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Creative Agents Differentiate From the Crowd

08/30/2010

One of the great things about the social web is that it allows us a sneak peek into all different types of agencies. It also allows us a sneak peek into the minds of some very creative individuals who happen to be local independent agents with thriving small to midsize businesses.

Last week I had a chance to chat with agent friend Carrie Galvez Reynolds, of Galvez Insurance in Bellefontaine, Ohio. Carrie is taking her community by storm and spreading her creative energy by appearing as The Insurance Goddess.

Donning her best Goddess-wear, she has been making appearances at local businesses, the county fair, and networking meetings. You can see the pictorial proof at the Insurance Goddess Facebook Fanpage. Carrie is also blogging and active on Twitter. The costume is a conversation starter, an ice breaker and an avenue to making insurance less stuffy and more energetic. The Insurance Goddess recently granted me an interview about her marketing strategy…

Most agents (most people for that matter) have a hard time dressing up for Halloween, where did this idea to dress the part of the Insurance Goddess come from? The blog was the first component, as I decided to name it “Confessions of an Insurance Goddess.” Let’s face it, saying it’s simply a blog about insurance doesn’t interest most people. So I picked a title that would entice people to take a look. I decided to bring the character to life in time for a networking meetup function (a block party in essence) that my office and another downtown business was co-hosting. At the function, the Goddess welcomed the attendees and passed out bags of homemade cookies that included information about the blog. We built up anticipation by announcing in advance that a blog author and “celebrity” would be in attendance. People were very curious and we had a spectacular turnout.

Did you have any convincing to do in your office about whether or not this was the right direction to take for your agency?  Being an owner makes the decision easier; there’s really no one to ask. I honestly didn’t give it much thought, though. I decided we needed something to set our agency apart from the others and I was certainly willing to take the next step to differentiate. I also wanted to make insurance less boring and give it a personality. The character brings insurance to life and adds fun to an otherwise boring concept.

Did you worry that others in the industry or in your community would find this too gimmicky? Did you worry about that yourself?  Again, I didn’t really care. I have a very supportive network of fellow business owners who encouraged me to go for it and make a memorable statement.Yes, I’ve gotten some chuckles, but that’s OK. I guarantee those people will never forget seeing the Goddess- it is a memorable character.

You’ve made appearances at local businesses, the county fair and a networking meeting. What has the reaction been?  Very positive. After several months, people really made the connection and knew who the Goddess was. They were especially excited to have their picture taken. Kids were most receptive- they wanted to see the “princess”. My most memorable experience was at the county fair, a lady walked up to me, pointed and said “I know that costume. I’ve seen it on Facebook. You’re the Insurance Goddess.” 

How are you getting the word out about the Goddess? I’ve seen you sharing photos and information online (mostly through Facebook), but are you sharing your Goddess visits anywhere offline?  Every piece of outgoing mail gets a stuffer that includes how to find the agency online- the blog name and address is included. When I’m visiting clients or run into friends, I will also mention any upcoming appearances. It’s funny, when people see me, they will often ask “And how is the Goddess today?”

Are you achieving what you set out to do with this creative idea?  My game plan was to first off make insurance more fun and provide a memorable character that would be associated with my agency. Top of mind awareness, really. I also wanted to showcase customer’s and friends businesses with my visits. If I can lend the Goddess’s stamp of approval to these businesses, then it can only help them. It’s a win-win for both. Above all, I wanted to have fun with the character and there’s been no shortage of that. I am having an absolute blast!

I’d like to thank Carrie for taking the time to participate here on P&C Speaking.

Now, maybe you’re not a Goddess, but I’m curious…how do you differentiate your agency?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. 08/30/2010 10:27 am

    Melissa- thank you again for asking me to participate. It was certainly an honor and I hope people enjoy reading the post. More appearances are in the works, so please keep following 🙂

  2. 08/30/2010 10:36 am

    Carrie,

    I am a huge fan. I love that you make insurance so much fun! Most people find our profession so dry… The Insurance Goddess is a Great Idea and i’m glad to see it working for you.

    I like to think of myself as an Insurance Gangster. In the cool way, not the illegal way…

    Thanks,

    Ryan H., http://www.RyanHanley.com

    • 08/31/2010 10:10 am

      Ryan- thanks for being a fan. It is so much fun and certainly makes the insurance biz way less boring. The Goddess has definitely hit a nerve with most people. So happy to see!

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