Know Your Customer, Know Yourself

Imagine for a minute that your agency was a person—what would that person look like to other people? Would it be an energetic young man with an easy smile and casually cool style? Or maybe a confident middle-aged woman with elegant clothing and a tasteful haircut? Or would it be a pleasantly plump grandparent, warm and friendly and full of corny sayings and good advice?

Is the image you imagine the one you want to project? If so, you’re at least part way there when it comes to having a brand identity. If not, or if you have no idea what that person would look like, you’ve got some branding work to do. 

A brand identity refers to how your customers—and potential customers—perceive you. It comprises multiple aspects of your agency: your values and ethics, how you look and sound, and your personality and messaging. All of these factors combined can either attract or repel customers and play a huge factor when it comes to how much insurance you will sell over the course of your career.

To help you hone your brand identity, here are nine questions that can reveal where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow.

1)     What are four to six words that currently describe your insurance agency?

Be realistic versus aspirational. Don’t sugarcoat. If you nail it with a list of all positive qualities, good for you. But more often, your list may be a mix of positive and negative like this: caring, honest, eager, knowledgeable and disorganized. 

2)     What are four to six words that you wish described your insurance agency?

A good brand identity often falls somewhere between reality and perfection, portraying mostly how you already operate but also challenging your agency to reach for something better. Here’s where you get to imagine that. It might be as simple as replacing the word “disorganized” in the list above with “organized.” Or you may have a whole different set of words that you’d rather be known by. Being clear with your ideal vision will enable you to close the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.

3)     What makes you (a) great insurance agent(s)?

Beyond your agency’s descriptors, it’s also good to be clear about what is great about the individual agent(s) at your firm. The answer to this question can often be found somewhere in your answer to the first question. Which one of those words fits you the best? 

4)     Why should someone trust you?

Insurance is all about trust. What makes you trustworthy? Do you have excellent privacy and security features built into your computer systems? Are you always looking for ways to save your clients a few dollars? Do you go the extra mile to follow up when a customer has a difficult insurance claim? Narrowing down specifically why clients can trust you will help you develop messaging that has a ring of truth.

5)     Who is your biggest competitor and what is their brand identity? (You can answer this question multiple times if you have more than one.)

Review their materials online and, if you can, ask one of their customers what they are like to work with. Jot down four to six words that represent how you perceive this competitor. Try to assess them as a prospect would.

6)     How are you differentiating yourself from this competitor?

When a competitor does something really well, it can be an exercise in frustration to go head-to-head with them on their terms. Look instead for spaces they are not in where you can shine. 

7)     Who is your customer now?

If you do an analysis, you’ll probably find some patterns. It could be that you have more clients in a particular age or income bracket or who live in particular zip codes. Try to develop a representative character sketch—what would your Typical Customer see if they were looking in a mirror? 

8)     Who do you want your customer to be?

Is this Typical Customer right for the agency you want to have? Or is there a different Ideal Customer that you’d rather serve instead? Write down specific traits of that Ideal Customer.  

9)     How can you appeal to that Ideal Customer?

What brand identity would speak to this person? What values, ethics, look, sound, personality and messaging will be most enticing coming from your insurance agency? Compare each element to your current brand identity and develop a plan to bring them into alignment.

Growing businesses know who and where they are as well as who they want to be and where they want to go next. Keep in mind that branding changes over time. Coca-Cola’s brand identity started out as a medicinal tonic; now it’s associated with youth, energy and fun. So keep revisiting your brand and don’t be afraid to update it as you expand and grow your agency.

Ready for some new prospects? Hometown Quotes has fresh leads for insurance agents all around the country. Give us a call at 800.820.8921 to learn more.


Brendan Sera-Shriar

Brendan Sera-Shriar is the CMO for Hometown Quotes and a Staff Writer for Hometown University.

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