The Rising Stars of Insurance
Sweeping the BENCHMARK Wealth Management Awards this year with twelve awards, seven of which were Best-in- Class, MetLife Hong Kong has grown quickly in Hong Kong. For their hard work and dedication, they received the prestigious Company of the Year Award (Insurance) as well as the Brand of the Year Award (Insurance).
As a challenger brand, we are able to focus on areas where not many of our peers are active or thinking of.
“MetLife is one of the top life insurance companies in the world and #1 in the US, but in Hong Kong we are in a unique situation where we are a challenger to many of the more established incumbents. So the fact that we’ve got a global brand and financial strength, but at the same time operate as a challenger brand here, makes us try harder and pushes us to be the best that we can be,” said Lennard Yong, Chief Executive Officer of MetLife Hong Kong. “I believe this is what helps us bring together all of the key ingredients that went into our success this year at the BENCHMARK Wealth Management Awards.”
Back to Basics
One category that MetLife Hong Kong won Best-in-Class for was Female Products for their work with breast cancer insurance this year. “As a challenger brand, we are able to focus on areas where not many of our peers are active or thinking of. One of the unique spaces where we can offer our customers the opportunity to build their future is amongst the female customer segment. Through our research, we discovered that in Hong Kong this is a segment that is largely underserved, and among illnesses, breast cancer not only impacts our customers physically, but also psychologically.”
Yong credited his team as the primary drivers behind the launch of MetLife Hong Kong’s wildly successful MetLife Breast Cancer Protector, Hong Kong’s first online insurance product dedicated to breast cancer protection, the idea for which came from innovative thinking on insurance product design. “We took a very traditional critical illness product and deconstructed it down to a single element, breast cancer. We then went a step further by pitching the price point at HK$500 a year. We also, and I think this is quite innovative, rolled out the same price for any customer between the ages of 18-60.”
In conjunction with the rollout of MetLife’s new breast cancer product, MetLife also began a comprehensive online campaign to educate women in Hong Kong about the risks of breast cancer as MetLife Hong Kong’s own research revealed that an alarming 40% of women in Hong Kong were not aware of these risks. Through social media and other digital channels, including YouTube, MetLife Hong Kong was able to connect with customers and the public at large on an astounding scale. “We had over 45,000 visitors in the first two months on our MetLife Breast Cancer Protector microsite this year, many of whom then went on to apply for our product through the website. Further, we released an educational video on breast cancer and were very proud that we were able to reach over 600,000 viewers with our Traditional Chinese and English versions.”
Viral Digital Success
This was not MetLife Hong Kong’s only success with digital advertising, and the judges of the BENCHMARK Wealth Management Awards saw fit to reward MetLife Hong Kong with Best-in-Class in both Social Media Engagement (Insurance) and Best Use of Digital Marketing (Insurance). Yong credits his dynamic and creative team for their innovative ideas with regards to online advertising. “In Hong Kong there is no shortage of talent with regards to traditional forms of marketing, but we wanted to be different. The Hong Kong community has one of the highest levels of smartphone penetration and of technology of all sorts, so we wanted to engage Hong Kongers in a different way. Taking traditional visual advertising and slogans and trying to apply those to online channels simply does not make the grade anymore. You really need to pioneer groundbreaking strategies to succeed.”
Following the success of their breast cancer awareness campaign, MetLife released a video called “My Dad’s Story” on their YouTube channel which quickly went viral, attracting over 25 million views on the streaming site with an additional 6 million shares across social media. Yong felt the popularity of the video was due to a “universally recognizable story about a loving father who was doing everything he could within his ability to get his daughter into a good school and receive a good education.”
These fantastic marketing successes have done much to cement MetLife Hong Kong’s brand in Hong Kong, which Yong says has been a priority of his since he joined MetLife Hong Kong in January 2014. To Yong, customers’ trust is an insurance company’s greatest asset and “without some sort of brand recognition, that trust can not be built up. We are the #1 insurer in the US with nearly 150 years of experience and possess a global presence with over 100 million customers. With that solid foundation, if we can be there for over a century for 100 million people, we can be there for Hong Kongers.”
Building a Strong Team
And while MetLife Hong Kong has been a runaway hit on the business side of things, they have also put a great deal into nurturing their staff; the reason MetLife Hong Kong was able to clinch the coveted Company of the Year Award (Insurance). Yong highlighted many of the internal policies that MetLife Hong Kong has introduced over the past year to encourage their staff to grow and maintain a happy lifestyle. “We have made three areas of distinction a matter of priority. One is diversity and inclusion, two is training and development, and three is employee wellness.”
“Diversity and inclusion, for us, is not simply including different types of people, but it is also including different personalities. What we try to do is provide a platform for our employees to bring out a lot of their personality and the differences in the way that they see things.”
For training and development, MetLife Hong Kong has set up its Young Emerging Asia Society, a platform for younger members of staff to develop their skills with resource support from MetLife Hong Kong. Yong was also proud to talk about their Women’s Business Network, a series of seminars set up in concert with Su-Mei Thompson of The Women’s Foundation, which is part of MetLife Hong Kong’s drive to reach 50-50 gender balance across the company.
“We are also very interested in helping our employees to learn to de-stress and how to get the best out of their own lives. Our business is all about helping other people improve their lives, so it would be a sin if we could not get that right in our own company,” said Yong. To achieve this, MetLife Hong Kong has set up courses and classes for its staff on such topics as breast cancer detection for female staff and wellness and personal meditation. Employees at MetLife Hong Kong were also lucky enough to have a group of professionals come in to teach them how to give therapeutic massages.
“The secret of our success was bringing these three ingredients together with the singular goal of helping our customers pursue their future. Through that, we were able to build out what I believe is one of the best insurance companies in Hong Kong.”
“Our weakness is also our strength. We haven’t been here as long as some of our peers, so we do not have a legacy or traditional way of doing business that might hinder us from moving forward. This might be our weakness from a distribution perspective, but it is our strength in that it allows my team to ask some very fundamental questions with a totally different lens, in a very fresh way. The results may not be instantaneous, but it will build a strong platform for many years to come.” BM
在成功推廣乳癌保險產品後，香港大都 會人壽再接再厲，於其YouTube 頻道推出影 片「爸爸的故事」，影片迅速被瘋傳並累積 超過二千五百多萬次觀看，在社交媒體上也 累積六百萬次分享。楊斌官認為，影片受歡 迎是因為「這是一個能讓大家產生共鳴的故 事，關於一個關愛子女的父親，盡其努力確 保女兒可以進入好學校，接受良好教育。」
在培訓與發展上，香港大都會人壽成立 了Young Emerging Asia Society，提供資源 讓年輕員工有多方面的發展。另一方面， 楊斌官也對香港大都會人壽成立的Women’s Business Network 引以自豪，Women’s Business Network 曾與香港婦女基金會 （The Women’s Foundation）的周素媚（Su- Mei Thompson）合作舉辦講座。這是香港大 都會人壽在該公司內，向性別平衡目標進發 的努力之一。