Creating a benefits experience that is brand-worthy

Friday, December 20, 2019

The best, and most widely recognized brands, realized long ago consumers will engage more quickly with content if their message connects with them. Need examples?

  • Geico: “15 minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance.”
  • Coca-Cola: “Open Happiness”
  • Apple: “Think Different”
  • L’Oréal Paris: “Because You’re Worth It.”
  • Dollar Shave Club: “Shave Time. Shave Money.”

Denying the power of marketing and branding flies in the face of “Billions and Billions served.” The message is just as important as the brand itself. When the messaging is delivered coherently and effectively, the brand becomes unmistakable.

With benefits messaging, the traditional mode and method of communication are aimed at employees, sporadically and inconsistently throughout the year. Employers have to better communicate with employees on a regular basis, with purpose, and a steady message or tone.

Sophisticated and successful organizations understand that having an HR & Benefits brand is as important as all of the sales and marketing you put in place to attract and retain talent. Leveraging your brand’s message to prompt attention from Employees is essential to achieving an overall blissful experience.

Where should I start?
First we have to examine the three “F’s” of your engagement plan:

  • Focus
  • Frequency
  • Format

How often will you promote your brand/story to achieve goals? Burnout is the enemy of most engagement programs (and HR) especially in an era of high turnover. HR should not be quick to bite off more than they can chew. The key is to work smarter not harder.

What will you focus on with your messaging?
This part of your brand story should be a combination of educating and empowering your population.

Educating: If you were born prior to 1990, you likely had a “Home Economics” program in high school. Typically, the curriculum focused on life skills such as:

  • Understanding weights and measures in the kitchen
  • Learning simple skills like sewing, cooking, and more
  • Learning how to balance a checkbook

Think of your benefits education campaign as being your Home Economics class for employees. The education should be as practicable as it is simple. Similar to Home Economics, benefits education has not remained relevant to the population it serves. Fortunately, it can be re-invented by keeping the communication simple and easy to understand, but also tailored to your program.

Empowering: Do you remember the last time you felt like you were ripped off by paying too much for a service or product? Consider the thoughts that went through your head.

You likely said “next time I’m going to ,”. Your fill in the blank solution may have been to “price shop on amazon,” “look up the quality of the service beforehand,” or “use an expert to get help/support,”. Getting employees to engage on this thought process is a great way to empower your people through healthcare scenarios.

No matter how strong you believe your benefits program is, your people are likely getting ripped off every day when it comes to medical and pharmacy benefits. In order to create an impactful message, you must empower your people to take the same simple steps in utilizing benefits as they would take in any other area of their life.

How will you engage?

Seems simple, but it’s likely the most complicated question of all. Here is a list of well-thought-out ideas and potential solutions that can also keep these efforts sustainable. Remember, the goal with all of these isn’t communication, it’s engagement. There must be an opportunity for communication in three directions:

Ever heard of the phrase ‘water cooler talk’? We all know that the last of these is often the most impactful – serving as either your worst enemy or your best friend.

The question is what is in your watercooler… kool-aid, or champaign?

Employees can see straight through kool-aid, but almost everybody celebrates with champaign. If you are going to say positive things about your benefits program, they should always be backed up with positive personal stories.

Solicit this sort of feedback from Employees to share the essence of the benefits program you are trying to create with others. Not only will you be working to build social proof, but attracting others to share in the success as well. In doing so, it can be contagious.

If you enjoyed this blog, you can read more on our Employee Engagement in Healthcare eBook.

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