WALLY: Social Road Show

By Rod Brooks They just might be one of the Pacific Northwest’s ultimate unplugged social media. This year, WALLY and JRWALLY—PEMCO’s  “We’re a Lot Like You” event vans—connected with...

By Rod Brooks

Brooks7GreyThey just might be one of the Pacific Northwest’s ultimate unplugged social media. This year, WALLY and JRWALLY—PEMCO’s  “We’re a Lot Like You” event vans—connected with thousands of Northwesterners at events across Washington and Oregon.

By year’s end, the WALLY team will have rubbed elbows with event-goers at 140 Northwest happenings, spanning geography from Spokane’s Hoopfest to Eugene’s Polar Bear Plunge.

And at each one, their mission is the same: To meaningfully connect with community members where they live, work, learn and play. Conversations about insurance take a back seat to engagement.

That’s the genius of WALLY, which is captured on a new YouTube video, now available to local event promoters to help show them how WALLY makes a valuable addition to their event.

WallysWebSo, why produce a video touting an activity that doesn’t emphasize our product?

WALLY’s primary purpose is all about engagement and demonstrating our ability to be hyper-local. Not only does PEMCO understand the residents who make up the fabric of our quirky Northwest, but we’re right here supporting the events and community initiatives that matter most to them. The WALLY Event Team gives a real-world face to our ads and presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and our PEMCO in the Northwest Blog.

When we went into the WALLY campaign way back in 2007, our research told us that it’s not enough to just say we’re local. Our Northwest neighbors told us—loudly and clearly—that we would have to show them that we know them in ways that others don’t. With WALLY events, we’re true to our mission of leading with relationship, and we underscore our position as a member of the home team… the local guy.

Power21WALLY Event Team members are empowered to engage, support and celebrate with people, making PEMCO part of an enjoyable Northwest memory. They snap souvenir photos, play games and offer spins of a prize wheel for coveted PEMCO swag like sunglasses and Northwest Profile mugs.

This year, we took our engagement to a new level. By partnering with the local app start-up, Paperbuttons, we introduced a digital aspect to our popular souvenir photo program. Here’s how it works: Paperbuttons’ functionality allows us to add a barcode to our photo template. Users who download the Paperbuttons app can use their phone to scan the barcode, which sends a copy of their souvenir photo to the user’s email inbox or Facebook page.

We learned that this sort of sharing is an effective employee engagement tool, too. In celebration of PEMCO’s recognition by JD Power as the “Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Auto Insurers in the Northwest Region,” the WALLY vans toured each of our Washington offices with the esteemed trophy in tow. Employees (like yours truly) had a chance to pose with the trophy and then digitally share their photo as a point of PEMCO pride, thanks to Paperbuttons.

In short, having WALLY and its arsenal of online and offline engagement activities at an event is fun. And that’s the point our new video drives home, as we continue to expand WALLY’s reach.

Rod Brooks if the VP/chief marketing officer of PEMCO Insurance. You can reach him at rod.brooks@pemco.com.

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