The insurance industry is always worried about how it's going tomarket business and attract young talent and in mostcases, is looking toward the traditional routes of job fairs,internships and social media outreach.

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Well, maybe along with these efforts, you should also besetting up a booth at your area's next comic book convention.

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Last week the Wall Street Journal ran an interesting article,“Marketers Seek Out Geeks,” that takes a look at how marketersfrom a variety of corporations–including General Motors, Barnes& Noble and Disney–spent more than $15 million this year toexhibit at the New YorkComic Con, held earlier this month.

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Comic book or fan conventions are nothing new. The New Yorkevent dates back to 1964, and the World Science Fiction Convention(WorldCon) originated in 1953. San Diego, Chicago, Boston, Orlando,Los Angeles and Cincinnati all host their own annual versions, andbig events like the New York Comic Com can draw more than 100,000attendees.

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The “cons” are an opportunity for fans of a particular film, TVseries, comic book, actor or genre to meet experts andactors, hear speakers, meet other fans and dress uplike Klingons, anime characters or superheroes (called cosplay). Like any convention, thereare plenty of booths with exhibitors hawking all sorts of wares.More than 1,200 exhibitors were at the New York event.

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These exhibitors aren't there because they think it's fun todress up like Darth Vader–and their motives are not solely to sellproduct. Rather, they view comic conventions as a way to take thepulse of a very coveted demographic: the male 18-to-34 agebracket with a good amount of buying power. The show's managerrefers to the event as a “geek prom” and “a massive, 115,000-peoplefocus group.”

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In case you haven't noticed, geek culture has been on theascendency for quite a while. In pop culture, geeky TV programs(“The Big BangTheory,” “Gameof Thrones“) and movies (anything featuring Marvel characters) abound. BillGates is a geek; so was Steve Jobs; so is Mark Zuckerberg.

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Marketers like going to the source to meet geeks at events likecomic cons because they're usually on the cutting edge of popculture and technology. They're the early adopters of the latestbells and whistles who are actively involved in social media andwhose tweets or Facebook posts can make or break a product.

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In case you also haven't noticed, insurance still isn't doingtoo well in the public perception department. Just this week,delegates at the BrokersLink global conference inMadrid were warned that they need to recognize the importance oftheir junior staff and graduates if they want to retain theircompetitive edge. Gen Y talent demands “attractive employercharacteristics and industries,” said Pedro Gonzalo,international HR project manager – talent management & peopledevelopment at Sociéte Générale Corporate & Investment Bankingin Paris.

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And although this certainly isn't news to our industry, wedon't really seem to be moving the needle on the publicperception of insurance as boring.

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According to a recent Millennial focus group conducted at theannual CPCU meeting, when it comes to insurance:

  • “People think it is just selling or cold calling, but they haveno clue about the other job functions such as claims, underwriting,and risk management that make insurance so interesting.”
  • “People don't understand insurance and that it isactually about helping people when they are in need.”
  • “Students who take risk management courses often switch intothat career because they find it so interesting once they getexposed to it.”
  • “When people ask me what I do, I describe my job as kind oflike the show 'House' except with insurance issues – where we worktogether with a lot of critical thinking as a team to solveproblems for our clients.”

I think that last quote says it all. Insurance as “House“? Where do I signup?

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I know that comic con attendees aren't dressing up ascranky, drug-addicted, cane-wielding doctors (or maybe they are!),but perhaps pop culture could be a pathway to extolling the joys ofinsurance to a manga-and-anime, tech-savvy younger generation.

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So strap on that Iron Man mask (you know you want to) and headon down to a comic con near you and mingle with the geeks. Afterall, what could be geekier than insurance?

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