Eckler, Actuarial Firm

Unifying Proposition: “A Greater Degree Of Certainty.”

Faced with a changing market, this actuarial firm needed to update their offering. A Blueprint helped them discover their corporate DNA and redefine what they could do for clients.

The business case:

Eckler is a very successful, midsize actuarial firm that specializes in defined benefit pensions. Companies that offer defined benefit pensions need a lot of actuarial work, but most companies are switching to defined contribution pensions, which need very little actuarial work. When they came to us, they asked us how to figure out where sales would come from next if the defined benefit pension market is drying up. We told them to figure out their corporate DNA (their Unifying PropositionTM) and that would answer the question for them.


The Blueprint:

After Eckler spent a while explaining their business to us, the dialogue went something like this:

Us: Your clients, the CEO and CFO, have to make important decisions about what big chunks of money are going to do in the future.
Them: Right.
Us: And you create mathematical models that help the CEO and CFO make better decisions now about what big chunks of money are going to do in the future.
Them: Right.
Us: And you’ve given us these three compelling reasons why your mathematical models are better than your competitors’.
Them: Right.
Us: So it sounds like you are in the business of predicting the future.
Them: NO!

They recoiled at the certainty of “predicting the future”. We explained to them that it wasn’t about predicting the future with certainty, but it was about predicting the future with a greater degree of certainty. “A Greater Degree Of Certainty” was a Unifying PropositionTM that they not only agreed with, they embraced it eagerly.

When you define yourself as being an actuary or in the business of defined benefit pensions, your world is narrow and getting narrower by the day. When you define yourself as being about “A Greater Degree Of Certainty”, all you have to do is look out into the marketplace for a senior executive who is experiencing uncertainty and explain to him or her how your mathematical models can give them a greater degree of certainty about the important decisions they have to make.

“The Blueprint showed us that our skills and services could be very broadly applicable, and opened areas for developing new business.”

Jill Wagman, Principal, Eckler Ltd.

The Business Benefits:

It was agreed in the Blueprint sessions that the Eckler name was too closely associated with defined benefit pensions. A NewCo was created to go after all of the business that was not related to defined benefit pensions.

The plan for the first year was to pitch three clients and offer services for free so Eckler could learn about the new area of business into which it was expanding. What Eckler found was that the prospects were so intrigued by their story that they could charge for these “learning” projects.


The Takeaway:

Eckler’s Blueprint identified new revenue streams that the company had never contemplated before.