Car insurance companies aren’t generally known for their wit, but this is slowly changing. We are seeing humor included more and more in the branding and marketing of agencies, from Geico to Progressive. Farmers Insurance is getting in the act with their University of Farmers website.
Website Reviewed: http://www.farmers.com
The website features a fake university, as the name suggests. You can visit a variety of locations in the college, watch a short video, and then click on different items. If you find the right ones, you get points that earn you a higher grade on your ‘report card’.
It’s not the most original premise, but we bet it was a design and programming nightmare. It seems to be an organizational nightmare as well. There are several videos available under ‘University of Farmers’, and then others listed as ‘Campus TV’. There’s no feature that makes them obviously different, except that the University of Farmers ones have more functions. This may be confusing to users at first.
Usually small business insurance websites are full of legalities and rather dry details. This one has those, but they are tucked away in corners to be clicked on as needed. This will be appreciated by people who are bored by the insurance experience, but annoying to us ‘just the facts’ types. However, the regular Farmers website is untouched for the fuddy-duddies.
This website is not really selling insurance, although there is a tab that will put you in touch with an insurance salesperson. Instead, it is selling the Farmers brand. Over the past few years, we have seen insurance become one of the most branded industries. Most of us can remember certain cavemen from an insurance company eve getting a network television spinoff. How better to build a brand than to create a well-branded website with fun features and an incentive (the report card) for getting through them all?
Helping to build the brand are several prominently displayed social networking links and a collegiate color scheme. People tend to view academia as a place to gain knowledge, so this association will likely help out the insurance company in question. The professional design and the amusing features also have the potential to build this brand and help it compete in a competitive market.
Creativity: 4 stars. Although the visual elements are not too creative, we love the report card and other details.
Ease of use: 4 stars. The organization seems a little random at times. However, most parts of the website are easy to access thanks to liberally placed links.
Functionality: 5 stars. Who would guess that an insurance company has such a substantial social media presence?
Content: 5 stars. The written content is amusing and free of errors. Further, the videos are funny and informative at the same time, which will keep people watching long enough to learn something about the company.
Appropriateness: 5 stars. Everything ties into the college theme, creating a well-rounded brand experience.
Overall: 4.6 out of 5 stars.