Brand Management: How do you brand pensions?

Brand Management studies how to build, maintain, and exploit a company’s most valuable asset: its brand. While products are increasingly becoming more standardised, the only difference that remains is the brand label on them.

But brands are no manna from heaven. It takes serious efforts to build a brand, and marketing communication is a major tool in achieving an outstanding brand image.

Starting from the idea that the best way to develop students’ branding skills is to let them work on a branding project themselves, the Brand Management course at SBE teaches students about the different components of a brand and identifies how consumer perceptions of a brand are shaped.

This year, the course focused on the theme of pensions, because of its general relevance, the challenges it presents and the high societal impact an improvement in branding could generate.

Caroline Kehder, a 22 year old German student in International Business with a major in Marketing is taking the Brand Management course and shares her experience so far:

“I took the Brand Management course because of the opportunity it offered to work on a practical application rather than learning just the theory. We’re now five weeks into the course and the assignment is to come up with creative ways to make pensions attractive for three target groups: high school kids, young professionals and women.

When I look at last year’s course, which dealt with product branding, this year’s assignment seems more difficult, because we’re working on branding a service. This is more challenging because contrary to a product, you cannot really show a service.

We’re five people in my team and we’re dealing with the specific group of women. Unlike the other target groups – young professionals and high school kids – this is not an age group but a gender group. This means that there are overlaps with the other groups. Our challenge was to determine what makes the group of women special and elaborate a marketing strategy targeting this specific group.

We found the assignment very hard at first because we didn’t know anything about pensions ourselves. We had to do a lot of research to understand what we needed to market.

We decided to narrow down our target group to the age category between 25 and 35 years old, because it corresponds to the time when women generally have children and may stop working. This is a sensitive moment in women’s lives because of the gap that is created in their pension plan.

We carried out an informal survey and asked women in the street what they knew about pensions, if they had a pension plan. We found out that they were generally reluctant to talk about the topic and actually knew very little about it.

After delving into the topic and working on solutions, my team and I feel that we have found some ideas how to better market pensions to the specific group of women. We will present our work to a group of judges at the Brand Fair on Monday 14 October. As I said, the difficulty is to present a service that you cannot hold and show in your hand. But we have an idea how to do it.

At the Brand Fair, we will be competing with the other teams of students who also worked on the target category of women. The best team for each category will be awarded with a prize.

What have Ipersonally learned from this assignment?

[Laughing] I have learned that I should care about the topic myself, I need to come up with a pension plan myself!”


The Brand Fair will take place at the SBE Mensa on Monday 14 October from 1.30 – 4.00 pm. All welcome!

13.30-13.45: Welcome with coffee and vlaai (room H0.04, opposite of the Aula)
13.45-14.00: Introduction jury; short explanation of the assignment, the evaluation form, and the structure of the brand fair
14.00-15.30: Jury evaluates students’ solutions with the help of the evaluation form
15.30-16.00: Borrel, announcement of winning teams by Philip Vergauwen

Interview by Sueli Brodin, Talkin’Business editor

Related articles:

Brand Fair 2013 – Jury: “How do you guarantee that your campaign plan is going to work?”

Brand Fair 2013 – A double challenge: How to make pensions more interesting for highschool students?

Brand fair 2013: Raising pension awareness

There are 5 comments

  1. kaila

    I’m having the same challenge. Trying to develop a marketing strategy for a pension service company. I must tell you it has been my hardest coursework ever. Stuck on it.

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