This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
UPDATE: This blog has been retired as of August 2011. See this post for more information or connect with me on Twitter.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
My first 6 months at Nationwide
Today, I have been working at Nationwide for exactly 6 months. It actually seems like yesterday that I started; however, when I look back at what we've been able to accomplish with our social media strategy, I am pretty pleased with the progress.

Here are some of the highlights:

1. Supporting our Sanjaya campaign
On my first day in the office, I was brought into a meeting about the launch of our TV commercial featuring Sanjaya Malakar from American Idol. I was tasked with figuring out how to integrate social media into the launch which was less than a month away.

We were able to create the plan, do blogger/community outreach and build our Sanajaya-ize Yourself microsite in about 3 weeks.

We also did our first experiment with capturing behind-the-scenes footage from an event (using a Flip video camera) and using that to build buzz and add an extra dimension to the announcement.

We received a ton of press, blog and fan forum activity around the launch and microsite. More importantly, we showed that you can add value with social media very quickly and for very little money. A nice quick win.

2. Getting executive buy-in for social media
When I arrived in July, there were groups at Nationwide who were really eager to embrace social media and there were some groups that were concerned about the implications. It is understandable considering the FINRA and SEC regulations that surround some of our lines of business.

After having some success with the Sanjaya project, we set out to build our social media roadmap for the remainder of 2008 and the 2009 *and* get executive support for the initiatives we proposed.

It took a lot of meetings, research and presentations; however, by the end of September (September 24th to be exact), we had approval from our senior leadership team to move forward. I consider this our biggest social media accomplishment so far.

3. Supporting our NASCAR sponsorship
I was selected to be part of the interactive team responsible for promoting our 7-year sponsorship of the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

NNS: Dale Jr. in the car

As part of the team, I had the opportunity to go to Charlotte in October to see a race and all of the things that happen behind the scenes. The idea was to not only get a better sense of the sport, but to understand the NASCAR culture and all of the things that surround the race itself. You can see the full day's recap here.

We have also had some more quick wins using social media to promote our sponsorship and connect with fans and bloggers. I think our marketing relationship with Dale Earnhardt Jr. will give us a great fan base to tap into in '09.

4. Working with a great team and agency partners
Finally, I want to mention what a great group we have in our Corporate Internet Marketing team. Honestly, it was a concern when considering coming to an insurance company after 9 years at an internet company. However, I have been blown away by the thought leadership we have in terms of interactive strategy, SEO/SEM, web content, usability, user experience, design and, of course, social media :)

I've also been able to work with some great agency and vendor partners from Google, TM, Rosetta/Brulant and others who really get social media.

Those are just some of the highlights of working at Nationwide over the past 6 months. I've also been fortunate enough to have some great Columbus experiences as well.

I was able to take Mahlon to his first concert, get a 2-hour tour of Ohio Stadium, attend the Ohio State v. Michigan football game, attend a Columbus Blue Jackets game and see the amazing Andy Warhol exhibit at the Wexner Center.

Now, if I can adjust to all of this snow, I think we'll be well on our way to getting settled in Columbus.

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.