English Corner

Martin Nydegger, Director of Switzerland Tourism, presents the new brand world. Picture: TN

«We will be the tourism brand you trust»

Gregor Waser

After almost 30 years, Switzerland Tourism is ending the era of the golden flower. But what is Switzerland Tourism aiming to achieve with its new logo and image? ST Director Martin Nydegger reveals the considerations and future variations in an interview.

Mr Nydegger, what considerations led to the new brand?

Martin Nydegger: The demands placed on a brand today are totally different from 30 years ago. Instead of simply crafting a new logo, our focus lies in constructing an immersive brand universe. To achieve this, we use our own font, called ST Allegra, and our own colour scheme, inspired by the hues of the alpenglow. Our aim was to increase efficiency and awareness in the online world. In future, we will only be available in one language, in one variant, but the diversity will be significantly greater thanks to the colour scheme, the gimmicks and all kinds of applications, especially digital ones.

Does the English-language «Switzerland» work in Germany or Brazil?

We aimed for the principle of «one brand - one name» right from the start. This led us to carefully consider its feasibility in key markets like Germany, France, and China, where local language holds significant sway. Our conviction in its effectiveness remains unwavering. Global brands operate under a singular name, and Switzerland as a tourist destination, embodies this global branding ethos.

And in Switzerland?

Our primary focus is on foreign markets. But even here in Switzerland - with Swisscom, Skyguide and Swiss International Airlines - the days of being told that you're ignoring our language are over. And we don't do that; we actively embrace linguistic diversity. For instance, when we do something with the Coop newspaper in Ticino the slogans, claims and texts are in Italian, while the brand name remains consistent.

What kinds of opportunities does the new brand world open up?

The opportunities are incredibly diverse. We started with the advertising material and the website. But we quickly realised that it goes much further than that. At our annual event, for example, we will be the first NTO to launch an Apple Vision Pro app, which enables a virtual reality experience that now fully plays with our new brand world. The colour tone opens up alternatives. Previously, we had to place the gold flower somewhere. Now we can choose: we want to emphasise «Switzerland» or be more discreet and bring the colour to the fore. We also have many more options available in the realm of moving images, especially in  our digital presence. This extends to mediums like digital posters which are increasingly prevalent today. We can now fully utilise these options.

And these five shades of red - what do they stand for?

For the alpenglow. We carry the colour gradation from the mountains into our brand world. The brand is upbeat and modern, but the roots come from our mountain world.

How is it being implemented in concrete terms - from the letterhead to the digital presence worldwide?

As we are predominantly digital-focused today and print holds less significance, the process is much faster. As of today, Monday, a lot has already been implemented, including the website. We anticipate completing the implementation by year-end. Unlike Sunrise, we don't face the monumental task of overnight re-labeling thousands of branches.

«In a world in which every blogger, influencer and random person can trumpet anything about Switzerland, we need an anchor of trust.»

What promises will Switzerland Tourism increasingly focus on in the future?

The new brand world we’ve created is a cosmos, meticulously constructed with an eye toward the future. We are becoming groovier, livelier and can communicate in a more exciting and cheerful way. This does not mean, however, that we are turning our backs on traditional Switzerland. But we understand how the markets work, and now we are more modern, fresher and more dynamic. Trust is also very important to us: The Swiss cross is clearly recognisable, and the word «Switzerland» is unmistakable. In a world where every blogger, influencer and random person can trumpet anything about Switzerland, we need an anchor of trust. Everyone loved the golden flower, including me. But now we are changing from a beloved brand to a trusted brand. We are becoming the tourism brand you trust.

Was all this no longer possible with the golden flower?

The golden flower was static, it didn't move. Our brand is now immersive and very dynamic. The Golden Flower has reached the end of its life cycle.

What do you say to partners like GlacierExpress, Fribourg or Gstaad who are still using the golden flower emblem?

GlacierExpress can retain the golden flower, as it is legally protected for years to come. Our partners are reassured, free from any undue pressure. The decision of Gstaad and Fribourg to replace the golden flower demonstrates a mutual acknowledgement that the symbol no longer resonates, affirming its gradual obsolescence.  

What reactions are you expecting?

So far, the internal feedback indicates that the new image appeals to a younger demographic; they are more unbiased, and we arefollowing suit. I am convinced of the long-term success of our new brand identity; it represents a thorough deliberation and collaboration with our agency,a product of extensive refinement. Undoutedly there will be some dissenting voices: Some may express dislike for the change, while others might question the decision to present the brand in English, especially considering our federal funding. And there will probably be those who say it's the foolish to abolish a well-known brand. It's essential to acknowledge that the golden flower held profound significance for us within the tourism industry, yet its resonance with international guests was more limited. Nonetheless, as we navigate these reactions, let's remain steadfast in our commitment to progress and adaptation. Embracing change is often met with resistance, but it is through evolution that we ensure relevance and resonance in an ever-shifting landscape.