Page 4: Achieving differentiation
As the leading player in the field, Independent Insurance wanted to create an experience for its brokers that was unique and memorable. The solution was to come up with a ‘futuristic tour’ which showed Independent Insurance to be at the leading edge – a post-millennium company at the end of the 20th century.
When Martin Peters played for England in the World Cup winning side of 1966, commentators stated that as a footballer he was ten years ahead of his time. In a similar way Independent Insurance sees itself as an organisation which is ahead of the field - a company which has seen the shape of the future, and has embraced the future today.
The Absolute. Tour cost £2 million and involved hundreds of people and months of preparation. As a feat of logistics, it was a huge undertaking. As a demonstration of Independent Insurance’s commitment to the broker market, it was a fabulous success. The 1999 Absolute. Tour, which saw a fleet of five executive coaches criss-cross the country visiting 191 brokers in five weeks, proved to be Independent’s most successful exercise yet in terms of strengthening the organisation’s position at the forefront of the market.
The coaches were fitted to Independent Insurance’s specifications so that they could pick up the broker’s team at the office and drive to a scenic location for a meal, with meetings taking place after meals. Independent Insurance hosted breakfast, lunch and dinner, often all three in one day, which made it possible to cram several meetings in per day.
The coaches themselves redefined luxury and practicality. As well as a downstairs lounge, the upper deck provided a boardroom area where presentations (tailored to the individual broker) could be made and where discussions could take place. The hospitality was of the highest standard, with brokers enjoying superb cuisine. The aim was to provide brokers with an experience that they would remember for the rest of their lives and associate with Independent Insurance.
As well as talking about new products, the Absolute. roadshow allowed Independent Insurance to pursue a wish list concept. This means it drew up a joint business plan with each broker to win a major, live piece of business which they had told Independent Insurance about beforehand. In other words, the brokers might have had their eye on winning insurance business with a major ‘dream’ company or other client in their locality for some time. Working with experts from Independent Insurance they were then able to collaborate and develop a plan of action to turn the dream into a reality.
This initiative was particularly well received and, since the Tour, Independent Insurance has already seen brokers win business with a good number of these clients. The emphasis was on working together to help grow business, the more business Independent Insurance generated for the brokers, the more it helped itself. It is this sort of approach which lies at the heart of relationship marketing.
Independent Insurance and its brokers worked together as a team using face-to-face meetings in which the brokers were able to clarify their needs and requirements. Independent Insurance was then able to identify the benefits which enabled these needs and requirements to be met. Through such a partnership the brokers feel valued, and thus their loyalty to Independent Insurance increases exponentially. This has underpinned the ongoing success of Independent Insurance.