Covid-19 exacerbated long-simmering issues in the insurance industry, in particular around the challenges for organizations to create a clear value proposition and meaningful differentiation to actually stand apart from the competition. A brand identity that delivers both employee and customer value as well as go-to-market performance has often proved elusive for many players in the sector. 

Instead, many insurance organizations relied on catchy advertising campaigns with fun human and animated characters, cut-rate pricing tactics or other zero-sum strategies that avoided answering a critical question for any business – what is the clear, differentiated product or service we offer our customers that gives us a competitive, sustainable advantage versus our peers?

Unique headwinds

To be fair, the insurance sector doesn’t have it easy. Viewed suspiciously by consumers, heavily regulated by a jumble of state-by-state guidelines and with a largely commoditized marketplace that challenges differentiation, it’s no wonder that insurance is a complicated business that often has to resort to tactics like price wars or flashy and expensive ad campaigns to gain traction. 

Web-like interrelationships among various stakeholders in the sector — brokers, legacy carriers, reinsurers, specialty lines and now a new crop of insurtech startups further complicate this rocky terrain. The result? A confusing patchwork of key players all struggling for a voice in the din, as well as an inconsistent customer experience especially given the nature of the agent/channel delivery system, results in poor retention and renewal rates combined with the natural inertia inherent to what for many remains a low-interest, low-involvement purchase.

Large personal lines carriers, for example, for the most part differentiate on the personality of their brand solely through their advertising. On the other side, many new insurtech platforms also may lead with their digital experience but subsequently struggle with the lack of human interaction or a clumsy handoff to live support when necessary. 

Here are several basic steps for sustainable brand development success for carriers and insurtechs:

Take care of the basics

From the precision of brand messaging to the inspired visual identities skilled designers provide, a pragmatic approach to brand development helps drive differentiation and competitive advantage.

But that’s just the beginning. It’s not sufficient to have a tidy mission or vision statement that are words in a brochure or tacked on a wall. Beyond strategy and core assets, organizations must develop messaging to influence specific audiences, create guidelines that lay out exactly what the brand should look and sound like and comprehensive business systems that assure consistency through documents, websites and other marketing collateral.  

Employee experience drives customer experience

Brand is not merely an external manifestation for customers and the market. Brand and organizational culture are inextricably interwoven as well. Customer experience is a direct outcome of employee experience, which is why it’s so important to build strategies and initiatives around aligning and enhancing employee experience.

These days, customers are paying more attention to doing business with companies that align with their values. Despite technological innovations, they’re doing business with people. Imbuing outside marketing with a vibrant, clearly defined corporate culture helps build ongoing human rapport with clients. Sharing not only the values and goals of the organization but also the motivations and aspirations of the people behind it helps assure that employees and customers share common ground and goals. 

There are different leverage points to align employees, partners and stakeholders throughout the insurance industry ecosystem around your value proposition:

  • Lead by example and provide leadership development programs across your organization, particularly to help nurture historically underrepresented groups;
  • Establish frequent and consistent communications to assure your teams are informed, educated and engaged;
  • Create reward and recognition programs to reinforce expected behavior and  successes;
  • Design in-office or remote workplace environments that reinforce your brand and culture while providing your teams the resources, tools and amenities to maximize productivity and performance;
  • Evaluate your organizational structures, systems and processes to create working methodologies conducive to optimal individual and team performance;
  • Introduce hallmark celebrations and unique symbolic representations that reinforce your desired brand and culture experience and galvanize the organization around Shared Purpose.

Drive new revenue and growth

Brand, marketing and culture-building initiatives ultimately must advance business objectives. Systematizing the process of turning products and services into profits requires critical concentration. 

These include tactical initiatives to:

  • Align sales and marketing to continuously improve commercial execution and create a virtuous cycle from lead generation to product delivery;
  • Identify target companies and engage them with personalized conversations;
  • Establish integrated digital and traditional marketing programs that build lasting relationships;
  • Bridge the gap from marketing communications to commercial operations, sales enablement and related cross-functional collaboration; and
  • Drive revenue and growth through email campaigns, social media, PR, advertising, go-to-market strategies and other outreach. 

Take advantage of proven methodologies that help organizations in the insurance space stand out from the crowd, attract and retain great talent that supports a growing customer base and advance go-to-market strategies that result in driving organizational performance. Ensure that your organization transforms from laggard, to leader.

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