If you’re planning to refresh your agency’s brand to make it stand above the competition, consider following these five guidelines.
Legacy brands are virtually synonymous with the insurance industry. I’ve worked with many agencies through the years with a proven track record of serving their communities that wonder why their marketing isn’t paying off. After some research, we often find they’ve forgotten a key element in their marketing plan: data.
The integration of “art” and “science” is where the magic really happens. While art aligns with traditional marketing concepts, science cannot be overlooked. Consider a brand solely focused on the founding fathers of a 200-year-old agency. That approach is unlikely to translate to “value” for today’s customers—and no value means no sales.
Understanding what resonates with people—your employees, customers, prospects and more—is the key to evolving a legacy brand into one that is relevant in today’s marketplace.
It’s been more than a year since Selective relaunched its 94-year-old brand to the praise of our many constituents. But it wasn’t just luck that made it successful. It was data and a carefully crafted plan with plenty of learning along the way.
If you’re planning to refresh your agency’s brand to make it stand above the competition, consider following these five guidelines that helped steer our brand journey:
1) Have a plan. A full brand relaunch isn’t something to be taken lightly. The effort, from start to finish, can span more than a year. Having a strong plan in place with the agility to make changes as needed is crucial to achieving milestones and drive the desired business impact.
2) Forget personal bias. Changing a legacy brand can be like trying to turn an ocean liner—you can’t pivot your brand on a dime. You may face internal resistance from the tide of personal emotion affiliated with the old brand, but data and research can be a huge motivator. When people see the results of studies, it’s hard to argue with the course ahead.
3) Embrace data. If you can’t stand behind the results of the data, your brand promise will crumble. If the data suggests your customers prefer a brand that does “X,” but you can’t deliver it, you can’t authentically live the brand. You must be sure your agency can not only talk the talk but actually walk the walk. Being focused and genuine is key to creating a brand promise, image and voice that you can rally around.
4) Consider all stakeholders. Listen to many different voices throughout your research—including your employees, customers, prospects and other key partners. If employees are drawn to one element that doesn’t resonate with customers, your agency may end up with a brand no one wants to buy.
5) Look ahead. That’s always a good rule of thumb but especially in branding and marketing. Don’t just focus on where your brand has been historically; instead, focus on where the agency is going. Without this forward-looking element, you’ll need to refresh your brand again in months instead of years.
Following these tenets will help you develop a measured, data-driven approach that integrates both the science and art of marketing. By using data insights as the foundation for your agency’s brand, you can have a solid plan that resonates with all stakeholders. The end result? Driving brand awareness, brand preference—and creating a new legacy that will be successful for years to come.
Cindy Heismeyer is vice president and director of marketing at Selective Insurance.