Communication is the key to snow success

‘Over the past three years, SIMA has undergone a complete marketing and communications overhaul.’

By Brian Birch, CAE
Over the years, I have managed many projects for SIMA. Even in situations where a small group of people is involved, I’ve always been amazed at how critical good communication is in getting things done. We hear it all the time, but communication is key. Nowhere is this more important than when SIMA and its members seek to communicate to the core stakeholders in our marketplace. Two of these audiences are facility management (FM) professionals who hire snow service providers, and the insurance stakeholders who insure those service providers.

Over the past three years, SIMA has undergone a complete marketing and communications overhaul. We identified many areas of improvement, and one critical area we defined related to how we were (or, in fact, were not) empowering our members to differentiate themselves to the FM and insurance industries. Both audiences are exposed to all aspects of the snow industry, and there are few tools available to help them critically evaluate and understand what a quality service provider looks like. However, we now have some solid resources available to members to help bridge this communication gap.

Tips for hiring a snow service provider 
We developed this piece to be a highly visual and impactful tool for FM professionals. It lays out simple techniques from the FM professional’s perspective to begin to evaluate a snow professional. This is an important difference because we found that previously our industry had tried to force-feed FM professionals the information we felt they needed. The feedback SIMA received through many FM industry channels was that we needed to help them simplify and understand the process of vetting and qualifying snow professionals. This brochure — free to download in print-quality format for SIMA members — will be a primary communication tool to help.

The brochure is usable as is by any SIMA member. For companies with Certified Snow Professionals and/or Advanced Snow Managers on staff, we created separate inserts for those designations that can be used as stand-alone marketing inserts or inserted into the overall brochure for maximum effect.

The brochure is the tip of the iceberg in our ongoing efforts to communicate critical, helpful information to the FM world.

Partners in success
Insurance in the snow industry is risky business, and the current state of affairs leaves contractors looking for quality, affordable insurance. At the same time, insurance stakeholders looking to insure snow contractors face a fragmented marketplace, with few resources to help them understand what good snow operations look like from a safety and risk standpoint.

Our Partners in Success brochure is a new insurance stakeholder communication tool that establishes realistic criteria insurance underwriters and agents can use to assess a snow contractor’s risk. It provides a simple list of core documentation that quality providers in snow should track (tied to SIMA’s Best Practices Checklist for Snow & Ice Management); discusses insurance-related contractual issues; and outlines the value of the CSP and ASM programs for snow contractors. 

Case Study – Jim Turcan, CSP, Cornerstone Partners Horticultural Services Co., St Charles, IL
At the 2014 Snow & Ice Symposium in Columbus, OH, Jim Turcan picked up a copy of the Partners In Success insurance communication brochure from the SIMA booth and sent it to his insurance agent. The brochure sparked a conversation that helped Turcan’s agent really promote his company’s affiliations and certifications. 

“I had previously discussed with our agent the safety improvements we’ve been making for our crews and clients (grip tape on trailer ramps, safety talks, photo site documentation, etc.) but didn’t really have anything tangible or measurable to provide him with other than photos of what we’ve been doing,” Turcan explains. “The moment I got back from the Symposium, I mailed him the trifold brochure on insuring snow services. He reviewed it with the insurance underwriters and confirmed a significant discount on our coverage as a result of our association with SIMA, my CSP designation, and the safety-related improvements we are implementing here.”

To download a copy of either brochure, visit and log in to the member portal.