In May we did a webinar with our friends at POST called ‘Building brand loyalty in a digital age’. Reevoo founder Richard Anson sat on the panel with Jonathan Swift, (director of content, Insurance Division, Incisive Media); Lorraine Donington (head of digital user experience and content, TSB); Phoebe Hugh (co-founder & CEO, Brolly); and Darrell Sansom (managing director, AXA Business Insurance).

Nobody’s got an hour to spare, so check out our pick of the best bits.

However, here’s a more in-depth look at one of the points we found interesting – what insurance companies can learn from other brands… like Evian. Wait, Evian?

Let’s not mince words, here: in the 21st century, customer-centric branding and operation is the name of the game for companies. With the wealth of information, reviews, and discussion at customers’ fingertips, brands can no longer afford to stagnate or be stubborn.

“Brands and businesses cannot do anything but put customers right at the centre of their business,” says Reevoo founder Richard Anson.

So what can insurance companies take from this advice, and what does doing customer-centrism right look like in other industries?

Well, we’re glad you asked.

What’s going on with insurance?

Certain industries don’t necessarily have a great reputation for being easy-to-use among consumers. Insurance companies spring readily to mind.

Between dense terms like ‘premiums,’ ‘co-pays,’ and ‘contingent liability,’ a vague image of a massive call centre somewhere staffed by bored employees, and strict daytime hours, customers often feel like they are trying to please the company and not vice versa.

You've got to adapt to your customers, and if you don't, you're going to die very quickly. - Highlight to share  -

But as other industries like banking, automotive, and retail continue to redefine themselves with a focus on the consumer – think beautifully designed apps, intuitive user interfaces, and 24/7 accessibility – the reluctance of the insurance industry to do so is coming into sharper and sharper contrast.

“That’s a lesson insurance companies can learn,” Darrell Sansom, managing director at AXA Business Insurance, says. “You’ve got to adapt to your customers, and if you don’t, you’re going to die very quickly.”

Who’s doing insurance right?

Fear not, for there is already at least one UK insurance company tackling the customer-centrism problem head on, and creating a road map for other brands to do so in the process.

Admiral Insurance has made huge strides to reshape its user experience into one that is much more reminiscent of other industries.

Take its car insurance reviews page, for example. Prominently featured on their website is a whole landing page of searchable, filterable, easy-to-digest reviews (full disclosure, they’re by us) from real customers. In fact, as of this writing, it features not just one or two reviews, but almost 10,000.

As consumer trust shifts and buyers are more likely than ever to trust the word of ‘people like them,’ regular reviews from regular folks have effectively supplanted expert opinions and flashy advertising as the most effective way to build brand loyalty.

People love to talk about themselves, and what do people have? What is life made of? Experiences. - Highlight to share  -

Similarly, Admiral is using its Features & Competitions page to further connect with customers. Its interactive sections invite customers to share – not about insurance per se, but about the things that insurance helps enable.

Calls for user submissions on topics like “What Makes Motorcyclists Tick?” and “What Does Your Car Say About You?” demonstrate that Admiral cares about its customers, and not just their policies. People like to talk about themselves, and Admiral has created a space for them to do just that.

Better yet, it’s on the brand’s website – where the surrounding environment is under control.

What can insurance companies learn from other industries?

Products aren’t enough, anymore; brands need to offer experiences.

Phoebe Hugh, co-founder and CEO of Brolly, says this: “Take something like water. I can’t taste the difference. But Evian have been hugely successful in making you feel like you’re experiencing something.”

One look at Evian’s website makes this clear. The home page has literally zero mentions of the word ‘water.’ Instead, you’re invited to ‘Discover the new Evian film’. Or click on ‘Baby Surf App: the 360 Degree Experience.’ Or join ‘Le Club d’Evian’.

Evian is not a product, it is an experience.

People love to talk about themselves, and what do people have? What is life made of?

Experiences.

This shrewd positioning places Evian as part of a lifestyle, as a tool towards the customer’s own ends. It’s just water, but it’s the water of fun people, or brave people, or handsome people, or whatever type of people. Evian is about you, after all.

That’s the lesson that insurance companies can take away: it doesn’t matter what you’re selling, it’s always people that are buying. Make it about them.

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How to turn insurance into an experience