INDIVIDUAL AGENCY HOW-TO GUIDE

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1 Trusted Choice Branding Strategy INDIVIDUAL AGENCY HOW-TO GUIDE User ID Password

2 CONTENTS Phase I: Set Up & Planning... Page 2 Phase II: Promotion... Page 5 Phase III: Speak The Language. Connect With Current and Potential Customers Page 7 Phase IV: Build Your Brand. And Your Business Page 9 Phase V: Become A Branding Expert... Page 12 Press Release Sample... Page 16 Sample Letters... Pages

3 PHASE I SET-UP & PLANNING Welcome to Trusted Choice! Here are a few quick and easy steps you can follow to promote and leverage your investment in this branding strategy. Remember think of the Trusted Choice logo as an essential ingredient of your agency s brand. You want to share it with customers and potential clients to get the most benefit possible. 2

4 SET-UP & PLANNING TASK DETAILS TASK STATUS COMPLETE DATE STEP 1: Choose an office Marketing Manager or work with your current public relations or advertising agency. You will want to select an office professional or administrative assistant to assist you with your marketing plans. Make promoting your brand a part of their daily routine and performance goals. Identify Marketing Manager: Share this plan: If you employ a public relations or advertising firm, share this plan with them. Invite them to incorporate these ideas into your marketing strategy. STEP 2: Your Marketing Manager has their first job to promote your logo. Display your Trusted Choice logo in your office and on your front door. This will announce your affiliation with Trusted Choice. Logo placements: STEP 3: Place a news article. Use the Trusted Choice press release (example A) with your local newspaper. Follow these steps and it s simple. 1) Customize the press release to mention the name of your agency. Press release developed: Send to newspaper: Follow-up call to newspaper: Did article appear? 2) Send the release to your community newspaper. Article framed & hung in office: 3) Call the newspaper. Confirm they received your release and ask if they have any questions. 4) Finally, be sure to have a good photograph on hand. Some newspapers like to publish small headshots when they report on local businesses. Hint: Once your article runs, frame a copy and hang it in your office. Many people are impressed with items that appear in the news. This will remind office visitors of your commitment to Trusted Choice. 3

5 SET-UP & PLANNING TASK DETAILS TASK STATUS COMPLETE DATE STEP 4: Note your Trusted Choice User ID and password. You will need this information to access the members-only Trusted Choice Web page. You should have received this information in your welcome materials. Note Trusted Choice User ID and password: Record information on this booklet cover: If you have misplaced your password information, contact Trusted Choice at (Note: There is a place on the booklet cover to write down this information, so it will be convenient for future use.) 4

6 PHASE II PROMOTION Congratulations you have now announced your new branding campaign through some basic elements. Building a brand isn t easy, but you have the foundation in place. Follow these more advanced steps to take your Trusted Choice affiliation to the next level. 5

7 PROMOTION TASK DETAILS TASK STATUS COMPLETE DATE STEP 1: Build the perfect image: new business cards, letterhead, envelopes, brochures, etc. It s now time to incorporate the Trusted Choice logo into your presentation materials. Simply work with your local printer. Or, have your Marketing Manager call the Trusted Choice preferred vendor, Mines Press, and ask them to send you a Trusted Choice Packet. Mines Press: Order catalog: STEP 2: Place an order and don t forget the Pledge of Performance cards. Order your letterhead, envelopes, business cards, etc. Plan to order a large quantity. You will soon want to send information to all your clients and prospects. Also, order a supply of Pledge of Performance cards. These are the cards that describe your pledge as a Trusted Choice agency. The cards highlight the benefits of doing business with an independent agent choice, customization and advocacy. Order materials: STEP 3: Be proud of your new brand. Many agents like to promote their brand with special items like shirts, pens and other gifts. Have your marketing manager call API, which offers Trusted Choice apparel and gifts. Phone number: or visit Order catalog: Apparel and gift order date: 6

8 PHASE III SPEAK THE LANGUAGE. CONNECT WITH CURRENT and potential customers. One of the best ways to communicate the value of Trusted Choice is by talking with customers and potential customers. The following pages suggest best practices for connecting with key contacts and making sure they see the value in working with your agency. Your commitment to Trusted Choice is what distinguishes you from the competition. Don t keep it a secret. Make sharing your message a part of your daily routine. Always work at making the most of your Trusted Choice Interactions. 7

9 SPEAK THE LANGUAGE. CONNECT WITH CURRENT and potential customers. TASK DETAILS TASK STATUS COMPLETE DATE STEP 1: Reach the perfect audience potential customers. Meetings with potential customers are one of the best opportunities to discuss Trusted Choice. Give all potential customers a Pledge of Performance card. Make sure your potential accounts understand the value of a Trusted Choice agent. Incorporate these key messages into every interaction. Have your staff record every new customer interaction: Record how many of those interactions involve a Pledge of Performance card: STEP 2: Make the most of policy reviews. Advise your staff that policy reviews present a great opportunity to talk about Trusted Choice. Record your number of monthly policy reviews: Note how many of those discussions involve Trusted Choice: STEP 3: Make the most of positive client interactions. Advise your staff to talk about Trusted Choice when they have a positive client interaction. Have your staff record its total number of positive client interactions: Record how many of those interactions involve a conversation about Trusted Choice: Note any additional sales that result from these conversations: STEP 4: Reach disappointed customers. Remind disappointed customers of your involvement with Trusted Choice and what that represents to them. Develop a system for tracking your total number of customer complaints: Record how many of those conversations lead to a discussion regarding Trusted Choice: Evaluate if any of these conversations involving choice, customization and advocacy lead to a positive result, such as a pleased customer, sale or referral: 8

10 PHASE IV BUILD YOUR BRAND. and your business. You have now completed the basic steps of a branding strategy. You have announced your association with Trusted Choice, developed a new image through stationery materials and developed ways to showcase your standing as an independent agent. Plus, you have key messages to promote what Trusted Choice means to customers. Now, it s time to get more sophisticated. Follow these guidelines to take your brand to the next level and start using it to build your business. 9

11 BUILD YOUR BRAND. AND YOUR BUSINESS. TASK DETAILS TASK STATUS COMPLETE DATE STEP 1: Sign up on-line: Agency Locator Visit Trusted Choice on-line at to register your agency for the Trusted Choice Agency Locator. Sign up date: By signing up, leads that come through the Trusted Choice Web site have the potential of being directed to your agency. Note: You will need the User ID and password that was assigned to you. If you did not receive your User ID and password, have your Marketing Manager write to STEP 2: Download key information and put the Trusted Choice logo on your outdoor sign and all of your marketing, promotion and presentation materials. Follow the steps above to access Trusted Choice logos you can use in your agency. Simply visit the Trusted Choice Web site, sign in under your agency User ID and password, and access the Trusted Choice logos. You can now use these logos for your own business purposes. View and access logo information: Logo use 1: Letterhead Logo use 2: Notecards and Personal Stationery Logo use 3: Advertisements Logo use 4: Business Cards Also, talk with your local sign company. The on-line logos can be added to your outdoor signage! Logo use 5: Signage Put the Trusted Choice logo on all of your marketing and presentation materials. 10

12 BUILD YOUR BRAND. AND YOUR BUSINESS. TASK DETAILS TASK STATUS COMPLETE DATE STEP 3: Contact clients. Prepare a Trusted Choice renewal communication (example B) for your current clients. This is a great opportunity to remind them of the professionalism and service provided by your agency. Set up letter: Prepare labels and/or envelopes: Letters ready to go: Letters mail date: STEP 4: Contact potential accounts. Prepare a proposal letter for potential accounts (example C). Add this letter and a Pledge of Performance card to new business proposals. Set up letter and prepare Pledge of Performance cards: Materials added to your business proposals: 11

13 PHASE V BECOME A BRANDING EXPERT. You should be proud! Your agency has completed several key steps associated with brand building. By now, you may be hearing from customers and prospects about how they recognize your brand attributes. Remember that branding is often subtle. While customers and targets may not say, What is Trusted Choice? after receiving your materials, they may be gradually influenced by the messages behind your branding effort. You may be connecting with personal and commercial contacts about the brand attributes of choice, customization and advocacy. Here s how you can build upon the momentum and truly distinguish your agency as one of the best. 12

14 BECOME A BRANDING EXPERT. TASK DETAILS TASK STATUS COMPLETE DATE STEP 1: Place a print ad. Visit Trusted Choice online at to access free print advertisements. Access ads: Contact local publication: Once again, you will need your User ID and password. If you have misplaced your password information, contact Trusted Choice at After you log in to the Trusted Choice Web site, access the advertising icon, then click on print ads. These are ads you can download and share with a local publication or newspaper. Make arrangements to customize ad: Place order date: Ad appears: Ad framed & hung in office: Contact your news media outlet to check prices for quarter and halfpage ads. Then figure out which ad you want to place. The ad rep (the person you contact at the publication) will help you customize the free ad from Trusted Choice, so your agency is featured. Hint: Once your ad runs, frame a copy and hang it in your office. Many people are impressed with items that appear in the news. This will remind office visitors of your commitment to Trusted Choice. 13

15 BECOME A BRANDING EXPERT. TASK DETAILS TASK STATUS COMPLETE DATE STEP 2: Place a TV ad. Have you ever considered TV advertising? With Trusted Choice, you have access to expensive TV ads for free! Identify preferred TV stations: Contact station and ask for sales rep: Follow these simple steps: 1) Have your Marketing Manager contact your preferred local TV network, preferably a cable station since cable ads are generally more affordable than network ads. Ask for a sales representative. Note information such as ad rates, time slots, etc.: Complete order form: Finalize details: 2) Inquire about ad rates and your interest in placing several TV ads over an extended period. TV ad arrives: TV ads begin to run: 3) Ask about a voiceover. This is the voice that will announce your agency name at the end of the commercial this service is probably free or relatively inexpensive. 4) Ask the ad rep to help you complete the order form that is available at www. trustedchoice.com. This is the form that secures your order from a third-party vendor, DG Systems. Contact: or call ) Pay the fee of $20, as referenced on the order form. 6) The ads will be delivered to your agency. You can then work with your TV sales rep to finalize the details. 7) Note that television rates can vary greatly, based on a variety of factors, such as your local market, cable provider, and the number of advertisements you purchase. 14

16 BECOME A BRANDING EXPERT. TASK DETAILS TASK STATUS COMPLETE DATE STEP 3: Place a radio ad. Radio ads are a more costeffective advertising option for some agencies. Through Trusted Choice, radio spots, or ads, are available free of charge. Identify preferred radio station: Contact station and ask for sales rep: Note information such as ad rates, time slots, etc.: Simply follow the steps on the preceding page (in the TV section) to access the radio ads. Contact a local sales rep at your preferred station to negotiate the details and place your order through DG Systems. Contact: or call Complete order form: Finalize details: Radio ads arrive: Radio ads begin to run: 15

17 For Immediate Release Contact: Name Phone EXAMPLE A Local Business Owner Selected to Join Elite Insurance Association (City of Business, State Date) Local business (Agency name) has been selected as a member of Trusted Choice, a program that recognizes the top independent insurance agencies in the country. To qualify for Trusted Choice, (Agency name) has committed to the highest standards associated with the insurance profession. The award-winning agency has met strict professional requirements relating to the offering of choice, customization and advocacy for customers interested in personal and commercial insurance. Our commitment is to represent the best of the profession and to consistently meet the highest standards for performance, says (Full agent name), principal of the (Agency name). Founded in (year), the (Agency name) is located at (Address here). The agency s hours of operations are from (hours and days here). Consumers can visit the Trusted Choice Web site ( to learn more about the benefits of working with an independent agent, (Agent last name) says. The site can direct them to our agency, or we invite them to stop by our office for a free consultation. (Agent last name) says his or her agency meets with customers and potential customers free of charge to assess their insurance needs. (Agent last name) and (his or her) staff can then review a variety of insurance companies to find the best insurance products and services for each individual customer. (Agent last name) says many people don t realize that independent insurance agents don t work with only one company independents work with a variety of companies and therefore have the opportunity to create customized insurance options for their customers. We pride ourselves on being an advocate and counselor to our customers, says (Agent last name). Trusted Choice recognizes that commitment and supports our agency in its efforts to be the best in the business. ### Insert Agency Name or Agency Logo 16

18 Date here EXAMPLE B Mr. John Doe Title Company Address City, State ZIP Re: (Agency name) Selected for Elite Insurance Association Dear Mr. Doe: The (Agency name) was recently selected to join Trusted Choice, a program that recognizes the top independent insurance agents in the country. What does this mean to you? My agency has adopted the industry s leading standards with respect to choice, customization and advocacy. This means my agency is reaffirming its commitment to providing customers with many benefits. 1) Choice: We offer a variety of insurance choices from many leading insurance companies; 2) Customization: We offer customized products that are the right fit for your family or business; and 3) Advocacy: Our customers receive the highest level of service in the insurance industry. Less than 15 percent of all the members of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America are members of Trusted Choice. We are proud to be a part of this select group, and proud to have you as a customer. Please take a moment to review my Pledge of Performance to you. We look forward to earning your business for many years to come. Regards, Agent name 17

19 Date here EXAMPLE C Mr. John Doe Title Company Address City, State ZIP Re: (Agency name) Selected for Elite Insurance Association Dear Mr. Doe: The (Agency name) was recently selected to join Trusted Choice, a program that recognizes the top independent insurance agents in the country. What does this mean to you? My agency has adopted the industry s leading standards with respect to choice, customization and advocacy. This means my agency is reaffirming its commitment to providing customers with many benefits. 1) Choice: We offer a variety of insurance choices from many leading insurance companies; 2) Customization: We offer customized products that are the right fit for your family or business; and 3) Advocacy: Our customers receive the highest level of service in the insurance industry. Less than 15 percent of all the members of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America are members of Trusted Choice. We are proud to be a part of this select group. Please take a moment to review my Pledge of Performance to you. We look forward to talking with you soon, and hope we can earn your business. Regards, Agent name 18

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