Sunshine Farzan - MetLife Hong Kong

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Company:MetLife Hong Kong
Entry Submitted By:The Hoffman Agency
Company Description:With nearly 150 years of experience, the MetLife Companies is a leading innovator and a recognized leader in protection planning and retirement and savings solutions around the world. The MetLife ambassador, Snoopy, reflects the vitality and growth of the MetLife Companies
Nomination Category:Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category:Female Executive of the Year in Asia, Australia or New Zealand

Nomination Title:Sunshine Farzan: Illuminating a Different Side of Insurance

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated executive since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words): TEXT REDACTED FOR PUBLICATION

Sunshine strives to constantly think creatively and create opportunities to connect with consumers on a positive, engaging, and emotional level. Not an easy task in a highly competitive industry where, though MetLife is established as the #1 Life Insurer in the U.S., its overall market share in Hong Kong was comparatively quite low as a relatively new market entrant and an unknown entity with competitors outspending them by three to twenty times.

Sunshine’s strategy set out a course to realize her vision through a holistic marketing and integrated communications strategy, focusing on broad and targeted media relations, highly active and engaging social media strategy, digital marketing and targeted brand advertising campaigns, sponsorships, and community outreach initiatives and events.

Core to her marketing approach is an obsession with digital. Smartphone penetration in Hong Kong is 87% and over 80% of Hong Kong people are active users on social media via mobile devices or tablets. With this in mind, Sunshine’s team designed and launched the MetLife Infinity App. The Infinity App is a digital time capsule and legacy creator in one simple interface, which is privately shareable. It allows people to securely capture, host, organize & share important messages, photos and videos with designated people of their choice either now, or even better - at a predetermined time in the future.

Another hallmark milestone of MetLife Hong Kong’s integrated communications approach came with its extraordinarily viral My Dad’s Story YouTube video, which achieved an astonishing 25 million global views across all platforms and languages, 6 million shares, celebrity endorsements from Ashton Kutcher and Zooey Deschanel, and was featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Telegraph and Huffington Post.

Social media plays a central role in MetLife Hong Kong’s marketing approach. As a result, MetLife Hong Kong’s Facebook fan and LinkedIn follower bases are the most engaged and one of the largest online community of brand advocates among all insurers in Hong Kong.

Sunshine also takes her role in building the community seriously, and has been very active planning and executing community outreach events, sponsorships, and CSR initiatives.

MetLife Hong Kong was recognized with eight awards for excellence in digital innovation and marketing in 2014 and 2015. In addition, brand awareness significantly increased from 2014 to 2015. Most notably, online sales via MetLife’s e-commerce platforms increased 54% year-on-year in 2015 as a result of the focus on digital marketing and the success of MetLife’s new online insurance sales channel, which Sunshine has been tasked with building from the ground-up since she first joined the MetLife Hong Kong team to lead the industry’s foray into online life insurance product distribution. With Sunshine’s leadership, MetLife became the first life insurer to offer life insurance products online in Hong Kong.

Provide a brief biography of the nominated executive (up to 125 words):

As Vice President, Head of Marketing and Communications for MetLife Hong Kong, Sunshine Farzan is responsible for overseeing the company’s most significant branding and marketing overhaul in its 20--year history in Hong Kong.

Sunshine draws on more than 15-years of B2B and B2C experience to conceptualize and oversee award-winning marketing and branding campaigns that covers everything from mobile apps and Facebook to media relations and community engagement.

Prior to re-joining MetLife in Hong Kong, Sunshine worked at American Express where she led digital marketing and strategy for the Corporate Platinum Card in New York and as Head of Business Planning for Greater China.