Swiss Brand Congress 2023: Thomas Schwetje becomes "Marketing Thought Leader

The Swiss Brand Congress 2023 is over, but strong impressions remain: Thomas Schwetje, Head of Digital & Customer at Coop, was named "Marketing Thought Leader" of the year, and the focus was on smart industry thinkers both on and off the stage.

Award winner Thomas Schwetje (right) with laudator Prof. Dr. Reto Hofstetter from the University of Lucerne.

The Swiss Brand Congress at the Grand Hotel Dolder has long since established itself as a fixed date in the calendar of the marketing and communications industry. Once again this year, the 500 or so participants were inspired by exciting input from the field, keynotes from smart thought leaders, and plenty of networking opportunities - with a few highlights standing out in particular.

Thomas Schwetje becomes "Marketing Thought Leader

First of all, Thomas Schwetje was named "Marketing Thought Leader" of 2023. The Head of Digital & Customer at Coop was honored by the Swiss Academy of Marketing Science for his work at the retail giant - and couldn't help but accept the verdict of the panel of experts. "When professors say that," Schwetje said in a video interview with, "I've learned: you don't contradict professors!" With his witty quote, the experienced Coop marketer was referring to the illustrious composition of the Academy jury, which consists of marketing professors from the universities of St.Gallen, Basel, Bern, Fribourg, Lausanne, Lucerne, Zurich, ETH Zurich, and IMD Lausanne.

Adrian Steiger, Head of Digital Excellence at Coop and Schwetje's colleague, whom was also able to speak to at the marketing congress, appreciates many things about his boss, but especially his support for innovative projects that need to be taken forward. Steiger also sees a great feel for business opportunities as a strength of the freshly minted winner of the "Marketing Thought Leader" award. The laudatory speech was given by Prof. Dr. Reto Hofstetter of the University of Lucerne, who paid special tribute to Schwetje's decisive and early approach to working with customer data and building clubs at Coop. Schwetje merged the Digital and Customer divisions at Coop a year ago and is now responsible for the company's entire IT and marketing at director level.

Digital home for classic cars

The ideas presented by the Publicis agency for linking treasures from the offline past with the digital present were also extremely exciting: In the new, virtual classic car home "Roarington," the same becomes possible. The project was launched by Fritz Kaiser, a successful serial entrepreneur. Through his passion for classic cars, a platform is created where these historic automobiles can live on. In close cooperation with Publicis in Zurich, Kaiser developed the branding and design of the metaverse environment of "Roarington". The result is a virtual world that aims to capture the essence and charm of decades past and offer users, especially younger generations, an authentic experience - explained in a video interview by Roger Oberholzer, Strategy Consultant at the agency and CEO of Metaverse Academy.

Creative Boost by Dennis Lück

Star advertiser and stage darling Dennis Lück also provided his usual nonchalant inspiration. At this year's Brand Congress, the 2017 "Advertiser of the Year" entertainingly presented ten "completely open secrets to success" for the creation of creative campaigns. In doing so, he brought many examples from his agency's campaign that helped Olaf Scholz become German chancellor in 2019.

If you now want to get to the bottom of the secret of creative advertising, it's best to watch the video interview with Dennis Lück, which conducted on the occasion of the Brand Congress 2023. In it, Lück says, among other things: A guiding idea is not an idea. That is a misunderstanding. For Lück, a central idea is an idea that is used to steer the brand. You steer a brand by the way you behave. That's what a good central idea can do. Or: Ambition is cool - "Ambition is the most important quality if you want to work with me.

With this clear message, Lück emphasized the importance of ambition and commitment in order to achieve impressive results. Then his final advice was, "Always follow your heart. It knows exactly how to communicate." These profound words remind us that the authenticity and emotionality of a message are key. By following the heart and listening to one's intuition, one can create a kind of communication that touches people at their core.

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