When you look at and study really successful businesses you invariably find the same three characteristics in everyone of them.
(1) They have a clear and inspiring sense of purpose, passion, and direction, which everyone understands. This acts acts as a reference point for all of your key decision-making.
(2) They give your staff the freedom and authority to do whatever it takes to achieve these aspirations.
(3) They create a climate and culture that enables their employees to succeed.
Since your brand represents everything that your business stands for, it is critical that your employees have the enthusiasm and ability to live the brand, otherwise the customer experience will disintegrate into a mismatch between the company’s stated intentions and actual employee behavior. Each and every employee must understand your insurance agency’s brand..
Having a successful insurance agency brand raises two challenges.
- You have to get your employees to fully understand what it is, and then align their ways of thinking. This sounds easy, but it isn’t – especially if you can’t clearly define and explain your agency’s brand clearly to your team.
- You have to use their capabilities to bring it alive, so that it starts to influence customer behavior. Once you have accomplished that, your brand will be alive and well.
Many businesses seem to ignore the fact that their brand isn’t simply about advertised words, visuals, and images. It’s about the effect that employee behavior and attitude have at the point of every interaction with the customer. Every aspect, whether it’s in person, on the phone, through email, or digital communication, is a critical part of the branding process.
There is already ample evidence of the correlation between employees’ opinions of their business and how they feel about working for and in it. A great example is to look into Apple and its employees: the more they understand about the business’s aspirations (why it exists and where it’s going), the more proactive they are in suggesting new ideas and more innovative ways to communicate with clients and prospects.
The more inspired they feel, because they are working in a climate that encourages and helps them give it their best, they more energetically committed they are to helping the business succeed. It allows them to work with passion, which will allow your insurance agency to grow.
To be really successful, your insurance agency needs both these situations to be in force simultaneously; and there is an effective way of achieving this.
Some businesses believe the answer lies in issuing internal communications to set out the purpose, passion, and direction, and then repeating this at intervals. They may also train managers or sales managers in bringing out the best in their people. Let’s remember one thing though, this type of action doesn’t always happen quickly or smoothly in the beginning. That is because some internal communications don’t engage their employees’ emotional commitment or emotional energy. To engage more rapidly, a person needs to derive learning from an experience in which they have been immersed in.
Employers can opt for events which provide employees with such experiences. They deliberately put employees into a different context or frame of reference, using powerful analogies and managed experiences. Here’s a quick example: an insurance agency (as a whole) is volunteering to feed the hungry and the homeless this Christmas Season, and one of the
agency teammates is a no-show, for whatever reason. That bonding experience is moving for the rest of the team, while for the person who isn’t there, they can’t grasp the emotional commitment because they didn’t experience what the rest of the team did. Through experiences like this one, employees can more swiftly relate to, and understand more of the brand experience, and thus be more aware of how they can directly contribute to strengthening the agency’s brand.
So the question lies in you, the insurance agency owner: Have you laid out what your insurance agency’s brand is? What does your brand stand for?
What employees experience and learn in such events can have an early and profound impact on how quickly the brand is brought to life for your insurance agency. Your insurance agency’s brand is the key to your growth and existence, so invest in it, and get the buy in from your team.