#PRAwards 2021 highlight: How AIA SG proved to be a reliable partner via earned media and KOLs

AIA Singapore took home the coveted gold award for Best PR Campaign: Banking/Financial Services at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's recent PR Awards 2021. The past year was no doubt a challenging one and it was even more crucial for AIA Singapore to deliver on its brand promise of healthier, longer, better lives. Hence, it came up with the #EmbracingNewNorms campaign alongside PR partner Ogilvy Singapore, which impressed judges at the latest awards. Find out the secret sauce behind AIA Singapore's winning campaign.

Challenge

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the expectation among consumers that global insurers would provide adequate protection. At the same time, life insurers were also forced to seek impactful strategic adjustments in both customer service and operations to meet the needs of customers, employees, insurance representatives, and the wider community. This came amidst a financially challenging climate that saw volatility in Singapore's life insurance sales and a local recession.

Despite the crisis, last year also presented a period of opportunity for health and life insurers. The ongoing pandemic prompted people to realise how truly unsettling it is to be under-protected, and value their and their loved ones’ health. One of the main challenges for AIA Singapore was to sustainably position itself as more than just a transactional payor but, more importantly, a partner to its customers in their unfolding life journeys during and beyond COVID-19.

Strategy

AIA Singapore has not only succeeded in offering its customers peace of mind, but also excelled at championing the holistic wellbeing of its stakeholders, customers, employees, agency force, and the wider community. According to the insurer, this guiding principle has enabled it to focus on providing what is truly needed and go beyond delivering PR results to create greater value for the business through three ways:

1. Improving profitability through long-term promotion of preventive care

AIA has always taken a leadership position in promoting preventive care, nurturing a stronger healthy-living culture, and providing customers access to the best healthcare services. The insurer views this as a win-win approach. It helps to reduce costs by preventing patients from going for unnecessary invasive health treatments (paid for by insurers) and gets Singapore healthier at the same time.

2. Improving health to boost morale, productivity and efficiency at work

For AIA, its people are its biggest asset. If it is serious about enabling healthier, longer, better lives, the insurer knows it has to ensure that this starts at its own front door.

3. Supporting the community by providing what was needed most during a pandemic

The biggest insecurities that arise during such trying times are health protection and job security, hence it ensured to address both areas as part of its larger strategic approach.

As such, AIA crafted a campaign that was timely and highlighted what it does best, distinguishing the insurer from other financial services players. Its campaign showcased the main objectives:

1. Underscore the complexity of its services to help Singaporeans navigate new changes
2. Present this information in a coherent manner
3. Leverage existing assets while maximising them to keep marketing spend low, ensuring more bang for their buck
3. Increase its brand power through communications

Its strategy involved an innovative campaign that melds the influence of earned-first opportunities, existing channels, AIA ambassadors and key opinion leaders, and relevant content.

This led the team to arrive at #EmbracingNewNorms, an integrated campaign that educates, uplifts, and empowers Singaporeans to live healthier, longer, better lives across multiple aspects of their wellbeing - from their financial and physical to mental wellness.

The campaign sought to make the brand stand out by strategically addressing and predicting the changing needs of its stakeholders:

1. Enabling them to adapt to and adopt new norms easier
2. Encouraging them to stay productive by refocusing and achieving new goals
3. Empowering them to learn more about new opportunities for growth, eg. investment and retirement planning

To generate results, AIA had to walk the talk by rallying its consumers and the wider community to embrace new norms. In doing so, it ensured that its campaign initiatives, activities, and content all circle back to its main goal: providing comprehensive and sustainable support across its entire ecosystem as its partner during and beyond COVID-19.

Execution

AIA Singapore harnessed the power of earned-first media by tapping into its PR capabilities to amplify key initiatives introduced to support stakeholders financially, physically, and mentally, on top of rolling out COVID-19 relief measures. These included how the insurer created jobs in financial services amid a soft labour market, extended financial assistance to its employees, released a study on Singaporeans’ behaviours in COVID-19, and held online events to help Singaporeans live their healthiest remotely.

It also tapped on its social media channels - Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn - to push timely content that educates over 1.2 million followers on how they can best embrace new norms and drive traffic to the content hub on its website. This included practical lifestyle tips, stay-home webinars, information about AIA's products and services, as well as a dedicated COVID-19 page.

At the same time, the insurer also pro-actively implemented a few COVID-19 initiatives including offering its agency force with access to digital platforms such as iSmart and iResource offering personalised content for serving customers better. Its My AIA SG app was also used to provide customers access to their policy details, AIA Vitality membership as well as allowing customers to make their premium payments via PayEZ.

AIA also mobilised key opinion leaders to establish a strong support system. During the circuit breaker, AIA’s global ambassador David Beckham kickstarted a social media contest to share the most creative ways Singaporeans stay active during circuit breaker. Beckham’s take on the challenge involved a makeshift table tennis game—a suggestion from AIA's audiences. He then passed the challenge back to the insurer's local sports personalities and celebrities.

In August 2020, it hosted its first-ever online regional health and wellness event, AIA Live, spanning 15 markets, which included more than 30 unique sessions on health and wellness led by its KOLs.

Results

#EmbracingNewNorms yielded remarkable results for AIA Singapore. Its ambassadors' posts on Facebook and Instagram garnered over 30,000 interactions, successfully driving excitement around the challenge and campaign. AIA Live also earned a remarkable amount of positive coverage during and weeks after the campaign, landing top-tier coverage in The Straits Times, 8World, and TODAY.

By championing a holistic approach to supporting its stakeholders, AIA said it has helped accelerate significant behavioural change with regards to how Singaporeans approach their health and well-being. In a study conducted in mid-June 2020, the insurer found that Singaporeans are making significant improvements in their lifestyles.

Majority of them (93%) prioritised staying healthy over other pursuits to get through the circuit breaking, while 75% of its 875 respondents recorded an improvement in at least one aspect of their well-being within eight weeks from the start of the circuit breaker.

At the same time, 48% reported better eating habits, 45% experienced better physical health, 43% recorded a more optimal sleeping pattern, and 30% had improved mental health. Overall, #EmbracingNewNorms has been an incredibly successful avenue for AIA Singapore to demonstrate its enduring role to stakeholders, as a lifelong partner that provides holistic support to comprehensively safeguard their financial, physical, and mental well-being.