Best's Review


Insurance Marketing
Connecting With Customers by Building Brand Communities

It’s also important for marketers to tell their story and their organization’s societal impact so consumers can align themselves with their brand and products, said Wharton’s Americus Reed II.
  • Lori Chordas
  • August 2021
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Social influence, values and attitude have the power to shape consumer behavior and customers' insurance purchasing decisions, said Americus Reed II, a Whitney M. Young Jr. professor of marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

“When we choose products and services, we are essentially trying to figure out the extent to which they align with our own values. When thinking about different things that we might buy, we're considering the extent to which there is an opportunity to reinforce aspects about who we are in the context of using that particular service,” said Reed, who has worked with Fortune 100 companies such as Google and Disney and is a partner and co-founder of consulting firm Persona Partners. He spoke with Best's Review about brand loyalty and ways marketers can build and foster brand communities.

Following is an edited transcript of Reed's comments.

Americus Reed II

Americus Reed II

What triggers lead consumers to identify with and become loyal to a product or brand?

We often think about it in much the same way that we think about how to generate sports team fans. There's a community of like-minded others that you perceive share values or a sense of self-expression that you identify with. They create the community or tribe. You're looking to affiliate with those groups and services that they are associated with in a way that then creates a psychological connection between you, the brand, the service, and that particular community of like-minded individuals.

What are brand communities and how can insurance marketers create and foster them?

They are groups of consumers who perceive each other to be very similar on some particular aspect of self-expression or identity. These communities can manifest in the real world or they can be virtual communities such as social networks. Whenever there's an opportunity to go online and digitally interact with consumers who you believe share those values, it's an opportunity to reinforce and be a part of that community.

How has a crisis like COVID-19 highlighted the need for insurers to build purpose into a brand, product or company?

What we are seeing in the research is that more consumers are demanding to understand the values of companies they are aligning themselves with and purchasing from. There is an opportunity for financial services organizations to tell a story around broader issues of purpose, social justice, the environment and things that consumers are concerned about so they can better understand where you stand. And it's not just business model-related issues but also issues associated with the broader context of society.

Lori Chordas is a senior associate editor. She can be reached at

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