For B2B organisations, particularly in the insurance industry, there is a constant need to find new and compelling ways to add value for their clients. A key strategic initiative that can be undertaken is to position the brand as a thought leader, having a strong voice that guides commentary, insight and future trends in an industry. To position itself as a true thought leader, a B2B organisation requires dedication, perseverance, authenticity and the intellectual smarts to generate industry insight.
For over 8 years, Vero Australia has done just this. Their annual Vero SME Insurance Index has built their reputation as a thought leader amongst their key target market – insurance brokers. The Index provides brokers with valuable information about the SME market, and the positive and pain points as perceived by SMEs in procuring their business insurance. Reporting annually, the Index helps brokers understand their own clients’ needs and gives them valuable insight into the trends of broker usage over time.
Amidst the high-profile stories of digital disruption, the impact on the insurance broking industry is less well-documented but no less significant. Insurance companies need to ask themselves how they can support brokers to ensure their ongoing relevance and success. How can insurance companies add value in different ways to ensure brokers feel supported, valued and remain relevant?
Vero Australia, part of the Suncorp Group, one of Australia’s largest insurers, provides business insurance products that aim to help business owners cover the risks of conducting business. Vero Australia products are offered exclusively through brokers.
Vero Australia has been a pioneer in using research to provide value to brokers, launching the annual Vero SME Insurance Index back in 2012.
BrandMatters was engaged to conduct in-depth market research delving into the SME market to provide insurance brokers with valuable insights into the purchasing behaviour of SMEs and their attitudes towards it. The report is based on an annual online quantitative survey of 1,500 business owners and insurance decision-makers around Australia. Since its inception, over 10,000 SMEs have been surveyed to date.
In delivering the SME Index to brokers, Vero was also able to provide some advice to brokers on how they can demonstrate value to their core audience (SMEs), this advice is relevant for all service-based B2B organisations:
1. Check-in regularly with your clients – the best way to build and maintain a strong relationship
2. Share your thinking – demonstrating your rationale behind recommendations
3. Share useful information – keeping customers up to date with trends and changes
4. Help them manage risk – use your expertise to do more than just sell insurance
5. Let them know you can help – showcase your services and expertise
6. Develop your brand – clearly define your brand and stand out from your competitors.
Vero Australia has continued to provide these research insights on a yearly basis. By tracking insurance buying behaviour over time, and then generating market insight that can help guide brokers, Vero is positioning itself firmly as a thought leader firmly at the centre of its industry. Brokers are benefiting from receiving deep knowledge of their own customers, getting a first-hand understanding of the pain points faced by SMEs, their biggest challenges and their expectations for the future.
For more information, read our case study on the work undertaken by BrandMatters for Vero Australia. By committing to ongoing research, they have secured a firm thought leadership positioning in the market as the leader in SME insurance and their Index has become the ‘go-to’ resource for brokers seeking to learn more about their core customers.
And it’s not just Vero Australia. For the past three years, BrandMatters has also undertaken research in New Zealand on behalf of Vero New Zealand (see our Vero New Zealand Case Study) to understand SME attitudes and business sentiments. This research comprised of both quantitative and qualitative methods covering over 900 SME businesses and over 300 brokers, and like the Australian Index, the resultant insights have been utilised to track attitudes and buying behaviour over time.
The key objective for both Vero AU and Vero NZ in instigating this research project was to provide valuable insight for brokers to help them improve their business.
Australian brokers reaction to the index has been resoundingly positive:
Furthermore, this research has provided brokers with a range of benefits:
Providing access to information not readily available
Prior to this initiative, there was limited information available to help brokers understand their SME audience.
The longevity of the research has allowed for benchmarking, tracking of changes in sentiment and market shifts. It is unusual for a research study of this size and scale to play such a critical role over so many years.
Action-oriented insights and easily digestible
Not only are the research findings insightful, but the recommendations were meaningful, realistic and actionable. A range of communication tools to cater to all preferences.
Free access to the full report and associated tools for the entire insurance community
Vero has made a considerable investment to ensure the research study is robust, representative, and conducted by an independent research agency (BrandMatters), and not influenced by Vero or any other insurance brand. The full report and all the associated tools are easily accessible and free to the insurance industry, media, and anyone else interested in the study and its findings.
The study is continually referred to by Vero’s major competitors
The Vero SME Insurance Index has been referenced as a source by leaders in the insurance industry, many of whom are Vero’s competitors. This is further evidence that confirms Vero’s thought leadership and positions this research study as a trusted source of information in the insurance industry.
At BrandMatters, we believe brand research is about building a deep understanding of your customers, uncovering the insights that will lay the foundations of your brand strategy. Positioning your brand as a thought leader with deep expertise in the market will instil confidence and build brand loyalty.
For many organisations, offering value through providing insights, data and thought leadership can create a win-win situation for the organisation and their clients. It can also help create a closer relationship with your clients, it can also help you evolve and remain contemporary, gain external validation and enhance your overall brand reputation in the market.
For B2B organisations, who often have a more complex buying cycle and need to consider the needs of their immediate target as well as the end consumer it is important that the research explores all viewpoints.