When I wrote about New York Life’s program for grieving children a little while back, I asked the audience to share other stories with me of insurers who have likewise done good deeds for the public. One such program is Aviva’s Youmanity initiative, which is much more than a one-off good deeds effort. It is part of an overall rebranding Aviva has been undergoing for well more than a year now, in which the company is making a concerted effort to ensure it is people-focused.
Sound like marketing blather? It might. But having looked over Youmanity on several different occasions, I have to say that this is a serious effort that demands attention not only from the public, but from agents and rival carriers as well. There are multiple aspects of Youmanity worth talking about, but the one I want to focus on today are these little tokens Aviva is handing out to promote random acts of kindness. The first ones were largish wooden coins bigger than a half-dollar. The new ones are slicker, yellow and the size of a poker chip.
On each token is a serial number you can use to register the token on Aviva’s Facebook page for Youmanity. The tokens themselves represent a random act of kindness. Buy a cup of coffee for the person behind you in Starbuck’s, and give them this token to encourage them to pay it forward. And, hopefully, to also register the token number on the Facebook page. There, you can actually track where each token goes geographically. Each user who registers the token can also put in a little story about how they got their token. I got mine from Steve Carlson, public relations manager at Aviva, who also lent me a pen during our meeting (which he let me keep, BTW. Thanks, Steve!). I will be traveling to Rhode Island today to attend a memorial service for a dear family friend. I am looking forward to passing along my token on the way up there. When I do, I’ll try to get some feedback from the person to whom I give my token, and I’ll update this post accordingly.
The Youmanity token idea reminds me of Rachel’s Challenge, an initiative started in memory of Rachel Scott, the first Columbine shooting victim. My daughter, in sixth grade, just went through a school assembly on Rachels’ Challenge and on one of its initiatives, called Chain Reaction. Basically, it too is a random act of kindness effort, in which what you do for another is recorded on a slip of paper, glued into a loop to form the link of a chain. Subsequent acts are added to the chain; the idea is to make a chain as long as possible. One class in the Midwest, my daughter told me, made a chain 27 miles long.
27 miles. That’s a lot of goodwill.