Bail Bonds: Building a Brand and Breaking a StereotypeTuesday, April 19, 2011
In our continuing efforts to tell the ExpertBail Story, AIA’s Chief Marketing Officer, Eric Granof, recently wrote an article for a leading marketing and communications website, Hispanic MPR. Additionally, Eric conducted an online interview with HMPR’s Editor, Elena del Valle. The article is posted below and in the next few days we will post a link to the interview.
Building a brand is never an easy challenge, but doing so in the context of an industry that already has a negative image can be nothing short of daunting. Add to this, an extremely popular television program that supports the negative stereotype, and even worse, a long history of Hollywood romanticizing and perpetuating the negative stereotype of your industry and you can begin to see the complexity and magnitude of the challenge that our team at AIA, the nation’s largest underwriter of bail bonds, was faced with only 7 short months ago when we launched ExpertBail.
The bail bond industry is a very interesting one. Not only has it been misrepresented by the media, but it is also extremely misunderstood by the average person on the street. This is probably due to the fact that most people don’t ever expect or plan on needing a bail bond. So when they do need one, the experience is preceded with fear and uncertainty. We felt it was time to eliminate those negative feelings and replace
Now, as a marketer you can approach this challenge in several ways, you can be extremely direct and address it point by point and make your argument against it or you can ignore it and hope it just goes away. We decided to do something a little different. Instead of just attacking the negative comments in a defensive and reactive way, we took more of a “truth” approach. We decided to challenge the misperception by simply telling the real stories of our agents. No Hollywood scripts or actors. Real Bail Agents doing what they do everyday…and what most people don’t realize is that a bail agent’s job is not about letting criminals out of jail, it is helping put families back together and protecting the public. And that was the overarching goal of ExpertBail, challenge the stereotype by showing the reality, change the negative by focusing on the positive, and fill the lack of knowledge through education and information.
So, from the television commercial that includes real ExpertBail Agents telling real stories, to a special section of the website that contains stories about agents making a difference in their communities to a comprehensive search site that informs consumers about the bail process and provides them with a simple trusted way to find a bail agent, everything ExpertBail does is directed towards changing the perception of bail.
This approach has been extremely effective thanks to the multitude of “storytelling” channels that are available out there. From Public Relations to social media, we have been able to reach out and engage consumers about the bail industry. We provide video content explaining key bail terms and processes, we introduce real agent profiles and tell their stories….click on the link to visit Hispanic MPR and read the whole article.
By Eric Granof
Chief Marketing Officer – AIA & ExpertBail