The Competitive Edge: Peabody Insurance

  • By chelseajaie
  • 02 Oct, 2017

Peabody Insurance: A Family Footprint of Success

Today family businesses have a competitive edge that could hardly be anticipated. As millennials continue to take up over one third of the workforce, many of these individuals are looking for more out of a career than a paycheck. In this new arena, family businesses have an edge in building a sustainable footprint because of the personal connection between the family and the community they serve. 

A textbook example of this is Peabody Insurance Agency, a company with a history of serving the community since 1919. In the last year Peabody Insurance has grown the team to include two new family hires, Grace and Brandon, and has completely remodeled its office.

“In order to thrive in today’s competitive environment, I believe it’s important for businesses to give the next generation a voice in how we should work and serve our customers,” explains Jim Peabody, partner of Peabody Insurance in Fenton. “Our team has developed a culture of collaboration, where insurance knowledge is fused with new ideas, processes and tools.”

Peabody Insurance is now one of the most capable independent agencies in the state, with the development of an interactive safety app, DocuSign, virtual meetings and a client portal. “Many of our features have the goal of saving our clients time and money. Customers have the ability to choose how they want to do business with us,” Jo Schofield, account executive, explains, “and our customers enjoy supporting local businesses because they know those dollars are going right back into their hometown.” 

Jim believes that many of Peabody Insurance’s capabilities can be attributed to his daughter, Grace Peabody, and his nephew, Brandon Peabody. “Grace has worked at the agency since she was a kid,” Jim says. “We had her pulling weeds, washing windows and stuffing envelopes from an early age. Both Grace and Brandon have seen the way we put our customers first and how our employees are part of our family.”

“Some of the people I work with have known me since I was a baby!” Grace says. Grace recently moved back to Fenton after working for a Fortune 500 company in Chicago and earning her MBA from the University of Notre Dame earlier this year.

Brandon most recently worked for Al Serra Auto Plaza in Grand Blanc, another family-owned business. “Working at the Al Serra Corporation was a valuable experience,” he says. “They are a world-class organization. I learned a lot from the Serra family, and their values are helping me to grow the Peabody Insurance family business.” 

Dave Lucas, agency partner and childhood friend of Jim Peabody, has worked with Jim in the insurance industry most of his life. “I have made a career out of serving local businesses. We have to bring new people into the industry, and who would take the needs of our clients more seriously than someone who shares the same name as our company?” Lucas says. “Besides, Grace and Brandon are hardworking and fun people to work with!”

The evolution of Peabody Insurance Agency hasn’t always been straightforward. Growth in any business can be messy, but family businesses can get messier than most. However, this also means that a business run by a family team tends to be more resilient and more likely to succeed. There are aspects of a family business that other businesses just can’t replicate; studies report that this is because family business leaders think into “the next generation, not the next quarter” (from “Leadership Lessons from Great Family Businesses” by Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, Sonny Iqbal and Jörg Ritter).

While in the MBA program at Notre Dame, Grace went through the recruitment process with several companies. “In the end I knew I wanted to come back to Peabody Insurance. Big-name companies and sexy job titles sound better on paper than they do in real life,” Grace says. “For me, I like the challenge of working at a family company; it requires creative problem solving, and everyone is passionately involved. I think the traditional corporate ladder structure is a little outdated.” 

Brandon says, “Part of the reason I was excited to come to work for Peabody Insurance is because of the family values they are committed to upholding. These values put clients first and hold us, as a staff, to provide the highest quality of products, service and standards of integrity for our clients.”

RISK REDUCTION PROCESS

"The Peabody Insurance team believes that superior service is the result of a superior process, so the agency developed a program called the risk reduction process. “We use this approach to learn more about our customers, and reduce their total cost of risk. A key component of this methodology is safety, when our clients build a culture of safety they become more attractive to the insurance carrier which ultimately results in lower costs.” – Jim Peabody


FAMILY MATTERS: Q & A WITH GRACE AND BRANDON PEABODY

WHAT IS THE COOLEST THING ABOUT WORKING IN A FAMILY BUSINESS?

Grace: We are always focused on the business and our clients but we have a lot of fun too! By nature we enjoy our time together. I am working with my family; we laugh a lot, especially with Dave [Lucas]!

Brandon: We are working for a different purpose. It is not just about me; it’s about working for this generation and the next. We are not just selling insurance; we are communicating our family and our values.  

WHAT IS THE STRANGEST THING ABOUT WORKING IN A FAMILY BUSINESS?

G: Going into meetings together and saying our last name. Peabody, Peabody, Peabody at Peabody Insurance. It is a little redundant!

B: People imagine that working for a family business is easier. But in reality it is harder because we never leave work at the office.  

DO YOU EVER GET INTO FIGHTS?

G: I wouldn’t say we get into fights but we definitely disagree more passionately than I would if I was working at a different company.

B: Not yet, but we get into emotionally charged conversations. And, I have to be careful because I know the buttons to push to get a reaction.  

DO YOU SUGARCOAT YOUR OPINIONS?

G: I don’t sugarcoat but I try to be tactful.

B: Yes, to a certain point you are always sugarcoating. But even with family you have to mind your manners.

GRACE, IF YOU GET MARRIED, WILL YOU CHANGE YOUR NAME?

G: I’ll let you know!

BRANDON, WOULD YOU WANT YOUR DAUGHTER TO CHANGE HER NAME?

B: Well, she is only five, but if I have anything to do with it, my daughter will never date or get married!

HOW DO OTHER PEOPLE AT YOUR OFFICE FEEL ABOUT WORKING WITH SO MANY PEABODys?

G: That’s funny you should ask; we were just talking about that the other day. I think our team and our clients feel good about it because we have a perpetuation plan, a plan for the future of our business.

B: I think most people in our office feel that it’s not any different than working with anyone else. Plus, most have more experience than me; I need their expertise!

MICHIGAN OR MICHIGAN STATE?

G: Go Green. Our family is six for six at Michigan State!

B: Go Blue. My wife received her Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan.

Around The Town with Chelsea

By chelseajaie 20 Oct, 2017
Did you know………Every year, 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence. ( http://www.nsc.org/Measure/Pages/Workplace-Violence.aspx )
 
From 2000 through the first half of 2016, more than 600 people were killed in 213 active shooter events identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Unfortunately, this hits even closer to home. In 2016 two young women were fatally shot while at work in Genesee County. This seminar has been in the making since that terrible tragedy last year, unfortunately in the wake of the Las Vegas tragedy, this topic is all too relevant today.  
 
On Thursday, October 26, 2017, Behind Your Design will be hosting a seminar on Workplace Violence Safety. Please see the attached link and flyer to sign up. RSVP is necessary as seating is limited.
By chelseajaie 03 Oct, 2017

A t Bella Vita, exceeding the expectations of the residents is simply the beginning. Having a quality life in our later years is the least we all should expect. Bella Vita is committed to providing an environment that allows one to feel independent, with the assistance of its highly trained care group.  

By chelseajaie 02 Oct, 2017

Today family businesses have a competitive edge that could hardly be anticipated. As millennials continue to take up over one third of the workforce, many of these individuals are looking for more out of a career than a paycheck. In this new arena, family businesses have an edge in building a sustainable footprint because of the personal connection between the family and the community they serve. 

A textbook example of this is Peabody Insurance Agency, a company with a history of serving the community since 1919. In the last year Peabody Insurance has grown the team to include two new family hires, Grace and Brandon, and has completely remodeled its office.

“In order to thrive in today’s competitive environment, I believe it’s important for businesses to give the next generation a voice in how we should work and serve our customers,” explains Jim Peabody, partner of Peabody Insurance in Fenton. “Our team has developed a culture of collaboration, where insurance knowledge is fused with new ideas, processes and tools.”

Peabody Insurance is now one of the most capable independent agencies in the state, with the development of an interactive safety app, DocuSign, virtual meetings and a client portal. “Many of our features have the goal of saving our clients time and money. Customers have the ability to choose how they want to do business with us,” Jo Schofield, account executive, explains, “and our customers enjoy supporting local businesses because they know those dollars are going right back into their hometown.” 

By chelseajaie 29 Sep, 2017
Written by: Andrea Kehoe
By chelseajaie 23 Aug, 2017
Behind Your Design recently had the pleasure of designing a new responsive website for Image Flow Media. Image Flow is a full service commercial production company serving the metro Detroit Area. They are constantly pushing themselves, their equipment and their approach to the edge. Image Flow is a solutions-oriented team with a proven ability to get things done while managing multiple projects. They're experienced, passionate, motion graphics artists and video editors, looking to continue expanding their knowledge in all areas of production. 

 To see example of their work please click here  . Contact us at   Behind Your Design   to help you design your next website.

By chelseajaie 09 Aug, 2017

Starting a new business? Looking to give your current logo a 'refresh'? It can be easy to just think  'I need a logo!'  - what you are saying is that you want a graphic representation of your business to use on your marketing materials. What you  need however is a memorable overall ' brand' that will attract customers to your business. Luckily, at Behind Your Design, we can help you with all your needs, even the ones you don't know yet.

How do I create a brand? 

It's important to know your brand values and aspirations. Basically, your WHY? What made you start your business in the first place? What problem are you solving and what are your passions? Long term, where do you want to be in 2, 5, 10 years? The answers to those questions are the core of your brand. We want to give you the tools you need to reach your greatest potential.

Next, we'll work on the personality of your brand. What will your brand look like? Sound, feel, act like? Knowing your business' personality allows it to shine through everything we do. It also helps narrow down your target customer and decide how your business will interact with them. Appealing to a certain audience makes marketing efforts meaningful and effective.

Consistency is key. We work together to create an entire brand concept and easy guidelines to follow. Colors, fonts, patterns... Anything to make your look consistent will be part of your brand. Then, we use those elements across all platforms (website, social media, business cards, etc) to ensure your voice, mission and design flow fluidly and works together.

Once you've created this brand, it's time to go beyond that and uphold the reputation. Your customers have to truly believe in your brand, just like you do, and will, in turn, become loyal advocates of your business. Not only will they stay local to you but they'll also recommend you to others.

Your business is so much more than just a logo. We believe building a solid brand can become a company's greatest asset, so we cover every step:

  • Web Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Email Marketing
  • Facebook Marketing
  • Mobile App Design
  • Trade Show Booth Design
  • Custom Photo Gifts
  • Speaking Engagements
To view our design portfolio, click here.

By chelseajaie 25 Jul, 2017
Behind Your Design is excited to announce the launch of JDLab's new responsive website and logo design. JDLab is a family owned business dedicated to delivering high quality work in every department. Founder J.D. Hicks’ goals in 1950 remain their goals today:  "Provide every professional photographer with the highest standard of quality and service, and to work as partners to help studios grow as successful businesses."   To learn more about what JDLab can do for you please click   here . Contact us at   Behind Your Design   to help you design your next website.
By chelseajaie 18 Jul, 2017
Behind Your Design is excited to announce that we have created a new logo for Wayne Contracting Services, LLC. Wayne Contracting Services, LLC is a licensed and insured construction company providing a variety of construction and remodeling services to SE Michigan. Give them a call for all your contracting and remodeling needs! If you are in need of a new logo contact us at  Behind Your Design   today to get started!

By Chelsea Mills 18 Jul, 2017
Join the growing team at Behind Your Design at 100 S. Adelaide St. in Fenton, Michigan!

- 40 Hours A Week (Mon-Fri - 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM with working lunch)
- Paid Holidays
- Opportunity for 401k Retirement Matching
- Must be able to multi-task, delegate and prioritize jobs that come in
- Must be able to track time spent on projects
- Responsible for ordering from vendors
- Responsible for managing multiple tasks and keeping jobs moving forward by following up with clients and our designers
- Friendly pleasant personality
- Responsible to answer phones, greet customers, take messages and packages
- Team environment
- Time Management and Organizational Skills
- Matching expenses/orders with client billing
- Approximately 25% of the job will be coordinating photo booth jobs including contracts, graphics, staff, programming booths, posting photos, burning DVD’s and communicating with clients.

Technical skills needed, but not required to apply, we would train qualified applicants:
- HTML Email Blasts (Constant Contact, MailChimp)
- Website Building
- Basic Photoshop Skills
- Professional Email Skills
- Word, Excel
- Asana Task Management System
- Social Media Posting
- QuickBooks

Click Here to Apply

By Chelsea Mills 11 Jul, 2017
Behind Your Design recently had the pleasure of designing a new website for Bennett Communication Solutions. Bennett Communication Solutions is a local family company that opened its doors in 1945. They provide telephone answering services, remote receptionist services, voice mail, and other services to meet the needs of their business customers. While they maybe local they have clients nationwide. Their clientele includes health care services, property management and real estate, contractors and of course business professions. To learn more about their services please click here . Contact us at  Behind Your Design  to help you design your next website.
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