To highlight truck driver appreciation week in September, officials at Acuity Insurance wanted to try something different. They attempted to find out what truckers' children thought about their parents' work through an essay contest. Although the number of responses wasn't what they had hoped, Steve Maliborski, the company's Senior Product Analyst, said that the kid's heartwarming stories more than made up for it.
We talked with Maliborski about the initiative. Following are his edited comments.
Where did this idea come from?
"Acuity is a property casualty company. We have a team of employees from across different departments in the company who are focused on trucking, gaining knowledge on trucking, and sharing it with our customers. One of the things that we wanted to do was highlight truck driver appreciation week in September. We thought about creating an appreciation video that would go out on our different social media sites. The video would thank truck drivers for the hard work and tough life that they do for all of us. When we thought about the video on social media sites, we thought: 'What's popular on those sites?' The answer is cute kids and cats doing funny stuff.
"It's true. We thought, 'What better way to create an appreciation video then to get kids involved?' That spawned an essay contest with prizes and then we used video clips of the kids reading their essays, to create the appreciation video. It was really a two-pronged way to celebrate appreciation week."
How did you let children know about the contest?
"We communicated via our Facebook pages and other social media. We sent e-mails to our current customers and our agency force, trying to spread the word. It was a grassroots kind of effort."
How many responses did you get?
"Well… we received fourteen responses."
Fourteen sounds like a low number.
"It does. It does. It was the first time we did something like this. It was more about getting the content for the video, so actually, that's a good number. We are very happy with the video that we were able to create based off of those entries. The quality of the entries was really, really good. The kids did a nice job."
Was there a common theme to the essays?
"The sincerity of the kids, that they really understand what their family member does and how important their family member is to them."
The children talked about their fathers. Were there any mothers represented?
"No, there were none, which we thought was kind of surprising."
Do you think you'll do this again?
"Our officer team was very happy from a social media standpoint with the reactions that we received. So yes, I'm sure we will do it again next year… we felt it was a success, because in the end we were able to create something that showed how appreciative we are of truck drivers and how important they are to all of us."