Creating a commercial transition within an established pension fund giant
As part of an ambitious growth strategy, Sampension, the third largest pension and life-insurance company in Denmark is taking measures to increase their market share within the private labour pension market in Denmark. This is a formidable step considering their heritage belongs within the public labor pension market*, which currently comprises 90% of their customer base.
*pension agreements between employer and employee associations of the municipalities and state
As part of this strategy, Sunrise assisted Sampension with the revitalization of their brand platform and go-to-market strategy, with the task of:
- Creating a sustainable increase in awareness primarily within a new target group and reinforcing existing customer satisfaction
- Executing their payoff ‘Worth more‘ in a more empathetic, value-driven and attitude-based way to increase preference
- Establishing and conquering a stronger brand position in the market as a challenger to the more established competitors
The market for private labour market pension providers in Denmark is highly competitive. After going through a heavy consolidation phase over the past decade, the market is now saturated with frequent and competitive offers, which often see companies undertaking fierce price wars on health and accident insurance in order to win more customers – sometimes triggering losses in the hundreds of millions of Danish kroner.
Therefore, the new strategic objective required a commercial transition of the marketing strategy, better geared towards the highly competitive private labour pension market.
”We are setting out to create a sustained lift in awareness and preference towards Sampension. In doing this, we wish to achieve further market shares within a target group that at present does not have the same knowledge of Sampension and their strong pension products, compared to customers in the public labor market”, tells Sampension Communication and HR Director, Søren P. Espersen.
Du kan roligt glæde dig til din pension
Based on the existing promise and payoff ‘Worth more’, how could we revitalize Sampension’s brand platform while resonating with both the existing public labor market and stakeholders as well as the new target segment of private companies?
And more generally: how do we create real resonance within the target group in a market notoriously known for its perceived high complexity and low involvement?
Based on a sequential insight-driven process, Sampension and Sunrise initiated a comprehensive market analysis. This included in-depth qualitative interviews with employees, decision-makers and customers with the purpose of reexamining and refining Sampension’s unique value proposition and developing a go-to-market strategy that could realize each of the business objectives.
“Sunrise’s insight-driven approach highlighted a list of clear, yet unfulfilled brand strategic potentials that already existed within our company’s strong DNA, product and services. At the same time, it revealed a logical plan of how to turn these insights into an actionable go-to-market strategy that will without a doubt contribute to further growth and customer loyalty.”
– Søren P. Espersen, Communication and HR Director at Sampension
The thorough market analysis revealed the primary drivers and barriers of the pension market, as well as how to position and differentiate Sampension within the current market space.
As a customer-owned pension fund with deep roots in the public labor market, it has always been a fundamental method of Sampension to deploy a ‘customers-above-all’ mindset.
It became evident that Sampension could gain a unique competitive advantage by establishing a position as the trustworthy, sympathetic and extra-mile pension company that addressed the customer’s biggest master pain “to spend as little time as possible, while achieving the best possible savings”. Through unique products and services, Sampension could take this position with full integrity, as they provide:
- Low costs – one of the markets lowest APRs (annual costs as a percentage), which can mean up to 500,000 DKK more for their customers when they retire
- Solid market returns – a track-record above or at par with the market average
- Competent & personal counseling – ensuring their customers’ funds are managed according to their needs
- Comprehensive insurance policies – enabling their customers to sleep comfortably at night, knowing that they’re covered
- Solidary retiree benefits – same benefits on and off the labor market — against the industry norm
- Valuable advisory tools – two unique digital tools to manage and create overviews of the customer’s pension savings with ease
Furthermore, it was evident from the insights that Sampension should differentiate themselves from the current generic market discourse — which usually either portrays people in the ‘golden age’ or appeals to the public’s guilty conscious of not putting away enough for their retirement. needed to take a new route.
The analysis led to the campaignable concept: ‘Calmly look forward to your pension’ (‘Du kan roligt glæde dig til din pension’) supporting and creating synergy with the ‘Worth more’ brand platform. Consequently, Sampension now had a solid foundation on which they could differentiate themselves and strengthen their position both within the existing public labour market as well as the private labour market.
After assisting Sampension in revitalizing their brand platform and market position, the imperative next step was to activate the brand platform through a holistic go-to-market strategy.
Internal campaign strategy
The foundation of a successful go-to-market strategy starts and ends with the employees. After all, they are one of the most crucial day-to-day touch points for both existing and potential customers. Therefore, the first step was to ensure an effective and permanent anchorage across the organization and the culture within it. The brand platform must permeate the entire company as a whole so that the position not only remains an external statement, but one that every employee buys into, lives by and contributes to. Prioritizing this effort as much as any other traditional marketing effort, Sampension launched the strategy at an internal kick-off day and implemented a campaign toolbox, consisting of everything from videos and posters to screen savers and vision booklets. Collectively contributing to the internal understanding, motivation and overall commitment to the new direction.
External campaign strategy
Together with the media partner, Kragen Media Agency, a thorough analysis of the target group’s media habits was performed. They did this by mapping channels and attitudes towards advertising, subsequently pairing this with cost per contact across channels (CPM analysis). On this basis, a top, middle and bottom funnel strategy was created, established relevant KPI’s, in order to develop an insightful and impactful media strategy in line with the commercial goals. The result was a 360-degree campaign spanning both print, social, SEO, banners, website, airport and TV – ensuring every touch point contributed to the overall KPI’s.
Additionally, in order to establish a fact-based foundation for tracking the campaign effectiveness, a base-level analysis was performed to determine the current status of the selected KPI’s so that the performance and impact of the marketing efforts could be easily monitored and evaluated on an ongoing basis.
Altogether, Sampension have established an even stronger foundation on which to take further market shares within the private labour pension market. Currently, the campaign has run for approximately 5 months, and the market reception has been great.
What we delivered:
- In-depth qualitative interviews with 60 stakeholders
- Analysis of drivers and barriers of brand positioning concept
- Brand positioning and communications concept
- National TVC, print ads, social media, SEO, banners, website, airport
Facts about Sampension
Sampension is the third largest pension and life-insurance company in Denmark with around 300,000 customers, 300 employees and total assets valued at approximately 290 billion DKK. It is the overarching company that includes Arkitekternes Pensionskasse, Pensionskassen for Jordbrugsakademikere & Dyrlæger and Ingeniørpensionskassen ISP. They are customer-owned and have up until recent years been primarily providing pensions for the public labor market and employees of the municipalities and state. As their focus is always evolving, Sampension also increasingly provides company pension plans for private companies.