Have you noticed that direct writing insurance companies spend millions of dollars to create personalities that potential customers can relate to? The diversity of their characters is astonishing! Their Madison Avenue creations include little green lizards, mustached generals or 1950’s inspired sales clerks with names that drip homespun charm.
Why would they do that? It’s expensive to build advertising icons. According to David Srere of Siegel+Gale, a global strategic branding firm “Building a world-class brand doesn’t happen by chance. It’s a purposeful endeavor that is rooted in the fusion of disciplined, strategic thinking and unencumbered creativity.” Direct writing insurance companies apparently go through that effort because, while price of insurance is a factor, it is only one component of the sales experience. If price were the only thing that people cared about, insurance would be nothing less than a bidding war, with sales going only to the lowest priced policy.
Branding is built right into your independent insurance agency’s reputation. It was created through your participation in your city’s government, your schools and your church. It was built by your family’s deep commitment to the community. Your brand was built reflecting the care you show to your neighbors and customers. It grows with each purchase of Girl Scout Cookies, school calendars or sport jerseys. It is an advantage you’ve earned through a lifetime of consideration for doing things right.
To downplay your agency’s brand and instead rely on a price war with direct writing companies, willing to spend billions on creating a fictitious replica of you, doesn’t make sense! To build websites that rely on online quoting engines, would be tantamount to joining the people who bet millions that they can replace you with a caricature.
For agents to survive and flourish in today’s insurance marketplace, they need to embrace their advantage. They need to understand that price is not the answer to what insured’s are asking. Independent agents need to realize customers are looking for protection and your agency’s brand and reputation is a big part of that package.
Sure, price is a portion of the sale, but it is a small piece. Your customers want to buy the entire package; they want your judgment as to which company would be a good match for their needs. They want your assurance that when it comes time to report a claim, they will be treated fairly. They want to know that your company will be standing with them, like you have for years and years.