Many of the skills that I have used to be successful in insurance sales came from my training in the theater. In 1927 Al Jolson sang about his Mammy in the movies. In 1967 Julie Andrews played Thoroughly Modern Millie on the Broadway stage.
There is one very important M, however, that did not originate in the theater. It comes from the science of genetics. It is called a meme. It is used to describe a gene that replicates itself repeatedly.
Quite honestly, we insurance agents are generally more concerned with the characteristics of jeans than we are genes. What significance does the word, meme, have for insurance agents?
In marketing, a meme is a slogan or logo that everyone can relate to. If you hear the words, “we’re looking for a few good men” you think about the United States Marine Corps. If you see a “swoosh” you think about Nike shoes.
Both these examples started out as marketing slogans or logos but the public has repeated them so often they are known by almost everyone. They have become memes.
As an insurance agent, there is a good chance that your insurance company has spent millions of dollars to promote their brands so that people recognize them. Geico uses a cute gecko and Aflac uses a white duck. Most Americans have been conditioned to associate those animals with their insurance companies. You cannot see either of them in nature or cartoons without thinking of their insurance companies. They are memes.
Unfortunately, if a customer wants Geico auto insurance or Aflac disability insurance, even if you are contracted to sell for them, they will call the company directly before they call you. Don’t let them kid you. The money your company spends on advertising is not to help you. It is to build their brand recognition with the public. They are hoping that something in their advertising campaign will cause the public to repeat their slogan to others.
If their advertising helps you sell their policies, they are happy but always remember, their goal, with their advertising money, is not to help you be successful. If that happens its great but their goal is to gain more clients whether or not you are their agent.
Your objective is to build your personal brand. Hopefully, you will be able to tie it to the national advertising campaign your company runs. If you are able to use your creativity to develop some sort of meme in your community that will cause people in your area to think of you when they recall the insurance company’s meme you should never be at a loss for leads.
The trick is to develop a way to tie your personal brand to the national brand in your community without violating your state’s insurance advertising laws. Once you have developed a way to tie into the national advertising campaign you will need to find a way to cause its frequent repetition in your community.
Like many things in marketing, it is easy to talk about but hard to do. If you are committed to success as an insurance agent and see the wisdom behind a personal meme, consider it a challenge to develop one in your community.