[INSURANCE ADVISOR EDITION: THE 6th OF 6 IN AN EXCLUSIVE, BI-WEEKLY BLOG SERIES]
By Andris Pone
Andris presented on the topic of branding at Sun Life’s Practice Development and Thought Leadership Summits this past summer. In this series of six bi-weekly blogposts written exclusively for insurance advisors (both independent brokers & IIROC insurance specialists), he provides branding insights that advisors can apply to their businesses today.
Have a look at these six pictures, which I took this morning in the space of five minutes, and then scroll down:
As you can see, all of these people are rappers.
Either that or photographers these days, especially those working for Laurier, have a cross-armed fetish. And as my photographer Andre Van Vugt has said, when you cross your arms in a photo you either look authoritative or like a rapper. Or, I would add, that you are not especially different from anyone else, the primary point of branding being the articulation of a difference sufficient to encourage people to do business with you instead of anyone else.
Now look at this photo:
This lady could have easily been posed like a rapper in order to convey the sense of power people feel after submitting themselves to the punishment of CrossFit, now all the rage in fitness. Instead, the Adelaide Club was clever enough to say yes to a very different, highly remark-able photograph, one that conveys that CrossFit is a brutally tough workout – a different workout – and boy, will you look good when you’re done.
In the insurance advisor industry, the herd mentality manifests itself photographically not via cross-armed headshots, but in two other prominent ways. First is the surprisingly common use of headshots that are so poorly taken, your clients could be forgiven for confusing you with a Balkan war criminal.
Given that a brand is what people think of you, it might be a good idea to consider what this type of photo says about your judgement and competence. Perception is reality – and if your photo is of low quality, so is your work. At least that is what you are communicating unintentionally.
The second photographic malaise in the advisor community is the use of stock photography – staged pictures that show generic situations. In most cases, these shots can be (and are) used by anyone. Thus they are the epitome of non-differentiating.
Have a look at your overall visual identity, being your headshot and other photography, the iconography you use, your logo if applicable, and your colour choices (the IIROCs among you may be surprised to know that your banks might have secondary colour palettes that you can use; you may not be as boxed-in as you think).
Logos nor any other visual elements do not a brand make – so while you’re at it, review the language on your online presence and marketing materials. Exactly how different from the masses are you?
Because if you’re not different, you’re the same – so why should anyone do business with you instead of anyone else?
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THE OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES:
Can Your Brand Flourish This Winter?
All Insurance Is Emotional
Why You Want To Be Like Rob Ford
Why Beer Is Not Like Insurance
The Starbucks Experience: 3 Ways To Apply It At Your Business
BOOK: Buy the #1 Globe and Mail bestselling Brand: It Ain’t the Logo at Books for Business
RADIO: Interview on CBC Radio One about unhappiness with Windows 8
TV: BNN interview re Lance Armstrong’s brand (starts at 3:30, after the ad)