As Head of Communications and Marketing at Greater Zurich Area, Reto Sidler develops and manages the Greater Zurich brand to be an excellent and stable business and technology center. We talked to him about how digitalisation makes brand management easier and more complicated at the same time, and we found out who runs your brand if you don’t…
Reto Sidler, thank you very much for being with us today! As usual, we’ll start with your childhood: What was your favourite brand when you were young and what is it today?
Playmobil. I just loved playing with the figures. Nowadays I particularly like some brands from the Zurich economic area. For example, the pocket knives from Victorinox, the running shoes from On, the espresso machines from Zuriga and the mechanical watches from IWC. A bit of brand patriotism is allowed, isn’t it?
Imagine you encounter a brand fairy who can fulfil your every wish. What would you wish for your brand?
That the concentrated technology excellence available in the Greater Zurich Area – embedded in Europe’s most reliable environment – is known and desired all over the world. If a forward-looking technology company wants to expand in or into Europe, Greater Zurich should be on the shortlist.
Do you see it as more challenging in some areas than in others to win over employees for a brand?
For us as location marketing or investment promotion agency, it is a challenge to carry the brand beyond our own company and into the entire economic region. After all, well-known personalities, world-famous companies, innovative start-ups, universities such as the University or ETH Zurich, airports, hotels and restaurants etc. are much more influential brand ambassadors than we could ever be.
How would you convince someone of the importance of a brand with just one argument?
I would say three things to him or her: First, brand strategy and corporate strategy are inseparable. They’ re two sides of the same coin. Secondly, every company is a brand. The question is how systematically you want to manage it. If you do not do it yourself, the customers or your competitors will do it. Third, brand management is simply fun.
What are some of your best tips for successful brand management?
Involve key stakeholders – internal and external – in the development of the brand strategy. This increases acceptance and makes implementation noticeably easier. Set a good example and create beacon projects that employees and partners can follow.
What role does digitalisation currently play in the brand sector? How do you see this developing in the future?
Digitalisation makes the topic brand easier but more difficult at the same time. It is easier because I can place my services and my messages precisely where I want them to go, even on a comparatively small budget. And, because I can create new brand experiences with new technologies. It’ s more difficult because digitalisation increases the abundance of information, consumption and constant accessibility. A brand can create orientation and relevance here. Technologies such as augmented and mixed reality, artificial intelligence and big data will also have an even stronger impact on brand management and marketing in the future.
Last but not least, we are interested in how important you consider the topic “purpose” in terms of brand management.
The question of meaningfulness has rightly become more important in the corporate world and even in society as a whole. A company that can credibly communicate its vision, and its attitude, has a competitive advantage.