Branding Transparency – The Progressive Insurance Story

CBrookbanks    June 11, 2015

progressive log

Organization: Progressive

Industry: Insurance

Web references: Progressive, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Destination CRM, Twitter – @AskProgressive, Flo’s Twitter, Soundcloud,

Company overview

Since their beginning in 1937, Progressive has lived up to its name by being a forerunner in the insurance industry. They strive to provide customers with new and affordable insurances solutions, such as being the first company to offer reduced rates for low-risk drivers. However, what they’re most commonly known for is offering comparison rates for their competitors when providing quotes quickly and easily online.

Transparency is the name of the insurance game

With over 10 million customers in the United States, Progressive Insurance must be doing something right! Between 1996 and 2005, they grew at an average rate of 17 percent per year, from $3.4 billion to $14 billion – and they attribute this success largely to their innovative comparison rates and 24/7 customer service claims programs.

When the company began to offer comparative rates online in 1996, there were no doubt some concerns. Why would they do that? Are they crazy? They can’t possible always offer the best rates, can they? Why would they tell us about lower rates offered by competitors? Progressive made the choice to set themselves apart and¬†use transparency as a competitive differentiator. By giving consumers a glance behind the curtain, Progressive gained the trust of customers by letting them know they had their best interest in mind, even if it wasn’t with them. Customers will find the information elsewhere, Progressive made life a little easier and gained trust by becoming part of that process.


And are Progressive’s rates always the lowest? No. They establish trust by being forthright about better rates offered by others.


Progressive takes transparency one step further – not only do they provide competitor’s rates, they provide their “stats”, such as ratings and market share percent so that customers have all the information they need to make an informed decision.


Not wanting to end customer engagement with their website, Progressive created a Twitter account specifically for  customers to ask questions and receive quick time responses. Potential and existing customers can ask questions regarding Progressive, their individual policies or voice concerns knowing that they will receive assistance in a timely manner. While this allows others to see issues current costumers are having, and in turn may paint Progressive in a negative light, Progressive is committed to maintaining this open means of dialogue and customer engagement.


Customers can also use Instagram to connect with Progressive, where they post pictures and videos of recent events, tips and ‘Flo-isms’


And for those of us who are simply fans of Progressive’s spokesperson Flo, you can connect with her as well @ItsFlo or add her to your favourite playlist.



Progressive took a big gamble when they decided to bring transparency to the forefront of their marketing strategy. By displaying competitors sometimes lower rates side by side with their own, there was a high probability that the lower rate would be selected. However, this established trust between Progressive and their customers. Customers came to know that Progressive wanted them to have the best coverage at the best rates, even if it wasn’t provided by them. On the flipside, Progressive was able to both expand and retain their customer base due to this much desired but seldom seen trait in the insurance industry – trust.

Submitted by: Caitlin Brookbanks, SMBP Student.

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