Ice cream! It’s that time of year when things are warming up across America. So when you go to the local ice cream shop, do you get Vanilla, Chunky Monkey, Mocha Java Chip, Double Peanut Butter Crunch, or your own special flavor? Let’s face it, Vanilla is great with a partner, but kind of blah on its own. So, is your agency’s brand too Vanilla?

When I work with agencies on branding, I often have them complete a brand survey just to get their creative brain going. It never fails … I get so excited to read it, but then it generally leaves a lot to be desired. Every agency works in the community, gives great service, has been in business for a bajillion years, and represents multiple carriers. I can almost predict what these brand surveys say even before I read them … Vanilla.

As we start the conversation on branding, I find that not many agencies really understand what a brand is within the independent insurance space. That’s ok! If you’re reading this article, we want to help you turn what may be a Vanilla brand today into something with a little more kick! Your brand is incredibly important, because it is what will make you stand out in your community in a way that your target market notices. So let’s go through our four steps to really transform your agency’s brand.

  1. Clearly Identify Your Target Market

Just because you can sell insurance to everyone doesn’t mean you should. When you sell to everyone, we tend to sell to no one. Also, everyone wants to sell to people who pay their bills, and who live within ten miles of your office and have three or more policies. That’s not a target market. You need to consider the following:

  • Location
  • Income
  • Work Type (civil, blue collar, white collar)
  • Lifestyle
  • Family
  • Industry
  • Hobbies
  1. Identify How You Best Serve Them

Now, this is where you need to wear your thinking cap. Say you want to write people in their 30’s with growing families in a 15 mile radius. How do we really serve these people? It has nothing to do with returning phone calls. But it may look something like:

  • We are on social media, so if you need us you can find us.
  • We have a mobile phone app, so if you need to make a claim or pay a bill, you can do it at your leisure.
  • We have extended hours on Thursday and Saturdays if you need to come see us.
  • We offer all lines of insurance so you can save time and money.
  • We have a waiting room with toys, so bring the kids!
  • 80% of our team are parents, so we understand the challenges of raising a family.
  • We will talk to your teen driver about the responsibilities of driving.
  • We will review your account with you every two years to make sure you have the right coverage at the best value.
  • We support the local schools by donating books, so your kids may be reading one our donated items!
  • We love to work with other families like you. For every referral you send us, we will give you a Starbucks gift card. Just our way of saying thank you!
  • We also love fur family members. Come in and get treats for your pets when you stop by.
  • You can see pictures of our family on our website!
  1. Now Make This Visual

Next, you need to pull it all together. Your images, your social media, everything has to target the 30-something year old with a family. This requires a designer who can build you a brand. The best thing you can do is find a freelance designer with whom you build a lasting relationship. They can help you with your website, logo, social media images and more.

  1. Take It to the Next Level

You need to support your brand with processes and procedures in the office. Going back to our young family, you may want to support your brand by doing the following:

  • Have agents connect with clients on social media and have them comment on posts.
  • Wear logo apparel at school events.
  • Note in your management system kids’ names, birthdays and pet names. Send out cards as needed!
  • Encourage family pictures throughout the office.
  • Post tips and tricks to help families on social media.
  • Write blogs on topics that may impact a family’s insurance.
  • In inclement weather, send out an email blast with tips.

The days of just talking about our products are behind us. Your brand needs to talk about the problems you solve for your specific market. Don’t make it about you and your products. Make it about your target market and your solutions to meet their insurance needs. Stand out, and be a bit different!

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