Bryan Adams of @PhCreative recently wrote a great piece on the insurance brand here. Dare I say it’s an outsider’s perspective on the insurance world, provocatively titled: “Imagine if Insurance Brands Started Marketing Like Red Bull.”
He really got me thinking, and I wanted to share my perspective:
1. This is a hugely exciting idea, with lots of disruption to come, but you could argue that what we’re experiencing is evolution, in the same way that Pixar was an evolution to Disney — Disney is still about. The insurance industry is changing, general insurance quicker than life or health (as general insurance is what most of us see or experience), but all will evolve over time.
2. The insurance industry is one of the oldest; you have to go back to Edward Lloyd in 1688 to see the wonderful tradition of the coffee shops of London and how it all began. In many ways, we are returning to this tradition and bias toward the customer. It’s great to see, but many industries are doing or have done the same. Anyone want to talk about the rise or fall of bank branches?
3. We are steeped in tradition, and like many industries need to have the old guard making way over time to the new guard. We will always have the traditional guys, the new guys and the bleeding-edge guys. From life policy to telematics and so much more in the middle, it’s an exciting space. Many new CxOs are from industries outside of insurance, bringing in new ideas tried and tested in other industries that resonate well.
4. We have some amazing brands in the UK and worldwide from Direct Line, Churchill (yes, the dog), Legal & General (the bowler hat), LV=, Zurich, Allianz, Geico (the lizard), Prudential (the man from the Pru) and so much more, each with its own catchy strap line, just like those guys who are never knowingly undersold — and you know who I mean without even looking it up (for the UK guys, anyway). In fact, I think brands are one of the biggest investment areas over the last few years, and are paying off. We can engage and resonate better with a new breed of savvy consumers with a limited and reducing attention span (regardless of the product or service).
5. Our brand is key (to most folks who care). We are generally trusted, irrespective of the line of business; we are long-term rather than short-term. Can you name the brand if I said:.
- Every day matters
- Drive like a girl
- With you ever step of the way
- Redefining standards
- Where you mean more
- It’s about time.
These brands, to me, say core values, vision, purpose and belief. We are not a sugary soft drink; we are the guys who help when your house is flooded, when your kids have written off the car, who help you through a hospital visit, who keep you well in retirement.
We don’t want to be a sugary soft drink. And we are doing all of this without our customers really ever wanting to engage regularly with us — if they do engage, you know something is changing or, worse, has gone wrong. Apparently we now look at our phone more than 200 times a day. Your insurer, you call perhaps once a year, at best.
You could argue that this makes the brand experience even more important.
As for goosebumps, you are right: The insurance industry doesn’t sell goosebumps.
In days gone by, the insurance provider was there after the event. More recently, insurance has been there with you. Because of technology and brand disruption, insurance will be there ahead of your need — from the crashed car creating a claim, to the water leak in the office block that sensors detect, turning off the mains and notifying the insurer and loss adjuster. When it comes to insurance, I’ll pay extra to know I’m safe and will avoid the goosebumps.