Project Description

Benefit Advisors Network

The Client

Benefit Advisors Network (BAN) is the nation’s leading network of independent employee benefit brokerage and consulting companies. BAN delivers industry leading tools, technology, and expertise to member firms so that they can deliver optimum results to their employee benefit customers. BAN intentionally limits membership because of the highly collaborative interactions. Members, trademarked as Smart Partners®, are screened prior to being granted membership to ensure they distinguish themselves from their competitors through their knowledge of the employee benefits industry, ethical approach, business acumen, and strategic vision.

The Challenge

As the premier national network of independent benefit brokers, BAN members represent the “best of the best” in their respective markets. To be admitted to BAN, firms go through a rigorous screening process. Only one BAN firm can represent a specific geographic market, eliminating competitors from membership consideration.

Those tough standards and BAN’s focus on “quality over quantity” made it increasingly difficult for BAN to regularly recruit new members. As a result, BAN found itself losing market share to competing trade associations where the standards for admission were less stringent and the dues minimal. BAN also experienced pushback from prospective (and even some current) members who did not understand the value in becoming part of a national network or sharing best practices. Further, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) left many benefit brokers retrenching, rather than exploring new ways to expand their client base.

The Solution

To complement BAN’s member recruitment efforts, Weiss PR created and implemented a proactive national media relations campaign. Focusing on industry media and local media in key geographies, the campaign not only publicized the addition of new BAN members, but also touted the benefits of BAN membership and used BAN’s exclusivity as a differentiator. Weiss PR also positioned BAN as a thought leader in the employee benefits space, regularly providing opportunities for BAN’s leadership and members to comment on key issues such as healthcare reform that impacted the profession. The result was a series of high-profile media placements in prominent trade publications such as B&C Solutions, Benefits Selling, and Employee Benefits News which established BAN as the dominant employee benefit trade association.

The Results

Since engaging Weiss PR, the volume of BAN membership applications has risen dramatically. BAN has expanded to numerous markets throughout the country where it did not previously have a member company, while the actual number of new members jumped 20% over the past year. BAN’s stature has grown as well, as members repeatedly have been invited to speak on major issues impacting the profession and to advise elected officials with respect to implementation of the ACA.