In the mid 2010s, private banking in Switzerland was at a crossroads. Due to increased regulation, the very concept of the Swiss bank account had changed. This meant that private banks across the country had to change their message to retain and attract clients.
Our client Coutts saw the new landscape as an opportunity. They knew that banking services weren’t the only thing that had changed. They knew that the profile of high net worth individuals (HNWI) was changing too.
The stereotyped view of a HNWI investor is someone who understands and enjoys playing the stock market – someone who enjoys a degree of risk. But Coutts believed this characterisation was dated.
Instead, they were seeing decreasing interest in the minutiae of investment – and clients who were more likely to be risk averse and prefer longer investment horizons. Perhaps not surprisingly, women who were wealthy in their own right were forming a more significant segment of their client base.
For Coutts Switzerland, this meant refocusing their whole wealth management offer – and telling prospective clients a different story about it.
What we did
We worked with the marketing teams, investment teams and client relationship managers in Coutts’ Zurich offices to completely re-articulate the bank’s wealth management offer.
To start, we interviewed a number of internal stakeholders, clients who already used the bank’s wealth investment services and clients who did not. To get to a solid positioning, we needed to find out two things:
- How the bank believed wealth management services benefitted clients.
- What clients wanted – in terms of understanding their portfolios and in terms of how much (or how little) they wanted to be involved with managing them.
Based on the insights generated in these conversations, we proposed a new positioning of “elegant wealth management”. Instead of the clichéd metaphors of fast cars – or even race horses or sailing yachts – we positioned wealth management as a lifestyle option that’s easy to be as involved or uninvolved with as any client wishes.
We had to be very aware that although these communications were written in English, the majority of people using them would either have English as a second or third language – or be truly multi-national and multi-lingual. This meant we were careful to avoid British idiom and overly complex language – while maintaining a high-end, intelligent feel.
We tested the concept with existing clients. Then incorporating their feedback, we recreated collateral – including brochures, website copy and presenters.
The immediate result was that Coutts’ client relationship managers were much happier with the materials they had at their disposal. And then over the months that followed, the bank gained above its projected number of clients and well above its projected number of female clients.
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