platforms” that say as much about the brand as deliver tangible value to prospects and customers. Two programs helping people do what they need to get done and make the decisions they need to make.