ALEXANDRIA, VA, August 13—The Trusted ChoiceSM television advertising that debuted in two pilot markets last spring had a significant impact on consumer awareness of the new brand developed by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) and its company partners, according to research conducted before and after the ad campaign.
After only four weeks of advertising, the survey measured an awareness level of 4 percent among targeted households in the Louisville and Seattle-Tacoma designated marketing areas.
“With most new brands, consumer awareness is measured in increments of a percent—and usually after much longer pilot periods, at least 12 to 16 weeks,” says Ronald A. Smith, CPCU, chairman of the IIABA Communications/Branding Task Force, which oversees Trusted ChoiceSM. “Four percent awareness after only a month-long campaign demonstrates that we effectively communicated the value of independent agents in our commercials. It also shows that success can be replicated nationally with additional advertising, company ingredient branding and agent tie-ins at the local level.”
Trusted ChoiceSM is the new marketing brand created by IIABA and its company partners to increase consumer awareness of the benefits independent agents offer: choice, customization and advocacy. Three TV spots introducing the brand debuted in Louisville, Ky., and Seattle-Tacoma February 25 through March 24. Surveys of 635 consumers in both markets were conducted before the ads ran and were repeated following the campaign.
In addition to consumer awareness, the pilot market research also measured current insurance usage, propensity to buy from the three distribution channels (independent agents, captive agents and direct) and perceptions about independent agents. Trusted ChoiceSM did not anticipate significant changes in these categories but looked to establish benchmarks that can be used to measure the long-term success of the brand. Specifically, those findings included the following:
Independent agent usage in the two pilot markets tracks closely to the national estimates. It did not change significantly after the Trusted ChoiceSM pilot campaign since only a small percentage of the consumers surveyed had immediate insurance needs to address. However, Trusted ChoiceSM is well-positioned to assist agents in increasing their market share.
Twenty-three percent of captive-agent customers and 27 percent of direct-writer customers are likely to consider using an independent agent after seeing the ads. Trusted ChoiceSM is a new brand, so consumers need to be educated about its Pledge of Performance, which differentiates Trusted ChoiceSM agencies in the marketplace. The Trusted ChoiceSM Pledge of Performance enumerates the benefits consumers consider critically important—advocacy, choice and customization—all of which consumers can obtain through a Trusted ChoiceSM agency.
Perceptions about independent agents generally are positive, scoring highest in three attribute areas: customization of policies, choosing the best policy and saving money for the customer. These qualities are among those most important to insurance consumers, which bodes well for independent agents and Trusted ChoiceSM.
The Trusted ChoiceSM brand will be promoted nationally in 2003 through a combination of advertising, company ingredient branding, public relations, agency marketing and Internet communications. All media will direct consumers to www.TrustedChoice.com , where they will find a cutting-edge agency locator and up-to-date consumer information on numerous insurance topics.
Trusted ChoiceSM is the consumer marketing identity for nearly 2,400 participating independent insurance agencies and brokerages and their branches. These firms offer a choice of insurance companies and policies, customization of policy coverage and advocacy. Trusted ChoiceSM was created by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA), the nation’s oldest and most-respected agent and broker association, and is supported by 17 partners—16 insurance companies and one strategic partner. www.TrustedChoice.com