Schweizer Marken

Was macht grosse Schweizer Marken aus? Warum wurden einige bedeutend und wertvoll, während andere verschwanden? Wie gelingt die Wiederbelebung einer untergegangenen Marke und wie viel Swissness steckt heute noch in Schweizer Traditionsmarken?

  Swiss brands Rolex 

Swiss brands
will continue to be Rolex, Nescafe and UBS in 2017, according to the US firm Kantar Millward Brown. The most valuable Swiss brand Rolex is worth 8 billion dollars. In second place is Nescafe with 6.3 billion dollars, followed by the UBS with 6.1 billion dollars. The most globally valuable brands are Google, Apple and Microsoft.

1st Most Valuable Swiss Brands 2017
Rank 1: Rolex ($ 8.0 billion)

Rolex has been out of competition for years. The icon with the crown moves in its own time zone. But now Rolex has got a headwind from a completely different side: Apple has risen to the second largest watch manufacturer in less than two years with the Apple Watch. And over 60 percent of Chinese watch owners want to buy a smart watch next, according to Brand Finance Experts. Real watch enthusiasts, however, do not perceive Apple as a competitor: Rolex stands for status, reliability, value retention and immortality. Her slogans from 2008, „The Coronation of Success,“ and 2017, „Not only does she measure time, she writes contemporary history,“ are significant. Rolex is and remains the watch brand par excellence.
Swiss brands Rolex logo
Rank 2: Nescafé ($ 6.3 billion)

In 1930, the Brazilian government approached Nestlé to ask for possible preservation of coffee. That year, Brazilian growers harvested so much coffee that it burned down in large quantities and dumped it all over the world. Nestlé had already made a name for itself in the field of preserving milk at that time. Nescafé was launched in 1938 and was first sold in Switzerland. Nestlé 2016’s 150th anniversary gave the brand its „Good Food, Good Life“ slogan. Nestlé invests heavily in research and development. Their two strongest brands Nescafé and Nespresso together contribute about one-third of the value of the entire Nestlé company.Swiss brand Nescafe logo
Rank 3: UBS ($ 6.1 billion)

After years of decline, the UBS brand has caught up a bit. In 2015, she was awarded further prizes in various categories in addition to the „Best Bank in Switzerland“ award. She was able to convince her customers with digitization. B. by the platform UBS Neo. The mobile app Twint, which merged with Paymit in April 2017, posts UBS as progressive and customer-oriented.

In addition to the stock market capitalization of a company, the value of its brands is crucial. This is love especially important if not the Entire company, but only one or more brands are sold. Rolex is only worth a fraction of the big players: Google and Apple are each with over 200 trillion dollars, the two most valuable brands in the world.
Swiss brands UBS logo
2. Map of the Swiss brands

Which brands are there in Switzerland? How can it be broken down, made visible and accessible? St. Gallen, having a beer in Zurich, was asked by the Zurich-based agency. The first brand poster finally came out in 2009. It groups and positions leading Swiss brands with the respective logo to create their own topography. The map contains places, mountains and lakes – from the „Lago Logo“ over the town of Märklingen to „Pixelspitz“. The 9th edition – a poster for brand friends, advertisers, entrepreneurs and people interested in Switzerland.And for those who like to smile and discover.

Swiss brands
Brand poster – topography for quality and innovation

For almost all companies the brand is one of the most valuable goods. It forms the bridge to the consumer and the consumer, stands for past and current achievements and provides security. So, a good brand image justifies the price and promises a constant level of quality and innovation. At least that’s how it should be. Anyone who fails to do so will end up at the „Märklin Cemetery“ next to prominent victims as Swissair or Mercury.

In entertaining and fictional locations, the brands are shown on the fire posters in kinship and industry context. For example, leading media houses are gathered in the „Blätterwald“, the banks in the „Kohlegrube“ at home and in „Warenhausen“ the major distributors.Kambly, Ragusa, Toblerone, Ovomaltine and Co and the „mountain spring“ are the mineral waters and sodas of Switzerland. We did not count the stamps on the poster, but there are many. In addition to the logo of each brand, both the year of foundation and ownership are shown. So you see, for example, that Sugus, Toblerone and Elmex US companies, but Kambly and Rivella are still in Swiss hands.

Swiss brands Kambly
Swissness in the brand

How much is Swissness still in the traditional brands ? Of course we are interested in Bestswiss. The Widely Discussed topic is at the center of the current issue of the brand posters: It examines how much Switzerland and Swiss-Made are really in Swiss brands and how Directly Their Swissness communicate. The result is surprising in its clarity: There is hardly a Swiss brand that misses the seal of quality Switzerland. A „Made in Switzerland“ or a small Swiss cross on the packaging uses almost every brand.However, it is only in a brand of a good or bad name. These genuine Swissness brands are specially marked on the poster.

From poster to brand dictionary

With the preparation and constant further development of the poster, evoq and htp St. Gallen have created a work that today is much more than a poster. On is a brand dictionary to find. Here you can learn about the history of the brands, trace historical backgrounds of logos and look at advertising campaigns and TV commercials. In addition, direct links allow quick access to the social media accounts of the respective companies and brands. What appears at first glance at the park? Curiously, we expect the latest issue, because we at Bestswiss want to scale Pixelspitz.The brand posters May 21st.

3. The rise and fall of major Swiss brands

Swiss brands Zimmerli

Brand Zimmerli

While some brands are steadily gaining in value, others are losing value or disappearing dramatically. The most famous and painful loss was certainly Swissair. Its brand value was estimated at around half a billion francs at the end of the 1990s. During the year 2001, it dropped to zero. The brand Swissair was completely destroyed within a few months.

Nestlé’s Nescafé, Nespresso, Nesquik, Nestea, Cailler, Maggi and Thomy brands, as well as the Swatch Group with the Omega, Blancpain, Tissot, Longines, Breguet, Rado and Swatch brands, are Nestlé’s most important powerhouses. These two companies have invested a great deal of time and money in building their brands. Accordingly, the value is high not only of the two companies, but also of their brands.

Brands give orientation
This has also been discovered by resourceful brand strategists who want to breathe new life into the big name of Swiss economic history – with varying degrees of success. The revival of Swiss brands has been in vogue for several years (Source: Balance sheet from 27.08.2010 „Swiss brands: Back from nowhere“, 5th paragraph). On the one hand, this has to do with the opening up of the market and, on the other hand, as a countermovement, with a return to traditional values. Other reasons for this return to brands with a long history lie in today’s brand overflow. The financial crisis has also given rise to a period of uncertainty in which consumers are looking for guidance. Brands that have been around for a long time serve as a welcome anchor. Reviving an old brand also makes sense economically: it costs significantly less, to rebuild it as introducing and promoting a new brand. Finally, one can fall back on an already existing positive image.

My Switzerland – my brand
In addition to the swimwear manufacturer Lahco, other big names that have gone under have recently been revitalized: Banago, Nabholz, Vivi Kola or Wisa-Gloria. But also those who had been close to sinking like Bally, Kandahar, Künzli or Zimmerli. In particular, the watch industry has witnessed an unprecedented wave of revitalized brands, including traditional names such as Blancpain, Breguet and Moser brands, some of which had disappeared for decades. They all build on a great story that has strongly promoted the resurrection with good marketing.

Nostalgia alone is not enough
Why do some brands succeed in a successful revival and how does the revival work? Brand expert Urs Krucker of Y & R Group Switzerland: „A big story alone is not enough. The customer must be offered a clear added value, because pure nostalgia is not enough for the survival of a revitalized brand. The recognition effect alone is not sustainable enough in the competition. „Urs Krucker explains this fact by the difference between the VW Beetle and the Mini Cooper:“ The relaunch of the Mini was based on a brand concept right from the start, with Beetle it was pure nostalgia, one too thin Basis for success. „The new edition of the VW beetle never reached the sales figures of the Mini Cooper.

Successful brand revival: Swiss brand Zimmerli
The Aarburg linen producer Zimmerli was in the early 1990s just before the collapse. The traditional brand had gone through ups and downs, it lacked in clear contours and on the future strategy was disagreement. Lack of management skills aggravated the misery in addition. The cousins ​​of the successors Hans and Walter Borner rescued Zimmerli from destruction. In 1998 they resumed the production of women’s underwear abandoned decades ago and missed the company a new strategy based on three pillars:

• great history since 1871
• production in Switzerland with excellent quality standards
• expansion strategy consistently focused on the luxury sector

The success was not far behind and was additionally fueled by Hollywood. Halle Berry wore Zimmerli lingerie in „Gothika“ and Hugh Jackman fought in the movie „Wolverine“ in the legendary Richelieu camisole. Also in „Rocky“ and „Matrix“ as well as in many other films played the double rib TankTops from Aarburg a prominent role. Zimmerli, a solid company, is modestly Swiss and does not rely on stars or starlets. The company could not afford that. „We advertise with the quality of our products, not with figureheads,“ says Zimmerli. By the way, these are not necessary at all. The stars obviously do not want anything other than Zimmerli. The best example is David Beckham. He received in 2008 from Armani 28 million euros for that he explicitly carries under Armani. But that did not stop the style-conscious kicker from showing off his muckis in his 2009 Zimmerli camisole. The Aarburg have allegedly paid no cent. Every day, around 50 women sew around 1300 pieces of laundry in Coldrerio in Ticino. Each piece is handcrafted in an average of 18 steps. Seat of the administration is still in Aarburg.

Daring brand revival: Swiss brand Nabholz
Nabholz is the oldest sports brand in the world. In 1821 the knitting mill was founded in the canton of Solothurn. The makers of the Nabholz logo, a double lily, borrowed the coat of arms of Schönenwerd in the 1950s. The sport dress was present in virtually all gymnastic clubs and sports clubs in Switzerland. All wore Nabholz: athletes, children, housewives. The football Nati sang at the 1962 World Cup in Nabholz Dress the Swiss Psalm. And at the 1968 Olympics, eleven nations lined up in coaches with the lily logo. Brand ambassador of Nabholz was the gymnast Jack Günthard, who offered the hungry for movement nation in his TV show „Fit with Jack“ for early gymnastics.

However, Nabholz had no chance against the likes like Puma, Adidas and Nike. In 1992 the company was closed. In 2010, the team headed by today’s Nabholz CEO Andreas Caduff ventured the relaunch and repositioning. The idea: strip off the coach image and position yourself as a fashion brand. Nabholz takes deep into the bag of tricks of the brand myth and writes about himself: „Born and Re-Born in Switzerland 1821/2012“ or „For Living Legends. Sportswear Pioneer – est. 1821 in Switzerland. Today, the label makes premium sportswear for men. Produced mainly in Italy and Portugal. Previously, two investors had acquired the rights to Nabholz from the then brand owner Dalbotex. This had tried in vain since 2003 to breathe new life into the Swiss cult brand with retro goods.

Swiss brands Nabholz logo

Brand reanimation failed: Swiss brand Cilo

The revival of a brand can also fail, despite an extraordinary story. Cilo is such a case. The bicycle manufacturer was founded in 1914 in Lausanne. Cycling legends like Ferdi Kübler, Hugo Koblet or Beat Breu and Tony Rominger celebrated their victories on Cilo. With around 40,000 bicycles sold per year, Cilo was still Switzerland’s strongest velomobile brand until the mid-1990s. In 2002, the company filed for bankruptcy. In 2005, the brand was revived, a year later, the first new racing bikes came on the market. The bill did not work out, the new brand suffered a financial frame break. At the end, the bikes were sold by a retail chain. A miserable end to the relaunch of a great Swiss brand.

4. Chronology of major Swiss brands

• 1463 Glarner Schabziger (first branded article in Switzerland)
• 1471 paper mill on the Werd in Zurich; since 1835 paper factory at the Sihl; since 2003 Sihl Digital Imaging
• 1519 Druckerei Christoph Froschauer in Zurich; 1735 took over Conrad Orell and Hans Rudolf Füssli the company; today Orell Füssli
• 1599 High-Authorized Printing Company in Bern; since 1799 Stämpfli
• 1638 Gaba Golden Pharmacy Basel; since 2003 at Colgate-Palmolive
• 1663 Adam Hauert Tannery in Grossaffoltern; from 1710 products for the conservation of soil fertility; 1936 special fertilizer „Gartensegen“
• 1723 Glashütte Siegwart Flühli glass, Entlebuch; since 1817 Hergiswiler glass
• 1735 watch factory Blancpain; with SMH since 1992, today Swatch Group
• 1741 Bank Wegelin in St. Gallen; Notenstein (Raiffeisen)
• 1748 Roth, Wangen an der Aare; today roviva
• 1755 Bank Leu in Zurich; 1990 to CS Holding, since 2007 Clariden Leu
• 1755 watchmaker Jean-Marc Vacheron; since 1819 Vacheron & Constantin; with Richemont since 1996
• 1775 Abraham Louis Breguet founds a watch manufactory in Paris. At the outbreak of the French Revolution, he returns to his native Neuchâtel. In 1780 he invented the automatic elevator, in 1801 the tourbillon and in 1810 the wristwatch. Since 1999 at Swatch Group.
• 1780 Zürcher Zeitung was founded by Orell, Gessner, Füssli & Co., since 1821 Neue Zürcher Zeitung
• 1780 Calanda Brewery, Chur; with Heinecken since 1993
• 1788 Cardinal Brewery, Freiburg; with Carlsberg since 2000
• 1795 Rieter, Winterthur; 1809 Production of spinning machines
• 1819 François-Louis Cailler, Switzerland’s first chocolate factory, with Nestlé since 1929
• 1819 Christian Fischbacher in St. Peterzell, woven and linen
• 1834 Sulzer Maschinenfabrik, Winterthur
• 1851 Carl Franz Bally, shoe factory in Schönenwerd
• 1854 Basler Bankverein, today UBS
• 1866 Nestlé, as a logo Henri Nestlé used his surname, which means „small nest“ in Swabian. The family crest with the brood care was suitable for his first product, a breast milk substitute, and it is still the trademark today.
• 1871 Pauline Zimmerli begins manufacturing of stockings and men’s socks in Aarburg, 1888 Aktiengesellschaft
• 1879 Rudolf Lindt chocolate factory in Bern, since 1899 Lindt & Sprüngli
• 1884 Carl Elsener founds a knifesmith in Ibach; Renamed Victoria in 1909 after his mother and in 1921 after the new stainless steel in Victorinox
• 1893 Bernina sewing machines in Bern
• 1904 Ovaltine, Dr. med. Albert Wander in Bern
• 1905 Rolex by Hans Wilsdorf with the goal to distribute watches of the Bieler company Aegler SA in London. In 1908 the brand name Rolex was officially registered.
• 1908 Toblerone, Theodor Tobler in Berne
• 1910 Oscar R. Kambly makes a factory in Trubschachen from his village bakery. Bretzeli, his first product, is still the market leader today.
• 1923 RiRi zipper, Martin Othmar Winterhalter
• 1924 Caran d’Ache by Arnold Schweitzer in Geneva
• 1931 Jura electric apparatus, founded by the technician Leo Henzirohs-Studer
• 1933 Turmix as Techag AG by Traugott Oertli. The name came from the French word „tourner“ and „mix“.
• 1938 Nescafé, Nestlé
• 1952 Rivella, Karl Barth in Stäfa
• 1953 Aromat by Knorr, today by Unilever
• 1963 USM Haller by Paul Schärer and Fritz Haller
• 1976 Nespresso, Nestle
• 1983 Swatch by SMH, now Swatch Group


Read more about the Swiss Made label of origin



BrandZ Top 100 Global Brands 2017 

brand poster


htp St. Gallen


These brands trust Swiss 2016 (Personal 15.04.2016)

Who buys Swiss toys? (NZZ, 15.10.2015)

Made in Aarburg: All Hollywood wants these underwear (AZ, 26.1.2014)

The return of a Swiss cult brand (20min 14.07.2012)


Text: Michael Kummer, Bestswiss



Schweizer Markenplakate 2018

CHF  61.00 inklusive Mehrwertsteuer

Schweizer Markenlandschaft

CHF  61.00 inklusive Mehrwertsteuer


Einmal wöchentlich erscheint unser Newsletter mit handverlesenen Inhalten. Das Beste direkt in Ihrer Mailbox.

An einen Freund senden