Industry Super Australia marketing chief details the strategy pivot behind its latest campaign

New mass media campaign takes its cues both from community sentiment and need during COVID-19, as well as changing media consumption habits

A new industry superfunds campaign is a direct response to community demand for these organisations to demonstrate the leadership role they’re playing for both individuals and the country’s economic health during COVID-19, the marketing chief behind it says.

The mass market campaign, which debuted this month, centres around a 30-second TV advertising spot and series of online videos from industry experts and financial planners. Content focuses on how industry superfunds are helping protect members’ nest eggs and the Australian economy bounce back from the Coronavirus downturn. The online videos are also designed to be educational for individuals, and centre on explaining a raft of complex superannuation issues.

For instance, videos provide information on how to avoid crystallising losses at a downturn; the pros and cons of accessing super early in times of financial hardship; and how super funds protect members’ savings during market volatility.    

With industry funds now the dominant players in the superannuation space, Industry Super Australia director of marketing, Alana Burnside, said it was important to take a leadership position during these difficult and anxious times. ISA manages collective programs on behalf of the 15 Industry SuperFunds nationally.

“Our research shows members want us to communicate on important issues around super such as legislative changes, how super plays a broader role in keeping the country and economy healthy,” she told CMO. “Research also shows people are every worried at this time about their health, paying bills and the economic stability of the country.

“That’s what this campaign is about – to provide reassurance, and help the understand the important role super funds are playing.”

Burnside noted work with Google to keep a close eye on searches highlighted a 74 per cent increase in superannuation searching in recent weeks. Since the government announced its Early Access to Super scheme super, it’s become the fourth most searched coronavirus-related term in Australia.

And it was understandable members were concerned about the impact coronavirus and the global business shutdown have had on economies and their super balances, Burnside agreed.  

The latest campaign also takes its cues from the growing importance of industry superfunds in Australia. Burnside noted the recent Royal Commission into the Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry had exposed significant issues with retail superannuation funds, leading to a significant influx of new members to industry providers.

“That put our funds in a position of leadership. With more than 5 million members and more than $700 billion under management, we are in a position of real responsibility,” she said.  

Industry superfunds hold more than $45 billion in Australian property and infrastructure such as roads, airports, seaports and the energy grid. Over the course of a year, these funds invested more than $2 billion into Australian infrastructure and property and created or supported 46,000 jobs.  

This is why the new campaign by Industry Super Australia and the Shannon Company reassures members their super will bounce back from the downturn and go on delivering strong long-term returns to build their nest egg, she continued. Additionally, it highlights to members the things that their super is invested helps create jobs and keeps Aussie businesses strong.  

According to Burnside, recent tracking showed perception of industry funds as “the good guys” for the community. What was also pleasing to see in the current climate was that the community accepts brands will continue advertising, provided they demonstrate their positive impact on the community, she said.

Pivoting the marketing strategy

Like many marketers looking to pivot strategy at this unprecedented time, Burnside said her team had set a new standard for turning around the campaign. She also noted it wasn’t a hard sell internally, with some budget freed up as a result of this year’s AFL season being curtailed. Industry Super Australia is a sponsor of the sports competition.

Burnside said other elements of the marketing strategy have had to be rethought, pivoted, and campaign assets even “retrofitted” in a bid to adapt to the new environment. Some decisions have had to be guided by the media plan already in place, but others are in recognition of changing media consumption patterns in a COVID-19 world.

“We continue to evaluate messaging around what members need at this time,” Burnside said. “I think the challenge for marketers globally is realising those marketing 101s we know are changing. Look at media consumption habits – these are dramatically shifting. Reach is changing, traditional TV, which was in decline, is increasing, and viewing is more linear. Radio is up yet there are massive billboards sitting alone. We’re having to rethink all of that.”  

Burnside said Industry Super Australia is relying heavily on its agencies, including media partner, Initiative, and brand and ad tracking consultant, Kantar, to do the heavy lifting as it shifts and adapts campaigns, messaging and channel mix.

“So as a team, our big focus has been on the campaign, and being as pragmatic and productive as we can be,” she said.  

Burnside said she’s conscious all employees are being challenged by having to work from home.

“It’s easy to fall into email, so we’re regularly planning team catchups, video calls, ensuring people feel present. It’s easy to not see anyone and be on your own,” she added.  

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia.

 

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