#PRAwards highlight: Prudential SG's PR tactics to promote healthy living

Prudential Singapore has always been on the forefront when it comes to promoting the adoption of a healthy lifestyle. This aim was also what drove the company to launch a campaign titled “The Longevity Agenda”, which won it the bronze award for “Best Insights-Driven PR” at Marketing and A+M’s PR Awards 2020. Launching three different publications in a year, the company sparked and sustained conversations around longevity among Singaporeans. Here’s a deeper dive into how the insights-driven PR campaign was carried out.

Challenge

In 2018, Prudential Singapore commissioned the Economist Intelligence Unit to design a research study on preparing for longevity amid Singapore’s rising life expectancy. That research led to the launch of its “Ready for 100” programme.

A year after the launch, the challenge was to sustain conversations around longevity and inspire everyone to take actions to live well for longer.

Findings from the 2018 study pointed to two key areas that merited greater exploration: health and skills. In the aspect of health, Prudential found that while Singaporeans are living longer, they are not spending these years in good health. The number of older adults who develop more than one chronic condition (called multi-morbidity) has been growing, with more than half of Singapore’s residents who are older than 60 falling into this category at the time of the study. Additionally, healthcare costs are rising, with medical inflation clocking ten times the general inflation rate. Healthcare concerns can be prevented with early and preventative action, but awareness is low and the willingness to effect behavioural change is even lesser.

Meanwhile in the aspect of skills, Prudential saw a greater proportion of older workers due to the combination of rising longevity and falling birth rates. The demographic transition meant that employees need to invest in continuous learning to stay relevant in the workforce for longer and employers have to start leveraging older talents to sustain growth. However, ageist perceptions persist in workplaces.

Prudential’s key objectives were then to unearth insights and spark conversations about how Singapore can keep its people healthy, well, and future-ready, as the company embarked on its new phase of research.

Strategy

Prudential first identified its stakeholder groups, the key message to seed among them, and the communication channels best suited to convey the message.

  • Stakeholders: Public and customers, government, community, employees and financial consultants
  • Message: Build strength in the areas of health and career for a positive longevity experience
  • Channels: Media, social media, engagement events

It then followed a five-step process to bring its strategy to life:

  1. Generate data-driven insights through primary research

Prudential dived deeper into the health and workplace themes by launching two new research reports in partnership with The Economist Intelligence Unit: “Healthy for 100? Healthy care in Singapore” and “Skilled for 100? Leveraging an older workforce”. It then rounded off the year with a special publication called “The Longevity Agenda for Singapore”, which is the outcome of its collaboration with author Andrew Scott and the Stanford Centre on Longevity.

  1. Develop and deploy the findings in the form of engaging content targeted at stakeholders

Findings from the three publications were moulded into easy-to-understand content assets such as whitepapers and videos, which were all hosted on a dedicated micro-site. The assets were then used to support media pitches and form Prudential’s social media campaign.

The insurance company’s media strategy involved a mix of earned outreach and local traditional media, as well as organic and paid outreach on social and digital media. On social, it developed an anchor campaign around healthy eating and then supported it with a steady stream of thought leadership on the themes of health and work throughout the year. Prudential also leveraged its partnership with media company Economist Group to utilise its social, digital, and print platforms as well as its ad network of over 80 digital publishers to maximise Prudential’s media presence. This integrated approach used the strength of its media relations to tap the traditional outlets and its digital capabilities to capture the online space.

  1. Curate targeted on-ground outreach events to communicate the findings

The outreach strategy entailed developing a highly targeted line-up all through 2019 to generate conversations and awareness. Prudential used a mix of formats from conferences for large audiences and townhalls for its 1200-strong staff, to more intimate roundtables for the government and community stakeholders. It also leveraged event partnerships with industry friends such as the Singapore Business Federation, Tsao Foundation, British Chamber of Commerce, Euro Chamber of Commerce and GovInsider among others, to broaden its reach. Prudential even took its research to the UK, where its head office is located, and showcased Singapore’s longevity story to an international audience.

  1. Leverage high-profile thought leader on longevity

Prudential invited Andrew Scott, author of the book “100-year Life”, to Singapore to lend weight to the topic and engage its various stakeholders. It was Scott’s first time speaking on the “100- year life” in Singapore. Throughout the campaign, Prudential also partnered other thought leaders in longevity to help its narrative. These leaders include Carol Tan from The Good Life Medical Center, Jeffrey Tan from the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), Lim Wee Shiong from Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Jeremy Lim of Oliver Wyman, and Rachel Ngo from Health Promotion Board.

  1. Convert thought leadership into action leadership

Inspired to act after finding that senior workers do not wish to retire early, Prudential took a landmark step last year by removing the retirement age at Prudential. It made more changes to its HR policy by becoming the first financial institution to raise CPF contribution rates for employees above 55 to match that of their younger colleagues (before the government mandate). Prudential also extended the coverage age limit to 100 on some of its group insurance plans to support people living and working for longer.

Execution

Through an ongoing stream of events and media coverage, Prudential kept conversations on “Ready for 100” alive until the scheduled launch of the next phases of the research. For instance, it kickstarted 2019 by sponsoring the Longevity Leaders Conference in London and subsequently conducting a roundtable on longevity that had saw the attendance of Foo Chi Hsia, Singapore’s High Commissioner to the UK.

Prudential spent the first half of 2019 developing its two research reports: “Healthy for 100?” and “Skilled for 100?”. Over 1200 residents of Singapore were surveyed for these reports and in-depth interviews were conducted with health, ageing and manpower experts. In September, the company also sponsored a global gathering of longevity experts in Bellagio, Italy. The insights from the discussion were compiled into Prudential’s third research publication for the year under the “Ready for 100” series: A Longevity Agenda for Singapore. Findings from each of the reports were converted into content assets and hosted on a microsite:

  • Whitepapers detailing the study findings and recommendations
  • Infographics providing a visual story of the key findings
  • A video series along the themes of health, work and longevity

To launch the “Healthy for 100?” research, Prudential held a media briefing that saw the attendance of the top-tier media outlets in August 2019. The following month in September, it engaged its government stakeholders from the Ministry of Health and the Health Promotion Board, as well as other key hospital and pharma influencers, on the findings of the report. The company also further amplified the launch with a healthcare roundtable with The Straits Times and senior minister of health Amy Khor on the panel.

In October, Prudential also launched its “Skilled for 100?” research, along with a string of engagement events held pre- and post-announcement of the findings. The company supported and hosted dialogue sessions on key manpower themes such as retirement, reemployment, and upskilling with government leaders including Singapore minister of manpower and second minister of home affairs Josephine Teo, senior parliamentary secretary for Ministry of Education and Ministry of Manpower, and mayor of South West District, Low Yen Ling.

Subsequently in November, Prudential launched its publication “A Longevity Agenda for Singapore”. The media launch was well-attended, and was on the side-lines of the Singapore Fintech Festival, where Prudential’s longevity spokespersons such as its global CEO, Mike Wells and Scott further championed its research to an audience of innovators, venture capitals, and government and business leaders.

Through the year, Prudential also held fun activity-based events and seminars aimed at helping its customers and employees translate knowledge to action. Examples of these activations included “The Great Prudential Workout” where its 1200 staff came together to perform a dance-based fitness routine, a #DoSiewDai campaign where employees pledged to reduce sugar intake, and a “DO Squats Challenge” campaign that saw employees and public do squats in public.

Results

Prudential’s efforts met with considerable success. In the media, each of its publications garnered positive responses and generated discussion. Prudential was also widely covered by tier-1 media, made it to the front pages (business section) and earned mentions in editorials.

The thought leadership efforts in longevity contributed to its top share of voice position among six leading insurers in Singapore.

On a digital and social media front, the insurance company recorded more than 20,000 visits and 25,000 page views on its content hub during the launch of the healthcare and workplace reports. The actual figures for total year post-launch period are higher. On social media, through the Economist Intelligence Unit, Prudential secured more than 3.5 million paid and organic impressions across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. On Prudential’s own LinkedIn, its health campaigns drove a 7% engagement rate, which is triple the average engagement rate reported on the channel.

Each of its engagement events under the longevity banner were also well-received by its stakeholders. On the government front, the work earned Prudential formal interactions with government leaders. Meanwhile, in the community, its engagement activities with organisations such as Tsao Foundation and Ang Mo Kio Family Services Center helped seniors adopt healthier lifestyles and cope with loneliness.

Additionally, Prudential’s events for customers and employees met with resounding success. From seminars on healthy living to campaigns such as “DOsiewdai” (which promotes the reduction of sugar consumption) and the “DO Squats Challenge”, the insurance company saw its employees, customers, and the public take time out to invest in their health and wellbeing.

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