- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

Moving Beyond the ‘Trust’ Factor: Challenging the Traditional Marketing Approach

In the insurance industry, one marketing priority has always stood out: building trust.

Trust is what allows consumers to feel good about choosing a certain brokerage or brand over another. It’s how positive word of mouth spreads and how awareness is established.

But is trust enough to capture the loyalty of an increasingly informed audience? An audience that instantly compares options for everything from travel to retail to finance?


It’s time to look at how moving beyond the trust factor — and embracing the online comparison trend — can pay dividends for brands and brokerages that are relying on marketing to grow.

The case for trust

Many of Canada’s largest insurance companies have recognized the need to move beyond the broker channel and build direct-to-consumer brands. Aviva did this with the launch of Aviva Direct, Intact with belairdirect, and Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA) with Johnson.

Most recently, we saw Economical try its hand at building trust through the launch of Sonnet.

In the year since Sonnet’s ‘optimism’ campaign hit the market, we’ve seen the B2C brand come to life via sporting events, out-of-home ads, YouTube videos, and social media feeds across the country. The messaging is memorable and the move appears to be paying off.

But once brand recognition starts to snowball, should the bulk of a company’s marketing efforts continue to go towards building trust? Or are there other objectives worth factoring into the equation?

Moving beyond trust

Marketing builds awareness, and if done well, trust. So it’s no surprise to see insurance brands investing heavily in mainstream marketing, whether traditional (TV, magazine, radio, print) or digital (banners, display ads, video ads).

But at its core, marketing is interruption. And interruption — no matter how big the spend or clever the message — can never deliver users who have intention to act or who have vetted their options.

This is because ads target customers when they’re watching YouTube or scanning their social media feeds. Sure, some might click on a few ads, but it was never their intent to purchase that product.

Some users might even follow the funnel long enough to arrive at a price. But because they’re only seeing offers from one company, they have nothing to compare that price against. They haven’t vetted their options. That’s where rate comparison sites come in.

Intention and vetting

Imagine clicking on an Air Canada ad and ending up at a price. Even if it was competitive, would you take it? Or would you compare it against other airlines on sites like Kayak or Expedia? For more and more Canadians, the answer is the latter.

The same applies for insurance. Rate comparison sites allow users to move beyond trusting a brand — now they can shop around for the right product at the best price. It’s the easiest way for users to be sure they’re not wasting money by missing out on a better deal.

But comparison sites don’t just benefit the consumer.

From the perspective of the insurance brand, including rate comparison sites in their marketing mix is one of the most cost-effective ways of acquiring customers. It’s an affordable, scalable, and customizable solution that any brand or brokerage can benefit from.

Having a presence on a comparison site lets high-intent customers compare their options and find you. Combine that with some good old fashioned brand awareness and you’ve got the best of both worlds.



Editor’s Note: Justin Thouin is the Co-Founder and CEO of provides Canadians with a fast and convenient way to save two of their most valuable assets – time and money. It’s a one stop shop for Canadians to compare offers on personal financial products quickly and easily from North America’s leading companies. To date, it has helped millions of Canadians explore their financial options.