By Lisa Cochrane
At Allstate, we have a long history of marketing and advertising to the African-American market. Our Quotes for Education program, established in 2009 to raise scholarship funds for financially struggling African-American students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), is one way we're empowering a key market segment and reaching new customers.
The program evolved in 2011 through our partnership with the Tom Joyner Foundation, whose mission is to help keep students enrolled in HBCUs. A 2012 study by The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education revealed that only four out of 37 HBCUs in the U.S. have a black-student graduation rate of more than 50 percent within six years, due in part to limited financial aid from public and private sectors.
Our latest Quotes for Education campaign, conducted between Aug. 1, 2012–Dec. 31, 2012, was the most successful yet.
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Target: African-American consumers aged 25–54, especially alumni, family and friends of HBCUs.
Objective: Demonstrate Allstate's commitment to empowering the African-American community while driving new business leads.
Strategy: Leverage the consumer insight that African-Americans are more likely to buy from companies who are involved in their communities. Engage audience by turning empathy into action.
Solution: Donate $10 to the Tom Joyner Foundation for every insurance quote generated during the campaign (up to $150,000). For the first time, urge participants to vote for the HBCU of their choice to receive a separate scholarship donation of $50,000 from Allstate.
Use multiple national/local media channels to deliver strong reach and drive awareness of the program, including radio, digital, mobile, social, print, TV vignettes and media relations.
- Secure national ad placements, adjacent to relevant content, within popular African-American publications.
- Create agent-level marketing/point-of-sale materials to help participating Allstate agents promote the program at the grassroots level.
- Provide onsite support at key sponsored events, such as the Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion.
- Leverage Tom Joyner's nationally syndicated radio show.
- Encourage participation of family and friends through Facebook, YouTube and a special Twitter hashtag (#RepHBCU).
- Leverage previous Quotes for Education scholarship recipients as personal testimonials in media interviews and other relevant channels.
- Raised more than $141,000 to support HBCU scholarship funds, reaching 94 percent of donation goal.
- Generated 14,112 insurance quotes, up more than 6,000 from 2011.
- Generated more than 4,000 social-media mentions.
- Earned 69,351,299 media impressions.
- Awarded Lincoln University $50,000 for scholarships.
- Empower target to help the next generation of HBCU students by involving them in voting.
- Find a passion point with target—be it African-Americans or any other consumer segment—and hone in on that passion through unique touch points.
- Evoke a sense of pride through thematically relevant creative.
- Expand beyond traditional media and African-American-targeted media to reach more potential participants.
- Engage passionate Allstate agents who serve the African-American community and have their own relationships with HBCUs.
Desharee Williams, a student at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla., and a past recipient of an Allstate–Tom Joyner Foundation scholarship, summed up the program best: "This scholarship shows me that I'm worthy of the investment being made in my education, and it makes me grateful and hopeful for my future."
Lisa Cochrane is Senior Vice President of Marketing at Allstate Insurance Company, No. 36 in the DiversityInc Top 50. She is a member of the board of directors of the Association of National Advertisers.