Branding & Positioning

Capitalizing on “Considered Consumption”

“Considered consumption” describes the growing trend for clients to take into account more than just the traditional benefits of a brand, which are derived from its functional attributes. Today’s clients expect “higher order” values – they are looking for insurance agencies and risk management consulting firms that embrace transparency, deliver quality, and harness the power of influence.

  • 91% are influenced by “how good” an organization is before making a  purchasing decision
  • 90% are influenced by how an organization behaves toward its current customers and local community
  • 79% only “buy products that appeal to their beliefs, values, or ideals.”[1]

In the past, business owners and consumers typically shopped around, seeking coverage for their specific type of business or need.  Premium prices and retention levels were major factors that drove their purchase decisions.  Today, every business decision says something about them as a Considered Consumer.

This gives you the opportunity to apply the Six Systems of Power and capitalize on this important societal trend.

Considered ConsumptionThe #1 trait Considered Consumers seek in placing their business with an agency is TRANSPARENCY.  They will thoroughly research the agency, you, your carriers, and your employees.  Then they’ll look at your competitors!  They use social media and search engines to dig deeply to uncover any bad practices and unethical or offensive behavior.

Considered Consumers blog, post to Facebook, and tweet regularly about bad practices they have uncovered. For example, they post about what they consider excessive expenditures or wastes of money for agency-wide retreats or carrier events.

Considered Consumers will choose to give their business to a firm with an excellent professional reputation in their community and in the industry.

bad social mediaA producer from a small local agency lost a long-time client when she saw that he was bad-mouthing one of the recent presidential candidates on his personal Twitter account.  In another situation, an agency owner was criticized and lost several large accounts for aggressively promoting his religion on his personal Facebook page.  Remember – Considered Consumers are researching more than just your business pages and website!

Striking the right balance and maintaining moderation on social media sites and community activities will keep you on good terms with Considered Consumers.

What other best practices can you implement to ensure your clients renew or prospects turn into clients?

Make sure that the social media site for your agency, your personal site, and your employees’ sites are community-focused, positive, and never controversial.  While consumers want to see that you and your agency are actively involved in the community, they make not feel the same way about your religious or political stance.

_____________________

[1] 2012 GfK Roper Consulting research report on Considered Consumption

The 2nd most important value Considered Consumers seek is QUALITY.

Considered Consumers are prepared to compromise, to make a trade-off.  They perceive insurance as a complex financial transaction, and they gravitate towards organizations that understand their needs and suggest the right products and services. While they still want to know that you are dedicated to lowering the cost of risk for their personal and commercial insurance, they also want to trust that you can identify the correct coverage for their home and/or business.

Instead of basing their decision on price, they are looking for a consultative relationship with a respected, financially healthy agency with a good reputation in their community.  They need to know that you understand their business, their industry, and their potential exposures to loss before they trust your coverage recommendations.

A tagline, touting the agency’s unique process, services, resources, stability, outsourced risk management approach, history in the community, and solid relationship with reputable carriers, will draw together the elements of heritage, quality, value, and relationships.

Conversely, a poor LinkedIn profile image can destroy a potential relationship with a Considered Consumer.  Many people think that the image they choose is some sort of individual statement, but they are almost always wrong.

WineOne agency owner’s LinkedIn profile picture shows him wearing a t-shirt and holding a glass of wine, while another shows an owner holding a large fish.  These photos send out all sorts of potentially negative information to the Considered Consumer that the agency owners may not have intended. Instead of showing that they are formed on an intense business relationship, these images communicate non-verbally that they put fun ahead of their clients.

These two agency principals failed to realize that LinkedIn is not the site to post a holiday snapshot, taken in a bar or on a beach.  They should have saved those pictures for Match.com!

Remember, your website, LinkedIn, and Facebook are calling cards to the Considered Consumer, their first point of contact.  When a Considered Consumer sees your picture, you want it to communicate that you are professional, credible, and authoritative.  You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and your photo represents a promise of value to them.

The 3rd most important discovery about Considered Consumers is that they are INFLUENTIAL.  They are more likely to speak about their experience with you and your agency – and more likely to speak frankly online, in person, and in writing about the shortcomings of your agency, your employees, and the experience they received.

49% claim that they go out of their way to tell others about the products and services they really like.

whisperingWhether you like it or not, Considered Consumers are talking about your business.

In 2012, the insurance industry lost $11 billion due to bad customer service.[2]  Considered Consumers tweet when they receive poor attention, have long waits, or are assigned to work with inexperienced representatives.

The most important factors in a satisfying customer experience are:

  • 60% want more competent customer service representatives
  • 47% want convenient communication channels
  • 37% want you to reach out to them proactively
  • 37% want personalized transactions

Overall, Considered Consumers are demanding better customer experience and requesting live, human interaction.  This reiterates the importance of creating a positive image and experience for your clients, especially in terms of the messages that they are communicating to others about you and your agency.

Making improvements in these areas can mean a better bottom line for your agency.

In today’s world of instant information, you don’t really have a choice but to embrace the values of the Considered Consumer.  When you focus on serving your clients as a consultative, diagnostic, results-oriented “trusted business advisor,” Considered Consumers will feel good about working with you, and give you a competitive advantage.


[2] KISSmetrics, “The Cost of Bad Customer Service” survey

You may also like…