If you have been following our Insurance Brand Development series so far, you may have started to think about what your Brand stands for and what sets it apart. Now, it's time to look outward. After all, if a Brand is built and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? In not-so-distant marketing history, reaching consumers meant connecting through a few channels like a catalog, store visit, customer service line, and radio spot.
However, the number of channels for reaching consumers has rapidly increased in recent years (exploded, really). Think about it: when was the last time you made a purchase decision through a single channel?
It's more likely that your decision was made after being reached through a variety of interconnected “touchpoints,” from social media, to word of mouth, to online research, to comparison shopping in the store.
Savvy marketers have wised up to the fact that Brands have the potential to touch customers at hundreds of points – before the purchase, during the purchase and even after the purchase experience. Consumers are also affected by influencing touchpoints – those that have an indirect impact on Brand perceptions and are often out of the Brand’s control – like word of mouth and social media.
Imagine yourself as an insurance consumer. Pretend your company doesn't exist, and imagine yourself seeking new insurance coverage. What's your first step?
Most likely, you'll opt for a Brand you recognize, a Brand you've come into contact with before, and a Brand you trust. Contrary to what most people think, your contact with a Brand goes well beyond direct advertising. It's every experience that you have with that company. Let's say you're a business owner looking for a new Commercial Lines policy. You could potentially come into contact with an Insurance Agent’s “Brand” in a plethora of places:
- Influencing Touchpoints: You ask fellow business owners and trusted advisors, like your accountant, for a recommendation on where they purchase their Commercial Lines coverage and you look online to learn more about carrier ratings for the companies that you have heard about.
- The Pre-Purchase Experience: You check out the website of local Agents and evaluate how they describe their process to help save money on your Workers’ Comp coverage. Having received ongoing email communications from one particular Independent Agency, you click-through to their website and download a “white paper” on “Seven Ways to Save Money on Workers’ Compensation Insurance.” You like what you read, so you call the Agent who has been sending you communications.
- The Purchase Experience: After a pleasant conversation with the Agent, you agree to a meeting at your business to do a walk-through. The Agent arrives on time for the meeting and you are impressed with her knowledge of workplace risks. Over the weeks that follow your download of the “white paper,” you receive more email communications, including a checklist on reducing on the job accidents. You call the Agent’s office and are greeted by a friendly receptionist who transfers your call. You discuss the scope of the engagement and ask the Agent for a quote. The quote process goes well and you agree to bind the coverage.
- The Post-Purchase Experience: Within a few days of binding, you get a call from a Loss Control Specialist who sets up an appointment to come to your facility. Your Agent delivers your policy in a well-organized binder that cohesively ties to all the branded materials you have already seen from the Agent. When you receive your invoice, everything is as you expected it to be. Months later when you have the unfortunate need to make a claim, your Agent immediately brings in a Claims Specialist to help expedite your claim. Life is good.
All of these (and many more) are important Brand touchpoints. Even the invoice you receive weeks later is a touchpoint.
Brand Touchpoints: Purchasing Insurance Coverage
Yes, it's simple. But stepping into consumers' shoes is an exercise too many of us neglect when marketing. We forget to become our own customers–with real, day-to-day concerns–and in the process, we lose sight of the most valuable touchpoint opportunities. Each one is a chance to present your Brand and what you stand for. That’s why we work with clients to conduct in-depth touchpoint analyses and help them form cross-functional momentum groups that build and communicate their Brand Distinction effectively at every touchpoint.
When considering your customer touchpoints, remember:
- It's not just about Brand exposure/pre-purchase touchpoints; it's also about the purchase experience and post-purchase opportunities for recurring loyalty and Brand advocacy. Don't get so caught up in getting new customers that you forget to keep the ones you already have.
- All of your touchpoints must consistently reinforce your Claim of Distinction and Evidence of Performance. This critical fact is the heart of why Brand Development (the Hult way) and Integrated Marketing are so effective.
Brand = PROMISE + PERFORMANCE
Keep those customer touchpoints in mind. In our next post, we'll discuss how they, when combined with your Claim of Distinction, can become the common thread that aligns your Business Strategy with your Brand Strategy and your People Strategy.
Want a thorough analysis from a professional perspective? Let’s touch base and I will put the Hult Team’s experience to work for you. We can connect at 309-671-8191 or email@example.com, and together, we can create a better focus on your Brand.