Ahead of the Insurance CX Awards on 7th February 2024, Modern Insurance Magazine sat down with Flo Powell, Joint Managing Director at Midnight Communications, to discuss her judging position, sponsorship of our Champagne Reception, the effects of AI in PR strategy, and the benefits of good PR in a turbulent economic landscape.
Q. Hi Flo, it’s great to meet you!
We’re delighted to have you on board as a judge and sponsor for the 2024 Insurance CX Awards! Why don’t we start by talking about Midnight, the work you do and the projects you’re working on / the clients you’re working with at the moment?
A. Thanks, we’re excited to be involved and really looking forward to reading all the entries, as well as attending on the night and meeting everyone in person!
Midnight is a B2B PR agency based in sunny Brighton, operating nationally. We’ve won plenty of awards ourselves, so we know the great benefits they can bring to the finalists and winners. We’ll be cheering them all on loudly!
One of our key sectors is professional services firms, including insurance. We’ve worked with several insurance firms over the years, such as Arch Insurance, Ansvar and Collinson. We’ve worked with Howden for many years, supplying copy and content across a huge range of topic areas in each of its key client service areas. Currently, we’re working on content covering health and wellbeing, employee benefits, sport and recreation, finance, care, equine and sport. Much of the content is intended for direct client communication, including in-depth articles for client magazines.
Q. How can professional services firms benefit directly from the services you provide?
A. Our key services include strategic PR consultancy, media relations, copywriting and social media management.
Many of our clients come to Midnight because they are looking to raise brand awareness, reach new audiences, drive traffic to their website, improve their employer brand to attract talent, and build brand credibility to attract investors and/or potential acquisitions.
One of our most popular PR tactics is thought leadership, getting senior leaders out in front of our client’s brands. In today’s uncertain and unstable world, it’s more important than ever for the leaders of businesses to present a human face to a brand to build trust with their customer base, as well as with their internal teams, investors and other stakeholders. Our media training service has therefore become particularly popular, which helps senior leaders shape their key messages and learn how to best communicate them.
Our team takes great pride in helping our clients feature in big newspapers by jumping on current news trends. Over the past year, we’ve landed coverage in places such as The Times, The Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, FT Advisor, Yahoo, and Sky News, to list just a few.
Q. How are you ensuring that your PR strategy remains authentic in a contemporary world so recently impacted by AI?
A. Since Chat GPT’s launch last November, the amount of content on the internet has exploded. Getting cut-through and share of voice against this tidal wave of AI-generated words is therefore top of the agenda for our PR and social media campaigns.
Human generated content, specifically expert opinion-based thought leadership, is the new gold. Journalists are looking for expert comments and blogs for websites. These pieces need to continue to demonstrate knowledge, but also capture and convey the human experience. Social media feeds require a human touch, too. We know, for example, that social posts featuring human faces tend to have a higher engagement than other posts.
Now that the pace of news is faster than ever, our busy press office has its fingers on the pulse of the national news agenda, making sure our client’s campaigns are timely, relevant and, critically, responsive.
Q. How can PR help in light of the existing economic landscape?
A. For some business owners, investing in PR in an economic downturn might seem counter intuitive. However, whilst there can be short-term cost concerns and a reaction to want to cut-back, evidence suggests that businesses which slash PR often find it harder to regain share of voice when conditions improve. A balance is needed between short-term survival tactics and long-term initiatives.
It’s also vital that PR strategies during a recession avoid being tone deaf, but rather acknowledge target customers’ stresses and shifting priorities. Previous recessions and crises have shown us that people respond well to businesses that acknowledge the shifting economic landscape in a helpful, empathetic, and authentic manner. This is where creative communication strategies can play an especially important role.
‘Walking the walk’ is key here – if there’s one thing a target audience can sniff out at 50 paces, it’s ‘purpose washing’ and opportunistic PR. Beware: as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us, you may never be forgiven.
Q. Which aspect of the Awards night are you most looking forward to?
A. As we’re sponsoring the champagne reception, that part of the evening is high on our list! This always tends to be the noisiest part of any awards night, where everyone gets together for a good old natter before we get onto the business of the awards.
Having judged the awards, we’ll be particularly keen to meet the people behind the entries, putting faces to names and making sure we don’t give any surprises away…
Q. If you could offer one piece of advice to the award winners, what would that be and why?
A. Make sure you make the most of the win!
Get your social media feeds primed and ready, engage with the organisers and use the hashtag #InsuranceCXAwards24!
To find out more about Midnight, and to speak further with Flo about how the team can help your business with all of your PR needs, visit their website here.