Today's Viewpoint: A MarshBerry Publication

Brand Building Through Differentiation

In a Time of Crisis: Be the Architect and Deliver on Your Value Proposition

When one thinks about organizations that have built a sustainable brand image in the marketplace, companies often cited include Apple, Google, Mercedes, Nike and Microsoft. Within the insurance industry, well-known brand name firms include Allstate, GEICO, State Farm and Travelers. These firms successfully invoke positive brand perceptions by consistently delivering quality products and experiences with customers to differentiate themselves from the competition as a trusted company of choice.

During a time of crisis, however, should an organization invest time and effort to build or hone its brand? Will it be more difficult as firms are relegated to communicate via email, phone and video chat? MarshBerry believes the answer is an unequivocal ‘Yes.’ During times of radical change, clients and prospects appreciate firms that are authentic and focused on providing concrete, valuable information that helps firms navigate complex business problems in real-time. It is the companies that understand client needs and stand out front to help solve problems or help them seize opportunities that will be remembered and associated as a firm they can trust and turn to for advice. Furthermore, during today’s economic and social hardship, many firms do not even know the right questions to ask, let alone where to find answers. Firms that bring their knowledge and insight to help clients focus on key business drivers, compartmentalize the unknown and break through the clutter of information overload will rise above the crowd.

Differentiation Matters

One of the easier ways to achieve greater mind share among clients and prospects is to differentiate your value proposition.

  • First and foremost, know your target audience and understand their business.
  • Differentiate on knowing how your products and services help solve a business problem and/or create an opportunity for them – connect to acquisition or cross-sell objectives.
  • If you offer one or more customized insurance coverages that are reasonably priced, make certain to remind your clients why they have chosen to purchase these products.
  • If you have prospects that may only tangentially understand your customized offerings, use this time to explain or reintroduce their value (especially when prospects may be seeking a business reason to be distracted from other issues).
  • If you routinely interact with your clients to drive an image of superior customer service, double down on those efforts, and be there more now and when it matters most, as clients will remember your efforts.
  • Provide valuable insights into areas in which you possess specific knowledge or expertise.
  • Raise questions such as “What if social distancing becomes a permanent part of the new norm?” Try to examine how such a new environment could affect a client’s business activities such as their restaurant, theater, plant, or operations. You may not have all the answers but opening the dialogue will help them consider implications for how their revenue, expenses, and overall economic models may be forced to radically change.

Be Specific

When sharing your content in a public forum, four components should be considered to drive differentiation and improve brand equity.

  • Express Competency Via Actionable Items – Make certain you are appropriately articulating concrete steps or ideas that clients or prospects can translate into actionable items.
  • Focus Your Message – Do not try to “boil the ocean.” Instead, express simple messages that can be used by specific clients, in specific circumstances, to make that message more legitimate, believable and helpful.
  • Pre-Determine a Delivery Timeline – By sketching out how often, and to whom you are delivering precise messages, you should be able to generate a more impactful overall message.
  • Build Connectivity Between Topics – Have a common thread across messages and connect proprietary or customized products or services to this differentiated message. Your thought leadership can impact both existing clients and new prospects. This impact is even more effective if the message is delivered in a series of emails, blogs, phone calls or video chats. As such, avoid the impulse to post random thoughts that are likely to have only minimal or moderate impact.

By raising business issues and providing differentiated solutions, your firm is offering thought leadership, both on insurance matters and business operations during times of change. Such conversations and concepts are one way for insurance brokers to elevate themselves from transactional expert to trusted adviser.

These conversations may require additional efforts on your part to research content to aid in these discussions, but it is worth it. Done properly, this strategic planning will begin to build in clients’ or prospects’ minds that your firm is a trusted brand that delivers high-quality products and services. Articulating your value proposition and creating unique and differentiated ways to engage with clients and prospects will build positive brand equity. Be the Architect of your firm’s brand perception in the market.

If you have questions about Today’s ViewPoint or about how to differentiate your firm in today’s marketplace, please email or call John Wepler, Chief Executive Officer at 440.392.6572.

Investment banking services are offered through MarshBerry Capital, Inc., Member FINRA Member SIPC and an affiliate of Marsh, Berry & Company, Inc. 28601 Chagrin Boulevard, Suite 400, Woodmere, Ohio 44122 (440.354.3230)

Contact John Wepler
If you have questions about Today's ViewPoint, or would like to learn more about how MarshBerry can help your firm determine its path forward, please email or call John Wepler, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, at 440.392.6572.

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