No matter size, market or product, every business today needs a brand. Independent agents included. In an increasingly fast-paced and competitive insurance marketplace, good branding can give your agency the competitive edge it needs to rise to the top. But what exactly is a brand, and how does an independent agency create one? A great brand strategy doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be a living and breathing part of the agency.
What is an Agency Brand?
A brand is how people identify your company and what makes you different from the agency down the street. It is the reason customers come to you for insurance advice. It is the character and qualities they expect from your agency. A brand is what sets you apart; an authentic outgrowth of your agency’s values, goals, and offerings.
How Does a Brand Fit into a Marketing Strategy?
Before creating a marketing strategy for your agency, it is best to have a visual identity established first. The reason is simple. Your brand should be recognizable in every piece of marketing material you present to your audience. Your brand drives what you say and how you say it. It should remain consistent across your marketing platforms.
Who Are You Trying to Reach?
In establishing your brand, one of the first considerations is who are you trying to reach? To define your target audience, think about your ideal client. Who is this person? What are their needs and concerns when it comes to insurance?
For example, think about a couple of the major national carriers. Geico’s brand is focused on cost savings. They are the low-cost provider. Their target audience is budget-conscious shoppers who aren’t looking for anything other than the lowest price for their auto insurance. Liberty Mutual, on the other hand, has developed a brand based on quality. They have built a brand on the idea of doing the right thing. Their tagline, “Responsibility, What’s Your Policy?” imparts the message well.
Understanding your target customer is a critical piece of the brand building. Drill down as deep as you can when it comes to defining your audience. Ask yourself the following:
- What are their concerns about insurance and financial planning?
- What do they do for a living?
- What is their socio-economic status?
- What motivates them to purchase insurance?
The more you know about your customer, the better you will be able to speak their language.
What is Your Agency’s Mission?
There is a reason every business plan contains a mission statement. It is the guiding light and principle of an agency. It is the ”why” of your brand. Your mission statement should reflect your agency’s passion. What drives your agency to do what it does? Maybe you are passionate about educating your clients about insurance and financial risk. Perhaps you run a commercial industry and have a passion for helping small businesses succeed.
Either way, identify your agency’s mission. It is the nucleus around which you build your brand.
Launching Your Brand
Once you have a firm grasp on your brand, it’s time to integrate it into your marketing strategy and promote it! Here is a roundup of exactly what you need to launch.
Know your agency’s voice: Your agency’s voice should reflect your brand. If your brand includes supporting small business owners with risk management advice, your voice will be more business oriented.
If you are a personal lines agency specializing in a local area, your voice may be jargon-free and relatable to families. A brand voice can be service-oriented, technical, conversational or friendly. Select a voice that comes naturally to your agency and follows from your mission.
Create a tagline: A tagline is vital in promoting your brand. It is a concise sentence that illustrates your agency mission. It can be serious, heartfelt or humorous. Once you have your tagline, be sure to include it across your marketing channels.
For example: At Agentero, our tagline ’Grow your agency with happy clients’ expresses our mission. We provide technology to help independent agents grow their agencies and digitally serve their clients, that means: better customer service = happy clients. It is short and concise.
Templates and design: Every piece of marketing material that comes from your agency, must be identified as belonging to you. Color schemes, fonts, and logo placement should be consistent throughout all marketing channels.
Integrate your brand: The best branding is incorporated into your agency heavily. Your brand should be reflected in everything from your business cards to how you answer your phone. Take advantage of every opportunity to showcase your brand.
Train your staff: Every team member should be aware of your agency’s brand and be able to articulate it. A brand should be part of your agency’s culture.
Keep Your Brand Consistent
The work of branding never stops. Once you’ve created your agency brand, the job is to make sure it is reflected in everything your business does. Every communication your audience receives, whether it’s through voice, image or print should illustrate your brand.
Creating an agency brand may require some soul searching, but once it’s defined, it is the basis on which your marketing campaign is built. Build your brand by grasping your mission and your customer and watch your customer base grow.
At Agentero, we deeply believe in the combination of the trusted advisor and technology to grow your independent insurance agency with the happiest clients. Agentero offers a mobile app for your policyholders, giving them easy access to your agency on their mobile devices. And therefore, allowing you to optimize your book of business and improve the customer experience for your clients. Grow your agency with happy clients!