Strategy & Brand
Swiss Life addresses a basic human need with its products and services: being able to lead a self-determined life with confidence. With the consistent and successful implementation of its multi-year Group-wide programmes, Swiss Life ensures that the long-term value propositions made to its customers are guaranteed and that Swiss Life creates sustainable value for its shareholders and target groups.
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 responding to a fundamental need: representative surveys conducted by Swiss Life in its core markets show that over 80% of people see self-determination and independence as a fundamental need in their lives, leading to satisfaction, optimism and less stress. Against the backdrop of demographic change and people’s increasing personal responsibility for their future personal provisions, Swiss Life’s work, advisory services and products will continue to grow in relevance.
Swiss Life operates in an environment heavily influenced by regulatory and political trends as well as by socio-economic 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 in the market for pension solutions as well as in advice.
Unique market position
Swiss Life wants to address changing customer behaviour and consistently implement any findings 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. Swiss Life wants to best combine the strengths of its broad distribution networks and advisors with the opportunities of digital change. Swiss Life derives its “phygital approach” from this targeted combination of personal advice and digital support, which is described in more detail in the Digitalisation section. Investing early in new technological tools and in the digital workplace has enabled Swiss Life to be there for its customers at all times, even during the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
With its core markets of Switzerland, France and Germany as well as the cross-border business of the International segment and the asset management business of Swiss Life Asset Managers, Swiss Life enjoys a very strong market position. With around 15 800 advisors and 9800 employees, Swiss Life has proven advisory expertise and unique customer access.
The Swiss Life product strategy is explained in the section on Products, Services and Advice. 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.
Three Group-wide programmes have been successfully implemented since 2009
Swiss Life has successfully completed its last three Group-wide programmes “Milestone” (financial targets for 2009–2012), “Swiss Life 2015” (2013–2015) and “Swiss Life 2018” (2016–2018).
Swiss Life regularly reports in detail on the current status of its strategic implementation, including during its annual and half-year reporting. The documents are available at www.swisslife.com under “Investors and Shareholders”.
Financial objectives under “Swiss Life 2021”
At the end of November 2018 Swiss Life presented its latest Group-wide programme, “Swiss Life 2021”. It is based on the purpose and four strategic thrusts: the focus on preferred segments, the promotion of attractive offers, the continuous improvement of customer relationships and the continuing increase of productivity.
The Group-wide programme contains specific financial goals for the period from 2019 to 2021 in the areas of earnings quality and growth, operational efficiency and disciplined capital management.
On track with “Swiss Life 2021”
Swiss Life is on track with its Group-wide programme “Swiss Life 2021” and has confirmed its financial targets for 2021 as part of its 2020 annual results. Swiss Life increased its fee result to CHF 601 million in the year under review. The company is thus already in its 2021 ambition range. The new business margin came to 2.6% in 2020 and was thus significantly above the ambition of 1.5%. With a return on equity adjusted for unrealised gains and losses of 9.4%, Swiss Life is at the upper end of its ambition range.
Swiss Life will disclose its new strategic focuses and associated financial objectives after “Swiss Life 2021” at an Investor Day on 25 November 2021.
A charismatic brand
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 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 reviewed continuously, and adjustments are made 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. The individual brand Fincentrum, which was launched in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 2019, was renamed the Swiss Life Select sub-brand in Slovakia in 2020. In the Czech Republic, the financial advisor based in Prague will continue to operate under the Fincentrum brand.
Corporate identity & design
With its purpose and clear corporate design guidelines, Swiss Life guarantees a standardised appearance at all brand contact points. The Swiss Life brand personality always centres on the customer: “We enable people to lead a self-determined life.”
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 of Swiss Life at all contact points. The pictorial world is one of the key instruments in making the brand personality of Swiss Life tangible for external and internal target groups. It sets Swiss Life apart from the competition and produces its clear recognition effect.
With the online brand platform introduced in 2019, brand management is increasingly taking place in the digital arena and is thus accessible to a large internal and external group of people in a user-friendly format.
In the home market of Switzerland, Swiss Life focuses on sports and cultural sponsorship in addition to classical advertising. Swiss Life has been the main sponsor of ZSC Lions ice hockey club for several years, one of the biggest ice hockey clubs in Europe with a well-respected youth development programme. Since 2019, Swiss Life has also lent its name to the “Swiss Life Arena,” an ice hockey stadium under construction in Zurich, where the ZSC Lions will play their home games from 2022. In the cultural arena, film is the cornerstone of its commitment: Swiss Life is sponsor of the Solothurn and Locarno Film Festival.
In France, Swiss Life underscores its purpose by sponsoring the team of Thomas Ruyant for the Vendée Globe 20/21, the toughest solo regatta in sailing. Together with the distribution companies Swiss Life Select and Proventus, Swiss Life Germany supports popular sports for regional amateur clubs. The company is also a regular supporter of sporting events, such as the football benefit “Münchner Legendenspiel”, the proceeds of which go to charitable organisations.
In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, Swiss Life has responded to the changed needs of its customers in its campaigns: with the focus on digital forms of consulting, for example via video, support for a self-determined life has been directly linked to the brand. In autumn 2020, Swiss Life in Switzerland also launched a campaign focusing on its corporate clients. Through long-term partnerships with corporate clients, Swiss Life shows how it has supported them for many years in pension-related matters to enable them to focus on their business goals in a selfdetermined manner.
The success of the Swiss Life brand is constantly measured on the local front by independent institutes, which review brand awareness and perception. Swiss Life also regularly assesses the anchoring of its purpose externally among the general public, among customers following interaction with Swiss Life, and also internally among its employees. The findings are continuously used to develop and adjust marketing measures.
Worldwide brand protection and assessment
Swiss Life protects its brands around the world. It takes vigorous action in cases of brand or copyright infringement. Customers can be sure that they will enjoy Swiss Life quality and service wherever the Swiss Life logo and corporate name appear.
Swiss Life carries out regular internal studies of brand value, which demonstrate the development of the brand’s value based on a wide range of factors.