Your Community, Your Insurance Agency Brand

5thMar. × ’14

What is it that distinguishes your insurance agency from alternatives like direct marketer GEICO?  One answer, for most independent insurance agencies, is that your business is part of the fabric of the community in which you are located.  Whether or not you think about it, for most agencies, this locality and community membership is an important brand component.  The economic and psychic health of your community affects the fortunes and quality of life of all community residents and businesses.  But how do you show the concern your agency business has for your community, and how do you demonstrate what your agency is doing to further the well-being of your town or neighborhood?  Many agencies contribute to charitable causes or volunteer employee time to Habitat for Humanity.  But there are other, more creative and impactful opportunities to show clients, partners and others how your business is dedicated to making your community a better place.

Several years ago, I attended a conference that featured Scott Adams, the cartoonist behind Dilbert, as a speaker.  Mr. Adams wasn’t always a cartoonist and spent a few minutes talking about

GoFundMe Tanya Ellis-Poss

how he was able to leave his cubicle and desk-bound office job and fashion a successful career as a cartoonist.  He talked about the role of luck in making that transition, noticing a few seconds of a TV commercial or picking a post card out of a pile of junk mail that was relevant to launching a career as a cartoonist.  And then he completely dispelled the role of luck in recognizing his opportunity.  His point, which I think is a valid one for all of us, is that he was simply more aware of opportunities because he wanted to make a career transition.  And awareness of opportunities to demonstrate your insurance agency’s dedication to your community is the first step to a more forceful agency brand.

An example of just such an opportunity presented itself to me just a few days ago.  A friend posted a link to her Facebook page about a fire that burned to the ground  a childhood friends’ parents’ home.  They carried insurance, but not enough to make them whole after the fire.  My friend’s friend started a GoFundMe  account to raise money to help indemnify her parents (donate if you are inclined).  In one respect, GoFundMe is functioning like insurance – pooling many small donations to make a larger payment to someone who has suffered a loss.  The knee jerk reaction for an insurance provider might be so dismiss this whole story with a ‘they should have bought more insurance’ comment.  But that doesn’t really seize the opportunity to do something positive for the community and make that community commitment tangible.

What if your insurance agency promoted this fund with your insurance agency clients through the several communication channels available to you, like social media and email?  What if your agency actually started the fund, made a meaningful seed donation and then promoted the fund?  Such an act would not only help the family, but it would also accrue to your agency’s brand identity as a vital member of your community.

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