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Surprised by Insurance

May 17, 2013

There are many ways to distinguish yourself or your firm in the minds of prospects and customers.

Nationwide Paint Spill

Great service, helpful people, frequent contacts, educational workshops regarding newsletters and so on. But today, I want to talk about the concept of surprise as a distinguishing feature of your brand.

Surprise is often used in auto insurance ads, maybe because auto insurance seems so mundane. Check out this Nationwide ad, where paint has spilled out of a fictitious paint company onto the street and some cars parked below. I think it’s actually problematic as to whether the accident involves automobile coverages or, more likely, the paint company’s premises liability coverage. In any case, it’s a surprising image and the bottom line after the claims adjustment confusion has been resolved is that, after all, Nationwide has you covered. (Covered, get it?)

Surprise can enhance your personal branding, too. Have you ever heard of Scott Ginsberg, otherwise known as “The Nametag Guy”?  Scott’s all-consuming passion is wearing a nametag.  He always wears a nametag — always, no matter where, no matter when. To be sure his name tag is omnipresent, he wears one on every layer of clothing — and if he takes his shirt off, he’s got a nametag tattooed on his chest.  Scott Ginsburg has done as much for nametags as Popeye has for spinach. Even his website is a name tag:

i love lucyIs there something surprising about your personal life that you can carry into your business? 

Internet marketing speaker, consultant, and blogger, Ed Taylor, has become so closely identified with his Santa Claus persona after playing that role for many years that he now bills himself as “Santa Ed Taylor.” Ho, ho, ho.

Here are some ideas I don’t recall seeing anyone use, but I offer them here for what they’re worth:

Instead of putting your agency’s name on golf balls, how about putting it on tennis racquets or bowling balls?   Instead of having your company’s capabilities brochure with the typical corporate graphics and photos of groups of people around the conference table, get a designer to create it for you as a comic book. Make everyone in the shop some kind of superhero. You could probably carry this theme into all parts of your communications, even your website and emails. I’m not saying it would be cheap, but it would be fun. And definitely surprising.

Is there something surprising about your agency or your personal brand?  Have your seen any surprising ideas lately? I’d love to hear from you.


Jim WhitakerJim has worked in marketing communications for over 24 years. He started out in the insurance industry as an underwriter; he has been a broker, an insurance agency consultant and a marketing executive. In 1988 he opened his own public relations and advertising firm, focusing on the insurance industry.  That firm eventually became SmartsPro Marketing.  The author’s opinions and posts in no way reflect the Beyond Insurance brand or any other affiliate within Addis Intellectual Capital.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 17, 2013 11:18 am

    I like your use of creative thinking and implementing it into a way to advertise a business! Great article!

  2. May 17, 2013 11:38 am

    Always have an interesting spin on things. Thanks for sharing!

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