For years, the financial services sector has been a hotbed of disruption. Perhaps nowhere more than in the personal investing arena. When it comes to saving, investing, trading and wealth accumulation, it is new technologies, changing demographics, eroding trust in institutions and government regulation that continue to reshape consumer wants, needs and even fears.
In this new reality, individual brands are pursuing two typical approaches to remaining relevant. Some are doubling down on legacy business models. Others chase, at times haphazardly, the wave of disruption — launching incubators, moving product development to Silicon Valley or acquiring hot new disrupter brands.
So, how does a leading publicly held online brokerage choose the right path in this head-spinning environment? The first step was to bring in an expert in disruptive marketplaces — Lippincott.
Start at the core of your customer value story
Together with the client’s senior leadership, Lippincott believed that, before making a series of bets on new businesses, products or features, the organization needed to gain absolute clarity on its customer value proposition. One that would not only rally the organization around a clear understanding of the customer but one that would also articulate the compelling and differentiated value the company provides while establishing a road map for driving brand-driven innovation — and a litmus test to assess diverse innovation investments.
The customer value proposition was a fully collaborative effort, drawing on diverse Lippincott competencies and an equally multidisciplinary client team, including the chief strategy officer, chief marketing officer as well as junior and senior product people, marketers and strategists.
Identify the priorities and fully understand the customer
We took an inside-outside approach to identify the intersection between the company’s current assets and capabilities and unmet or underserved customer needs, both today and years into the future. This included an assessment of industry dynamics, value migration trends and expected future profit pools, supported by deep industry experts from Lippincott’s sister company Oliver Wyman. We also used immersive ethnographic research to understand how emotional factors influenced behaviors at critical moments in the customer journey, and quantitative study to understand customer priorities, assess their brand affinity and the extent of brand transformation required to win in potential future scenarios.
Finally, we completed a profit assessment for potential customer targets, informed by the linkage of primary research to years of behavioral data and a subsequent round of ethnographic research, which focused exclusively on members of the customer target, to explore how the most promising customer experiences and innovations should come to life.
Recognize both present and future differentiators
The resulting value proposition recognized our client’s diverse present and future differentiators — across technology, operations and digital product development — and clearly articulated the emotional value and experience pillars that these could bring to the brand’s chosen target. Lippincott led workshops with senior leadership to align on a singular customer and with diverse teams to engage the organization in a vivid and human understanding of the target and to prioritize implications for their respective parts of the organization.
Just 12 months after completion, our client saw a 40 percent increase in share price, which is attributable in part to defining a far more focused customer value proposition.