Get out in your community

Locally Owned

With the insurance industry spending roughly $6 billion a year in advertising to bring "Mayhem" and the like into America's homes 24 hours a day, local independent agents can feel frustrated when it comes to branding. However, building a local brand within their communities can ensure a path to success no matter what Flo and the gecko are up to on the national stage.

It can be daunting for an agent-or anyone for that matter-to fathom the amount of dollars put forth by insurance companies for advertising each year. In fact, the insurance industry ranks among the top-10 industries in the U.S. when it comes to annual advertising spending growth, according to Insurance Business America. A recent report from SNL Financial, also quoted in the store, found that Berkshire Hathaway, parent company of GEICO, was the top spender at $935 million in 2015-the most recent year for which data was readily available. Other leading spenders included Allstate at $655 million, State Farm at $608 million, Progressive at $604 million and Nationwide at $297 million.

What is a professional, independent agent, who operates on Main Street or in a local strip mall, rather than high atop a big city corporate high-rise, to do in order to stand out? The answer is: Play up his or her best assets and develop a local brand.

To find success in local branding, independent agents need a multipronged approach with a plan for tracking results. They need to explore a variety of mediums and use the tools that work for them, including: websites, social media, email, newsletters, community involvement, referrals, direct mail and more. Further, they need to remember that they can provide something else the big exclusive agents can’t-significant variety in carrier offerings.

While all of these tactics can be useful, let’s look at four ways independent agents can stand out from the pack by building a local brand. Read the full article in PIA Magazine, written by Matt Masiello, Executive VP and COO, SIAA – reprinted with the permission from PIA Management Services Inc.