Operating globally, RIB Insurance has over 5 million clients in the United States, Canada, and in international markets. Through its operating entities, RIB Insurance provides a wide range of travel, life, health, home, auto, wealth and reinsurance, as well as creditor and business insurance services, to individual and group clients (Royal Bank of Canada, 2012).
These products are distributed through third-party Hansel including independent life insurance advisors, travel agents, as well as through growing proprietary channels such as retail insurance, bank branches, call centers, online banking, and career sales force (RIB. Com, 2012). Founded in 1996, RIB Insurance is relatively new to the marketplace. Nonetheless, “RIB Insurance has more than four million clients globally, and is one of the largest Canadian bank- owned group of insurance companies and among the fastest growing insurance organizations in the country’ (RIB. Mom, 2012). Since its inception, RIB Insurance has en a yearly growth rate of 20% through several mergers and acquisitions (M) and employs over 3,200 representatives around the globe. The organization continues to expand its insurance services and business offerings. RIB faces a competitive insurance market in the midst of stiff competition while keeping pace with today’s constantly changing business environment to surpass client expectations.
Over the years, with the development of powerful technologies of connected devices such as smartness and tablets, the new generation has found ways to communicate and exchange ideas, not only through traditional immunization mediums such as television and radio, but also through social media such as Backbone, Twitter, and Linked. These technologies allow individuals to access vital information at their fingertips. As such, in today’s dynamic environment, consumers have a variety of communication mediums available to them, providing them with interactivity and continuous dialog opportunities for insurance companies to entertain.
These exciting new technological and social developments provide an opportunity for evolving traditional communication models to shift to ones which are ore proactive in shaping messages directed towards a specific target audience. For instance, media formats such as video blobbing, podiatrist, IRS, and many others have since become prominent alternatives to traditional advertising routes such as billboards, magazines, and television. New social tools are especially effective towards the younger consumer market, also known as Generation Y.
Social media tools now appeal to a much larger crowd than ever before, and it is vital that organizations reflect these sweeping changes. Some consumer industries, such as he automotive, entertainment, and hospitality industries, have all taken advantage of these new powerful mechanisms and what they have to offer, whereas others have remained traditional and much more hesitant when looking to adopt these mediums for business and consumer growth.
For the insurance industry as a whole, including RIB Insurance, the world of collateral security had not changed much over the years. Insurers would charge a premium, it an individual’s risk to experiencing an accident was high, the premium would increase and vice versa. Advances in technology have enabled clients to compare rates immediately by going online as opposed to relying on static sources to obtain information. Furthermore, RIB realizes that in order to grow, they must acquire new clients, uphold retention rates, and create organic growth.
Services must appeal to the public in new and exciting ways to compete with competitors such as TO Canada Trust, Standard Life, and Aviva where similar services and products are offered. Going forward RIB understands that social media is an important tool to provide insurance to the public in an inviting and attractive manner. This diversification strategy preserves the older market segment but also attracts the younger generation as they spend most of their time on the internet.
RIB Insurance understands that through electronic communication they can stay connected to their clients and extend service offerings to interested consumers. In addition, based on Orb’s concept of “always-connected and always-on”, social media is growing to be one of the more impact methods to gain the publics attention. Evolution and continuous improvement is the key to longevity as technology will continue to progress.
RIB identified five main processes in which social media can potentially provide value; marketing and communications, initial customer inquiry, product purchase, customer communication, and claim processing. Complication For RIB Insurance, operating within a highly regulated and conservative industry has consequently resulted in isolated product development and delay in corporate communication growth. As such, the organization has suffered strict limitations in attempting to take on potential new business opportunities, many of which are not easily transferable to industry regulations and policies.
As recently noted by Orb’s Director of Global Strategy and Research, “social media has taken off like a rocket in the last few years and many traditional businesses were beginning to tap into the potential of the social network phenomena” (Reason University, 2012, pig. 1). When operating inside the congested insurance industry, social media may provide RIB Insurance with the strategic business opportunity it needs, especially since ongoing annual growth of 20% is becoming more difficult to attain.
Executives at RIB Insurance also believe “that social media could provide both efficiencies in the insurance operations as well as appeal to a younger consumer market where there [is] great dexterity and confidence with the internet and electronic communication” (Reason University, 2012, pig. 2). However, such an opportunity does not come without its challenges as incorporating social media within RIB Insurance’s operations is factored by several complications including the rigorous industry regulations, internal policies and processes, cultural barriers, as well as marketing strategies.
Complications in how to advance online techniques in a supervised environment affects the scope of implementation techniques RIB can use to its advantage. If RIB Insurance desires to advance their social media objectives, they will have to discover a solution that aligns with government policies and creates an inclusive environment where clients can obtain valuable information in a timely and concise manner. RIB defines their financial operations on their reputation that has been established upon the relationships forged between their clients.
Social media attempts to advance these relationships should be focused into creating brand resonance which unpolluted leads to customer engagement and loyalty Government intervention has forced RIB Insurance to be creative in the way they interact with their customers. In order to be held accountable to the rest of their stakeholders, insurance practices are governed by provincial and federal laws to protect and defend against unsanitary practices in the financial industry. There are still many trades that utilize limited social applications due to government guidelines.
The Royal Bank Canada recognizes the need to create internal policies that enforce an expectation level for their employees to follow in tying social media with corporate values. These principles are consistent with government laws and ethical guidelines in the pursuit of maintaining integrity that further emphasizes their prestigious reputation. If RIB wishes to pursue a social strategy, they will need to interface with government bodies to define a proper code of conduct that employees must acknowledge.
This gives RIB the ability to promote their insurance offerings while preventing any abuse of privacy. There is message dissemination concerns of social offerings provided to clients in an online medium that is difficult to control. Social media has fostered an environment for relating personal, social and corporate connections between individuals and businesses. It becomes difficult to control that message when the online networks target a wide audience of people compared to the traditional front-office operations available at a retail customer branch.
The initial appeal of creating an online dialogue is to reach a large target segment with minimal resources that is communicated through comparative word-of- mouth associations such as tweets or Backbone posts. However, once a message has been sent, it takes a life of its own and interpretation is revised according to situations that best deconstructs the message based on its permanence. For example, McDonald’s was promoting a social media campaign to promote fun experiences at McDonald’s restaurant chains under the Twitter hash tag #Ministries.
The positive campaign was slighted by negative responses from a minority of McDonald’s customers that was viewed by thousands of patrons (Sprung, 2012). RIB Insurance has to ensure that employees are responsible when promoting their social messages, understand the ramifications of their contributions, and simply following guidelines does not presume that the company is not liable for insubordination or harm as a result of information posted.
In other instances, operating social media within what has traditionally been viewed as a standardized industry, presents numerous complications for all insurance agencies alike when it comes to both evolving the business model, as well as supporting modern initiatives by meaner of culture. As the industry is recognized as being safe and secure, promoting uncertain tools and strategies such as social media carries notions of insecurity and vulnerability. This often presents negative associations and judgments in the eyes of valued clients.
As such, promoting programs such as social Edie towards consumers as well as internally throughout the organization meaner culture must be strategically repositioned in order to form credibility and consideration. This may include, for instance, support of upper management and executive personnel to define how social media will undertake long term goals, objectives, and provide for future growth of the company. In other instances, it may include internal support in areas of aligning responsibilities, granting decision- making authority, providing necessary resources, as well as allowing tort a degree to risk-acceptance.
Through communication and cultural development, it is vital that RIB provides internal support that strongly aligns with its views of promoting social media. Problem First and foremost, RIB Insurance is handling the complicated problem of how to leverage social media in order to improve business processes. RIB is in a highly regulated and conservative insurance industry within North America, making it difficult to respect privacy laws regardless of any potential implementation options.
However, if RIB is successful, it can only help in improving the unaided recall rate which is key in making RIB the essential insurance carrier that delivers top-of-mind awareness in future client considerations. Aside from being inside a guided industry, many financial entities are reluctant to enter the social media domain as there has been little foresight into how to generate revenue or extend corporate social relationships; especially for insurance purposes. RIB desires to break the mold and obtain a solution that improves the quality of its insurance offerings.
The concerns lie in developing a suitable approach that protects Orb’s integrity in an arena where being informal and casual develops relationships with a client base. If RIB insurance does not roam in the side of caution, the reputation of the company could be at risk. All clients select their insurance carriers based on reliability, protection and suitability. An informal message viewed in the wrong light could change perceptions of the company for clients and suitors who view RIB as a leader of responsible direction in times of need.
The often-flippant conversations on social mediums could pose a larger threat than opportunity if done incorrectly. A plausible situation is giving corporate authority to select RIB employees, if no social media policies are present, their thoughts could reflect negatively on the company. For example, New Media Strategies is an upstart corporate advertising promoter who ad an employee that mistakenly posted a disrespectful tweet on behalf of the corporate account of the Chrysler automotive company.
As a result of this incident, Chrysler did not renew the advertising contract (Love, 2011). This especially affects those who are not accustomed or comfortable with the use of social media to promote a corporate entity. RIB requires a solution that includes verification and validation tools that would keep their stakeholders accountable. This would ensure that messages are kept relevant and directed to promoting insurance for strategic goal delivery. There have been many complications that affect RIB ‘s ability o promote its insurance through social media.
It all comes down to trust, something that is hard to attain for corporations who are seen as large conglomerates with countless resources and control over their trade regardless of customer traffic. Yet only 14% of people trust advertising, a fact that must be recognized in order to create a marketing strategy that generates a high volume of customers for RIB Insurance (Qualm, 2012). This confirms that traditional mediums of advertising not only raise the value proposition inside consumers’ minds, but it also assures RIB that the best teeth to win over consumers is through word-of-mouth campaigns.
Speaking to people who have influence is the best way to convert customers into clients. Peer recommendations are trusted by 90% of consumers which makes the case for social media much clearer (Qualm, 2012). If RIB wants a clear path for organic growth in the utter, they must use social media to encourage clients to advocate the brand as a vital life resource that provides safety when needed. RIB Insurance’s main difficulty is the scope of the social media campaigns, especially to regulate the message in areas that are outside of its service Jurisdiction.
For example, RIB cannot offer auto insurance in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (Reason University, 2012, pig. 6). The role of social media can become fragmented if certain offerings such as auto insurance are still promoted in certain provinces or states where it is not available. A messaging push that is targeted to an appropriate demographic best serves densely populated areas within Orb’s reach. Since it would be a negative practice to exclude interested clients, RIB needs to discover a method to include retain market segments depending on what services are available in the area.
Analysis of Alternatives Marketing and Communication RIB serves to emphasize their five core business processes that provide immediate value to their customers. Marketing and communication is a process which social media was built for. The whole concept of social media in the corporate context is to extend brand awareness from the business to the individual. Whether it is a Backbone post, Youth video or a tweet, each interaction point leverages the company in a serviceable manner that pushes aided recall for clients and shows the residence of RIB insurance in the minds of current and potential clients.
Social media can be divided into a tiered approach that relates life experiences and how they integrate into RIB insurance. The ultimate goal of any company through advertising is to create resonance which creates brand relationships in the long run. If RIB can relate memorable experiences in a short and concise form, RIB can control the message and turn feelings into positive Judgments. For example, if RIB establishes a following on Twitter, they can use memorable holidays to make human connections associated with RIB offerings that generates positive feelings.
The Christmas holiday season represents family and togetherness, a lone tweet before Christmas Eve about life insurance options keeps the message at top-of-mind. Graduation day is the start of a new lifestyle for students, providing an insurance discount in a promoted tweet could allow for a gateway to attract young adults and focus on customer lifetime value (CLC) of young clients. According to the Adobe Digital Marketing group, consumer attention is scattered with the marketing blitz for holiday advertising maidenhair.
The company who creates a fun, engaging social media campaign from week one creates hype which brings consumers closer to the company during the decision-making process (Ross, 2012). In order for RIB Insurance to succeed they need to create client buy-in that propels the message forward in a confident and conscientious manner. To extend these efforts towards corporate accountability, social media could be the meaner to promote corporate social responsibility (CARS) initiatives. All countries experience natural and manmade disasters, this is a time of need and not the moment to promote corporate agendas.
RIB Insurance can use social media to gather intelligence of specific incidents that are projected to affect a residential area and provide information to aid, inform and secure people who have been displaced from others during unfortunate events. For example, during the devastating Hurricane Sandy storm, the Fire Department of New York (FADDY) quickly discovered that landlines and cellular towers were tailing to connect calls. One resourceful dispatcher used twitter to answer thousands of distressed people who were either in the eye of the storm or feeling the effects of the residual damage (Korma, 2012).
In this example, social media was seen as an essential tool that provides vital information to save lives; this can also be facilitated through a RIB social device such as Backbone to alert all stakeholders of what response strategies can be used to lead in corporate citizenship. Decisively, social media can be used to create internal metrics of what areas were affected and how to plan for disaster scenarios in internal deployments for insurance purposes. A benefit with these interactive mediums is the built-in functionality to obtain data consumption figures, whether it be unique site visits or regional views of popularity.
Taleteller is a tool that monitors a number of impressions from a wide variety of social mediums such as Clout, a social influence measuring tool, to provide real-time data insight used by such corporations such as The New York Times and BBC News. RIB Insurance can lead the social future with analysis and verification tools that will lead a new generation of business projects. Marketing and communications provide RIB Insurance with the chance to interact and build various types of relationships with its customers. One of the most difficult aspects for a business to accomplish is to gain its customers’ trust.
The use of online video (educational and promotion purposes) may be an important medium for RIB Insurance to improve its brand awareness and relationship with its customers. From a marketing perspective, it enables RIB Insurance to gain additional exposure through social applications as online videos speak to larger audiences, both literate and non-literate, and as such viewers will be able to engage with it. Also the cost to post videos is much less compared to print advertisements, newspapers, billboards, and so on.
A study from commerce, a leading internet technology company that measures online activities found that people are ore likely to visit a website upon seeing a video (Imaginative, 2012). This is because videos do not wear out at the end of a campaign like a television advertisement. The life of an online video is much greater; a video that is uploaded today may still be viewed one or two years in the future. Video consumption via mobile devices has also increased, meaning it can be downloaded at any time and your message can be viewed almost anywhere on the go.
From a communications perspective, as briefly mentioned earlier, online videos have the ability to engage people, it can inspire and encourage people to take action. In Orb’s case, by utilizing this media, it will allow them to reach the people most interested in RIB products. In addition, one of the benefits of online video is to be more personal; the idea is to “show’ what RIB is about instead of “tell”, it may be easier to retain the attention of Orb’s customers by applying this method. For example Citibank, in order to communicate with its customers faster, uses Twitter to send notifications of any new information.
Thus, a video about product updates or policy changes enables customers to have a line of communication to stay connected with RIB without avian to call or visit an RIB branch to obtain information. Frank Ellison, senior vice president of social media at Citibank suggests that the whole challenge was differentiating the service we provide to customers, and therefore, the ability to respond to any customer needs efficiently through the use of social media is crucial tort any organization (Brussels, 2012). Customer Communication There is an opportunity to allow key focus points when it comes time to change customer communication policies.
Policies are commonly signed with minimum changes to reduce variation and promote a single vision for client holders across North America, by traditionally adhering to regional government standards. If no individual information is needed, this is a great avenue for RIB Insurance to give social media alerts for users with connected devices such as laptops or smartness. Notifying users that the insurance policy has changed and providing a summary of the key changes that affects them serves to maximize the reach of the message through a consolidated source.
RIB Insurance has international reach thanks to its parent company operations throughout the world; this has created brand associations of leadership that has been championed by Orb’s business values. This brand positioning has made it easier to spread messages through RIB Insurance’s clients. To that end, a myriad of social tools to alert clients of incoming changes will serve to disseminate the message faster than more traditional direct mail or website notifications that are often disregarded instantly.
RIB can change the information relay through short and concise messages that all lead to the original posting of the noted event. For example, Backbone posts, tweets and messages from online communities can be used to give a uniform resource locator (URL) of noted policy hanged that will affect all users who subscribe to RIB Insurance. One of the assumptive rules of social media is to keep the message short; Organ Communications, a corporate communications entity notes, the first tip that needs to be observed is that people scan social mediums quickly.
The longer the post, the less consumers are engaged. Backbone posts with 80 characters or less receive 66% higher fan engagement and posts with 40 characters or less attain 86% engagement (Bandore, 2012). RIB can create a policy message on their website, use a URL from sites such as Tinnier. Mom that reduces the original site’s string length and enjoy an abbreviated, direct message that provides critical materials in a simple way. Having a response strategy can give RIB a competitive edge in fulfilling claims and renewing optimism for their customers.
Social media is seen as a tool that provides frequent updates and corporations are always looking for continuous improvements that match total quality management (TTS) principles. This compatibility match makes it perfect to create a community of social feedback from customers. Since it would raise negative attention to provide random stories of aid from RIB, we can encourage users to post their “success stories” that demonstrate how a frustrated client who experienced an accident resolved their plight with the help of RIB Insurance.
For example, if a client’s home foundation shifted due to an earthquake and quick service arrived from a RIB claims adjuster, it would be beneficial if clients were asked to either post their story on social media or give RIB Insurance permission to post their satisfactory resolution. Creating a collaborative environment is what allows social media implementations to thrive and guide users into posting their fulfillment terms to RIB stakeholders. Product Purchase (Underwriting) Purchasing long-term life products and services can take significant consideration and thought.
Insurance in particular, whether it be life, car, or travel insurance; these purchases take much time to consider. For organizations offering insurance services, such as RIB, it is crucial to strategically establish doctors such as price, product offerings, and the overall customer experience. When it comes to making insurance purchases, consumers often value an engaged process, whether it be with agents or other clients, as well as product purchasing processes which are direct and unimpeded.
Through the use of technology, social media can improve consumer purchasing experiences, especially in areas such as reducing consumer lead times when purchasing insurance, as well as keeping the customer engaged within the purchase process. Many competing insurance providers within the industry have begun to offer online resources when engaging the customer in purchasing their services and products. As opposed to traditional meaner of purchasing insurance services, which were often portrayed as inconvenient and complex, online insurance tools have simplified and facilitated the purchasing process.
These solutions allow customers to make their insurance purchases in a quick, easy, yet customizable fashion, without the need of insurance agents and brokers. Progressive Insurance for instance, has recently offered its clients and potential new buyers with an easy to use mobile application. “Insurance shoppers, car buyers, and information-seekers can use the application to quote and buy a Progressive Insurance policy right from their phone” (Progressive Insurance, 2012).
The process is further simplified as prospective buyers no longer have the hassle of mailing, faxing, or scanning required insurance accumulation, rather, offers clients the option to take a mobile snapshot of documents such as a driver’s license, vehicle identification number (VAIN), or other credentials. Furthermore, several big name insurance providers with similar mobile offerings have also integrated social networks such as Backbone in parallel to their insurance applications. In doing so, consumers are able to associate their social network along with the insurance provider, creating a sense of community and relationship in their circle.
For instance, RIB Insurance could develop and introduce a mobile application which integrates social networks such as Twitter and Backbone. Users who access the application could add RIB Insurance to their network, allowing friends and family to take notice of their actions. For example, friends and family may take notice of recent insurance purchases the client may have made or view video and insurance related content the user promote through a community ranking system. In other instances, the application can also analyze the user’s social network for significant life events, such as driving eligibility, graduation, wedding, etc… And remind the user of how insurance can provide them with a sense of relief and comfort. As such, a mobile application simplifying the insurance purchasing process does not only create a better customer experience, but integrating mobile applications with social networks can also create an opportunity for brand exposure. As an industry where brand reputation and opinion is highly influential, integrating social media to an additional platform such as an RIB Insurance mobile app can provide added brand development and dialogue.
For RIB Insurance, this provides an opportunity to reach out to potential customers who may be better assisted and influenced by the opinions of their peers, family, and friends. Initial Customer Inquiry One of the many concerns of any business is to ensure that its customers are satisfied wit n the products and services they receive. For RIB Insurance, the concern of whether the company is able to satisfy customer inquiries pertaining to not only existing clients, but as well to new, indicates a high-tier brand position in terms of customer satisfaction.
Within the insurance market, initial customer inquiries contain insurance product information such as package, coverage, and claims process details, premiums, and deductibles. Typically initialized through the RIB Insurance website, product or service information have the potential to be limited, unclear and misunderstood, resulting in further consumer requests for additional information. Individuals who want to know more product information in addition to website content either need to visit an RIB Insurance retail branch, or more likely, contact the call centre via telephone.
Historical data has indicated however, call centers can become overpopulated and customers are forced to wait for their questions to be answered, resulting in unsatisfied customers. For instance, in serving its customers sixteen hours a day, seven days a week, RIB Insurance’s call centre receives an annual volume of 19. 6 million calls, with an average handle time of approximately eighteen minutes. This issue of extremely high call volume about product rates, long customer wait times, and unsatisfied customers has created the prospect of leveraging social media to alleviate customer inquiry volumes.
With that in mind, the use of blobs and forums specifically dedicated to the insurance business line will enable RIB to communicate through a different channel in addition to websites and call centers currently in place. As a result, customers are provided with an alternative option to inquire about various insurance products, many of which are quite common to most customers. For instance, some of the current top information inquiries include: How do I purchase insurance, what ways can I pay for insurance, and what insurance solutions do you offer?
Providing an online blob for customers can alleviate the extremely high call volumes regarding such product information, many of which are commonly associated with handled calls experienced at RIB Insurance. In addition, a blob can benefit RIB Insurance in several ways, including; increased customer interaction as blobs are a two-way communication medium through an initial post that results in community comments and responses below, essentially creating a dialogue between customer and a RIB Insurance representative.
Furthermore, blobs can be easily maintained by updating content regarding product or service information, customers will be able to obtain the data they desire quicker. Adding the concept of a blob with the support of RIB representatives can alleviate call vo