Q&A with Cigna: The Anatomy of an Award-Winning Social Media Campaign
Cigna was recognized for its social media campaign during the 2016 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend when the eighth-annual Shorty Awards were announced March 22.
The global insurance provider, which sponsors the annual race, won in the health and fitness category for its three-month campaign leading up to and through the event. It was held Sept. 1 to 4 at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The campaign was a partnership with run Disney that encouraged participants to engage with Cigna before and through the event.
Lori Feldman , Cigna’s Global Head of Social Media, joined us to answer some questions about the campaign. We discussed how Cigna created the campaign and the tools that it used to evaluate its success.
Shareablee: How long has Cigna been the presenting sponsor for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend and why did Cigna choose to attach its social presence to these particular events?
Lori Feldman: The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (WDWM) is one of the top ten participatory race events in the nation, and has become one of Cigna’s premier annual events celebrating healthy living. Cigna is going into its ninth year as presenting sponsor of the 2017 WDWM and second year as presenting sponsor of the 2016 Disneyland Half Marathon (DLH) Weekend. Cigna’s mission—to help the people we serve improve their health, well-being and sense of security—is brought to life at both events by engaging the runners, their families and other Disney guests in conversations around health improvement while showcasing Cigna’s deep commitment to inspiring healthy lives, partnerships and communities.
Aligning social media and public relations tactics to the sponsorship allowed the communications team to elevate Cigna’s visibility as a world class global health services company and reinforce the company’s mission and brand messaging by stimulating meaningful health improvement conversations and highlighting individual accomplishments among Cigna-sponsored athletes, customers and employees online before, during and after race weekend.
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Shareablee: How have Cigna’s social media efforts benefited from its relationship with runDisney? And does Cigna have any other brand partnerships that help it accomplish similar goals?
LF: We’re thrilled to work with the runDisney team to bring our concepts and online engagement ideas to life. Leveraging runDisney’s incredibly active online community of more than half a million fans, we built influencer, educational and social media programs for this community with Cigna’s clinical and health coaching team. Being present at the start and finish lines of all the races, our teams not only capture the incredible stories of individuals overcoming challenging obstacles or disabilities to achieve their health goals, but we’re right there cheering and celebrating with them. That passion and excitement is reflected in the online social and news articles we secure to illustrate this powerful relationship between runDisney and Cigna athletes.
The relationship has set best practice standards for how Cigna structures and executes other U.S. and International events and sponsorships. For example, our efforts have inspired and helped Cigna’s New Zealand team expand their partnership with Achilles International to include athletes on Team Cigna and expand their social media onsite activity to include man-on-the-street video and customer stories for the Round the Bays marathon in February.
Shareablee: The three-month campaign generated 10M+ earned and organic impressions with an ROI for of $0.03 per impression, among other metrics. What was the primary goal of the campaign and what metrics stand out as helping to illustrate whether Cigna achieved that?
LF: The social media stats for the 2015 DLH campaign were very impressive. The main goal of the entire sponsorship is brand impressions. The number our team likes to highlight is unique engaged individuals because it represents active conversation and physical touch points our target audience had with our brand. The very essence of social media is not about pushing out content and getting a certain number of fans, but how a brand can engage and interact with an audience over time.
During the three-month campaign we had 86,738 engagements, which included 18,000+ social interactions (clicks, likes, comments, shares), 500+ contest submissions, 67,000+ video views, 75+ augmented reality participants, 44 attendees at the Blogger Meet Up and 150+ Twitter chat participants. We also very actively monitor share of voice against the entire event conversation and compare Cigna to other event sponsors. As the presenting sponsor, it’s critical to ensure Cigna owns the onsite sponsor share of voice during the event and maintains a 5-15% total share of voice of the overall online conversation.
Shareablee: Cigna used a variety of strategies to not just interact with audiences and engagers, but to encourage them to generate content on behalf of the brand. Cigna shared health-related educational content on social, promoted athlete achievements , hosted a blogger meetup and Twitter chat , and sponsored a photo contest . What type of planning was required to pull this off and which strategies worked the best?
LF: One word: teamwork. It takes a village to bring these activities to life. The communications team is a joint effort between public relations, social media and social listening teams. We’re one group within the larger team that’s made up of cross-functional experts at Cigna including the events, brand, employee communications, executive management, client account management, Cigna Foundation, mobile app and business segment teams.
Runners are inspired by people. Tell us who encouraged you to run your first #DisneylandHalf race and why, share a photo…
The communications team starts planning six months out from event weekend and is proud to say that every year we bring a new element to raise the communications standards and metrics bar for our two runDisney sponsorships. In addition to the larger team, we also partner very closely with internal teams for consulting and brainstorming, including a group of health coaches in our Pittsburgh office, compliance and legal, our non-profit organization the Cigna Foundation and their partners and the multi-cultural team.
The runDisney team is by far our biggest supporter and the reason why we’re able to share these successful results and continue to innovate our communications tactics. Our teams share similar values and vision for providing informative, relevant and engaging content to the runDisney audience. Together, we execute communications activities that runners have now come to expect and look forward to year-over-year.
One of our favorite events is the Blogger Meet Up where we invite bloggers that cover running, health and wellness to join us for a special “behind the scenes” event during race weekend. Last year during the DLH, we held an interactive cooking demonstration at the exclusive Napa Rose restaurant. In January, during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, we hosted a game show at Epcot. Each event is fun, interactive and offers bloggers unique health tips that they can share with their readers. It’s also a great way to meet all individuals we interact with on social media throughout the year!
Shareablee: Did you take any lessons from the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend campaign that you can apply to others in the future?
LF: Our motto is Betterment. After every event we analyze what worked, what didn’t and what we can do next time to provide an even better experience for runners. A key learning that we continue to incorporate into other Cigna events is the importance of real-time analytics. At the 2015 DLH we invited our social listening team onsite to set up a social media command center. This allowed us to use insights learned, through social listening analytics, to set new standards for driving tactics and shifting strategy in real time during race weekend. This allowed our team to quickly alter content, engage and make decisions based on current online conversation.
Shareablee: Did you use any insights from the Shareablee platform when creating the campaign or making adjustments after it began?
LF: Our social analytics team uses Shareablee competitor data to alert us when industry and best-in-class competitors launch social campaigns featuring running events. Back in 2015, we saw the explosion of Instagram and decided to launch the channel ahead of the 2015 WDWM, which proved to be a success. Today, we see the holistic onsite conversation shift from 85% Twitter to almost an event split between Twitter and Instagram.
Shareablee data also provides real-time insight into the type of content that’s working well on social. Prior to race weekend we were testing channel and creative for countdown graphics leading to race weekend. We learned that individuals were more likely to engage with us on Twitter and Instagram in the evenings after 7pm. This helped us adjust our channel strategy and timing to serve content when we were most likely to see jumps in engagements.