Sun Life Financial (SLF) is an international financial institution with offices around the UK, US and Asia. The core function of the business, insurance and personal investments, is an area of high competition with many multinational, national, as well as smaller localised players. Think Sanlam or Old Mutual for a local equivalent.
In Canada, SLF were experiencing this competition and wanted to find a more subtle way to get ahead of other providers. In an already crowded media space, and up against bigger players such as Manulife with huge media budgets, SLF decide to take a more long term and relational approach, that of content marketing.
A 'Brighter Life'
SLF went about creating a community based on lifestyles but whose purpose is to serve as a place to share ideas about money, health and family. The community was served content within a web portal named 'Brighter Life', which naturally had the associated social facets of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Brenda Spiering, the editor of Brighter Life says that "Sun Life wanted to engage Canadian consumers earlier in the sales cycle, before they had considered Sun Life or were even aware that their needs might be met by a financial product". By engaging these consumers in a lifestyle conversation SLF was capturing attention at the beginning of the buying journey that has been triggered by a life changing event like having a new baby or retirement.
In Spiering's words, "Brighter Life would act as a muted, no-pressure lead generation tool for Sun Life's products and advisors - but in a way that added real value to Canadians' everyday lives".
Brighter Life offers content in the form of regular articles, a series of videos designed to simplify the understanding of financial products, useful tools around financial planning as well as tips on subjects such as retirements. Critically, they have integrated this content with lifestyle content such as how to keep fit with your family and how to balance your work and personal lives.
In just over a year, Brighter Life has achieved results that have justified its existence in line with company expectations:
Converted 4% of visitors into leads with over 8,700 clicks to Sun Life's main product site
Over 620,000 pages of content were consumed
Dwell time on the site averaged 2 minutes 30 seconds
To date (July 2013) the Facebook page has drawn over 18,000 likes
Over 3,500 Twitter Followers
Sun Life have demonstrated that content marketing is an excellent way to reach new audiences that are not yet within your brand or even service consideration. If you engage audiences in the right manner and build trust, when inevitably these people reach certain life stages you will already have that rapport and trust built to turn 'friends and likes' into customers.