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.
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.
Together with the client’s senior leadership, we 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.
So, we took an inside-outside approach to identify the intersection between the company’s current assets and capabilities and its 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.
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.
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.