Small Country, Big Brands

August 24, 2009 issue

small country, big brands

In a February 2009 ranking of Swiss brands by Interbrand, the top five brands were, in order of brand value, Nescafé, UBS, Nestlé, Credit Suisse and Zurich. Other globally recognized brands in the top 20 included Rolex, Omega, Lindt, Swatch and Longines.

How did a tiny country largely known for keeping to itself become such a branding powerhouse? It starts with Switzerland’s view of its own brand.

The inherent value of “Swiss made” brands is so

In a February 2009 ranking of Swiss brands by Interbrand, the top five brands were, in order of brand value, Nescafé, UBS, Nestlé, Credit Suisse and Zurich. Other globally recognized brands in the top 20 included Rolex, Omega, Lindt, Swatch and Longines.

How did a tiny country largely known for keeping to itself become such a branding powerhouse? It starts with Switzerland’s view of its own brand.

The inherent value of “Swiss made” brands is so high that the country’s government is currently considering new laws to protect it: “The government wants to replace vague laws with concrete rules to crack down on abuses of ‘made in Switzerland’ and Swiss cross labels” (“Protecting ‘Swiss made’ brand divides opinion,” swissinfo.ch, April 6, 2008). The movement is known in Switzerland as “the legislation project Swissness.”

Interestingly, the notion of “Swissness” is a cause for concern among some Swiss brands. New laws being considered would potentially make it legal to use the well-known Swiss cross (white on a red field) as a marketing tool but restrict the Swiss coat of arms to government use only. Victorinox, maker of the Swiss Army Knife, has used both the Swiss cross and the coat of arms for 100 years. Touring Club Switzerland has used the coat of arms since 1896. Their brands would be directly affected if this new rule were to be implemented.

The fact that the Swiss government is wrestling with revising its intellectual property laws says something: This is a country that clearly understands the value of branding. In fact, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) publishes a comprehensive corporate identity manual for Brand Switzerland because “a focused and strong brand definition is necessary for successful positioning in the international market.” The FDFA sees Switzerland’s values and character as moving from the present characteristics, “reliable, precise, exclusive, rich, beautiful, and neutral,” to the future characteristics, “trustworthy, premium quality, and authentic.”

Switzerland’s reputation for high quality, precision and design is legendary, so it follows that the perception of Swiss brands and products is strongly positive. The “Swissness Worldwide Report,” presented at the Swiss Brands 08 conference in Zurich, surveyed some 8,000 foreign consumers. According to swissinfo.ch, “Respondents from 66 countries strongly associated Swiss products with high quality, reliability and luxury. An international comparison of goods and services saw Switzerland ranked highest of 12 countries, including Japan, Germany and the United States” (“Swiss brand still stands for quality,” June 19, 2008). However, consumers rated Swiss products poorly when it came to “price competitiveness” and “innovation.”

Despite an overall positive brand perception, Switzerland has not been untainted by recent controversy.

Perhaps the most damaging blow to Swiss brand credibility of late has been the country’s role in the world’s financial problems. UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank and a prominent global institution, was fined almost US$ 800 million in early 2009, charged with helping wealthy Americans evade income taxes. Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-largest bank, narrowly avoided the tax evasion scandal but suffered financially during the banking meltdown.

This has not been the only sticky issue swirling around Switzerland: “… Switzerland’s image has been battered abroad with accusations of xenophobia during the general election two years ago…This comes on top of negative press in the past decade over dormant Holocaust-era bank accounts and money laundering” (“‘Made in Switzerland’ brand retains its appeal,” swissinfo.ch, June 12, 2009).

It seems, though, that it would take a lot to undermine a Swiss brand. Many are steeped in a tradition that extends for more than a century, and most have represented stability, quality and dependability for decades, recent economic problems notwithstanding.

In the financial market, for example, UBS, Credit Suisse and Zurich are legitimate long-standing global brands. UBS originated as Union Bank of Switzerland in 1852. The distinct UBS logo, with three keys and the red letters “UBS,” is recognized in 50 countries. Credit Suisse was born in 1856 as SKA and didn’t become widely known by its current name until the 1970s. The company says it became an “integrated global bank” in 2006.

Zurich, a diversified insurance company founded in 1872, serves customers in 170 countries. The company recently launched a global brand campaign focused on Zurich HelpPoint, “the collective term for the many guidance, solution and service offerings we deliver that capture our commitment to putting customers at the heart of all we do,” the company says. Print ads and television spots featuring HelpPoint have been prominent in the US and Europe.

In consumer goods, Switzerland is home to the Nestlé Company, started by Henri Nestlé, a pharmacist who created an alternative to human breast milk in the 1860s. The product apparently saved the life of a premature infant and was subsequently marketed in Europe. In Henri’s German dialect, Nestlé means “little nest,” so Henri chose a bird’s nest, also his family’s coat of arms, as his trademark. A stylized version of the trademark is still used in the modern-day logo.

The Nestlé Company has grown into a global behemoth, with over 280,000 employees worldwide and 2008 sales of close to CHF 110 billion (one CHF—Swiss franc—is worth about US 92 cents). The Nestlé brand family spans the food category—examples include Perrier and Poland Spring in bottled water, Cerelac and Gerber in baby cereal, Cheerios and Estrelitas in cereal, Butterfinger and Kit Kat in chocolate, Edy’s and Häagen-Dazs in ice cream, Stouffer’s and Lean Cuisine in convenience foods, and Alpo and Purina in pet food. The brand name Nescafé is a combination of Nestlé, the brand owner, and the word café, representing coffee. Nescafé is an instant coffee that was introduced in Switzerland in 1938.

For most consumers, the two brand categories most associated with Switzerland are probably watches and chocolate—with good reason, since Switzerland excels in both.

The Swatch Group (the word “Swatch” was formed from the words “Swiss” and “watch”) is the world’s largest watchmaking group, including not just the Swatch brand, but also the brands Breguet, Hamilton, Longines, Omega and Tissot. Other renowned Swiss watch brands include Breitling, Rolex and TAG Heuer.

There are several prominent Swiss chocolate brands, among them the 160-year-old brand Lindt, which is marketed in more than 100 countries. The Ghirardelli chocolate brand is part of the Lindt & Sprüngli Group. One of the more distinctive chocolate brands is Toblerone, a unique blend of Swiss chocolate, honey and almond nougat produced in an unusual triangular shaped bar. It was first created in 1908 by Theodor Tobler and Emil Baumann.

While Swiss brands are not recession proof, they have an appeal and a cachet that transcends economic conditions. “Swiss products stand for top quality at higher prices, but not for luxury,” says Dominique von Matt of the Swiss advertising consultancy Jung von Matt/Limmat. “The Swiss reputation for reliability, quality and precision has even more value now than before the recession” (“‘Made in Switzerland’ brand retains its appeal,” swissinfo.ch, June 12, 2009).

As a country that has a big stake in big brands, Switzerland will undoubtedly work hard to keep it that way.

Barry Silverstein is a freelance writer/marketing consultant and co-author of the McGraw-Hill book, The Breakaway Brand


Dufil Prima Foods Plc "Indomie Brand"


Nigeria: Indomie Launches Chicken Suya, Pepper Chicken Flavour

dora & ceo

(L-R) Prof. Dora Akunyili, Mrs. Ojora Adejiyan, representative of the First Lady of Lagos State and CEO, Dufil Prima Foods, Deepak Singhal.

Dufil Prima Foods Plc, makers of Children’s favourite meal has added two additional flavours, Chicken Suya and the Pepper Chicken to its Indomie Instant Noodles offering. The noodles giant also unveiled the 120g super pack of its existing Indomie Chicken Peppersoup flavour.

While consumers in the country have enjoyed Indomie and its consistently evolving portfolio of products for over 12years, the leading noodles manufacturer decided that it was once again time to add new variants to the Indomie collection.

Adding further to the Indomie portfolio of flavour, Dufil Prima Foods tapped into the areas of great need of consumers as revealed by research which concludes that suya and pepper are most enjoyed and liked by Nigerians. The Chicken Suya and the Pepper Chicken flavours are the 5th and 6th additions to the Indomie range.

Speaking at the launch on Friday, September 12, 2008 at the Aquatic Hall, Toyin Street, Ikeja, Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer, Dufil Prima Foods, Deepak Singhal said that the new flavours are designed to ensure consumers enjoy and savour the unique and authentic tastes they cherish so much.

He said that the new flavours which are just being introduced into the market bears testimony to the organisation’s pioneering and leadership position in the area of innovating to achieve customer satisfaction.

He stressed that the new additions as well as the existing variants of Indomie Noodles will give consumers a wider range of choice to choose from in satisfying their needs.

He also stated his company’s commitment to continue to produce different flavours and always provide something that will help consumers differentiate their favourite Indomie brand in the market.

In her key note address at the launch, the First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola who was represented by Mrs. Ojora Adejiyan, congratulated the management of Dufil Prima Foods for their foresight in introducing these new flavours into the Nigerian Market. She said it is a reflection of the importance that the company accords the consumers of its products.

“The launch of these two additional flavours is no mean feat. It is indeed a reflection of the commitment of the management to actualize its vision of offering a variety of quality products that meets the needs of the consumers”. She stressed.

According to her, the noodles manufacturer is renowned for initiating innovations and expanding the frontiers of quality control in the food industry and has therefore emerged as a major stakeholder in the Nigerian economy. She equally commended the company for being able to withstand the storm of economic hardship in the country by constantly coming up with new products.

Also speaking at the event, the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drugs, Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Professor (Mrs.) Dora Akunyili, commended Dufil Prima Foods Plc, for the good quality and nutritional value of the company’s products. According to the DG, the company’s products have consistently conformed with good manufacturing practice over the years.

”I remember in the 90s, I use to think that Indomie is for little children, now we all know that Indomie is for everybody because Indomie is a complete food. Indomie is well fortified with carbohydrate, protein, micronutrients, vitamins, calcium; all in one is a complete meal.”

Speaking on the new products, she stated that “Nigerian expects more varieties of Nigerian food. We are already enjoying chicken Peppersoup that was launched last year. Now we are going to start enjoying the chicken suya and the pepper chicken flavours”. She also commended the company’s efforts in establishing a plant for the local production of its seasoning in Nigeria.

Hitherto, Indomie Instant Noodles is available in 4 distinct flavours:
Indomie Chicken, Indomie Onion Chicken, Indomie Spicy Chicken and the Indomie Chicken Peppersoup flavour.

Indomie Now Served by Caterers at Events in Nigeria

Tola Bademosi (L), CEO, BD Consult with Pawan Sharma (M), Head of Marketing and Tope Ashiwaju (R), PR Manager  both of DUFIL Prima Foods Plc., during the press conference on ‘Indomie Independence Day Award for Heroes of Nigeria’ which took place at Protea Hotel, Maryland on Friday, June 5, 2009 --

Tola Bademosi (L), CEO, BD Consult with Pawan Sharma (M), Head of Marketing and Tope Ashiwaju (R), PR Manager both of DUFIL Prima Foods Plc., during the press conference on ‘Indomie Independence Day Award for Heroes of Nigeria’ which took place at Protea Hotel, Maryland on Friday, June 5, 2009 --

Indomie Instant Noodles, Nigeria’s No 1 noodles brand has taken another giant stride in blazing the trail amongst other noodles brands. Indomie is now served alongside other local and continental dishes by caterers at events across Lagos and its environs.

This innovation is a brain-child of Indomie’s new brand awareness theme, Taste with Nutrition. Following this, a seminar was organized by Dufil Prima Foods Plc, makers of Indomie in June to demonstrate to over 100 caterers how to make various recipes of Indomie Instant Noodles.

According to our sources, the participant caterers have begun to serve Indomie as one the meals at their major outings. They have also been supported by Dufil Prima Foods Plc, with free cartons of Indomie and a token amount to prepare different recipes of Indomie at their major outings to the awe of consumers.

Recently, only different recipes of Indomie were served at Governor Fashola’s Father’s 70th birthday organized by his club members and friends at Favourites club House, Ebutte Meta. The caterer in charge of the party, Mrs. Kudirat Omotayo of Kulmat Catering Services said she was very amazed at how people embraced the idea of eating only Indomie for a change, as most of the elderly people requested for more and could not wait for the Indomie pepper soup to be ready.

At the party, The President/Chairman of the club, Alhaji Atobatele Sikiru said, “Indomie can never die in the market or lose its unique taste.” He said, “I will look out for Indomie in parties now, Indomie should keep doing it right as usual,” he concluded.

One of the caterers, Mrs. Olotu of BAAS Catering Services, served ‘Indomie Salad’ at a graduation ceremony of students of Jewels Nursery and Primary School Anthony Village on the 23rd of July. The responses of parents, pupils and other guests were positive as some of them suggested that Indomie should give out menu booklets to consumers, so that they can cook Indomie noodles in different ways at home.

During a wedding reception at Oyingbo Lagos on the 25th of July, Mrs. Bola Adeoye of Lady B Catering Services, decked in Indomie face cap and apron with an Indomie banner behind her, served Indomie meals in ofada, pepper chicken, vegetable, fried rice and salad varieties. She
kept dishing out the meals excitedly until she exhausted all her cartons.

Indomie Noodles also recently unveiled some exquisite recipes compiled into a recipe book as part of its strategies to educate caterers on different ways of preparing Indomie Instant Noodles as a meal at the events they cater for.

The responses from the caterers and several consumers have proven that Indomie is Nigeria?s most preferred noodles brand whether served at home or parties.

Pepsi Joy It Forward

Pepsi’s digital strategy in Canada is centered on www.joyitforward.ca, a web site that encourages people to participate and spread the positive culture and energy of the brand online.

Pepsi Joy It Forward

On the site, visitors can explore “Joy Meters” which aggregate content to measure what people are doing online to spread the feeling of joy. Joy Meters include Mentions of Joy on Twitter, Results for Joy on Google, Joyous Word of the Day, and Bundles of Joy Born today.

Joygles, Joy-filled games, include Bubble Blaster, Make an Old Man Smile, Staring Contest, Dance Party Dino, and the most recently added game 3 Card Pepsi.

The Pepsi Facebook Fan Page, with over 91,000 fans in the first three weeks, provides a discussion forum on all things Pepsi and another place to play the Joygles. Pepsi Canada’s Twitter feed (@PepsiCanada) provides a steady stream of conversation around the feeling of joy.

Equally impressive, is that in the usually quiet world of corporate fan page Walls, Pepsi fans have been tremendously engaged with the brand with over 9000 interactions to date on the Facebook fan page.


The Joy It Forward campaign was developed at BBDO and Proximity Canada by creative director John Gagne, associate creative director Dave Stevenson, copywriter Jeff Middleton, art director Theo Gibson, project manager Karan Deepak, Flash developer Jeff Vermeersch, technical developers Addictive Mobility, account managers Tim Welsh, Stephanie Wall and Paul Lin, engagement planner Dino Demopoulos.

Fail advertising :::McDonalds

In 2006, McDonald’s in Japan created a promotion where customers were eligible to win their own McDonalds MP3 player. The fast food chain gave away about 10,000 of them before realizing that among the pre-programed songs that came on the MP3 player was a Trojan virus that stole user names and passwords when plugged into a computer. A recall was instituted and the campaign ended, but not before enraging thousands of Japanese.

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