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Story | Sampension
When Søren P. Espersen took his seat as Director of Communications and HR at Sampension, it was to create growth and enhance awareness and reputation. The large but publicly unknown player in the field of occupational pensions wanted to go on the offensive and win new clients in a competitive market for corporate pensions.
“Partly to boost understanding and create the conditions necessary to build our reputation and partly to create change towards a more customer and performance-oriented company. So, there is both a communications and marketing aspect to my role and, in addition, a managerial and HR aspect.
Therefore, it is an advantage that we have combined communication, marketing and HR. Because we can then think about both HR and communication together from the start when we put new activities into play. The 26 employees I have are divided into three departments: a department for communication and marketing, an HR department, and finally an internal services department with domestic and shared services”.
• Søren P. Espersen, Director of Communications and HR
• With Sampension since October 2014
“Sampension was and is interesting because we are a rough diamond. It is a company that relatively few people know, but which has a value proposition and a high value service. There is great potential in lifting it via communication and management and creating a growth case.
Eight to nine years ago, from a position in the hushed quarter of the financial sector focusing on existing customers, a decision was taken to target new sales in two segments in particular:
So, my marketing task is ready; we must first raise awareness, and then change the perception of Sampension. After all, a pension company does not sell products, we actually sell the company itself”
As awareness of Sampension increases, the task is to increase customer knowledge of the value it creates. Which is not easy in a low-involvement category like retirement. Søren P. Espersen clarifies:
“The road is long because there are some built-in barriers for a pension company. We have chosen to do this together with Sunrise on the basis of a communication platform, which we call “Mere Værd” (“More Value”). This platform supports the dissemination of what we provide:
A) Economic value: our clients need something more to live for as they grow older and retire, so we need to get them high returns
B) Low costs: in order not to diminish returns
C) Good advisory apparatus: with sound, impartial advice
D) Efficient, effective service: we must be both accessible and easy for our customers to deal with
Many marketing executives probably think a lot about strong campaigns and getting the brand’s expression just right. But at Sampension, everything starts with the business strategy.
“For many years I have been thinking about communication in context” Søren P. Espersen elaborates, “It can be external or internal communication, but first and foremost, it’s the connection between business strategy, communication and marketing activities that must all be aligned and set in context together.
The next thing is to be present in new places. You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over, you have to think about new activities. Here an agency can help, to avoid seeing things only from the inside and out.
Finally, you must have a partner that gives you a broader perspective than your own. That’s where Sunrise brings experience from other industries to the table.
Above and beyond these reasons we chose Sunrise because they act at board and executive level. Of course, an agency must be creative with good ideas, sharp texts and a nice visual expression. But if you cannot demonstrate value to top management, then it is difficult to move a company like ours”.
“In addition to developing good quality, relevant communication, the collaboration with Sunrise gives us extra muscle. Our organization is leaner than most with 300 employees, 300,000 customers and a fund of 300 billion Danish kroner. That is very lean if anyone is in doubt. Our agency must therefore be able to execute a large part of our concrete communication and marketing on our behalf.
We build our activities around a yearly cycle. That’s one point. The second point is that we always think about communication at an early stage. In practice, we do this in our management forums where we decide on major things about strategy and activities.
The next thing is to have an impact in the organization. This means that we in marketing understand the business and can contribute to the discussions about the business strategy. After all, marketers can’t just talk marketing. We talk strategy, goals and how to create value for customers before we start talking about social media, ads or whatever. As you know, the biggest dead end for support functions is talking to much about their own craft.” States Søren P. Espersen before adding, “Our activities have set sail and look promising.”
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