Industry stories worth telling


In a recent post, I discussed the opportunity for insurance industry companies to use digital channels to differentiate themselves. Here, I’m going to explore how they can do that effectively.

In a word, the key for the insurance industry – indeed, any industry that wants to stand out and engage customers and employees – is storytelling. I’m talking about conveying authentic messages in a way that people will understand and remember.

For anyone who might have seen the original TV show or reruns of “Dragnet,” Detective Sergeant Joe Friday was famous for saying, “All we want are the facts” and in later parodies, “Just the facts, ma’am.” Facts are as important to differentiating a business as they are to a police investigation. The trick is compiling and communicating those facts in a memorable way, helping your audience understand why those particular facts matter. That’s the essence of storytelling.

Insurance industry companies, collectively, struggle with brand differentiation. Carriers all essentially offer a promise to pay — an important offering, to be sure. They often wrap this promise in claims service and other related activities, such as loss control and data access through technology. Insurance agents and brokers similarly have an important core offering – the ability to advise clients and find a home for their risks.


So how can insurance companies, agents and brokers stand out? By telling their story, to as many customers and prospects as they can. Every company has a different story. Some have existed a long time; some are newcomers. Some have grown slowly but steadily by focusing on narrow niches or specialties, while others have grown by leaps and bounds through mergers and acquisitions. Many have values that are part of their stated brand identities, and most are active contributors to charities and community causes. Beyond these facts are lots of other details that make each company unique and different. That’s the gold that insurance industry companies need to mine.

A brand campaign may make a name and logo widely known, but today companies can go much further in building mindshare. Social media channels are one way to converse with customers and listen to what they’re saying matters to them. Video is one of the best ways for an organization to convey its story and show its personality. Mobile technology makes it possible to watch videos in the palm of your hand, virtually anywhere. That’s a powerful channel through which to build connections with the people who need to hear your message.

Does your company have single destination for video content that tells compelling stories about:

  • What your company does?
  • Who its people are?
  • How your team helps customers?
  • Why your people do what they do?

If so, then your company has a significant advantage in the marketplace. Using video programming in one easy-to-find location to tell these sorts of stories gives your organization the opportunity to engage and enlighten not only your own employees but also your customers, prospects and business partners.

Many insurers and risk advisors send alerts to customers about various risks and hazards. Historically, these alerts have come through letters or, more recently, e-mail. Warnings about preventing losses in winter weather are a good example. Property owners in areas with severe weather conditions have long been advised to take special precautions. Burst pipes and excess weight on roofs – for example, ice-over due to poor drainage — can cause costly damage. Why not show customers what they should be doing instead? Video stories about property loss control, past claims nightmares and so on can provide powerful visuals that will stay with customers long after they’ve misplaced a hard-copy letter or forgotten about the e-mail alert.

A recent study published in Forbes ranks the world’s most influential chief marketing officers, who all understand the need to differentiate and be more visible. As Beth Comstock, CMO of General Electric, puts it: “Consumers and businesses have so much information at their fingertips that they can easily become familiar with brands; businesses must be more imaginative when trying to reach consumers, rather than simply promoting their brand … simplicity and speed are imperative for brands.”

Business TV is a great way to help organizations convey their story with speed and simplicity. What’s your organization’s story?