Swiss Brand Congress: Marketing trends are becoming increasingly dynamic

The Swiss Brand Congress provided guidance on the consequences of AI, purpose, data-driven marketing and the metaverse for brand management. Around 550 people took part. The dominant question of the day: Which trends are flash in the pan and which transformation is existential?

Patrick Seitter of ESB Marketing Network with Pascal Kreder of Strategy One. (Pictures: Gabriele Griessenböck)

At Wednesday's Swiss Brand Congress, the challenges facing brands in today's fast-paced world were discussed under the motto "Brands in Challenge". Pascal Kreder from Strategy One coined the comparison to the ever faster turning hamster wheel.

Customer needs and consumer habits have changed, technological innovations are shaping the market, and communication takes place via diverse touch points. To remain successful, brands must be flexible, adaptable and authentic.

"The Swiss Brand Congress proved to be an indispensable guide in a dynamic brand landscape," said Patrick Seitter Program Manager of ESB Marketing Network. New strategies, business models and alternative courses of action were presented and intensively discussed. The dominant topics of the day were artificial intelligence (AI), purpose, channel diversity, data-driven marketing and the metaverse. In addition, there were trend checks in the area of influencer marketing and specific case studies, such as the "Lübeck Effect" and "Generation Next" presented by the Puma brand.

Constant change

Torsten Tomczak, brand specialist from the University of St.Gallen, presented a comprehensive analysis of the challenges facing brand management. His core message: "We are living in the coolest marketing age ever." However, he said, this only applies to those who are willing to change and are open to innovation. "Why should you fear AI and other tools? Among my students, the biggest dork now writes good papers thanks to ChatGPT," Tomczak jokes. You have to stay on the ball of development.

Torsten Tomczak: You shouldn't be afraid of AI.

Godo Röben, the former CEO of Rügenwalder Mühle, makes this clear: "If the former giants of the record industry hadn't slept through the development, then today's largest streaming service wouldn't be called Spotify." Röben led meat processor Rügenwalder Mühle into a transformation early on ( reported). Against the advice of consultants and market researchers, the "meat brand" became the largest supplier in the field of one hundred percent meat copies. Röben appealed to the audience to courageously go new ways and actively adapt to the changes.

Godo Röben talks about transformation of brands.

Does the future belong to AI?

"The future of marketing lies in artificial intelligence," says Marco Krättli of Google Switzerland. People are currently not even aware of the influence AI will have on their lives. Already today, many things can be completely automated. This saves time and offers the opportunity to deal with the important, strategic questions. "Advertisers control AI and AI empowers advertisers". AI is a great development. But it is only through collaboration with humans that AI unfolds its full potential. Eli Semic is also convinced of this, because "AI doesn't replace people and doesn't get the emotions across like a human can," says the influencer.

Campaign is all year

Digitalization has fundamentally changed the way customers interact with brands. Social media, influencer marketing and mobile applications are just a few examples of new communication channels that companies must use to reach their target groups. One mistake, he said, is to think only in terms of individual campaigns. "Campaign is always. Market cultivation is always," is how Dennis Lück of the BrinkertLück Creatives agency sums it up. Advertising goes far beyond that. Adriana M. Nueva from the CWS Group makes this clear: "B2B customers only have their first contact with a sales representative of the company after 57% of the purchasing process," she says. That's why the market has to be worked on continuously and not just in individual campaigns, she adds.

People are at the center of the campaign

"If the goal of marketing is to optimize consumer decisions, then campaigns are nothing more than behavioral economic experiments that focus on people, their needs and decisions," says Patricio Hetfleisch, CMO of Tirol Werbung. With marketmind, Tirol Werbung developed a tourism-specific market segmentation that resulted in seven segments grouped according to motives for the vacation decision. One insight from this: "Why is the new where to when it comes to destination and vacation decisions," says Hetfleisch.

Strong brands on the podium

Brands such as Uber Eats, Audi, Coca Cola, Die Post, IWC, Bayer, Siemens, Samsung and many more presented their own experiences and perspectives for discussion. They shared their own challenges and success stories and provided insights into their strategies for overcoming current challenges.

m&k was present at this year's Brand Congress and spoke with Dennis Lück, Roger Oberholzer, Adrian Steiger and the newly elected "Marketing Thought Leader" of the Year 2023 Thomas Schwetje. Click here for the interviews.

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