Building Customer-Based Brand Equity – A Guide for Insurance Companies

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Building a brand with strong equity is every business owner’s dream but they will need focused strategies along the way. The biggest challenge, perhaps, for insurance industries is to find a point of differentiation. Even though the insurance industry is consumer-centric, it’s hard to find branding differentiation in a time when search engine algorithms are killing brand reputations. Most brands find and work on emotional connections but in the case of the insurance industry, it’s really hard to claim that you offer the coverage that just isn’t available elsewhere, and mean it.

How can an insurance agency show it visually when they know that:

  • The industry is highly fragmented.
  • They get high behavioral loyalty but low attitudinal loyalty.
  • Consumers have low emotional connection to insurance brands.
  • The major point of brand differentiation is design with subliminal messages which is highly under-utilized by insurance companies.

So what makes a strong brand? How do you build one? We know for a fact that all types of insurance are customer-centric. To answer those questions, you need to develop a customer-based brand equity model (CBBE).

In essence, this model provides a unique perspective on what brand equity is, and how it should be developed, managed, and measured. Aside from this basic premise, the CBBE model establishes that the power of a brand lies in what the customers have felt, heard, or seen about a brand over a period of time. Hence, the model involves both brand strategies and customer perception.

The four crucial steps of brand building include:

  • Brand Identity – Who are you?
  • Brand Meaning – What are you?
  • Brand Response – What do I think or feel about you?
  • Brand Relationship – What about you and me?

An insurance brand needs to answer these questions in the exact same order for obvious reasons. Like any other brand, an insurance company has to establish its identity and meaning, and the response cannot be elicited unless the right meaning has been developed. Furthermore, the brand should already have a customer-based brand equity pyramid.

First Level of Pyramid

Brand salience influences the formation and strength of brand associations that make up the brand image, and provide meaning to the brand.

Second Level of Pyramid

Brand performance relates to the ways in which the product or service attempts to meet the customers’ more functional needs.

Brand imagery is how people think about a brand abstractly rather than what they think the brand actually does. Thus, imagery refers to more intangible aspects of the brand which is why insurance brands can use it to their maximum advantage.

Third Level of Pyramid

Consumer judgment refers to the customer’s personal opinions and evaluations regarding a brand. How they relate performance to judge a product or service. For insurance companies, the customers rank them according to their reliability and timely service.

Consumer feelings are the emotional responses of the brand’s customer base. It could be a feeling of warmth like in case of family insurance where you have a peace of mind that your family is covered. Or a feeling of security that you get from property or life insurance.

Fourth Level of Pyramid

Brand resonance is what you are aiming for here. Can you characterize your customers based on their psychological bond with the brand? If yes, then you can expect repeat purchases. However, this is called behavioral loyalty and you will need attitudinal attachment to proceed to the next level and achieve brand resonance where the customers feel that they are in sync with the brand.

For a more detailed guide, view the Presentation.

Mehreen is a social media buff and design blogger, who keeps a keen eye on graphic design trends. She has a passion for experimenting with design ideas, and wouldn’t mind if it means going out of her way to find them in Timbuktu. Follow her on twitter for daily inspirations and findings.

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