September 5, 2018
Logos: Insurance Against Boredom
by Lewis Fein
If insurers use the same words and wield the same pallet of primary colors, they will be too generic to be memorable and too guarded to make a sale.
If the insurance industry connotes feelings of safety, if people feel safe enough to feel bored talking about insurance, if it is better for insurers to be staid than sensational, too much safety can also be a bad thing. That is, boredom is not a brand-building device. It is an effect of safety, not its cause. It is a luxury, because most people who have no insurance—including the poor—cannot afford to feel bored when all they feel is hungry or scared.
What does this mean to insurers, whose principal aim is to sell policies, while their initial priority is (or should be) to increase their visibility among the very people who will buy insurance?
If names and logos blur, and clarity succumbs to confusion, if insurers use the same words and wield the same pallet of primary colors, they will be too generic to be memorable and too guarded to make a sale.
See also: Awareness: The Best Insurance Policy
The best way to solve this problem is for an insurer to be creative without compromising its reputation for caution. A great logo is the answer to this challenge. It is less expensive than increasing awareness through advertising or repeating catchphrases—with more advertising—only to discover a phrase neither catches the attention of consumers nor enters the vernacular of our fractured culture.
I am certain about these things, not because science substantiates my feelings, but because it takes time to develop a logo that elicits feelings that scientists can record but not induce among human beings.
We are too unpredictable for scientists to devise a formula that yields consistent results. Leave the science of insurance to actuaries and let artists actualize the appeal of individual insurers.
According to students and professors at the Parsons School of Design, as well as graphic designers at DesignMantic, great logos are icons. They represent values and ideals. They symbolize virtues worth attaining and prove their worth in the real world.
The positive feelings people have about these logos require reinforcement. Put another way, it can take years to build a brand—and the best brands know they cannot rush what they cannot control, which is time itself—but it takes only one misstep to ruin a brand’s relationship with consumers.
See also: Lessons From 3 Undisrupted Brands
The logo is a lodestar. It is recognizable, outshining a constellation of competitors. If it looks the brightest, and makes people feel warm and safe, it is because of the work an insurer does and the service its agents provide.
Designers give the logo its form, but an insurer is responsible for its functionality.
What is missing, today, is not quality service, but a serviceable logo. Serviceable is no substitute for excellence, but I would rather have a logo that works, albeit infrequently, than one that is a disservice to the hard work insurance agents do.
Now is the time for insurers to embrace success.
Now is the time for them to look successful.
Now is the time for them to have logos that succeed.