State Farm, the insurance company, is adapting to a “perpetual planning cycle” that has resulted from the disruption which has transformed the marketing environment in 2020.

Matthew Coleman, the company’s marketing director, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 'Agile Marketing in the New Normal' digital conference.

“A perpetual planning cycle is something that we've never seen before,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: State Farm upends marketing to react in pandemic, social-justice moments.)

“We’ve always tried to be nimble where we need to be. But [that flexibility] has never really been a focus like it is right now.”

The spread of COVID-19, for instance, caused numerous sporting occasions to be postponed or scrapped, removing a key element of the marketing mix for many brands, including State Farm.

“With the postponement and cancellations of various events, we’ve had to accept makegoods in some cases, and we’ve taken cash back in others,” said Coleman.

“And when we’ve taken cash back, we redeployed [those funds] to support other growth initiatives within the enterprise.”

In helping guide its strategy, levels of consumer engagement are reviewed in real time to ensure that State Farm’s communications are making the desired impact.

“We actively monitor feedback from consumers relative to that,” said Coleman. “And we’re feeling like we’re at a really good place, especially relative to our competitors.”

State Farm’s efforts in the pandemic included a program tied to “The Last Dance”, a documentary from broadcaster ESPN that focused on basketball star Michael Jordan.

It also raised money for the Red Cross in a tie-up with Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, which is shown by network NBC, and providing a 25% credit on premiums between March 20 and March 31.

When it comes to responding to the Black Lives Matter movement, State Farm has balanced the need for speed with an emphasis on nuance.

State Farm’s agents have an important presence in Black communities across the country, but the brand is taking the necessary amount of time to formulate its response, having already made “some adjustments” that are authentic to its brand.

And the process is on-going. “We still haven’t determined what that [work] will look like, but it’s something that we’re thinking about,” said Coleman. “We absolutely do have a story to tell.”

Sourced from WARC