As a modern and prosperous market economy, Switzerland weathered the fiscal crisis well. As a result its PR industry suffered minimal damage.
The ICCO Report 2010 noted a 0% growth in revenue for the industry in 2009 compared with the previous year, but predicts a 2% increase for 2010.
The suggested total income for member agencies of the Swiss PR trade association, the Association of PR Agencies in Switzerland (BPRA), is €50 million for 2009. An estimated 80% of PR firms are members of the trade body.
Weber Shandwick’s executive VP international consulting EMEA Nick Stravs says: ‘The PR industry in Switzerland has seen consistent growth over the past few years. Last year was impacted by the worldwide financial crisis, but the outlook for the PR industry is more positive for 2010.’
The Neue Zürcher Zeitung is cited as the most influential Swiss daily newspaper, and is also a leading German language newspaper.
As an associated publication with the Wall Street Journal, Handelszeitung is a popular read for business related news.
Global titles including the International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times are also widely read.
In the French-speaking region, Le Temps is the key title, with L’Agefi propping up the business market for French speakers.
Broadcast media is dominated by the network Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG/SSR), which runs seven national television networks. Three broadcast in German, two in Italian and two in French.
The network also operates 18 radio stations that provide national and local coverage.
Television broadcasts from German, Italian and French stations are also widely accessed through cable and satellite services.
Digital media, as is the case in many other markets, has had a major impact on the media landscape in Switzerland.
Stravs says: ‘Opportunities for growth in the PR industry can be seen in the area of digital media including; social media, online PR and web offerings.’
Trade portals persoenlich.com, werbewoche.ch, kleinreport.ch, impressum.ch, namics.ch and blogwerk.ch are all key online comms channels.
Consumer and brand marketing and luxury goods were cited as the areas with least growth prospects for the Swiss market in the ICCO Report. Industry and financial/investor relations were, perhaps unsurprisingly, considered the areas with the most growth potential.
Sravs says the brands that have sustained themselves through the financial crisis most successfully are luxury watch brand Rolex, Swiss supermarket chain Migros, Swiss Airlines and Nestle.
Comms and PR play an important role in Swiss politics. In 2001, the government employed over 400 communications professionals.
Stravs explains: ‘Besides activities related to elections, the government administration builds public opinion through research studies from external consulting firms.
‘In 2004 approximately CHF 600-700m was spent on external consulting contracts. ‘Spin doctors’ are ever present in Berne,’ he says.