On this episode of IA Today, we answer the question, “Why is State Farm winning the insurance branding game?”

This was the question asked of me recently by one of the attendees at the Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia, Young Agents Conference. It’s stuck in my mind since that day.

There is no doubt that when it comes to branding, State Farm is winning. One of the attendees even referenced how annoying it is that her five-year-old son will sing the State Farm jingle around the house (because he hears it on TV so often).

As State Farm continues to grow year in and year out, we as independent agents must ask ourselves what they’re doing right and how we can learn to do some of these things in our own agencies.

This video is the beginning of that conversation…

Video Transcript:

Hello, everyone. Ryan Henley here, coming to you with a fresh episode of IA Today and I actually am going to answer questions for all of you that I just received yesterday at the Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia, Young Agents Conference in Virginia Beach. I had the opportunity to do about three hours with them, talking about digital marketing, content marketing, social media, and how agents can harness these tools.

And one of the young agents came up to me during the break and asked me a very interesting question that I think needs to be answered, it needs to be addressed. At least we need to start talking about this and having deeper conversations about how we solve this problem as an industry, and that is why does state farm continue to grow year in and year out despite, you know, the broad understanding among independent insurance agents that we have a better product.

We have more options, we have more availability to things that consumer may need. We can service a customer’s needs over the long term and in a more broader sense, yet every year State Farm continues to grow. And this young agent came up to me and said, “Why is this happening? How do we win? How do we fight back against this?” And my answer was very simple. State Farm is winning because they brand their business.

They brand their business. Consumers know, consumers may even know that what they’re purchasing when they go with State Farm isn’t the best product in the market. They may realize that an independent insurance agent is the better solution.

However, they know exactly what they’re going to get from State Farm, and that is what makes State Farm’s message so powerful, is their consistency. When you go into a State Farm office, whether it’s Denver, Seattle, Alaska or Albany, New York, you know what you’re going to get. You know there’s a standard quality, you know there’s a consistency to the product and how it’s delivered, you know there’s going to an ease of business, you know there’s going to be a relatively local feel in a professional atmosphere, and you know based on their marketing, that they’re going to get a fair price.

At least that’s what State Farm would have you believe, and that’s what consumers believe, so that’s the truth. That is why State Farm is winning, a consistent brand over and over and over again. Consumers are beat over the head with State Farm branding and they’ve done an incredible job with it, and it’s why they continue to win. We as an industry, we independent agents, must look in the mirror and start to think about how we’re branding our business.

If we’re not thinking about building a brand, if we’re just out there hunting for business or just waiting for new referrals to come in and we’re comfortable with that, we’re going to continue to get beaten by a company, by State Farm and these other directing captives that are doing such an amazing job branding. You can’t fault them for how good they are at branding their business. They’re incredibly good at branding their business, and I think that it’s time we stop complaining about that and start fighting back.

I think Trusted Choice,┬áthe brand, is a huge part of that solution. You know we all need to work harder at getting the Trusted Choice message out there and learning and developing ways to integrate it deeper into our agencies, and maintaining that individual entrepreneurial attitude which makes independent agencies such a powerful resource for their communities. But at the same time, starting to develop some sort of brand that transcends our industry and gives consumers that comfortable feeling that they know at least there is a minimum standard of quality that they’re going to get when they walk to an independent insurance agency.

I’m going to jump back down off my Soap Box now. I hope that at least something in this video got you thinking about your brand. What is your brand? I want to know.

If you’re watching this on YouTube or you’re watching it on Agency Nation, let me know what’s your brand, how do you develop that brand? How do you get your brand in front of your potential consumers in your local market or in your niche? I want to know because these are the kind of things that we have to share amongst each other, because as an industry, we can’t just be little islands.

We have to work to a certain extent as an industry to create some form of minimum brand that consumers know when they walk into your agency, that it’s going to be something that they’ll be comfortable with. I really want to know how you market your brand. Leave that in the comments. Share this with anyone else that you know does a great job of branding and see if they’ll comment at it as well. With that, I’m going to leave you.

This has been another episode of IA Today. As always, sponsored by TrustedChoice.com, the independent insurance industry’s premier resource for personal and commercial lines lead generation, and also great educational resources like this show. I look forward to seeing you next time.

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Thank you and Good luck,

Ryan Hanley

Your Turn

How do independent insurance agents fight back in the branding game? What types of branding activities do you find valuable in your own agency?[/special]

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