Esurance is hoping good things come in threes this year, as they have renewed their deal with MLB and tapped three-time World Series champion and San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey for a television commercial and social media campaign. This is the third consecutive season that the digital-born insurance company has served as the sport’s exclusive auto insurance partner.
“Pep Talks with Buster” is a series of social videos featuring the four-time All-Star catcher, who currently is on the disabled list after taking a fastball to the head on Monday, giving meeting-on-the-mound-like pep talks to people who face challenges like changing a tire for the first time, or installing a car seat.
“I always have a lot of fun working with the Esurance team and can relate to many of the situations in the social videos, especially installing a car seat for the first time,” Posey said. “We’ve built a great partnership over the past three years, and they have a product I know and trust for my family.”
The Bay Area-based company is pairing its data-driven digital strategies and personalized messages with Posey with a wider baseball strategy to reach fans by serving as the title sponsor of the all-digital Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot and the Esurance MLB Awards at the end of the season.
Esurance’s union with the MLB has been successful in creating large-scale awareness and consideration over the last two years—and now the insurance company is looking to turn that awareness into conversion.
They’ve also paired their sponsorship efforts in baseball by procuring a partnership with home renovation brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott, stars of the HGTV show Property Brothers, and produced a series of music videos ditties to teach home and auto do-it-yourself hacks. The marketing collateral is part of a larger company strategy to drive conversion through word-of-mouth.
Kristen Gambetta, Esurance’s manager of brand sponsorships, joined AListDaily to talk about how they’ll continue to apply an efficient approach to their MLB partnership.
How is your marketing in MLB generating large-scale awareness and reach for the brand? How do you leverage this into intent and new business?
Our partnership strategy includes creating a yearlong activation plan that gives us consistent exposure during the season, postseason and offseason. Esurance is more than a sponsor; we are true partners collaborating with MLB at every level. Now that we’ve had so much success in generating awareness and consideration, we’re looking at digital strategies and re-targeting methods to convert new customers.
What kind of content and experiences have worked well for you in the past?
According to our research, people who are aware of our partnership with Buster Posey are also more likely to consider getting a quote from Esurance. We’re creating more content with Buster and will have a steady drumbeat throughout the season. We’re also leaning into the fact that he’s an Esurance policy holder.
Why are insurance companies a natural fit in sports from a partnership perspective?
Insurance is one of the top-advertised industries in the country, so it’s important to sustain brand familiarity over time, and sports partnerships are a great vehicle to do so by tapping into the passion of loyal fans. Partnering with MLB was a natural fit for us as we consistently use technology to modernize our customer experience, just like MLB does with their fan experience. We collaborated with MLB on the rollout of the new all-digital ballot and awards demonstrating our commitment to be fast, efficient and innovative in everything we do.
What is the specific social media strategy you plan on executing for the campaign? What social platforms are you currently looking at to further build out Esurance’s narrative in the space?
We created a series of social media videos with Buster called “Pep Talks with Buster” where he is giving pep talks to people having self-doubt in everyday, relatable situations. Our goal with the campaign is to drive word-of-mouth through social sharing with passionate baseball fans. We’ll release the videos throughout baseball season on our Facebook page, and to extend the reach MLB and Buster, will also share on their social channels. For baseball, we’ve mainly focused content on Facebook. Last year, we introduced Snapchat during the All-Star Week. This year, we’ll continue to expand our use of Snapchat and will continue to test Facebook Live integrations with MLB.
As you head into year three of your deal with MLB, what are some of the key learnings from your internal research that you can share? What tools do you use to measure results?
According to our research, our MLB sponsorship has maintained awareness of our brand over time, and more importantly, we have seen double-digit growth from those aware of the sponsorship to be more likely to quote and consider buying from Esurance. We use several tools to measure our results, from social media engagement to digital impressions and our internal brand tracker.
You just announced a deal with Drew and Jonathan Scott. What are you looking for when considering and negotiating partnerships? How do you determine what’s a great fit and what’s not especially since you have an online-only identity?
When evaluating partnerships, we look at how strong the property’s audience aligns with our target consumer, reach of the target within the property and image fit with our customer value proposition of smart, easy and tailored to you. We also evaluate how the opportunity could diversify our portfolio by providing unique ownership platforms and category exclusivity. For 2017, we were seeking a digital-first partnership that would drive word-of-mouth. After researching various influencer marketing opportunities, we found the Scott Brothers were the perfect fit for our brand as they empower their fans to do things themselves, just like we do with insurance.
Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan