Darsana Vijay
Darsana Vijay 10 October 2017

5 Ways Insurance Brands Construct a Personality on Social Media

Social media is all about conversations. Brands too can initiate and participate in these conversations. In fact, a brand’s social media success depends on this. By doing so, brands encourage consumers to interact with them. However, social media users establish connections only with brands that have a personality.

Take a moment and think about the brand that you like best on social media. A main reason why you picked that brand could be because they tell compelling, enjoyable stories. You also know what you can expect from the brand – ideals they stand by, topics they avoid etc.

Brands in that sense are quite like your other “friends”. You agree with ones that subscribe to the same interests as you and distance yourself from certain others. The personality a brand assumes on social media is what allows them to pass off as people. Insurance is one of the sectors that have a tough time constructing a brand personality. They do not have a flashy, tangible product like an auto brand. Unlike Red Bull for instance, you do not immediately associate a lifestyle (adventure, extreme sports etc here) with these brands.

Social media is a boon for insurance brands to create a meaningful personality in 5 main ways:

  • Brands can connect with their target audience

  • Through storytelling, brands can make their messaging more relatable

  • As thought leaders, they can give a value-add to consumers

  • By addressing specific interest groups, brands can spearhead community-building efforts

  • Put a human face on

Let us explore each in detail. All examples and data are from the Unmetric Social Media Intelligence platform.

Create a meaningful connection with your audience

Each person constructs their personality in relation to others. Similarly, brands display their personality the most in their interactions with others. A key first step towards creating a brand personality is developing a clear picture of your target audience.

By identifying their interests, likes and dislikes, brands can work on a personality that their target audience can relate with. For insurance brands that have different packages for different groups, they can use Facebook’s targeting capabilities to address a specific audience in each post.

Based on the interest groups your target audience falls into, you can customize how you package your messaging. For example, Hollard had quite a few posts that specifically catered to the youth. Many of these young users are interested in video games. As part of their #StreetwiseFinance campaign, Hollard gamified personal finance lessons. Take a look:

These brands also use social media to situate themselves within the South African landscape. There is no better way to show your audience that you understand them than by sharing their immediate concerns. This could be a reason why several of the insurance brands actively participated in rescue and rehabilitation efforts during various calamities such as the Knysna fires.

Tell relatable stories

Storytelling is an excellent way to show your audience what you can do for them. A recent study has noted that storytelling in branded content leads to significantly better ad recall. Instead of listing the features you offer, you can actually demonstrate how they come handy in a time of need.

Discovery does quite a few such customer stories. Here’s one:


This type of content strikes the viewer as genuine. This is because it comes from a consumer himself rather than from a spokesperson. They can put themselves in the narrator’s shoes and understand how the product/service makes a difference. It helps potential consumers make a decision to purchase the product more easily.

Santam took a novel, hilarious route to make their case. It is no secret that consumers would do anything rather than go through the hassle of filing a claim and following up. Santam did a series of videos of people volunteering to do bizarre things they’d rather do. These included showering at a car wash, letting a kid cut your hair, being a human birdfeeder, listening to a chalkboard orchestra (shudders) etc. Here’s a taste:

They make the compelling case that if you’d go to such lengths to avoid filing a claim, you should probably think of switching your insurance provider. They also highlighted that they ‘look for reasons to pay you’. By directly addressing one of the core concerns that turns customers away, Santam manages to stand out.

Provide a value addition to your audience

Growing a loyal audience is all about giving them valuable information consistently. With over 20,000 pieces of content in 2016, ‘tips’ were the most popular topic among insurance brands. This is also perfectly in line with the abundance and popularity of DIY hacks on social media.

This type of content also establishes the brand as a thought-leader in that particular area. Consider the earlier example we discussed where Hollard gives tips about personal finance in an engaging way. This in no way means that insurance brands have to stick to insurance/financial advice alone.

Discovery, Hollard, OUTsurance etc shared fitness regimes, tips on endurance athletics etc. Several auto insurance brands such as Hippo, Prime Meridian Direct etc shared information about traffic congestion, maintenance of roads and so on. Santam, for instance, tweets in real time about delays:


The great thing here is that you are addressing the pain points of a very particular demographic. This way you can nurture a dedicated following for your brand.

Build a community

Community building involves a persistent effort to supply valuable content to a particular interest group. Brands also have to encourage their users to share and participate in the conversations that they generate. Large pharmaceutical companies, for example, maintain branded portals that are dedicated to a particular disease. Here, people affected by that particular disease or their near and dear can gather information about the disease and find support from other members of the community.

Similarly, Old Mutual maintains a portal dedicated to fitness and athletics called ‘World of Endurance’. The insurance brand uses their Facebook presence to share tips on how to train for various marathons, share updates, tie up with influencers to provide expert advice etc.

Take a look at a couple of their posts:


These initiatives create a dedicated, niche following for the brand. Also, by aligning with endurance athletics, the brand personality gets associated with values of sportsmanship, resilience and strength. A steady flow of content and sponsorship of key events adds to their stature as thought-leaders.

Be human

Posting a list of values your brand stands by does not leave a lasting impression on your audience. Brands can do the same a lot better through people.

Consumers tend to associate qualities of the people who work for the company with the brand. This is why portraying company culture has become an important part of various companies’ social media plan.

OUTsurance does an outstanding job at this. They hold an annual Stilletto Run around Women’s Month. A video that featured several members of their staff trying to run a lap in women’s heels was among their most-shared posts. They also took part in a blanket drive to help the less-fortunate. The video showed their staff being empathetic, compassionate and helpful.


Developing a brand personality that your audience agrees with is key to brand loyalty and trust. Audience’s reaction to the personality you project through your content is valuable feedback. You’ll always have a handle on what is working and how relatable you are.

Moreover, consistent engagement indicates that your consumers are interested in what your brand has to say. This prompts algorithmic feeds like Facebook to give you better reach and visibility.

As with all things social media, it is necessary to test which social media strategies are working for you. Check industry trends and tending topics to know what holds your audience’s attention and work yourselves into the conversation.


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