--If an existing brand does not represent the true value an agency has to offer, a rebrand could be in order. But it should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision, should be allowed enough time to take shape, should draw on ideas from the whole team and should be continually monitored based on key customer metrics.
When you first thought about opening an insurance agency, you likely visualized a name and maybe a logo as part of the business's identity. From the beginning, you considered how your business would be perceived by consumers, how they would interact with it and how it would contribute to your reputation. Whether consciously or not, you were thinking about your agency brand.
Over the years, an agency’s brand evolves with its service offerings and the world around it. Today, 70% of purchase decisions are based on emotion, according to a study by Gallup, so branding that consumers like and relate to emotionally can be a revenue generator. There will come a time when the original brand no longer serves the agency or evokes consumer emotions, and decision makers will consider rebranding to bring new life to the business and realign themselves to fit their client’s needs.
Should you rebrand?
An effective rebrand at the right time can encourage loyalty with existing clients and growth with new ones. Conversely, a rushed, incohesive rebrand can damage the agency’s current book of business and opportunity with new markets or, at best, result in a waste of time.
Take Brinks Home Security’s rebrand to Broadview Security after they were acquired by Broadview in 2009. After failing to consider the long-term brand standing of the Brink’s name, the company lost a large portion of their base clientele. In response, they reinstated the Brink’s name two years later.
Taking a calculated risk that still considers existing clientele is important.
While it is impossible to put a time stamp on when to rebrand, agents should be paying attention to the value their agency brings to the industry. If their existing brand does not represent the true value an agency has to offer, a rebrand could be in order.
Our organization, SIAA, for example, is no longer the organization we were a few years ago because independent agents require a different suite of support than they did when we began 25 years ago. As such, we have chosen to undergo a rebrand that better highlights our offerings for the modern independent insurance agent.
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Take your time
A rebrand should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision. Once the risks have been considered, independent agencies should allot a minimum of six to 12 months to complete the process. If it were to be done in six months, it would require full-time attention. The key is not to rush. Rebranding will require many pivots, and allowing time for these small, detail-oriented tweaks is essential.
Allowing enough time to go through the rebrand process will also let agents better analyze what is working and what is not in the business. A rebrand is not the time to throw everything away and start over.
Agency owners should ensure the business leads with what they do well and consistently. They should consider the agency’s core values and mission statement as well as their agency data, including lead conversions, sales numbers or client retention rates. This data can illuminate what is working with the brand and what needs to be changed. Existing clients stay with their agency for a reaso,n and management would do well to identify those facets of the business and find better ways to spotlight them in the rebrand.
The team knows best
Your team will be your strongest asset in a rebrand. From making preliminary decisions to communicating the final product, agency staff will often have the best insight on perceptions of brand among clients, on areas that can be improved and on legacy aspects to maintain. Agency owners should ensure their team feels welcome to offer ideas and feedback. This way, management can alleviate some of their workload, and the staff will be familiar with the vision when it comes time to reintroduce the agency.
Plan for the follow-through
When the rebrand has been built out on paper and an agency is ready to implement their changes, it will require a commitment from staff to ensure consistency. Agents should be prepared to enforce their new brand guidelines and practices by listening to their staff. Management should monitor how they are interacting with clients or prospects and stay present in email chains and other communications to confirm their approach aligns with the new brand vision. Any identified branding gaps should be addressed with staff to ensure they understand the goal of evolving the brand.
It is crucial that independent agencies know how they are going to measure the success of their rebrand. Agencies should consider data such as lead conversions or client retention rates. Management should track these numbers throughout the rebranding process to have a tangible idea of how the new brand is performing. When the new brand is first launched, agencies might see a small decrease in these numbers before they begin to grow. This is normal, but agencies should remain diligent in monitoring progress.
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Tap into your resources
While a time-consuming process, rebrands need not be excessively expensive. Organizations like SIAA can be a great resource for guidance throughout a rebrand. While SIAA does not offer formal resources for rebrands, we can help connect our members with resources such as Logotournament.com or freelance professionals to assist with various parts of the rebrand process such as content creation and graphic design. Agencies also should consider consulting their network for additional resources or rebrand insights they may have from their own experience.
Rebranding can be a daunting task for any business. Independent agencies might find it difficult to imagine making the time to undergo a rebrand that will bring more value to the industry and their clientele. However, rebranding is a natural and integral part of owning any business, especially one with longevity.
Consider taking a moment to imagine how your agency might benefit from a reintroduction to the world and the new opportunities a rebrand could present.