EPIC: Case Study

The Company
When EPIC opened its doors in 2007, it experienced rapid growth, quickly becoming the fastest growing insurance brokerage in California. Already among the 50 largest U.S. retail brokers, EPIC has continued its aggressive expansion into new markets and sectors, building its annual revenue from approximately five million in 2007 to almost 61 million in 2011.

The insurance industry’s challenge due to economic hardship and changing government programs makes EPIC’s growth especially remarkable. Co-founders Dan Francis and John Hahn credit their company’s success to a simple equation: attract the industry’s best professionals and the company will naturally build a stronger client base. How is EPIC attracting top talent? By creating a “people first” culture founded on innovation, employee ownership, and a strong work/life balance, EPIC is consistently building its team of experts and empowering them to deliver creative solutions and superior client care.

The Challenge
As a new, burgeoning, but relatively small firm, EPIC had to quickly build a brand in order to continue expanding. Regularly honored as one of the “Best Places to Work” by publications Silicon Valley Business Journal , San Francisco Business Times and the Orange County Business Journal, EPIC still faced a formidable challenge. EPIC’s competition includes global giants with massive advertising and marketing budgets. A sleeker approach to branding was needed to effectively reach the company’s target audiences, top insurance talent and consumers in vital vertical markets, with a smaller budget.

The Strategy
EPIC retained J. McLeish Public Relations in 2007 to assist in developing a campaign that would communicate the company’s strengths and innovative company culture to EPIC’s target audiences both regionally and nationally. JMPR quickly partnered with EPIC to develop key messages for the campaign. These key message showcased the company’s outstanding culture, reputation for unique solutions, and excellent client care which all combine to make EPIC one of California’s fastest growing insurance brokers. The key messages were then incorporated into a campaign that included three main branches of outreach: press releases, expert sourcing, and bylines.

Initially, EPIC’s consistent pace of outstanding new hires, industry awards, and professional recognition was leveraged by JMPR to keep news flowing into trade and news outlets. This approach quickly established EPIC as an industry leader, landing the company feature articles regarding company culture and growth with key outlets. As EPIC received growing media attention, JMPR worked with EPIC to position its leaders as expert sources for these publications, which further established the company’s excellent reputation. EPIC’s EPIC’s broad range of experts across real estate and construction, vintage car racing, pizza delivery operations, healthcare and more made it possible to grow EPIC’s name recognition in many industries served by the company. Additionally, JMPR utilized EPIC’s respected professionals to secure byline opportunities in magazines read by important customer groups. These bylines provided readers with helpful insights on risk management and insurance, building trust and confidence with potential and current clients and helping to drive sales. 

The Results
Many businesses start quickly. Early growth is great but maintaining and increasing a growth rate and infrastructure successfully over a five-year period matters far more.

Through a strong partnership with EPIC’s marketing and business development director, JMPR built brand recognition that helped distinguish the company from its competition and increase sales over a five-year period. In fact, EPIC has increased revenue by 1200 percent in five years, grown to eight offices located throughout California, and now employs almost 300 people.

EPIC is a perfect example of how growth and expansion can be strongly aided by a strategic public relations campaign. Without a public relations campaign, it would be extremely expensive and difficult to communicate the company’s key messages through the megaphone of the media. Public relations offered EPIC an effective, affordable way to highlight the company’s strengths and build a positive reputation with potential employees and clients.

Examples of major media hits included:

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