Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What We Do Is What We Do

If the name rings a bell at all, DEVO conjures up images of a quirky pop hit from 1980 titled "Whip It," sung by a band wearing upside down flower pots on their heads:

And what could this possibly have to do with insurance, one may ask?

Although as noted DEVO is generally known for one song and not much else, to the band's fan base DEVO was something far more significant than one-hit wonders. Actually, that should be "is" and not "was," since DEVO is back in action with a new album released a few weeks ago. More on that in a bit; back to the band.

DEVO espouses a belief in "de-evolution." The band defines this as instead of humanity evolving and growing, it is going backwards in terms of social development and overall intelligence. This philosophy, along with a penchant for sardonic swipes at most every rock'n'roll cliche imaginable, is the foundation upon which DEVO has built a career that's seen the release of several albums cherished by fans for their mixture of wit, sarcasm and a musical strength which surprises many who judge the band solely on the basis of its self-created public image as anything but your typical rock ensemble.

Now, making all this relevant to insurance.

As noted, DEVO has re-formed and released a new album titled Something For Everyone. It's quite good, actually, if you're a fan of slightly offbeat synthesizer-dominated rock/pop. Which is beside the point, but thought I'd throw that in. Back to the subject.

Given DEVO's fondness for lampooning assorted elements of society, it comes as no surprise that a large part of the new album's marketing campaign has consisted of a set of videos which together form a "mockumentary." A mockumentary is a satirical film made to look like a documentary, but which in reality is a spoof of the chosen target. In DEVO's case, it has put together a mockumentary of... the marketing of its new record, complete with actors playing the parts of its record label's marketing director, the head of an outside marketing consulting firm, and members of focus groups.

What ties this into insurance is a combination of factors:

  • DEVO's philosophy that despite the technical advances of humanity, humanity itself isn't progressing -- in fact, it's regressing;

  • The notion of a band returning to the public eye thirty years after most people last heard from, or about, it -- and with new material that is relevant to the current music scene;

  • The concept of following the "standard" mainstream marketing plan for a new album by a band whose fan base is anything but mainstream.

When it comes to selling insurance, by far the heaviest push the past several years has been by providers emphasizing a do-it-yourself approach. Get on the Internet, get a quote, buy a policy. Everything is but a few mouse clicks away. Ultra-easy and convenient, right?

No, not really.

It's amusing how the same companies which had been incessantly pushing the meme of an insured being the original one-person gang, capable of doing it all online, are now with equal fervor pushing the notion of either talking to one of their agents, or how they have people available whenever you need them. In short, all the boasts about advancement are now being pushed aside in favor of extolling the virtues of doing things the old-fashioned way.

Which isn't old-fashioned in the least.

Here at CSE, while we're working feverishly on making services and information available online to our agents and customers alike, we also have never lost faith in the belief that nothing beats experienced professionals working directly with the people who need their expertise. We don't need focus groups to tell us this is the way to do business. Instead, we trust in the experience of being in business for over sixty years.

When we tell people to contact their local agent, we do so with the full confidence they will have their needs met, both when buying a policy and should they ever need the coverage provided in that policy. It's how we've always done things. Not because we're stuck in a loop, but because it works.

And we've never needed to wear upside-down flower pots. (For the record, DEVO calls them "energy domes." In case you were wondering.)

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