4 Things I’ve Learned About Branding from Agents

I find independent agencies to be fascinating brand laboratories. They are venerable faces on an otherwise fairly faceless, distant insurance industry. They are well liked by their constituents—sort of like how Americans view government (“I hate Congress, but like my congressman”). 

And sometimes they’re their own worst enemies when it comes to seizing branding opportunities. 

As I’ve watched agents over the years, I’ve observed a few concepts and ideas: 

1. Don’t overdo continuing education at the expense of communications. To be sure, insurance contracts are dense and complex, but there is more to playing this game of success. All the insurance knowledge in the world means nothing if you can’t communicate with constituents. Check the E&O records: Most claims originate from basic client-relations issues. (“They never told me I needed that endorsement.”) 

Pursuing insurance designations as trophies for the agency and communicating well with prospects and clients are not mutually exclusive. I’ve met some incredibly smart insurance geeks who also understand how to keep it simple, conduct written risk management checklists, explain things patiently, etc. 

2. Young agents are the future. (Duh, Peter.) But the future can be now if you can hire them and get out of their way. Provide some direction, some accountability and some vision—even if you have to swallow some pride or take a deep breath. They’ll do things differently than you’ve done—so what? That’s life. Younger folks will offer a lot to freshen up the brand. 

3. The brand called “you” is as important as the agency’s brand. Smart young agents already know this. The combination of a strong individual (the producer) and a strong entity (the agency) is powerful. 

Who knows where the online world is headed, but in this nutty environment, you have to pay attention to you, the individual, every bit as much as the firm to which you hitch your wagon. 

Idea: If you haven’t done so already, grab your name as a URL (e.g. petervanaartrijk.com). If you don’t know what to do with it, point it to your bio on your company’s website. Or have it redirect to your Facebook or LinkedIn page. 

4. Clean up the office to attract the best and brightest. Where you work is as important as anything for your key brand ambassadors—the employees. Is it time for an office overhaul? Check this out for some ideas:

http://aartrijk.com/2012/04/extreme-makeover-agency-edition/#more-8400

Peter van Aartrijk (peter@Aartrijk.com) is CEO of insurance brand firm Aartrijk, which will host Brand Camp in Boulder May 7-9: http://aartrijkbrandcamp2012.com/.

About the Author
Peter Van Aartrijk

Peter Van Aartrijk

Peter van Aartrijk (peter@Aartrijk.com) is CEO of insurance brand firm Aartrijk, which will host Brand Camp in Boulder May 7-9: http://aartrijkbrandcamp2012.com/.

Comments

Resource Center

View All »

Contractors General Liability Coverage 102

What is a prior work exclusion? Which option is right for my client? Why do...

Sign up today to get a 50% matching credit -...

Insurance marketing sometimes seems like it's a game of swings and misses, but we're here...

Guide: 5 Steps to Selling Cyber

Cyber risk and data security is on the agenda of every business owner and executive....

Citation Correlation

Do rigger and signalperson qualifications correlate with the cause of crane and rigging accidents? ...

Complete Guide to Electronic Signatures in Property & Casualty Insurance...

In property and casualty insurance, closing new business quickly is key. Learn how to leverage...

INSTANT ACCESS: Complimentary Sales Closer Questionnaires

Help property owners or managers compare your commercial residential property insurance coverage vs. the competition....

Determining Vacant Property Perils and Valuations

Are your clients fully covered for Vacant Properties? In this economic climate, your insureds may...

Risk Management for Law Firms

This package of 3 concise risk management articles offers straightforward content and practical suggestions law...

Guide: Top 15 E&O Risks-And How To Avoid Them

Accidents happen. But when it's an errors and omissions oversight, that accident can open your...

We'll Show You How to Reach Your Sales Goals

Whether you work alone or have a team of agents working for you, we can...

Agent & Broker Insider eNewsletter

Proven success tips and essential information to help agents and brokers grow their practice – FREE. Sign Up Now!

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.