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Farm Bureau Insurance Company of Idaho is a multi-line insurance carrier and does business exclusively in Idaho. They have, since their inception in 1947, historically maintained strength in the agricultural market. As times changed Farm Bureau began to recognize that many of their loyal customers were leaving the Ag business. To offset this market loss Farm Bureau explored new opportunities, which ultimately led to the decision to increase sales in Idaho’s suburban communities. Farm Bureau Insurance contacted Steele in 1999 to help them assert more influence in the retail insurance market.
The agency first conducted research and a comprehensive analysis of the insurance category from top to bottom. Both primary and secondary research was conducted to determine what the Idaho consumer’s perspectives were regarding the insurance category.
Analysis of the data revealed that awareness levels for the Farm Bureau Insurance products were very low. Consumers believed that Farm Bureau services were created for farmers and ranchers. Most importantly the research revealed consumers were confused about Farm Bureau Insurance, Farmers Insurance, State Farm, and to a lesser degree Allstate. This brand confusion intensified the farther away the consumer was from Farm Bureau Insurance Company of Idaho headquarters.
Steele developed a communications approach to achieve multiple objectives. Besides confusion, Farm Bureau Insurance suffered from a perception in the marketplace of being old fashion. A new brand positioning line was created to help overcome the confusion.
Sales were up for 1999-2001, and nearly every year since including some double digit increases. Over time the message for Farm Bureau has evolved and some internal process changes have occurred to stay up with the times, but the effort to maintain a vital brand position has remained strong at Farm Bureau Insurance.
“Steele has been with Farm Bureau Insurance for a decade. We hired the firm to help us build brand awareness. During this time our business has shown a very nice overall growth rate. The agency has done a very good job keeping up with the every changing new media landscape and they are constantly exploring ways to help strengthen our marketing and advertising efforts.”Phil Joslin, CEO - Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company of Idaho