Other parts of this series:
After two decades of breakneck technology growth and innovation, it’s never been more important (or more challenging) to stand out from the crowd. Physical and digital clutter is all around us. And ceaseless demands on our time and attention are coming from every angle. The watchwords for today’s world? Value and relevance. Without delivering the former and achieving the latter, life pensions and investments (LP&I) providers risk fading into the background noise.
Their customers are acutely aware of the impact of their brand choices – on themselves, on the people around them, and on the planet. And the behaviour of all organisations is under unprecedented scrutiny. The good news? For providers that can develop a clear value-driven proposition – and make sure that it hits home, on target – there are some great opportunities.
In this blog series, I’m using the Fjord Trends 2019 as a jumping-off point for what I intend to be some provocative suggestions around this theme. Fjord, Accenture’s design and innovation agency, publishes these trends every year, looking at what’s ahead for the future of business, technology and design. And every one of the seven trends this year should resonate with LP&I providers.
The first one, Silence is gold, focuses on how companies need to find new ways to connect. In a noisy world, we’re seeing a dramatic increase in the rate at which customers are choosing to disconnect – as a preventative mental health measure, not just a lifestyle choice. So how can LP&I providers make themselves heard?
Providers know they need to catch up with brands in the retail space – in terms of creating fully digital, push/nudge-based propositions. But as they focus on this goal, they ought to consider carefully how to build and deliver these propositions in an unobtrusive way. The goal should be to offer ‘always available’ digitally-enabled propositions, while respecting the end-customer’s preference for ‘disconnected’ time.
LP&I providers are increasingly recognising the link between financial, physical and mental wellbeing. In response, many of them are starting to build propositions that seek to embrace holistic wellbeing (eg. prevention offerings that support long, healthy lives).
A great example is Vitality’s health insurance, which taps into an ecosystem of partners to reward its members for healthy lifestyles. New joiners can sign up to receive an Apple Watch that tracks their activity, and comes free of charge if they earn enough Vitality points. From now on, bold providers may want to extend this approach to include mental wellbeing within their propositions and, as part of this, encourage more ‘disconnected’ time.
The last straw, the next trend, is really prescient. Consumers have heard enough vague talk from big business about sustainability. They expect the products and services they choose to have built-in sustainability. The ones that don’t measure up will be rejected.
LP&I providers must redesign their business models to focus on the experience of making a difference. From now on, they’ll need to demonstrate their fit into the ‘circular economy’ – perhaps by demonstrating a link between financial wellbeing and environmental sustainability. This will come as no surprise. Despite the need to post strong financial results, providers are increasingly aware that their commitment to the environment really is in the spotlight. The leaders, like Allianz, are already reporting sustainability as a measure of impact and value along with their financial results
This also presents a great opportunity for new product innovation. One example? A leading global insurer and an Accenture client is offering free bus services to its employees within the week. Or what about local investment funds where the customer is given the chance to invest in their local community? As they head on their local commute, the app flashes up the local projects (eg wind farms or sustainable new schools) that the customer has invested in, and tells how they’re progressing.
Next time, I’ll be exploring the next three Fjord trends, and asking what they mean for LP&I providers. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your views. So please leave a comment or email me. Thanks for reading.