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Willis: thought leadership magazine and microsite

An award-winning, multi-channel thought leadership programme that helps to build brand differentiation, showcases Willis’s capabilities as trusted advisors and generates sales leads.

Client

Willis is a global risk advisor, insurance and reinsurance broker, with 18,000 employees in 120 countries around the world, and $3.8 billion in revenue. In January 2016 the firm underwent an $18 billion merger with the world’s largest employee benefits consulting firm to form Willis Towers Watson, doubling head counts and revenues in the process.

Challenge

In an increasingly commoditised and competitive marketplace back in 2012, Willis was keen to shift perceptions of itself away from being a transactional broker (ie, simply selling insurance products) to one of trusted strategic risk advisor. Willis wanted to build brand awareness, trust and credibility around its competitive differentiation: helping clients to navigate the uncertainties of the fast-changing global economy and, where appropriate, use risk-taking as an opportunity and competitive advantage.

Willis needed to demonstrate its industry expertise, analytical insights and innovative risk management solutions to risk managers and C-suite executives in large corporates across the world.

Solution

Resilience became the key driver of client/prospect engagement, leveraging Willis insight and expertise in print, online and through social media and events.

The print edition is distributed twice yearly to a global audience of clients, prospects and Willis colleagues. The magazine is editorially led, providing objectivity and value to readers, but also celebrating the joys of print: a creatively distinctive and tactile product that entices readers to browse and read at leisure.

The complementary website, with additional web-only multimedia content, plays a vital role in Willis’s content marketing strategy. It acts  as the hub for all cross-channel activity – from print edition and physical events, through the corporate website and WillisWire blogging platform, to social media and the trade press. It enjoys highly targeted traffic through search, social, referrals and email marketing.

A dynamic interactive landing page draws readers into a growing body of high-quality, SEO-rich thought leadership content, including feature articles, research, opinion columns, videos and infographics. Article pages are brought to life with striking ‘hero’ imagery, animated summaries, ‘light box’ functionality, expandable boxes, photo carousels and easy-to-use sharing tools, helping to deepen engagement and encourage wider distribution.

The content is widely distributed across multiple channels, including e-newsletters; social media; promotion on willis.com and the WillisWire blog; events; plus PR activity. Through these multiple contact points, the content’s reach, influence and business value is greatly enhanced.

Strong calls to action, such as product information downloads and direct contact details for Willis experts, are designed to move prospects along the sales pipeline and allow Willis to drive and measure ROI on the activity.

Results

Resilience magazine and website was named Best Corporate Publication at the tenth annual CorpComms Awards, one of the most prestigious accolades for communications professionals.

The judges’ decision was reinforced by the comprehensive effectiveness research we conducted with internal and external stakeholders, conclusively showing that the programme achieves its objectives: building brand differentiation, showcasing Willis’s capabilities as trusted advisors and generating sales leads.

Key findings from the research include:

  • 79% of readers say Resilience addresses important issues affecting their business and demonstrates how Willis can help them.
  • 94% rate the editorial quality as good/very good.
  • 94% were inspired into follow-up action after reading articles.
  • Internal stakeholders also rate Resilience highly (100% rate it good/very good) and actively use it for business development and relationship building.

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Account manager: Mark Wellings

Mark Wellings is responsible for developing and implementing content marketing strategies that deliver measurable results for our clients. Prior to co-founding Grist he was director of custom publishing for the Economist Intelligence Unit in New York, publisher for Financial Times Newsletters and Management Reports in Hong Kong and senior commissioning editor for Thomson Learning in London.

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