FOT interview: "Swissness, Swissness and more Swissness"

The Brand Asset Valuator (BAV) is the leading survey on brand strength and image in Switzerland. It shows which brands are the most present and most respected. Strong brands are often immune to short-term fashions, but they are also influenced by larger trends. In this interview, Swen Morath and Martin Keller provide insights into the study.

The exclusive interview on the Brand Asset Valuator with Swen Morath and Martin Keller was conducted as a video and in written form. Swen Morath, the Brand Asset Valuator (BAV), how are the rankings determined?

Every year, we survey almost 10,000 Swiss people on around 600 brands. In addition to more than 60 image attributes, the dimensions of relevance, differentiation, esteem and familiarity are also surveyed. These four core values are used to calculate the brand strength and thus the rankings.


Martin Keller, what does the FOT cover?

The BAV includes dedicated statements on brand strength and brand momentum, an extremely granular analysis of a brand's image factors - as mentioned, more than 60 attributes - as well as an examination of the brand funnel, both in terms of usage and emotional proximity to a brand.


Your biggest surprise in the FOT 2024?

Swen Morath: A number of food brands performed strongly in this year's survey. The fact that some household brands such as Kärcher and Dyson were also able to improve suggests that there is currently a trend towards cocooning in Switzerland.


Now we have the main ranking "The strongest brands in Switzerland" With Google, Rega, Lego, Migros, Lindt, Ricola, Zweifel at the top. Your comment?

Martin Keller: Google, Rega and Migros have always been very strong in the FOT. The fact that Lindt, Ricola and Zweifel are three brands that are all about community and belonging confirms the trend towards cocooning.

Martin Keller is CEO of Ogilvy Switzerland


"The most trusted brands in Switzerland" mit Zweifel, Ovo, Lindt, Lego, Migros, Google, Ricola, Migros, Google and Victorinox at the top. The development of Ricola is remarkable. What have they done better to climb 22 ranks?

Martin Keller: This ranking provides information about brand stature, i.e. the combination of esteem and familiarity. Especially in times of crisis, people look for support from brands that can give them a feeling of security. The brands in this ranking, including Ricola, have managed to build up a very strong store of emotional capital over the years and this is now having a positive effect.


What characterizes a trustworthy Swiss brand?

Swen Morath: As I said, trust is not created overnight. The top brands in this ranking have consistently cultivated their brand essence over the years and, above all, have earned a firm place in the hearts and minds of consumers in the long term. They are proof that consistent brand work pays off in the long term.

What value does trust still have in a world that is changing so rapidly?

Swen Morath: Studies have shown that nowadays, a single media contact can be enough to switch from one brand to another. We see an incredible number of new brands, for example from celebrities and influencers, that can secure market share very quickly. However, these effects are often not sustainable. On the other hand, there are brands that have been at the far right of our power grid for many years, i.e. have a high brand stature. This capital has a high influence on overall brand strength - and if these brands manage to stay "fresh", then they are among the absolute power brands.


Now there's a new "Love Brands" category? With the brands Lindt, Twint, Ragusa, Gruyere, WhatsApp, Migros, Cumulus, Coop, Ovo and Raclette at the top - your comment?

Martin Keller: Swissness, Swissness and more Swissness. We already noticed last year how important Swissness is for Brand Love in this country - unlike in other countries such as Germany or France. This year, there are now even more local brands among the Love Brands than last year. This could also be evidence of the trend towards cocooning - just a kind of national one

It is interesting to note that Coop only appears in the top ten for the Love Brands. So Coop has gained five places, Migros has lost five. Your explanation?

Swen Morath: Of course, it is always desirable to be able to provide a simple and clear explanation for such movements in the ranking. But of course it's not quite that simple. Especially when it comes to individual factors such as brand love, there is often not THE ONE explanation. However, we do know that there is a high correlation between brand love and the authenticity of a brand. Perhaps MIGROS is currently not perceived as being quite as authentic as Coop.


Ogilvy and Wunder Thompson are creative agencies in their DNA. What role does creativity play on the way to the top of the BAV rankings?

Swen Morath: The creativity of a brand plays a very important role in brand strength. Firstly, creative power has a strong influence on the differentiation of a brand: the more creative, the greater the chance of clearly differentiating itself. Secondly, we know that creativity and innovative power have a strong influence on a dimension that we call "influence", i.e. the ability to provide positive impetus in the cultural discourse and thus strengthen the brand in the long term. We are currently preparing a white paper on this topic, which we will present at the Swiss Brand Congress in June.


What are the main findings of the BrandAsset™ Valuator (BAV) 2024 study regarding the brand landscape in Switzerland?

Martin Keller: As just mentioned, there currently seems to be a trend towards cocooning. We also see this in our recently published Future 100 Report: there is currently a strong need for more "mental health" and more emotional security. Brands that satisfy this need certainly have great potential at the moment. We have also noticed that digital brands such as Apple, Microsoft and Samsung, which were among the clear winners last year, have surprisingly lost brand strength this year. It is not yet clear whether this means a fundamental recommendation for less digitality - for example in media selection. However, we also see an increased need for experiences "in real life" - i.e. IRL instead of URL.


What are the implications of the dominance of local brands in the "Most Loved Brands" list for international brands in Switzerland?

Martin Keller: It is obvious that brands that do not have any inherent Swiss DNA should think about how they can at least create associations with "Swissness". This could be achieved through collaborations with local influencers, but also through active involvement in local communities.


How can companies use the findings from the study to adapt their future brand strategy and strengthen their competitiveness?

Swen Morath: We have a whole range of clients - including those that we do not support as an agency - for whom we regularly survey the BAV. We discuss the results very intensively with these clients and provide so-called "strategic starters" as impulses for brand management. Many of these clients track certain attributes over time to check whether, for example, the brand personality is moving in the right direction. One of the great strengths of the BAV is that we have been collecting it in this country since 1995. We can therefore make very valid statements about the development of individual brands over time. In our view, this makes much more sense than a single "temperature check"

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