Graphic branding_blue

Three smart tips that businesses should incorporate into their branding campaigns

No matter the size, mission, strength or success of your business, brand-building strategies are necessary components to building trust, establishing relationships and strengthening awareness.

But like everything else, branding practices are constantly evolving, and it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and understand what your future branding strategies should entail.

To help, here are three best-practice branding trends that need to be on your radar:

Be human: Technology is wonderful for increasing brand recognition, and you should embrace it. But don’t forego human interaction.

At a time when trust is precariously fragile, it’s vital for businesses to establish human bonds. Strive to engage with your clients beyond social media platforms and your website.

Be trustworthy problem-solvers, aim for empathy, be an expert in your field, share knowledge and insights and recognize that emotional, face-to-face communication tips the trust scale in your favor.

Be authentic and transparent: When your business opens its curtain and provides public visibility, it shows that you’re authentic and transparent.

And clients and customers rank transparency above just about everything else. In fact, a Sprout Social Report released in 2018 showed that 86 percentof Americans believe transparency from businesses is more important than ever before.

Additionally, 73 percentof consumers are willing to pay more for products that guarantee total transparency. The numbers don’t lie.

Businesses need to account for the public’s increasing demands for transparency and develop practices and processes that convey honesty and truth.

Soul is the key to content: A compelling narrative that connects with your target audience is key to telling your story, and a story without soul falls down the rabbit hole.

When creating branding content, it’s all too easy to focus solely on promoting a product or service, but falling into that formula potentially robs businesses of cultivating relationships and providing meaningful value. When you tell the story of your brand, aim to be enthusiastic, inspiring and passionate—and don’t be afraid to show some emotion. It’s good for the soul, and it speaks to your human side.


Real Estate Corner
Mortgage rates remain on solid ground for the third week in a row

graphic - real estate, gray

While global trade disputes continue to shake up the financial markets, mortgage rates are holding steady.

According to the latest data released by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average dipped to 4.07 percent with an average 0.5 point.

The 15-year fixed-rate average slid to 3.53 percent with an average 0.4 point. Meanwhile, the five-year adjustable rate average inched to 3.66 percent with an average 0.4 point. 

Are you covered

Cyber Insurance: Yes, you absolutely need it.

Cyber insurance is now critical to help protect your business.

Cyber attacks are becoming more frequent, clever and complex. Cyber insurance is now critical to help protect your business from major expenses, business loss, and regulatory fines and penalties.

General liability umbrella policies typically do not cover cyber events (Target’s insurance policy only covered 36 percent of its $252 million data breach costs).

This insurance comes in many different variations and costs, so it is important to know what product works best for you, considering and balancing coverage and cost.

Four key elements comprise essential coverage to protect against data breach and loss of customer data:

  • E&O
  • Liability
  • Network Security
  • Privacy

What is most important is that both cyber-crimes and liability are included in your coverage.

The policy may be a standalone, or a rider on to your existing policy. Always buy the most compressive coverage available that you can afford.

Here is why that is so important:

Broad coverage includes both first and third-party coverage. First party only covers your business, while third party will cover the claims against you from customers or clients as well as related damages and court costs.

The below comparisons show why you need both cyber-crimes and cyber liability coverage:

Event Liability Coverage Crime Coverage
Loss of funds (escrow and operational, personal) due to social engineering and electronic fraud or theft No Yes
Fraudulent electronic transfer or divergence of funds No Yes
Employee electronic theft No Yes
Forgery No Yes
Cyber extortion (ransomware) No Yes
Data breach expenses including legal costs, fines or penalties Yes No
Loss of assets and loss of business income Yes No
Recovery of systems and forensics; reputational damages Yes No
Economic damages through network security failure or failure of privacy controls Yes No

Consult with your insurance carrier for specific coverage offerings and cost and weigh the decision that is right for your business and budget. Remember, the broadest form of coverage will best protect you and your business so while it may be more expensive, your business will be better protected against the risks we face in today’s business environment.

social media orange

3 online tools to enhance and streamline your social marketing campaigns

We’ve found three tools that make it easier to manage your social media platforms.

A strong social media presence is one way to increase the visibility of your business, expand your reach and generate new leads:

Buffer: Buffer is a relatively simple web application that allows users to schedule social media posts across a variety of social network platforms. Dually mobile and desktop friendly, the app optimizes posts for peak engagement times (it also allows for customization) and best of all, its users receive salient feedback, via analytics, to view social media post performance, improve results and create data-driven reports for clients and managers.

Canva: That old cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words rings true with Canva, an intuitive, easy-to-master graphic-design creator that businesses can use to increase website traffic and social media engagement. It uses a drag-and-drop format and provides access to over a million photographs, graphics and fonts. You don’t need a background in design to use the tool, and with more than 50,000 templates to choose from, it’s easy to design just about anything,including those all-important info graphics.

Woobox: Engagement and buzz are key when it comes to social media, and with Woobox, an increasingly popular marketing platform, businesses can create contests, giveaways, polls, quizzes, brackets, photo contests and more, all of which encourage your audience to engage. Bonus: It allows businesses to seamlessly integrate several social media platforms while running campaigns, plus it collects and exports useful data that stems from those campaigns, an advantageous perk that all but guarantees robust leads.


Real Estate Corner
Millennials are flocking to smaller cities to buy homes

real_estate_orange

According to a recent study published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), expensive home prices, coupled with high demand, are driving today’s youngest homebuyers to smaller cities.

“As long as supply keeps up to meet demand, and prevents costs from rising too high and too rapidly, these identified metro areas are likely to see an uptick in purchases from millennial homebuyers,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the NAR. A robust job market and affordability are two of the main factors that impact home-buying decisions by millennials, notes the report.

plant growing in concrete

Grow your company with these marketing strategies

Federal and state regulations don’t make it easy for title insurance companies to market and grow their business, but there are strategies to maximize their marketing efforts.

Federal and state regulations don’t make it particularly easy for title insurance companies to market and grow their business, but despite the regulatory RESPA obstacles, there are strategies that title insurance companies can implement to maximize their marketing efforts.

Leverage Your Online Presence

Leveraging your online presence is paramount. By using the right technology and social media platforms to create insightful, compelling and informative content, you can generate – and keep – a captive audience.

The key takeaway is to provide value to your readership, which in turn establishes trust. And trust is key to growing your business.

Additionally, regularly updating your website with a clear mission, current marketplace trends, blog posts, analysis and data backed by research shows that you’re an expert in your field.

Authoritative blog posts and engaging social media posts generate the strongest leads, so it’s crucial to maintain a regimented and consistent posting schedule.

If you slack, you risk losing the audience – and potential clients – that you’ve worked so hard to connect with and cultivate.

Remember that homebuyers and sellers are a core element of your target customers, and they’re more educated than ever before about title insurance.

Savvy consumers compare title insurance companies, and if you don’t have a go-to resource stocked with information, services and products, you’ll miss your opportunity to connect with these people.

Good, Ol’ Fashioned Networking

As well, network at every opportunity, and taut your services with lenders, real estate professionals and others in your field.

While social media and an informative website are critical, word-of-mouth recommendations continue to generate leads.

Collecting e-mail addresses legally is also an effective way to market your services to the right demographics.

Deliver a Useful E-Newsletter

An educational enewsletter providing insight about relevant topics – including escrow, property searches and title insurance protection – is another proven way to reach your target audience and build a solid customer base.

Use graphics and photos to illustrate trends and salient points, and present simplified information that home buyers can easily digest. These are just a few ways to effectively market your title insurance company. Amanda Farrell, who writes for PropLogix, offers several more ideas to jumpstart your marketing efforts.

intellectual-property-concept

Intellectual Property: Value & Pitfalls

It can be helpful to have a baseline understanding of what intellectual property is; and how it can benefit you and your agency.

Intellectual property comes in many forms. Your company logo is intellectual property. So is the name of your agency, any tag lines you’ve developed and consistently use to identify your company, your color schemes, if you have any – and content you’ve originated, like your website’s copy.

The good news about intellectual property is that it clearly identifies and separates you from your competitors. What can be a challenge, however, is challenges to your right to use your agency’s name or logo – if another entity takes issue with the use and raises the question of your right to its use.

IP lawyers know the ins-and-outs of intellectual property, but it can be helpful to have a baseline understanding of (a) what intellectual property is; and (b) how it can benefit you and your agency. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a helpful website dedicated to intellectual property issues.


Real Estate Corner
Zillow or Redfin?

graphic - real estate, gray

Who hasn’t stopped, looked up addresses (including one’s own) – to determine what a property is worth, how it compares to similar properties and whether or not professionals involved in appraisals really know what they’re doing?

As Zillow and similar sights today embrace the added option of selling a property and eliminating real estate brokers’ commissions, the conversation about accuracy is a fast and furious trending topic.

This blog contains general information only, not intended to be relied upon as, nor a substitute for, specific professional advice. We accept no responsibility for loss occasioned to any purpose acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material on this blog.

Let’s Connect

Discover more stories and conversations on our social media networks,
or drop us a line on our contact page.


The Independent Underwriter for the Independent Agent®