The great Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” For marketers, the goal should be to speak clearly and carry a big heart. Get on your customer’s level, use language they’ll be comfortable with and do everything you can to make their experiences better.
For Ann Davids, CMO and Senior Vice President of Direct General Insurance Company, having the right communication skills is critical. The benefits go beyond making a strong impression with your consumer base, too. In her interview with Drew Neisser on the Renegade Thinkers Unite podcast, Davids talks about how internal communication has helped Direct soar.
Davids explains that keeping in close touch with Direct’s entire business, as well as its customers and prospects, has fueled the insurance company’s overall success. Here are five road-tested ways that effective communication can help your brand thrive.
1. Your Brand’s Message Will Resonate with Consumers
If your brand’s message isn’t clear, your business will struggle. Given Direct’s complex subject matter, Davids has to work diligently. “Auto and life insurance can be very complicated,” she says. “We try not to speak insurance but to speak plain English to our customers in a way that they want to hear it and can receive it well.” Speaking clearly will get your message across more easily, showing customers that doing business with your company won’t be a hassle.
2. Your Entire Office Will Benefit
Talking to co-workers outside of the marketing department and getting on the same page will help focus your brand’s image. Davids and her team were able to generate company-wide interest in their rebrand by laying out the blueprints of their plans for all to see.
“It is literally a blueprint, placed in frames in various areas of the office,” Davids says. “We basically run our own internal campaign and it tends to get people excited and raise intellectual curiosity. We have people hand raising to opt in to work on these things instead of having to recruit.” If you can get your whole office excited about a project, you’re off to a great start.
3. You’ll Learn What Customers Want
Listen to what your customers and prospects want from your industry. This has always been a challenge for Davids, who notes that consumers tend to be wary of dealing with and buying insurance. She’s found that the best remedy is to bring the Direct brand to life. “We make [insurance] fun,” says Davids. “We make it pleasant and we try to have added little surprises along the way that make it easier to do business with Direct Auto and Life Insurance. And we’ve seen this campaign resonate well with our customers.” A little CRM legwork can help your brand figure out what will get consumers engaged, as well as what’s turning them off.
4. There Will Be More Opportunities for Your Brand to Grow
Setting up communication lines with your industry can open up new doors. The larger your network, the more allies your brand can attain. Davids identifies the value of connecting with like-minded professionals. “There’s nothing more valuable to me than my network and the mentors I’ve had over the years,” she says. Finding connections like these can lead to the partnerships your business needs to reach a broader audience.
5. Communication Might Lead You to the Next Big Thing
Staying in touch with your business, your customers and your industry gives you insights on the latest marketing buzz. As any advertiser knows, there are always new selling trends out there. Sometimes these trends are fads, but other times they’re revolutionary. Just look at the power social media has had over the last decade! Davids finds tremendous value in searching for the next big thing. “What I consider state of the art is knowing when to jump on a trend versus waiting,” she says.
Davids’ message is simple: remember that you’re dealing with human beings. Take the extra time to understand your company’s world. Go the extra mile for your customers. Offer help when your co-workers need it. Above all, remember to speak your message clearly.
Listen to the entire podcast with Ann Davids below: