"Defining Purpose alone is not enough. It requires effective actions and deeds"

Christian Baertschi, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Serviceplan Group Switzerland, answers our 13 questions.

Serviceplan

1. what inspired you to enter the advertising/communications industry?

Those were three things:

  1. An environment with inspiring people
  2. The need to improvise - in this industry, you always have to be fast, agile, entrepreneurial and have your nose to the grindstone.
  3. The rapid assumption of great responsibility - towards customers, colleagues, but also towards society.

 

2 Why aren't there more women in the top echelons of the Swiss advertising industry?

Unfortunately, the problem does not only exist in the advertising industry, but in almost all sectors. The main reason lies in subliminal prejudices. The Harvard Business Review has studied this issue in depth and concluded that the way women face prejudice today is more damaging and destructive than the blatant discrimination of previous decades. For this reason, it is crucial that we as a society acknowledge and actively address this issue. In my opinion, this is the only way to achieve unbiased equality.

 

3. the best book you've read recently?

"Factfulness" by Hans Rosling. In his book, he criticizes the superficiality with which the media often appeals to our basic instincts. Prejudices are systematically cemented and based on outdated knowledge. People's perception of issues such as poverty, education, population growth etc. is much worse than the objective reality.

 

4 If you hadn't become an advertiser - what then?

Probably management consultant or hotelier. Both professions have a certain proximity to communication and marketing.

 

5. what is the biggest challenge for advertising at the moment?

From an advertiser's perspective, it is certainly reaching potential customers in a relevant and desirable way. From the agencies' point of view, it is to continue to provide relevant added value for advertising clients in an increasingly complex world.

 

6. what can you not possibly do without?

My little family.

 

7. what do you never want to hear about yourself?

He had a spine, but no backbone.

 

8. ever thought about leaving the advertising industry?

Definitely. I think there are a lot of interesting and exciting challenges these days.

 

9. can you tell us a little secret?

No. I appreciate secrets for what they are.

 

10. what is currently overestimated?

Purpose. Purpose is often used to distract people from the fact that they have no idea how to tackle the real problems. Defining purpose alone is not enough. Effective actions and activities are needed to create real meaning.

 

11. what do you regret?

Je ne regrette rien.

 

12. what was the best decision of your life?

I didn't breathe at first during the birth. After a slap on the butt, I obviously changed my mind. That was certainly the best or most influential decision I made without realizing it.

 

13. what do you still want to achieve?

I really want to learn how to surf. My first attempt in the icy Atlantic was promising, but not yet crowned with success. But I also have a lot of other plans.

 

Christian Baertschi...

worked in management consulting before switching to the advertising industry. In 2005, he founded his own agency, whose shares he sold to the international Serviceplan Group after seven years of management, thus establishing the entry of the partner-managed agency group into the Swiss market. After handing over operational management to the individual CEOs in the House of Communication at the end of 2019 and taking over as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Serviceplan Group Switzerland, Baertschi decided to leave the Group at the end of May 2020 and set up his own business together with Steve Walls, his former Transformation Lead and Head of Strategy. He is happily married and a proud father. In his free time, he goes hiking and skiing in the mountains, rides his bike and motorcycle and spends as much time as possible in and on Lake Zurich.

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