The Cimaglia team proudly worked on the The Allstate Corporation account for more than five years. Our work began at an exciting time—smartphones had yet to take off, and the world’s largest social platform was still MySpace. We used our awareness of the erupting digital landscape to work alongside Allstate’s communications teams, eventually steering three pillars of Allstate’s brand confidently into the 21st century.
PILLAR #1: EXTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS
The Problem: Using Social Media in Times of Crisis
By the mid-2000s, Allstate’s top decision-makers saw clearly that the company wasn’t using modern media as effectively as it could. The most urgent example was disaster relief: when tornadoes, floods and extreme weather storms were devastating people’s lives, policyholders on the ground were getting disconnected from the information they needed. This dovetailed with a broader overall trend—the Allstate brand was struggling to resonate with younger generations, who began paying less attention to traditional media than they were budding social networks. The company executives worried they couldn’t keep up, and feared falling out of touch with the public.
Our Solution: Meet the Audience Where They Already Are
We helped Allstate transform their nascent social-media channels into a real-time disaster-relief network. By leaning into Twitter and Facebook, and helping to create their first YouTube channel, we established a new precedent for real-time communication between the company and their audience. The concept revolutionized their brand. We treated their communications room like a 24-hour newsroom, helping policyholders find out where to go, what to do and how to contact their Allstate agents during times of need. The company no longer had to rely on generic responses to address all concerns, which lacked humanity and, being outdated or produced as boilerplate messages, sometimes didn’t even apply to the crisis at hand.
To bolster the company’s reputation among younger generations, we spearheaded Allstate’s “X the TXT” campaign, which toured across the United States, showcasing the dangers of texting while driving. That campaign has garnered more than 100,000 Facebook fans, brought in celebrity ambassadors and helped ignite a national conversation about the biggest threat to road safety since drunk driving.
In addition to ongoing diversity programs and strategy consultations, Cimaglia was working nonstop with Allstate to communicate its corporate reputation. Our favorite example is a women’s empowerment program we initiated through the Allstate Foundation, aimed at telling the stories of Allstate agents who overcame domestic violence. This powerful campaign helped cement Allstate’s position as a profoundly human company from the top down.
PILLAR #2: INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS
The Problem: How Do You Effectively Communicate to Thousands of Employees Across the United States?
Allstate is an enormous national company with thousands of employees spread across North America and their home base of Northbrook, IL. But their communications system had aged badly, and the company was suffering because of its inefficiency. This also became apparent when they hired freelance workers, but failed to communicate a clear direction or reason for their work.
Our Solution: Put the People First
Our discovery process started by honing in on Allstate’s corporate communications. After a technical audit of their infrastructure and equipment, we realized the company needed an updated content-delivery software—it was a fundamental and necessary change to deliver crisp, high-definition video to all their employees. This meant they wouldn’t be forced to watch fuzzy, outdated footage that failed to resonate.
Working directly with Allstate’s chairman and his team, we also began producing quarterly earnings updates and enhanced the overall production value of these reports. We restructured their video content to be human-focused by breaking down hour-long video lectures into highlighted key points. The new videos conveyed the same crucial information, but didn’t interrupt employees’ busy days. In short, we were early adopters of the concept that mainstream media now takes for granted when producing impactful videos for social media.
The overall feedback was tremendous. Workers no longer felt like they were being talked down to, or forced to watch low-quality footage from decades earlier. With a focus on the Allstate community, including spotlights of outstanding individuals, we were eventually able to install an entirely new technical infrastructure, updating Allstate’s internal communications division to the latest post-production and live video hardware. Finally, we handed it off and trained their internal communications division, which ultimately gave the company a stronger, more educated and better invested team of their own.
PILLAR #3: AGENT COMMUNICATION
The Problem: Agents’ Success Varied Wildly
Allstate’s agents work locally across the country, and their success is mostly determined by their one-on-one relationships with clients. Allstate’s success hinges on their performance. But numerous areas were not being well represented, and Allstate was looking for ways to foster a community among its disparate agents. The answer was a new type of digital communication.
Our Solution: Offer More than Just Information
The starting point was a new look at agent training. All Allstate agents are required to go through a sort of continuing education program, but the secret to a successful program is to make it engaging.
The Cimaglia team created the building blocks for a complete digital library of Allstate knowledge. We shot videos that featured top agents’ sales tips, experience, upselling techniques and advice for relationship building. It was essentially an archive of vlog entries from Allstate’s top talent. In return, Allstate credited the star agents with points toward their educational training, and agents around the country could turn directly to people in their shoes for advice.