What’s Your Voice?
No matter whether your insurance agency is big or small, niche or just generalist, there’s always going to be a certain way you run it and present it to the world. Your attitudes, mission, and values are all important elements of any business, and it’s essential that you and your team members adopt them to accurately represent your brand.
If you’re going to run a successful agency, you will need a solid brand image, and to create an agency brand guide (also called a branding style guide). This is your personal or agency’s brand personality in written form that you and your organization can refer to and follow. Without it, your social media marketing is like throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping some will stick. This is your roadmap; I call it our agency’s Google Map. This will prove helpful for you, your agency, team members, and your audience. The ultimate goal of a brand guide is to ensure that your brand image and values stay consistent across all social/digital/traditional marketing channels (Facebook, Twitter, Billboards, TV ads, Instagram, Pinterest, email marketing, traditional print, agency business cards, etc.).
If you’re trying to create your own branding style guide for your marketing team that’s clear and consistent, here are a few tips. First, I highly recommend you hire a professional if you can afford it. Most brand guides range from $2500-5k. We hired Agency Appeal because they specialize in the insurance industry.
So now you want to try this yourself—let’s get back to a few tips to help you:
Mission Statement/Values Must be Created
A mission statement is very important: this helps tell others what and who your agency is. It also tells others what it’s all about, what goals it’s trying to achieve, and for whom. Yes, there’s a lot to consider when mapping out your insurance agency values as well, which is why it’s a good idea to brainstorm a list of very important questions you can answer about how your brand will be perceived by the outside world.
Questions to consider when creating your mission statement and values:
- What are your agency goals?
- Who is your target audience and how well do you know and understand their needs?
- How do you want the world to perceive your agency?
- What tone do you want used?
- What language do you want used for your agency brand?
- What is your brand’s purpose?
- How can it help your target audience?
- How can you bring solutions to your target audience?
- What sets you apart from the competition?
- Do you and your agency have promises or guarantees?
- Why would people go to you and your agency over your competition?
- Where do you see your agency in the future?
- What do you hope it looks like?
- If your agency was a car brand, what brand would it be?
- What color car? Why? Is it a two-door or four-door? Does it have a hemi or a simple V6?
Visual Components Matter
You simply can’t have a brand style guide without the visual components that come with it. The world went visual several years ago; it’s time to keep up. When consumers/prospects see your logo or website, you want those consumers to automatically know it’s your agency. A well-planned and designed brand makes it easy to spot your agency from a mile away, and shows people you’re consistent with your brand image. If you’re consistent with that, there’s a very good chance there’s consistency elsewhere in your agency.
There are several main visual components to consider when putting your style guide together.
Logo—Try a clean, fresh, creative look that other agencies aren’t already using. Try to be different. You don’t want your brand to come off as trendy; rather, aim for its look to withstand time and make a professional impression.
Your agency’s color palette matters: Choose a variety of tones and hues that mesh well together, but also stick with your core values. You can look up color schemes to get an idea of which are most attractive together. Look around in the insurance industry. Everyone seems to have blue. Okay, not everyone, but 90 percent of carriers and agencies use some shade of blue. It is very important to keep it under four colors, and keep in mind that color psychology is a very real thing to prospects/consumers.
Typography—be consistent. Choose fonts that are easy to read. You don’t want your prospects squinting or having difficulty reading your text. Our agency sticks to two, but if you want, you can have three at most, making sure they blend well together. This includes the style of any and all contact forms, whether in traditional or digital form on your website or landing pages. You must be consistent.
Imagery/Visuals—You must match your imagery and/or visuals to your color scheme and fonts so your agency brand image is cohesive. It’s most effective when you create all of your own imagery, because you can customize it to your brand look.
After you take your time to use these helpful branding tips and either struggle or have difficulty creating your brand style guide, no worries! Spend the money and hire a professional. It’s worth every penny you invest in it. What I don’t want you to do is just move on with social and digital marketing for your agency without one, because only so much spaghetti sticks to the wall. I want you to have social success and that means having a positive ROI within your marketing strategy. So invest your time, money, and energy wisely in a brand style guide! Happy BRANDING Agents.
Chris Paradiso is one of the most passionate and dynamic agency owners in the insurance industry today. His passion for digital marketing, a strong drive to improve efficiency, and his unwavering dedication to exemplary customer service has led Christopher to build and grow his own agency. His clear vision has helped direct other insurance agencies to push the envelope and find their own success as well.
In 2011 Chris was excited to introduce “Paradiso Presents” a social media marketing program aimed at teaching other agencies how to survive and thrive in today’s complex online marketing world. His innovative marketing solutions have been recognized and implemented into agencies nationwide.
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