Cannes Lions

Built by Business

NEXT INSURANCE, San Francisco / NEXT / 2021

Case Film
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Next Insurance planned to dedicate 2020 to brand building and launching its first ever national advertising campaign. However, when the COVID-19 crisis hit, the company’s small business clients were among the worst affected. Not willing to stand aside as small businesses suffered, Next Insurance quickly decided to re-allocate its marketing budget—abandoning a big-name ad agency strategy in the process—to put the money directly into the hands of small business owners, giving them the extra time and resources needed to get back on their feet in the wake of a social and economic crisis. The objective of the Built By Business campaign was to help small businesses get back to work during the downturn of COVID-19, while building brand awareness for the company.


With Built By Business, Next Insurance set out to build an impactful, more meaningful advertising campaign that brought to life its mission to support small businesses.

From intricately painted surfboards to hand-crafted planters spelling out “Next,” the finished products were an incredible display of creativity and resourcefulness. Many of these finished works were then donated to various causes within the entrepreneurs’ communities.

Next Insurance then used the photos and videos taken by these entrepreneurs and featured a select group in a refocused national television advertisement, providing high visibility for these small businesses in their respective markets while helping build further brand awareness for itself across the country. Additionally, a dedicated Built By Business landing page featured select small businesses on the company’s website, highlighting their individual stories and creations.


The Next team got to work and sought out small businesses who were struggling in the unprecedented times of COVID-19. These businesses were then tasked with creating individual representations of the word “Next” using their specific skill set, and the selected entrepreneurs got to work. All infusing Next Insurance’s brand into their project, they crafted planters, painted a surfboard, baked jars of delectable treats, performed acrobatics, and more. Next Insurance then featured these entrepreneurs and their work in a national television campaign. Featuring video interviews with selected participants, the advertisement shared the small business owners’ experiences and hardships as the COVID-19 crisis forced the country to shut down.


The company created a dedicated Built By Business website which highlighted the businesses’ individual stories. Photographs and videos collected during the creation process and their unique stories of triumph are for all to see on the Next Insurance’s website. Paid and organic social amplification helped to further reach target audiences across select markets, sharing the stories of featured small business owners and strengthening Next Insurance’s brand. Finally, strategic PR outreach and coordination helped bring attention to the campaign and the businesses.


After setting out to amplify its brand awareness through the ‘Built By Business’ campaign, Next Insurance saw visits to its website increase 70%, as more consumers sought to learn about the company, its offerings, and how it’s helping small businesses get back on their feet. For the first time ever, Next Insurance exceeded a competitor in search volume, doubling the rate at which consumers searched for Next Insurance prior to the campaign. Overall, the company achieved a 9.4% absolute increase in aided awareness among small businesses as a result of the campaign, jumping from 4.7% brand awareness in 2019 to over 14%.

Next Insurance was also able to secure key coverage on the initiative with AdWeek and The Houston Chronicle, who highlighted one of the Built By Business participants - Mark Linen, a baker from Houston, who received a 10x increase in sales from the press.

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