Mutual Brand Program
What is meant by the word “brand”?
Simply put, a brand is to a company, product, or service what a reputation is to a person. While others decide what our reputation or brand is, we can do things to help shape those perceptions.
How does a company determine what its brand is?
For a brand to be credible, what is devised and communicated must be perceived and accepted by the target audience as true. In developing the new mutual brand, we began the process by conducting extensive research to assess the awareness, knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes our target audiences have of the property/ casualty insurance industry in general, and any different attributes of mutual insurance companies in particular. We surveyed members, and commissioned separate national surveys of consumers and independent agents. Focus groups with each of these stakeholder groups were also held.
What did the results of this research show?
A First, it showed there are tremendous opportunities for mutual insurers, regardless of size, to improve their reputation and better position themselves in the marketplace. That’s because a vast majority of consumers are especially responsive to what we call our brand essence: “we serve policyholders, not shareholders.” It is this one phrase that captures the single distinct quality of the mutual segment of the industry (and therefore all mutual insurance companies). The research also found that this brand essence is credible and has a positive, emotional impact.
What makes the mutual brand essence have an emotional impact?
Today’s consumers instinctively understand that in a non-mutual company, there is an inherent tension in attempting to simultaneously satisfy the demands of shareholders and meet the needs of policyholders. They also understand that, in the insurance context, when you take the shareholder out of that equation it automatically puts the policyholder first in everything the mutual insurance company does. As a result, insurance is no longer just a commodity or another transaction; it is about relationships and the quality of the relationships. Because relationships are about people who share a common bond and connect with one another in supportive ways, they are largely driven by emotion – and what people feel instead of what they think is a powerful motivating force.
How can that better position my company with consumers?
While some consumers are driven to purchase the lowest priced commodities, market research consistently tells us that more place a higher value on the quality of a product or the service they receive. That value is enhanced by the quality of the customer experience with the company that offers the product or service – and the reputation of that company is a critical part of that experience. In other words, it’s all about relationships. Because our business structure places the policyholder interests front and center, mutual insurers are better positioned to offer a superior relationship experience that goes beyond the typical policyholder interaction with their insurance company at the point of purchase or adjustment of a claim. In today’s marketplace, consumers are especially looking for the right products, better service, and trusted relationships with businesses that show genuine care and concern for their customers. Mutual insurers who live up to that expectation can be better positioned to take advantage of market environment.
How does my company communicate the mutual brand?
NAMIC’s new Mutual Brand Program makes it easy. Mutual companies that choose to participate in the program pay a low annual fee and receive unlimited access to and use of a variety of resources to communicate their mutual advantages for the next 12 months.
How much would my company pay?
Annual fees are very affordable, and are based on the company’s prior year direct written premium. They range from only $300 a year for DWPs under $1 million to $5,000 for DWPs of more than $50 million. Refer to the Mutual Brand Program Licensing Fee Schedule for details.
What does my company get for this fee?
Professionally designed, written, and produced marketing and advertising resources that are ready to use – a package estimated at $50,000. These resources include print ads, radio commercials, web ads, direct mail postcards, and billboard ads. You will be able to access all of these resources at a special website. All you need to do is select the resources you want to use, insert your company and/or agent information in the designated space, and it is ready for the local newspaper, radio station, website, or mail shop.
What if I need help in deciding which resources would be better for my company?
We can help you make cost-effective choices based on your objective, local market opportunities, and budget. You can request assistance from either the NAMIC public affairs department (which manages the mutual brand program) or Michael Walters Advertising (which is NAMIC’s agency of record for the program). Simply call or email to get advice or questions answered.
How do I get my company started in the mutual brand program?
You will be asked to read and sign a Mutual Brand Participation and Licensing Agreement. This document spells out the terms and conditions for using mutual brand resources, which are trademarked and copyright protected by the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. Refer to the full Mutual Brand Program Participation and Licensing Agreement for complete details. You will be invoiced for the applicable fee, and upon receipt of the payment you will have access to all the program resources for 12 months. Participation renewal will be automatically invoiced on an annual basis.
Posted: Tuesday, September 04, 2012 10:47:34 AM. Modified: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 2:30:04 PM.
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