Social Studies: Nationwide's Kristi Daraban On Sports Creating Value

By Paul Sanford

In a crowded marketplace of insurance companies sponsoring sports events, athletes and properties, Nationwide makes its mark “coming from an authentic place,” according to the company’s Associate VP/Social Media Kristi Daraban (@Nationwide). Daraban said a successful social media campaign needs to “tie back to your hometown roots or how it’s impacting your community or that it’s something really rooted in your brand message." She added, "That’s when the best storytelling happens because when you know what your brand stands for and you can use something like sports marketing to tell that story, that can be a really good root.” Daraban: “The thing that we really want to come across for social media here at Nationwide is we’re really about making sure that we’re giving value to anyone that gives us the effort to follow us on our account and make sure that our brand is more than just the products we sell.”

Must-follows: I love Cheddar. They do really great news stories. And I also like Arianna Huffington; she’s very inspirational and is a good story, especially for a working parent.
Favorite apps: I really like ZeroLingo. It’s one of those bite-sized moments where if you want to learn another language or keep up with the language you learned in high school or college you can spend a few minutes a day to just keep it up and gives your brain a little break.

Average time per day on social media: Professionally it’s probably not as much as you think at my level, probably about 2-3 hours a day, and then personally I’m probably averaging about an hour a day because I have a newborn.

Keeping their philosophy real:
We primarily focused on product messages in the past, and one of the things that I wanted to leverage when I got here in '17 was our segmentation work on our audience, and really start to get to understand the consumer so that we could give them messages outside of just products. That allowed us to create a social media persona ... and be relevant and show the personality of Nationwide.

Sports leading the way:
Our sports sponsorships are a large part of our enterprise brand strategy. We take our large events with our big sponsors very seriously and we try to maximize the content that we can create there. Most recently we were supporting the Super Bowl and we had a team at the red carpet for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award and wanted to make sure it was a good mix of storytelling and also diversified across the channels. We have not created any content exclusively for social media because we usually try to leverage as much content across channels as possible, just to get the most value out of it. We send our team nationally on-site to events trying to get that up-close-and-personal experience whenever possible. We use everything from iPhones to real production cameras.

A voice to trust:
Our persona that we created, we like to think of it as, "We’re your friend who is knowledgeable but is someone you can also trust for advice and you would be willing to talk to about current events." So, we have a little bit of wit, but we’re also someone that you can go to when you’re in a situation where you need some thoughtful leadership. We do try to have different angles when we’re approaching something, whether it’s a local sponsorship with (Ohio State) with a general local support message, where we want to show our affinity to Columbus. But then when you have something broader where we can infuse a personality like Peyton Manning, who is a big spokesperson for our brand, we try to leverage that. 

Successful campaign:
From the feedback we’ve gotten from internal partners as well as our Key Performance Indicators (KPI), I would say the Super Bowl this year was probably our most successful campaign. Being on site for the red-carpet event gave us so many new opportunities. We had a camera man there and we also had someone posting live with their iPhone, and we were able to get so many interviews. It was a nice week-long campaign where we were able to tell a lot of good stories, outside of it just representing the sport. Most of our campaign KPIs are engagement rate. We want to make sure that the content is valuable, so if we know the engagement rate is high, that means the people that are seeing it are resonating with the content. But we also value impressions, because we want to make sure that as many people that we can reach that are relevant are seeing the content.

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