Case Studies

ALLIANCE CAPITAL/AllianceBernstein

Developing strategies to solve product problems

In the face of anticipated net redemptions due to a poor three-year benchmark for the flagship Premier Growth Fund, Summus helped develop the right remediation strategy based on insights from Alliance’s distribution network of brokers and financial advisors.

Company positioning to multiple targets in multi-channel environment

Since 1993, Summus has conducted ongoing panel research among brokers, financial advisors and investors. This learning led to positioning Alliance as the “Investment Professional’s Choice” and continues to be highly effective at predicting investor trends and helping Alliance build share.
[back to top]


Customer Acquisition Strategy

Summus examined the customer and prospect database files to analyze the relationship between life-stage and profit potential for this successful Internet start-up. Summus recommended strategies for customer acquisition and prospecting to achieve high levels of penetration in a highly competitive market.
[back to top]


Customer acquisition and reactivation of inactive clients

Summus helped DLJdirect figure out why over 300,000 customers became inactive shortly after opening an online brokerage account. Summus’ research identified six discrete segments of inactive customers, uncovered why they stopped using the account and whether and how they could be reactivated.

Through its proprietary DataMaxing® protocol, Summus identified and prioritized inactive customer segments according to their profit potential and developed strategies for building loyalty during the critical period following sign-up. Summus’ learning provided explicit direction for developing targeted messaging to key segments.
[back to top]


Leveraging and extending brand equity in a multi-channel environment (B2C)

As a leading discount brokerage, respected for providing self-directed investors with “a broker who doesn’t push his own agenda,” Schwab was faced with the challenge of having to compete head-to-head with the full-service channel.

Summus conducted consumer interviews to figure out how Schwab could compete in multiple channels, both traditional and online. This yielded a diagnostic understanding of Schwab’s brand equity and provided a road map for how to deliver more advice and guidance without being seen as “pushing an agenda.” Two years later, Schwab was rated number one in discount, full service and online channels.

Penetrating new market segments (B2B)

Schwab Institutional provides full back office and custody services for Independent Financial Advisors (IFA’s). Summus ’ research yielded a retention strategy for small/medium IFA firms and a growth strategy for the large firm segment. Summus provided a road map of how to tailor and deliver the targeted service offering for each segment.
[back to top]


Client satisfaction in private banking and middle market

Following successive mergers, Summus helped Fleet determine how to position the bank and its product/service offering to meet expectations and service needs that would allow them to grow in two markets, private banking and middle market.
[back to top]


Positioning and training for successful implementation

Summus helped develop a positioning strategy for CSFB’s worldwide private banking service. To implement the strategy, Summus trained private bankers and portfolio managers in the United States, Europe and Asia on how to apply the strategy in business development.
[back to top]


Bringing down organizational silos

Summus assisted the bank in crossing organizational and divisional silos, including those created by successive mergers. The result was to enable multiple business areas to engage in joint planning to capture revenue opportunities.

Segmenting customers according to profit potential

Through several mergers, Chase accumulated a large book of private banking clients who were incorrectly categorized as smaller, less profitable and difficult to service. Summus examined this book of clients and identified those who should be moved to another part of the bank, those who should be serviced differently and those who had potential to grow.

Acquiring and servicing international family office clients

In the United States and Europe, Summus conducted research among family office clients and prospects to understand their expectations and the growth potential for the private bank.
[back to top]


Positioning strategy for re-entering private banking

Summus helped J. P. Morgan develop a positioning strategy for re-entering private banking. Summus conducted research among CEOs and "super affluents" to understand their expectations, what it would take for JPM to get back into private banking and where it would fit vis-a-vis their corporate banking strength.
[back to top]


Positioning the affluent division to compete head-to-head with Chubb

Following its acquisition by Allianz, Fireman’s Fund was under pressure to become a major player in the affluent personal insurance market. Summus helped by determining how to position the affluent division and how to break through the strategic challenges their independent agent channel would face in servicing a segment with high demand for customized service and one-to-one consultation.

Instituting a corporate-wide strategic planning process

To foster the ability to plan across multiple divisions, Summus helped institute a strategic planning process across the entire company. This involved a cross leveraging process in a complex organization with multiple “silos.”
[back to top]


Re-energizing a faltering idea generation program

NY Life’s company-wide idea generation program (Horizon III) had met with limited success and Summus was asked to help add vitality to the program and gain inter-departmental support. Summus conducted interviews with key executives to identify core competencies and potential barriers and then facilitated formal idea brainstorming sessions.

Consumer needs-based planning for new product development

Summus helped New York Life develop a strategy for expanding into new areas of financial services. Summus research revealed how different consumer segments perceive their financial needs and how they map those needs to different products/services. This research uncovered unfulfilled needs and also identified different consumer segments’ receptivity to having their needs met by an insurance company. This learning gave explicit direction for how New York Life could expand its product/service offering while maintaining its core equity.
[back to top]


Global positioning for the firm

Summus helped develop a worldwide positioning for PricewaterhouseCoopers. This positioning was based on in-depth research Summus conducted among CEOs, CFOs and partners of the firm across five continents: Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America.

Understanding the strategic climate for developing new practice lines

When PwC decided to build a new practice in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Summus developed an understanding of the challenges and obstacles in this practice and where PwC would fit. This helped PwC to successfully develop a large BPO practice platform.

In the Media, Entertainment and Telecom categories, SUMMUS’ research among CEOs and CFOs identified their key strategic challenges and expectations going forward. This gave PwC a clear diagnostic of how to break into this industry segment.

SUMMUS also helped PwC develop a plan to build their investment banking practice area, by understanding what corporate buyers were looking for and how PwC could meet their expectations.
[back to top]

Strategic Planning in the face of Sarbanes Oxley

PwC asked Summus to interview C-level executives in four nations to assess the expected impact of the dramatic regulatory changes of Sarbanes Oxley.

These findings helped PwC make vital restructuring decisions to prepare for the future.


Designing the purchase/service experience and prospecting plan to launch a new car

With limited knowledge of the U.S. market and increased sales expectations, Bentley turned to Summus for help in understanding its brand equity and how to customize it to the U.S. market for super luxury cars.

Summus interviewed U.S. Bentley owners and prospects to develop a diagnostic profile of the ideal super luxury car, the ideal buying experience and the ideal service experience market. This provided strategic direction for how to shape “The Bentley Experience” and revamp the dealer network to deliver the experience. Through DataMaxing®, Summus gave Bentley a program to find the “needle in the haystack” prospect that would be the right target for a dramatic new product launch in 2004.
[back to top]


Designing a nationwide dealership training program for the LS Launch

In preparation for the launch of the LS platform, Summus examined customer expectations of the sales and service experience, as compared to the gold standard of Lexus, Infinity and Saturn. The result was an extremely detailed roadmap for how to change the sales and service platform to meet customer expectations for the new LS. This strategy was translated into a training program for dealerships nationwide.
[back to top]


Motivating new product trial and repeat purchase in convenience stores

Summus helped this “big 3” beverage conglomerate identify how to improve retail presence, capture new product trial and develop targeted promotions in its convenience store distribution network.

Summus uncovered unique differences in the factors that drive purchase behavior during key day parts, and for different consumer segments. This was applied to influence impulse, repeat and new trial purchases, shape broad communications and in-store promotional messaging, build retail goodwill, develop account-specific promotions and secure improved visibility for DPSU brands.
[back to top]


Driving retail traffic through the front of the store and the pharmacy

With four major players in this consolidated retail environment, Summus helped figure out how to position Rite Aid against competing chains and how to leverage front and pharmacy traffic to increase revenue. This involved training employees on how to cross-sell products throughout the entire store.

Increasing sales of baby products

Summus helped Rite Aid figure out how to compete effectively against mass merchandisers in the highly competitive baby product market. Recommendations included merchandising, changes to the store format, stocking bulk sizes of formula and diapers, etc.

Working with new management to design employee communications and training

With the introduction of new management, Summus helped Rite Aid understand how to reduce turnover and improve employee and customer satisfaction. Through focus groups with pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, district supervisors, store managers and clerical associates, Summus identified and provided explicit direction for employee communications, incentive programs and customer service training at all levels.
[back to top]


Recasting the law firm’s image for future growth in Science and Technology

Summus helped McKenna & Cuneo determine how to recast the firm’s image in traditional practice areas (Government Contracts) and build a strong reputation in growth areas of the future (Science and Technology).

As part of the LeverageAnalysis® process, Summus interviewed the firm’s partners, clients and prospects to understand the firm’s image and to develop the right positioning strategy for leveraging its strength and establishing its reputation in growing practice areas. To grow its client base in key new verticals, Summus designed a program using a combination of marketing and the Web for prospecting and client relationship development.
[back to top]


Capturing the exploding market for Intellectual Property solutions

Faced with the challenge of securing funding and signing on corporate users in the beta phase of product development, this software company turned to Summus to help develop a sales and marketing strategy to meet immediate sales expectations, fulfill customer needs and comply with investor demands.

Summus helped ip*network identify and prioritize its target markets with emphasis on how to communicate and differentiate the benefits of its offering versus its many competitors. As part of LeverageAnalysis®, Summus conducted ValueStructuring® interviews among CEOs, CFOs, VPs of Business Development, General Counsel and Venture Capitalists to understand how to position the company successfully to multiple constituencies in different industry verticals.
[back to top]


Improving fund raising and community support

As support for the arts was being marginalized by more “serious causes,” Summus helped create a more effective fund raising and volunteering message through research among key constituencies.
[back to top]


Feasibility study for new museum

Summus conducted a feasibility study for the creation of a new museum and tribute to women, gauging audience interest and delivering guidelines for content to the Board and Governor’s office.
[back to top]


Facilitating the Board’s strategic planning

Faced with dramatic new fund raising and management challenges from acquiring a new facility, Summus helped the board agree to a plan of action, responsibilities and organization.
[back to top]


Facilitating agreement to strategy across multiple professional constituencies and raising external visibility

Faced with low public awareness of NYUMC and constant confusion with NY Hospital-Cornell, Summus created a program to: a) develop a common statement of mission, key problems and opportunity among physicians, administrators and Board members; b) implement awareness–building activities targeted to the media, the general public and specific constituencies of influentials. A pre- and post-survey showed dramatic improvement in awareness and an internal capability was well established to handle further needs.
[back to top]


Diagnostic evaluation of a proposed new building versus strategic objectives

When the museum designer’s plans for a proposed new facility were too ambitious for the budget, Summus helped evaluate those plans among all the prospective visitor populations to determine: a) which parts of the facility and exhibits would best attract new visitors; b) which were seen as most appropriate for the existing facility; c) what audience projections could be used to estimate payout for each part. The results helped the Director and the National Park Service scale back the plans in an informed way without sacrificing the audience-building objective.
[back to top]


Defining the motivations behind consumer decision-making for a new snack category

Frito Lay had made the decision to expand into a new growing snack category, and wanted to identify a uniquely ownable opportunity in the category. Summus conducted ValueStructuring® research among users to determine the motivational context of snack decision-making, the dynamics of afternoon and evening snack behavior and the implications for new product development. Summus recommended specific directions for product development and positioning that leveraged the parent brand while expanding into a new category.

Identify brand equity and extendibility for an existing brand

Frito Lay was interested in exploring the extendibility of a consistently strong brand. Summus conducted ValueStructuring® research among moderate users of the brand to identify the needs fulfilled by the brand, the brand’s emotional appeal, the key differentiators from other brands in the category, and the optimal target audience. Summus also conducted concept testing of possible brand extensions to measure receptivity and brand performance.
[back to top]


Ensuring ownable positioning for a new brand of chocolate candy

When Hershey decided to develop a new brand of chocolate candy that takes it inspiration from one of their classic candy brands, they wanted to better understand how to position the new product as a unique and different from the parent brand. They also had the challenge of facing a well-known competitor with a very popular and somewhat similar product. Summus conducted ValueStructuring® research among chocolate eaters aged 8 to 65 to determine the underlying differences between the new brand and the parent brand, as well as the new brand and key competitors. Summus also conducted product and concept testing and made recommendations on key product attributes based on the findings.
[back to top]


Building long-term relationships and maintain positive emotional connections with guests

Top leadership wanted to ensure that the elements that make the Red Robin guest experience unique are maintained and sustained as the company proceeds along an aggressive growth plan. Summus conducted ValueStructuring® research among guests, potential guests and Red Robin Team Members, to identify the ideal casual dining experience. This resulted in recommendations on how Red Robin could better deliver on the ideal, as well as identifying marketing, product and promotional opportunities that would enhance Red Robin’s position in the minds of its guests.

Summus helped Red Robin thoroughly understand guest motivations and Red Robin’s current brand equity, in order to develop a decision framework for creating the ideal guest experience.

Building a strong team culture

Red Robin recognized the need to strengthen its Team Member culture, by institutionalizing an ideal work experience. Summus conducted ValueStructuring® among more than 100 Team Members and defined the ideal work experience from their perspective. Summus then demonstrated how this experience links to the dynamics of Red Robin’s brand equity and to each aspect of the ideal guest experience.
[back to top]


Uncovering success stories to aid in communications

CIGNA and its advertising agency were launching a communications campaign targeting benefits professionals. Through the campaign, CIGNA wished to convey the message that it is the partner that understands the needs of the companies, their employees, and benefits professionals.

Through in-depth interviews with benefits professionals, Summus uncovered the real stories and facts of how CIGNA helps companies succeed. The study helped CIGNA understand how corporate decision-makers and influencers perceive their products, services and perceptual equity. Summus then advised CIGNA on how best to express this in the communications campaign. Summus also identified areas in which CIGNA could strengthen existing relationships through proactive outreach.
[back to top]

Our People What We're Hearing Now
Proprietary Methodologies ValueStructuring®  > DataMaxing®  > Product and Concept Testing  > Rapid Prototype Evaluation LeverageAnalysis® Perceptual Franchise Development
Financial and Professional Services Not For Profit Consumer
Case Studies References