“Perfect Combination” Wins 2014 IABC Gold Quill Merit Award

I received good news recently, and it started with an email from my former manager, Mel (otherwise known as “the fun, yet wise leader”), “During the HR Quarterly meeting today you were included in one of the HR Hoorays … So your legacy lives on!”

Really? That’s awesome! How? Why?

The Hershey Retirement Plans team and I received recognition for the 2013 Hershey 401(k) “Perfect Combination” web registration campaign.

It’s always nice to get kudos, and it was a much-needed reminder two months into unemployment that said, “Hey, you really do know what you are doing and you do your job well.”

Next was a phone call to my communications counterpart at Vanguard, Joe Russo, in which I regaled him with my idea for a targeted 2014 Perfect Combination campaign and my thought processes that went into it. It was a two-minute mind trip. Picture this…

From Perfect Combination to my favorite Brett Favre-lookalike, but better, Vanguard model to a knife-wielding ex-wife standing behind her Brett Favre-lookalike, but better, ex-husband and his new trophy wife. Emblazoned across the front: Vanguard and you – it’s the perfect combination for managing your 401(k) for the financial needs of two families.

No, I do not know what the statistics are for remarried Hershey employees with trophy wives > who are in the 401(k) > who are not web registered, but I’m sure Joe could find out, and this was an untapped target audience. See, that’s the kind of person I am – it’s not even my job anymore, but I still care.

After sharing this idea with Joe, who I knew would appreciate the creative energy that went into it, Joe shared his news and the primary reason for the “HR Hooray” recognition (insert drumroll….), the Perfect Combination web registration campaign received a 2014 IABC Gold Quill Merit Award in the Human Resources and Benefits Communication category. The award application had been submitted by Vanguard on behalf of Vanguard and Hershey. Hershey’s team was comprised of Dave Merkt, Sylvia Alcaraz, John Ricci, Deb Robare, and me. The Vanguard team was led by Joe Russo.

Perfect Combo Results

The Perfect Combination campaign was a tactical and aesthetic success. The campaign increased registration on Vanguard.com 6.3% to 72.3% – 4.3% above Vanguard’s average registration rate. Why is this important? Employees who are web registered are more involved in and knowledgeable about their retirement plan and consequently more appreciative of the benefit — resulting in a more engaged employee.

For more information on this campaign and to see sample communications, go to the Perfect Combination portfolio page.

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