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Jim Bacharach | Vice President at John Hancock
Entrepreneurial Selling by RAIN Group
Jim Bacharach is VP of Brand Communications & Creative Services at John Hancock.
Jim drives John Hancock's brand strategy, brand communications and brand management, while also ensuring it is all consistently applied across the company's seven de-centralized business units.
His success to date has been built around redefining this blue chip brand in consumers' minds beyond simply life insurance, building an integrated strategy that has created a "bigger than we are" market presence in the face of competitors.
He is working to change the culture within the Creative Services organization to a service orientation in order to support a chargeback model.
Jim began his career in CPG brand management at General Foods and then Chesebrough-Pond's.
Since then, he has been applying and adapting that classic discipline to a wide range of B2C and B2B categories including financial services, technology, hospitality, footwear, publishing and not-for-profit.
Much of Jim's career has been spent on the marketing services side at integrated communications agencies and consulting firms.
Among the brands he has worked with are NEC, Converse, Ameritrade, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, AT&T Capital, Travelers, Progress Software, Liberty Financial and Grainger.
Jim has also worked with a wide range of start-ups and early stage companies.
How to Sell Wealth Management Services
- Jim Bacharach, Vice President, John Hancock
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John Hancock Keeps It Real | FCS: The Financial Communications Society
As Jim Bacharach, Vice President for Brand, Marketing, and Creative Services at John Hancock, told the crowd at the FCS December lunch: "A good positioning stands the test of time.
Faced with the daunting task of competing with competitors that outspend John Hancock
by a factor of three or four to one, Bacharach
team worked hard to bring the emotional component of the brand to the forefront.
reported that by any number of metrics - site visits, impressions, time spent on the site, etc. - the campaign is outperforming their internal expectations and projections.
Social-media engagement has materialized and continues to run high across Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.
noted that John Hancock
maintained the same ad agency relationship since the positioning was launched in 1984.
Hill Holliday won the account back then and continues on the job to this day.
While many people at both the insurer and the agency have come and gone over the years, Bacharach
said it has been a huge advantage to maintain a relationship with an agency that understands its legacy.
John Hancock has been the ...
John Hancock has been the principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon since 1985, and while "every year is significant, [the 2014 race] was especially significant in light of the bombing in 2013," Jim Bacharach, Vice President of Brand, Marketing and Creative Services, John Hancock.
For the 2014 race, the marketing team wanted to assess the content of the campaigns to strike the right balance, while "certainly acknowledging what had happened but do so in a respectful and sensitive way.
But, at the same time, help and recognize that people wanted to and needed to move forward," he
"The Boston Marathon sponsorship is a significant undertaking for our company," said Bacharach
, adding that unlike some other sponsorships "where it really involves writing a check to whatever you're sponsoring, John Hancock
is highly involved with the actual planning and execution of the marathon."
The communication around it is complicated, Bacharach
explained, as there are a full variety of events associated with the marathon, ranging from a fitness expo where the runners pick up their numbers and information, to a wide range of community relations activities.
"Our sponsorship of the marathon is multifaceted and multidimensional and one that we're especially proud of," he
For the #WeRunTogether campaign, the marketing team thought a picture and story mosaic was "really an opportunity, we felt, for people to express how they felt and what the marathon, this marathon in particular, meant to them," Bacharach
The community that makes up The Boston Marathon is multidimensional, he
added, and the event is a celebration of all of them.
"We wanted people to be encouraged to share that with us.
That was what was really at the heart of the hashtag, #WeRunTogether," he
said, explaining that it has multiple meanings.
's sponsorship of the marathon is about an 11-month cycle, according to Bacharach
"I guess you can say [the sponsorship is] it's own marathon … Seemingly no sooner does the last runner cross the finish line that we begin thinking about next year.
As you would expect, there's always sort of a review of how things went, what would we do differently, what could we do better, what could we add in," he
The marathon happens in April, and in late May, he
said, a review and evaluation process begins where the team discusses, "the overarching objectives, communication objectives in particular, take form then, which begins to translate itself into an overarching theme," he
Promotion for the campaign ramped up to full speed in early April, Bacharach
This was the first time that John Hancock
had ever used a hashtag with the Boston Marathon Sponsorship, so the team wanted to be thoughtful about it.
Coming up with the official hashtag was the fruit of a detailed group brainstorm session.
The team initially focused on recognizing "the multiple constituencies involved in the 'We,'" Bacharach
said, explaining that 'run' was chosen not only for the literal meaning of the word, but also to represent a blending of the runners, volunteers, spectators and communities that would represent 'together.'
"Together" was also chosen "in recognition of the sense of spirit that frankly was, despite the tragedy, strengthened by those events, by the response [in] Boston and beyond, how we collectively responded in the aftermath," he
The team had to be especially cautious regarding the approval process because not only was social media presence new for the sponsorship, but it was relatively new for the company in general.
"It's highly regulated so that any hosts or response that we make as a company, if it has to do with our business, has to be pre-approved by a legal and compliance functions," he
Even though John Hancock
was in new territory when it came to social media, Bacharach
said, the marathon sponsorship was the perfect opportunity to "learn [about] and grow our capabilities because it doesn't have to do with our products and our business."
For instance, John Hancock
is responsible for recruiting, compensating and hosting the lead runners in the marathon, and "It's always a big deal announcing who those runners are going to be," Bacharach
There were a lot of things done for the first time … But it was significant beyond the results it generated for us as an organization because it required a level of collaboration across many functions and organizations that hadn't been done before," Bacharach
"It's not enough for a hashtag to be fashionably accurate, but that it has to have some form of resonance for people to want to participate, to remember it and then to actually contribute," Bacharach
Jim Bacharach, Vice President, Brand Marketing and Creative Services