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Getting Creative to Hit COVID Curveballs Out of the Park

Eye of the Storm: Natural disasters, the insurtech market, and other musings from Bob Frady, CEO of HazardHub


2020 has certainly thrown us a few curve balls. One of the biggest was that trade shows – our biggest and best way to meet new clients – went away.

So, what do you do when the thing you use the most to generate business suddenly disappears?

The biggest questions we answer in face-to-face settings are, “Who are you?”, “Why do you exist?” and “Who else uses you?” Between industry presentations and trade show meetings, we spend most of our time addressing these three questions. It’s a long, slow slog, but our experience has shown that this is the single best way to build our business. We’re not into lead gen, as we found it far too expensive to execute efficiently. Really, we didn’t know another way to get the message out – it was trade shows or bust.

Then COVID hit. The curtain came down on the single most effective way we knew to build our business. We didn’t initially panic because we thought it would be 3-6 months, tops. (Guess what: While we’re great at predicting property hazards, we’re not so great at pandemics.) As spring ran into early summer, we knew we needed to do something. We were starting to lose momentum.

About this time, we were prospected by Jeff Feazell from Concurrent Productions, a Los Angeles-based company that uses video to help companies tell stories with “empathy, authenticity, and love” (their words, not ours). John and I have lived in California long enough -- and crunched enough granola -- to not be scared off by this very non-traditional approach to telling our story.

We looked at every single video Concurrent had on their site. We spent a lot of time talking to owner Jeff and his wife Kerri. We figured that since L.A. is the capital of filmmaking, they might actually know what they’re talking about. Plus, we had trade show dollars we were not spending. So, we bit the bullet and decided to make our own little HazardHub movie.

We did “the shoot” at John’s house, following strict COVID protocols. Everyone was masked until it was time to roll the camera. John was on one side of the house while I was on the other, which is why you never see us in the same shot. We spent almost six hours filming. I think I waved to John twice, then jumped in my car and headed back home.

A month or so later, Concurrent delivered our video. To say we were blown away would be an understatement. They captured the heart of our business in a two-minute overview. Now, when people come to the HazardHub website, they get to hear directly from John and me about “who we are” and “why we exist.” A medium that we never considered – video – now was an important way for us to tell our story.

One of the coolest things to happen was that a developer reached out to us and sent us his resume. During the interview process, he said, “I saw the video and knew this was the place I wanted to work.” It made us realize that your story isn’t just important to your customers, it’s important to the people who make our business go – our employees. So welcome aboard, Josh!

But that’s not all…

After we finished the video, there was a lot of extra footage -- five hours and 58 minutes, to be exact. That’s a lot of stuff left on the floor. We asked Jeff and Kerri if they could make this footage into short videos that express a single theme. They went back to work and came up with 14 additional one-minute videos, which we used to launch our 8-part “HazardHub Mini Series” we just wrapped up. So, not only did we get a great branding video, we also got a lot of additional videos to answer specific questions that people often ask us -- sort of like a video-driven FAQ. It was an awesome bonus.

We love trade shows and can’t wait to get back to them. To us, nothing beats the face-to-face experience. But COVID created a situation that enabled us to experiment with a medium that we were clueless about. We had no idea if it would work. We took a chance and it paid off – so much so that we’ll be adding customer-driven video content in 2021.

Sometimes life throws you curve balls. And sometimes you knock them out of the park.

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