A Forge ARticle 


Helping to unlock the UK savings conundrum

The Background

It is a known fact that millions of UK citizens do not save enough money for their retirement.

The UK pension gap is a much-publicised issue. It holds serious consequences for the future of society and our collective wellbeing, and yet in spite of the seriousness of the situation and repeated attempts to tackle it, the problem is proving stubbornly persistent to resolve.

As a key provider of pension and savings products, Zurich wanted a better insight into why so many people fail to save enough for their retirement, as well as what could be done on their part to initiate small, but significant, changes in our inclination to save.

Zurich turned to The Forge for a fresh perspective on this difficult issue, specifically Zurich wished to know: how do we get more people in the UK to save more and better protect their wealth and security? And importantly, how to get more of them to save more with Zurich?

The Challenge

To facilitate such a step change, we knew we needed to forge unique insight into the way people save and then combine it with a thorough understanding of how to both drive and initiate action. We needed to find ways of making people think, feel and act differently towards saving and wealth protection, and in doing so make them think, feel and act differently towards Zurich.

To ensure that we developed meaningful insight we addressed 2 principal cohorts – those people (and customers) who were already engaged with the need to save, and those people (and potential customers) who were currently not engaged or even entertaining the need to save.

Our work would need to translate directly into products with improved and (most likely) new sets of benefits, and we needed to find new ways of engaging with those currently disinterested or even turned off by the sector.


The Approach 

In response to the task we created an agile 3-phase process that was designed to keep things as focused and as efficient as possible.

In order to build a fresh hypothesis that identified where to play and how to win, we began the project with an extensive rewind. We reviewed a large quantity of existing data and combined it with our own desk research, interviews and category expertise. We identified a new way of contextualising category behaviours and were able to identify and plot new segments and drivers.

We then went on to explore and validate these assumptions in a large-scale quantitative study. The study enabled us to validate, size and refine our customer segments as well as test our broader market assumptions; part of this work involved the creation of a bespoke algorithm, linking our segments back to ACORN and Mosaic, giving us additional confidence around the robustness of the data and the viability of our market model.

Finally we took the key customer segments and used a comprehensive qualitative analysis to build a richer understanding of how to win with each of the segments, including how to use our understanding of behaviour change to ‘nudge’ customers in the direction of the Zurich portfolio.


The Solution 

Our work enabled us to create 12 category provocations, which challenged much of the received wisdom that sat within the realm of the pension and savings industry.

One of our key provocations was based on the realisation that customers are generally not moved to action by life-stage alone and yet the entire sector is built around this assumption.

We then built a multi-stage change model, detailing the facets required to initiate a change in behaviour, we were able to identify three main types of saver and use this to generate a series of behaviour modes that could anchor against specific aspects of the customer journey.

Once this work had been validated and sized, we were able to create discrete segments and begin the process of better understanding how to win with these customers and facilitate or motivate the desired change.

At the end of this work we had identified 11 new customer segments, each of which could be effectively targeted and incentivised. For each segment we identified i) where they were on the overall behavioural journey, ii) the barriers to change, iii) how they could be influenced to change and iv) the specific types of proposition likely to appeal to them.

The Outcome

Our work has also been used to help drive growth across Zurich’s wealth platform in several key areas:

Our work helped Zurich build a better understanding of the UK savings and pension marketplace and has provided a new perspective on what is required to initiate a change in customer behaviour. In addition Zurich are now in possession of a bespoke segmentation that is facilitating a new level of specificity and targeting.


i) Zurich has been able to demonstrate a higher level of strategic insight and thought leadership with its key partners, most notably with those that use and recommend Zurich’s products to other clients; and

ii) our work informed the creation of a new generation of sales material for use with Independent Financial Advisors (IFAs) and commercial brokers.

The reinvigorated wealth platform has now attracted over £10 billion of savings and is the 3rd fastest growing wealth management business in the UK.

Whether you are a non-saver, a light saver or someone already convinced of the importance of saving for the future, Zurich will have a targeted proposition that is sure to appeal and stir you to action.

If you are looking to unlock the full potential of your market, or you are faced with the twin challenges of how to both drive and initiate behaviour change, then maybe we can help you? We’ve tackled some of the most difficult and challenging sectors in the world, we look forward to working on yours.

Photo credits: Vincent Van Zalinge, Philip Veater, Mike Stezycki, Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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