Make an Emotional Connection

Insurance has an image problem.

There has long been a perception that Big I doesn’t care, that it’s all about the bottom line, that consumer satisfaction isn’t even on the list of its top priorities. And now that the social revolution has made it fast and easy to share dissatisfaction with the entire world, you can choose an insurance company at random, visit its Facebook page, and find it filled with customer complaints—and outright vitriol.

How to put a human face on insurance? Well, the answer is actually pretty straightforward: showcase humanity.

Let’s take a look at the clever way Prudential has been working to establish an emotional connection with current and potential customers through two companion campaigns: “Day One” and “Chapter Two.”

Making an Emotional Connection: “Day One”

Launched in 2011, the “Day One” campaign focused on retirees—specifically, on people experiencing their first day of retirement, and all the emotions that go along with it. Pervaded with uncertainty, regret, sadness, the spots may indeed be “unsettling,” as AdAge described them—but they also speak to a reality that growing numbers of Americans are experiencing. After all, 10,000 people retire every day. Seeing their experience reflected in Prudential’s campaign certainly established an emotional connection.

The campaign’s success “confirmed a hunch” about the direction Prudential needed to take with its advertising, said Colin McConnell, Prudential VP-head of advertising, according to the AdAge story. He is further quoted as saying, “When you hold up a mirror to society and tell interesting stories people can relate to and make an emotional connection, you’ve done something pretty rare and special for a financial services brand. It got a lot of people’s attention.”

Making an Emotional Connection: “Chapter Two”

With a title like “Day One,” the 2011 campaign seemed to beg for a follow-up—and it launched that follow-up in 2014. More of a feel-good effort, “Chapter Two” tells the stories of retirees who are using their retirement to pursue paths abandoned years ago, to develop new skills, and to fulfill dreams they set aside when the challenges of everyday life pushed them in other directions.

Undeniably inspirational, the multi-platform campaign also provides a sense of hope, dozens of role models—and an emotional connection. “Chapter Two holds many stories. What will be yours?” the website asks.

But the campaign also has an educational component. On the main site,, you can learn about the five “human behaviors” that can impede retirement planning—and click a link to learn about Prudential’s solutions.

How Your Agency Can Make an Emotional Connection

So your insurance agency probably doesn’t have the kind of budget that will allow you to retain an NYC advertising network, as Prudential did to create these two campaigns. But you can still replicate the principles that led to the campaigns’ success.

  • Focus on people. Can you do a video interview with a client who experienced a disaster, but had a very successful experience with his or her insurance claim?
  • Focus on common problems. Consider the industries you specialize in for your commercial lines, or the issues that pop up over and over again in your personal lines. For instance, if you have a lot of construction companies in your book of business, you may see a lot of work comp claims. Or you may deal with a lot of homeowners who experience flood damage, and weren’t aware that it’s not covered by their homeowners policies. Spotlight these common issues—and educate your clients about solutions.
  • Tell a story. Every agent has at least one client that he or she considers the agency’s biggest success, a client with a big problem that the agency worked hard to resolve. Find out if that client would be willing to share his or her experience so that others can learn from it—and then work with that client to tell the story.
  • Establish an emotional connection. You’re a person; your current and future clients are people. We all experience challenges, and we all appreciate it when someone offers us a helping hand. Brainstorm ways you can use your social media marketing, video marketing, and email marketing to establish an emotional connection with your audience—and then go for it.

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