Thursday, July 26, 2012

What Can For-Profit Companies Learn From the Fraternal Model?

This morning a I read a very interesting article about for-profit auto insurance companies on USA Today's website.

After spending a number of years using humorous ads and memorable, comedic spokespeople, the lesson learned is that humor doesn't sell financial products. Now the companies mentioned in the article are moving away from humorous ads to "a series of slice-of-life vignettes aimed at generating an emotional connection."

On the one hand, this is smart decision-making because if you learn that your marketing efforts aren't working and are big enough to acknowledge that fact, the best thing you can do is try a different approach.

On the other hand, for anyone who belongs to or works for a Fraternal Benefit Society, like Sons of Norway, then this is really not news. The reason being that since the beginning of the fraternal movement our focus has always been on the member. We've known for a long time that the key to growth is focusing on the member experience, as well as the protection and peace of mind they enjoy when they own a fraternal life insurance product.

Maybe the problem is that for-profit companies view the people they serve as "customers" or individuals who are merely buying a product, while fraternals have members, who not only purchase insurance, but are also part of something much larger and more meaningful? Personally, I think that's the key: make your audience's experience meaningful, not just beneficial. Again, this is something that fraternal organizations are experts in. If we weren't, we wouldn't have lasted as long as we have and that's the simple truth.

The next time you are at a lodge meeting, or for those who will be in Fargo this summer for the International Convention, think about why Sons of Norway is meaningful to you and what makes it meaningful. If you've got some thoughts already please share them with us in the comments section below.

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