- Define yourself - Who are you and what do you want to be? I know this may sound like a weird question, but it is an extremely important one to ask yourself and your employees. If you want to tell customers why you are different, you need to have something meaningful to tell them. Start by thinking about what makes your company unique. What do you do better than everyone else? Is it service, reliability, trust, etc.? Find that one or two things and stake your claim to it.
- Talk with customers - What do your customers want and need? How well do you know your customers? What are they looking for (products/services)? I have heard the following statement from several marketing consultants over the past few years, “You can want to be the best ‘blue’ company in the world, but if everyone wants a ‘red’ company, it doesn’t matter how good of a blue company you are.” I think this statement does a good job in emphasizing the need to be meaningful and relevant to your customers. Give them what they want not what you think they want.
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate – Once you know yourself and your customers, communicate like crazy, but remember to do so consistently. Why do we all know Nike’s tagline, “Just Do It”? Because they hit us with it over and over and over again. Good communications are about consistency, relevance and impact. Achieve all three of those and you will reap the benefits.
- Deliver – Once you make the promise of your brand through your communications, you must now deliver on it. And delivering on that promise translates into everything you do…what your service level is like, what your retail office looks like (is it clean, dirty, welcoming), how your employees act, etc. You can’t just “talk the talk” in this business…it really comes down to “walking the walk” and delivering for your customers. That is how great reputations and companies are built.
The last thing I would add to the above items, is to look for the things around you that you can leverage in your communications that are complementary to who you are as a company. The best way I can explain this is through a recent interaction we had with an agent of ours. This agent told us about a recent call he received to post a bail bond. The woman on the phone had never done anything like this before and she was very nervous and unsure to say the least. Our agent calmly began to explain to this woman that his bail bond agency was part of a network of other agents that wrote for the industry’s oldest and largest bail bond insurance company, AIA. He then directed her to our website and explained that we had over 176 years of experience through our family of bail bond insurance companies. Ultimately the agent was able to put the woman at ease and write the bond. When I first heard this story, it really got me thinking about the role that a bail surety can play in the marketing of bail bonds to consumers. As much as we are in the background, our brand is an asset to our agents and how they potentially can differentiate themselves in the market. At the end of the day, that really is something special and something that fully represents what is behind the paper at AIA. I would love to hear your comments.