The industry get-together attracted over 450 participants to the Dolder Grand Hotel in Zurich on Tuesday - 100 of whom followed the congress via livestream. On stage were 39 experts from successful national and international brands. Among them were brands such as IWC Schaffhausen, Lego, Lemonaid, Emmi, Migros, Stöckli Ski, Audi, Microsoft and many more.
It is a clear sign that the industry is pushing out of the home offices again, said Hans-Willy Brockes, CEO ESB Marketing Netzwerk, the organizer of the congress. "A lot has changed this year, but there is still no substitute for personal contact at the live event," said Stephan Feige, organizer of Htp St.Gallen.
Nevertheless, common denominators emerged from the multitude of presentations. The pandemic has permanently changed the brand world. Today, companies are increasingly seeking direct contact with customers via digital channels and focusing on values such as sustainability and authenticity in communication.
Sustainable brands are in demand
Examples of this are the beverage companies Lemonaid or Air Up. Lemonaid's founding idea is based on the principle of social business. "Our aim is to show that doing business can be different - with a positive footprint in all areas," said Paul Bethke, founder of Lemonaid. Paul Bethke founded his company to earn money for projects in development cooperation. According to the motto "Drinking helps", Lemonaid supports various social projects in the regions where the ingredients are grown.
Chance for change
"The crisis is an opportunity for change and innovation," said Etienne Schumpf of Emmi Switzerland. As many people are currently spending time at home in their home offices, the Emmi Group came up with a creative campaign together with Swiss Post. In the spirit of "It's the little things in life that make everyday life in the home office sweeter", enjoyment boxes containing fine Emmi products were distributed through letterboxes in over 15,000 households. Within a few hours, Emmi received thousands of messages of thanks, says Schumpf.
Innovations and data
Franziska Gsell, Chief Marketing Officer of IWC Schaffhausen, talked about how marketing works for a luxury watch brand in Corona times. The Asian market buckled in the crisis - travel was restricted. Ideas were called for. "Thanks to a new digital studio, a hologram box can be recorded in China to still be with the customer," Gsell explained. A virtual factory tour is also possible at IWC today. The brand has also been repositioned more broadly in recent years from its very pointed positioning of "engineered for men" and now communicates under "engineering dreams."
The next Swiss Brand Congress will again be held at The Dolder Grand Hotel on June 13, 2022. In addition, the organizers have set up the "SMK Circle", a series of side events for the exclusive exchange of brand managers.