Monday night’s episode of the Discovery Channel program “American Chopper” presented a unique opportunity for agents to brand themselves to prospective clients: It featured a custom bike build for Trusted Choice®, providing national exposure for the consumer brand of thousands of independent insurance agents.
The episode was the culmination of a summer social media campaign in which Trusted Choice raised $150,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
For every “share” from the Trusted Choice Facebook page in August, the consumer brand donated $10 to Make-A-Wish. By the end of the month, 15,000 shares not only helped Trusted Choice hit its fundraising goal, but the content that was posted at the peak was reaching 3.9 million unique consumers per week.
“We shared several posts from the Trusted Choice Facebook page during August’s Make-A-Wish campaign,” says Alyssa DellaCamera, Internet marketing specialist at New Hampshire independent agency Eaton & Berube Insurance
. “[We] found it to be an effective way to increase awareness of the Trusted Choice brand, as well as encourage engagement on our agency’s Facebook page.”
With Make-A-Wish as Trusted Choice’s official charity of choice, it was a natural fit to partner with Orange County Choppers, the company featured on “American Chopper” that builds custom motorcycles. OCC owner Paul Teutul, Sr. is also a large supporter of Make-A-Wish and has personally granted 50 wishes in the past decade. The custom motorcycle that his company built for Trusted Choice will tour the country over the next year and eventually be auctioned off as another fundraiser for Make-A-Wish.
Karen Robison, public relations director for Insurance Agents & Brokers
, the Big “I” Delaware and Pennsylvania affiliate, notes that the Trusted Choice Facebook share campaign provided members with a concrete, highly visible example of the power of co-branding with Trusted Choice.
And since branding can be a challenging issue for agents, the share campaign and motorcycle build are ways they can jump in on good publicity that has already been generated. Robison’s executive management conference is even hosting the Trusted Choice chopper in November to help further leverage the campaign and build excitement and buy-in for Trusted Choice and agency marketing and branding overall.
“The challenge of branding for many of our agents is two-fold: developing their personal agency brand and embracing the concept of an overriding brand—Trusted Choice—for the independent agency system,” Robison says.
Doug Megill of McLean Insurance
in Potomac Falls, Va., agrees that branding his agency is challenging.
“We spent a lot of money on a corporate identity consultant who interviewed everyone in my agency and some of my clients,” Megill says. “Then we created a brochure just describing our agency and what we stand for and redesigning out website.”
Megill’s agency has also hosted a charity car show for the past two years to raise money for cancer-related organizations. The business belongs to four chambers of commerce and Megill serves on several nonprofit boards of directors.
“We send out a monthly newsletter via email and use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, which we pay someone to post on for us,” he adds. “We also belong to several trade associations.”
Covering a wide swath of outlets like Megill’s agency is doing is the second step in branding an independent insurance agency, but the first step is knowing how to get out there and where to be. To start, Big “I” members can turn to their state associations for help.
“In December, the Delaware and Pennsylvania affiliates will launch a collection of resources that will walk our members through branding and marketing, and Trusted Choice, along with Project CAP, certainly will play a prominent role,” Robison says.
DellaCamera notes that the rise of social media marketing has provided her with more creative ways to brand her agency, communicate its message to a constantly growing audience and provide customer service.
“The ability to identify ourselves as Trusted Choice agents and supporters of this [Facebook] campaign was very beneficial to our agency,” DellaCamera says. “Giving back to our local community is important to us, so it was great to be a part of a national charitable initiative that touched so many different communities, and to share this news with our clients.”
Miss the episode? Check the rerun schedule to find out when to watch on Discovery Channel.
Above, Paul Teutul Sr. rides the chopper on stage at its unveiling in July. Credit: Victoria Goff
Below, Teutul Sr., Wish Kid Jake Fetty, Big "I" President & CEO Bob Rusbuldt and Make-A-Wish President David Williams talk onstage. Credit: Kevin Remington