What the Duck? How Aflac Balances Purpose and Profit


How has Aflac managed to maintain its reputation as a leader in the industry?

Chief Brand & Communications Officer at Aflac: Nothing happens by accident and I’m not keen on coincidences either. If I could pull our CSR thread a little further, data shows that companies with better reputations fare better in a crisis.  One of my favorite charts comes from the Reputation Institute which shows the trajectory of the S&P 500 and the RepTrak 100 from the financial crisis of about a decade or so ago to today. Two things on that chart are very telling. The first is that the companies on the RepTrack bounced back faster. The second thing, to ignore at your company’s peril if you will, is that the gap is widening dramatically. It becomes a challenge when you have 75,000 independent sales agents, a third of whom are also licensed to sell your competitors’ products. Add on top of that the fact that a W-2 employee is managed very differently than a 1099 independent contractor. So again, pulling that thread, in 2018 we launched two new programs available to our sales force at no charge to them. The first, developed in conjunction with Karp Randal, is called CSR in a box, which is an online tool kit for independent agents so that they have all of the on-demand collateral required to either start their own CSR programs, or leverage those of Aflac. The second has to do with building their personal brands and reputations on social media. We implemented duckfeed, which through a seat license allows all of the sales person’s social media feeds to be populated with all of our corporate content. That kind of brand consistency goes a long way.

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