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We live in a multi-option society. The almost unlimited choice of offers and services makes everything more and more interchangeable. This applies not just to running shoes and vacuum cleaners, but also to holiday destinations. For quite some time now, Swiss tourism is no longer just competing with neighbouring countries, but with the whole world. One reason for this is the ever better and cheaper availability of flights. A strong brand enables Switzerland to stand out more clearly from its competitors as a holiday destination. That’s why Switzerland Tourism ST refocused the Switzerland destination brand 2019 and is presenting its new campaign concept for summer 2020.
An interview with ST’s Head of Marketing André Hefti reveals why the whole tourism sector is benefiting from a strong destination brand.
Head of Marketing
André Hefti, what is the role of ST as a destination management organisation (DMO) when it comes to brand management?
Brand management is more important than ever in today’s fast-paced society, as it becomes harder and harder to gain attention. A brand engenders trust. It is a promise that must be kept. In order to achieve this, there must be clarity regarding what a brand stands for and, conversely, what it does not stand for. A brand must occupy a position that is attractive, relevant and differentiated. It must offer the potential visitor genuine added value. The Switzerland destination brand has some excellent, rational arguments. However, we are less successful in communicating the emotional benefits, which are ultimately key to any travel experience. We plan to focus more on the emotional benefits in future. We tell our visitors what Switzerland has in store for them and what positive emotions it will evoke in them.
What does the brand refocus mean for tourism service suppliers, especially among our partners?
It is very important that our partners see themselves reflected in the brand positioning, so that they can support and develop it. We need to develop the brand together with our partners in order for our visitors to recognise it – and ultimately for it to be successful. The task of ST is to choose a course of action, orchestrate the setting of the agenda, integrate the partners and provide them with the platforms to enable them to strengthen their offerings.
The refocused brand position is proving popular with partners. We are in the process of developing a set of tools and will show our partners how they can profit from our new focus. We look forward to an engaging campaign together with our partners.
How can refocusing the brand benefit our visitors?
Refocusing the brand means adopting a position. Adopting a position means polarising opinion. Polarising opinion means that some people will like it while others will not. We are convinced that the newly focused brand positioning will be better understood by our potential visitors and will appeal more effectively to many of them. The new positioning will trigger emotions through our new slogan and address the target audience. The great thing about the “Destination Switzerland” product is that we deliver outstanding quality and live up to the brand promise. Our brand promise is genuine and unique.