Strategy and Brand
2011 was another challenging year for Swiss Life. These turbulent times have proved the value of steadfastly holding to our course. The forward-looking strategy and the ambitious Group-wide MILESTONE programme have made Swiss Life more robust and resilient, while at the same time allowing us to exploit opportunities which have arisen despite volatile markets and the weak Euro. In a difficult economic climate customers rely on positive experiences and the credible promises of a strong brand, criteria which Swiss Life meets through its brand promise, “The future starts here.”
Strategic thrusts — Swiss Life aims to become a leading international specialist for risk, life and pensions solutions. This self-image is precisely defined in six principal thrusts. Embedded in a clear goal, formulated in an ambition and supported by a mission, the strategic thrusts cover the entire value chain:
1. Enhance customer value and new business profitability
2. Increase distribution quality and power
3. Improve operational excellence
4. Preserve the balance sheet and optimise in-force business
5. Drive disciplined execution
6. Engage employees
The customer stands at the heart of Swiss Life’s strategy. We are committed to helping our clients create a financially secure future. For life. This promise requires our company to be securely positioned and sustainably financed even in a difficult market environment.
MILESTONE — the right answer — Swiss Life launched the Group-wide revitalisation programme MILESTONE in 2009 in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The programme focuses on enhancing Swiss Life’s competitive position and increasing flexibility towards customers. Building on from the strategic thrusts, the company set itself the following goals to be achieved by 2012:
1. Promote modern and risk products and increase the value and profit margin of new business
2. Optimise multichannel distribution and fully exploit AWD’s potential as a distribution channel
3. Steadily pursue the costs target – to reduce the cost basis by CHF 350-400 million – and continuously strive for further improvements
4. Implement initiatives for optimising in-force business and risk capital.
With MILESTONE, Swiss Life has the right answer to the ongoing turbulence on the financial markets. The fitness programme, which is linked to specific goals for 2012, has made Swiss Life’s business model more robust and resilient in the long term. The action taken under MILESTONE has also made the Swiss Life strategy more tangible and comprehensible for the relevant stakeholders. The focus on achieving profitable growth and enhancing customer value is being increasingly recognised within the company as part of the corporate culture. The initiatives pursued with MILESTONE are reflected in the strategic thrusts set by the company and have now been integrated into day-to-day business. Swiss Life will be reporting on its future strategic direction and the period post MILESTONE at its Investors’ Day on 28 November 2012.
Values — With its corporate values of expertise, proximity, openness, clarity and engagement, Swiss Life is committed to a professional, personal and comprehensible corporate culture – with respect to its clients, staff, shareholders and society.
Credible brand promise — In an environment of ever-increasing competition and ever-changing market conditions, the character and credibility of a brand are important prerequisites for corporate success. A strong brand identity offers distinct competitive advantages, particularly in the long-term financial security business. Swiss Life is represented in all markets with the uniform claim, “The future starts here.” The brand positioning, as expressed in a condensed form in the claim, is based on the image dimensions of future, reference, independence and Swissness. The clear message of the claim also radiates inwards: It represents a commitment by the employees to employ their expertise, openness, engagement, proximity and clarity in the service of our customers.
Distinct brand environment — Swiss Life has been represented Group-wide since 2004 by a uniform corporate identity and a brand architecture at four levels. The Swiss Life umbrella brand also encompasses two sub-brands: Swiss Life Asset Management and Swiss Life Banque Privée. The German subsidiary SLPM Schweizer Leben PensionsManagement GmbH has an independent market presence as what is called an endorsement brand. The fourth level of the brand architecture is occupied by independently managed brands such as AWD and Livit (exclusively in Switzerland).
The logo links the company’s tradition going back more than 150 years with its customers’ future. People with their different needs and their desire for financial security and independence stand at the centre of the life insurance and pensions business. The three lines in the Swiss Life logo symbolise the most prominent lines on the palm of a hand and represent the long-term and personal needs of customers.
TARGETED BRAND MANAGEMENT — Activities aimed at strengthening the brand and raising the profile of our brand promise are carried out within the framework of targeted brand management. The new brand management cycle was completed for the first time in the year under review. All marketing measures and their impact on image and brand perception were tested in each market from both a quantitative and a qualitative standpoint. These findings are taken into consideration by brand managers when budgeting and planning and provide specific reference points when planning future measures.