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Strategy & Brand

Swiss Life makes its customers a long-term value proposition – so that they can lead their lives in an assured and self-determined way.

The Swiss Life Group is one of Europe’s leading comprehensive life and pensions and financial solutions providers. Swiss Life’s success is due to a clear strategy, the disciplined implementation of Group-wide programmes, a sound purpose and a charismatic brand.

Swiss Life addresses a fundamental need

Swiss Life enables people to lead a self-determined life. In doing so, the company is helping to meet a fundamental human need: for independence and self-determination. Against the backdrop of demographic change and the individual’s increasing personal responsibility for his or her own future provisions, Swiss Life’s work will continue to grow in relevance.

Swiss Life’s environment is heavily influenced by regulatory and political trends as well as socioeconomic changes, such as increasing life expectancy. Results of market research performed by Swiss Life show that people find pensions a stressful topic. And most of them are aware that their financial security is largely up to them. In view of these developments, Swiss Life sees growth opportunities and differentiation potential on the market for pension solutions as well as in consulting.

Unique market position

Swiss Life must address changing customer behaviour and consistently implement any findings from such study to actively and profitably exploit market opportunities. Customers are ever better informed; they are able to compare services immediately and demand new products and services. New modes of access as well as the ability to receive all relevant information any time, any place are also de rigueur. Accordingly, innovation, process security and competence are the ingredients of a good customer relationship.

With its core markets of Switzerland, France and Germany as well as the cross-border International segment and the asset management business of Swiss Life Asset Managers, Swiss Life enjoys a very strong market position:

The Swiss Life product strategy is explained in the chapter on “Products and services”. In view of its varied positioning in the relevant markets, Swiss Life uses a multi-local approach: Swiss Life also reports on strategic focuses and investments by individual divisions as part of its segment information.

Successful completion of “Swiss Life 2018”

Swiss Life successfully completed its last two Group-wide programmes, “Milestone” and “Swiss Life 2015”. “Swiss Life 2018”, the last Group-wide programme, which the company presented in November 2015 and which comprised financial objectives until the close of financial year 2018, has also been very successfully completed: all objectives were achieved – indeed, most of them were exceeded. The fee result, for instance, and the risk result were both above their respective targets, while the value of Swiss Lifes’ new business also significantly outdid its ambitious goal over the three years of the programme. Thanks to ongoing cost discipline, Swiss Life managed to keep operating expenses practically stable and, with savings totalling over CHF 100 million, free up resources for additional investments. Finally, Swiss Life was able to increase the cash remittance to the holding company, there too exceeding its objectives as set out in the “Swiss Life 2018” Group-wide programme.

Swiss Life reports regularly in detail on the current status of strategy implementation, as for instance in the presentation of its annual or half-yearly results. The relevant documents are available on the website www.swisslife.com in the “Investors & Shareholders” section.

New financial objectives under “Swiss Life 2021”

At the end of November 2018, Swiss Life presented its Group-wide programme, “Swiss Life 2021”. At its core is the purpose, with Swiss Life concentrating on four strategic directions for the programme: its focus on preferred segments, the promotion of attractive offers, the steady improvement of customer relations and the continuing increase of productivity.

Swiss Life focuses on continuity in its financial objectives for the period from 2019 to 2021: quality of earnings and earnings growth, operational efficiency and disciplined capital management are the leading topics. Overall, Swiss Life is striving for an adjusted return on equity of 8 to 10%.

Increased earnings quality

  • Marked increase in the fee result, to between CHF 600 and 650 million by the end of 2021, around 50% more than in the previous Group-wide programme
  • Increase in the risk result, to between CHF 400 and 450 million by the end of 2021, 10% more than in “Swiss Life 2018”
  • Increase in cumulative value of new business (2019–2021) to over CHF 1.2 billion, 60% more than in the prior programme

Operational efficiency

  • Improvement of the efficiency ratio in the life business to below 40 basis points by the end of 2021
  • In its owned IFAs, a distribution operating expense ratio below 25 percent by the end of 2021
  • Cost/income ratio in third-party asset management of around 75 percent by the end of 2021

Capital management

  • Increase in cash remittance to the holding company to a cumulative value between CHF 2 and 2.25 billion (2019–2021)
  • SST ambition range of 140 to 190%
  • Increase in dividend payout ratio for the shareholders to 50–60% of profit
  • From December 2018 to December 2019, the Group will implement a share buyback programme of CHF 1 billion.

Strong brand with the purpose at its centre

Swiss Life has a strong brand. A unique brand personality and charismatic logo prove to be crucial success factors in a competitive market environment. The brand personality reflects the focus on self-determination and resolutely places the purpose front and centre: “We enable people to lead a self-determined life.”

The purpose is supported by the three corporate values of individuality, confidence and reliability.

Support individuality – the way we think

We know our customers. We understand their needs and empower them to make the right selection from a wide range of flexible solutions – for a self-determined life.

Create confidence – the way we feel

We work with passion to contribute to our customers’ peace of mind. The positive attitude towards life characterises the lifelong relationship we strive for.

Prove reliability – the way we act

We serve our customers with our know-how built on long-standing experience and financial solidity. We act responsibly and want to be your trusted partner.

The corporate design is derived from the brand personality and, in addition to ensuring recognisability, contributes to a uniform brand experience. Whether they are browsing the website, reading a brochure or looking at an advert, the stakeholder groups are to receive the same strong impression at all contact points.

Content Hub on the self-determined life

Uniform brand identity

The brand identity is a key instrument in making the Swiss Life brand tangible for internal and external target groups, and in distinguishing it from the competition. All marketing campaigns – in Switzerland, France, Germany and Austria – address the purpose, “We enable people to lead a self-determined life” with a variety of creative approaches.

In the home market of Switzerland, Swiss Life focuses on sports and cultural sponsorship in addition to classical advertising. For example, the company has sponsored the Swiss national football teams for over ten years, and has been the main sponsor of the ZSC Lions ice hockey team for more than three years. In the cultural arena, film is the cornerstone of its engagement: Swiss Life is the main sponsor of the Solothurn Film Festival for example.

Sponsorship is also undertaken in other markets: for example, Swiss Life Germany supports over 2500 amateur sports teams, sponsors the NP sport gala that takes place every year in Hanover and has been name sponsor of the Swiss Life Hall in that same city since 2004. Swiss Life Select Austria has been the main sponsor of the “Junge Philharmonie Wien” for four years, while Swiss Life Asset Managers awards an annual student prize for the best Bachelor’s and Master’s theses completed at Swiss universities of applied sciences.

In September 2018, Swiss Life launched its first cross-divisional brand campaign in Switzerland. At the heart of the campaign is a connection between the Swiss Life logo and the private and corporate clients of Swiss Life Switzerland, the institutional clients of Swiss Life Asset Managers and the Swiss Life Group’s stakeholders. This will establish an unmistakeable association of the company’s purpose, the self-determined life, with its brand. An expansion of the campaign to other national Swiss Life companies is being considered.

Consistent brand strategy and management

The success of the Swiss Life brand results from a consistent brand strategy and management. On the basis of its corporate strategy and positioning as a provider of comprehensive life and pensions and financial solutions, the Swiss Life umbrella brand, flanked by its sub-brands, provides orientation and creates confidence. The brands are assigned to various levels in a clear brand hierarchy. The strategic management of the entire brand portfolio is an element of corporate communication. The brand hierarchy is under permanent review and adjustments are made regularly as needed.

While the umbrella and sub-brands are managed centrally, brand management for the level 3 brands “Endorsement” and 4 “Individual brands” is performed directly in the relevant divisions (see figure below).

In 2018, the Swiss Life brand world was enhanced with two new brands: Swiss Life Asset Managers acquired Beos, the leading corporate real estate investment manager in Germany, based in Berlin, while in Fincentrum Swiss Life International acquired one of the leading financial advisory companies in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Worldwide brand protection and assessment

Swiss Life protects its brands around the world. It takes vigorous action in cases of brand or copyright infringement. Our customers can be sure that the Swiss Life logo and corporate name stand for Swiss Life quality and service wherever they appear.

The success of the Swiss Life brand is constantly measured on the local front by independent institutes, which review brand awareness and perception. The findings garnered are continuously used for the development and adjustment of marketing measures.

In 2018, in a survey carried out by Reader’s Digest Switzerland, Swiss Life was once again voted “Most Trusted Brand” in the Life Insurance category. Numerous awards in other divisions also confirm the strength of the Swiss Life brand internationally. For example, the prominent trade magazine PropertyEU named Swiss Life Asset Managers the leading institutional real estate investor in Europe for the fourth time in a row (for 2017).

Swiss Life also carries out regular internal studies of brand value, which demonstrate the development of the brand’s value on the basis of a wide range of factors.