A Major Threat in 2017 to One of the Richest Countries in the World: Switzerland

According to the World Atlas, Switzerland ranks as the 8th richest country in the world based on gross domestic product (at purchasing power parity) per capita. Using the purchasing power parity (PPP) value of all final goods to show true value of dollar within a country in a given year.


Switzerland — $57,235 GDP (PPP) per capita

The GDP (PPP) per Swiss citizen is $57,235. Swiss banking and financial institutions keep this country and its economy afloat. It is important to note that some of the wealthiest people and companies in the world own Swiss bank accounts and therefore Switzerland has excess capital to use for investment purposes. Zurich and Geneva, Switzerland’s most well-known cities, have consistently ranked among the top ten highest living standard cities in the world.


Today I’d like to dive into a bit of a threat to the ever stable Swiss economy.

As a Swiss native, born in Zurich, Switzerland who speaks Swiss-German, German and English — I am excited to be a thought leader in the digital marketing space. Today, I will outline the lay of the land of the Swiss state of Public Relations. This deep dive into the State of Public Relations of the Swiss market is for the greater good of the Swiss people. I come from a place of wanting to preserve the amazingly beautiful and prosperous nature of my home country — this is by no means an insult.

Coming from a background of Fortune 500 content marketing in the vastly complex and challenging social media driven markets of the United States. Consulting for Fortune 500 is a chance that few self-made entrepreneurs get to experience, but believe me… I started a LONG time ago. I was running my own agency since 2009, where I sat in marketing meetings with small business owners in arguments just like the ones that are about to be happening in Swiss markets.

I can recall this disdain for all things digital and social media in the USA like it was yesterday…

“Hey, so — we need to put the Facebook logo and fanpage link on this advertisement for the restaurant.”

“What Corinne. Why? No, we don’t need to do that.”

My response in 2009: “Yes. Yes, we do! We have to start building audiences on these channels, because these are going to be the news outlets of tomorrow.”


Knowing that I was this person in meetings almost 10 years ago — staring business owners square in the face and telling them that embracing social media was do or die. Keep in mind this is all happening in a time when people thought Facebook was a joke and that it would be gone in a matter of months. It certainly wasn’t easy, but if my agency was going to be built to last – I was not going to allow my customers to make bad marketing decisions…

Fast forward almost 10 years later…“52% of Fortune 500 companies on the list in 2000 have fallen off since then as a result of mergers, acquisitions, and bankruptcies.”

– CapGemini

No, don’t say what a Swiss person would IMMEDIATELY say — which is “Selber schuld!” The English translation for this would be: “Tough. That’s your own fault.”

It is well known that Swiss tend to view the United States as not particularly capable of long-term business thinking and strategy. Unfortunately, Swiss people think America is based on one big fad or get rich quick scheme. Yes, let me be the first person to tell you — this is a very popular Swiss view.

The Swiss are especially proud of their long-term strategic economy. Quality is always above quantity in this part of the world and cutting-corners is a big no-no. It’s not for nothing that this place barely ever has a late train and has remained safe for decades of time.

First and foremost, please believe that I am beyond proud to be Swiss… but now that I have officially moved overseas I feel that my experience from these past arguments in the space of marketing make me even more ripe for this market.

So, what is the message?

Well, now that I am hot on everything European and Middle Eastern markets— — I found that right here in Zurich, Switzerland resides the oldest Swiss think-tank: Gottlieb Duttweiler Insititute.

Ironically, the the very country that is tracking and monitoring global thought leadership has revealed some very critical BIG DATA that shows me that there is some major turbulence awaiting the Swiss markets in the next 1–5 years regarding the Internet of Things.


Each year, the Gottlieb Duettweiler Institute in Zurich in partnership with MIT research scientist Peter Gloor come together to measure which thinkers and platforms are most influential on the global digital universe in their release of 2016 Thought Leaders Index. This index displays the influence rankings, maps the networks of the global conversation and explains the methodology behind the “collective intelligence” analysis.


This year was the first year that GDI was able to perform the study by languages outside of the English-speaking web. In addition to studying the English-speaking web, they dissected and tracked the German, Chinese, Arabic and French speaking webs.

You can visit their site and explore each Toplist by language…


Ironically they found:

Social media is less influential on the Spanish and German-language web than in Arabic, Chinese and English.

Established German newspapers and sites like Die Zeit, Der Spiegel or Sueddeutsche Zeitung remain as influential, or more so, than Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

On the Spanish-language web as well, social media has made comparatively little inroads. El Pais, the Madrid-based daily newspaper established after the fall of the Franco dictatorship, still dominates as the main platform for the dissemination of ideas.

While the English speaking web — well, I will go into that after I show you some major harsh realities around the Swiss market.

I am here to tell you, WITH ALL DUE RESPECT: The lack of social media adoption by Swiss companies is not accidental.

Please keep in mind, this is out of respect for a country that I cherish. I am not trying to single anyone out. I am just trying to help the Swiss people see a bit of a blind-spot in time for it to matter. We already know how social media has practically wiped out half of America’s Fortune 500 companies. I am sure that many of them wish they could turn back time to embracing digital and social media sooner…

When you look at the Swiss Toplist for knowledge domain of “Publicity” you will find the following three “Thought Leaders” for Publicity.



Now, I went a little further into the 3 leaders profiles to see what qualified them as “thought leaders” in the space of “publicity” and what they have contributed…

1. Roger Schawinski, TeleZüri

  • 10th most influential thought leaders out of Swiss Top List
  • Not listed on Global Index for category of Publicity
  • Roger Schawinski (born 11 June 1945 in Zurich) is a Swiss journalist and entrepreneur as well as the creator of Swiss consumer watchdog program Kassensturz (English ‘cash check’).
  • He founded Switzerland’s first commercial radio station Radio 24 and launched a nationwide television channel called Tele 24.
  • Roger has a Twitter @SchawinskiRoger, Joined October 2013, Tweets sporadically and No Tweets for 2016
  • Roger has a Wikipedia
  • Roger has a LinkedIn public profile snapshot below:

2. Roger de Weck, General manager of SRG SSR

  • 26th most influential thought leaders out of Swiss Top List
  • Not listed on Global Index for category of Publicity
  • Roger François Philippe de Weck (born 17 October 1953 in Fribourg) is a Swiss journalist and manager. He is director-general of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG SSR).
  • Roger has no social media presence outside of LinkedIn with no picture, no activity, no summary, no details
  • Roger has a Wikipedia
  • LinkedIn Profile Snapshot

3. Eric Gujer, Editor-in-chief of Neue Zürcher Zeitung

  • 60th most influential thought leaders out of Swiss Top List
  • Not listed on Global Index for category of Publicity
  • Eric has a Twitter @ericgujer, Joined March 2011, Tweets every 4–5 days
  • Hans Ulrich Jost (born 29 July 1940 in Biel) is a Swiss historian, university lecturer, author and publisher.
  • Eric has a Wikipedia
  • Eric has a Personal Website
  • Eric has no LinkedIn profile.

Again, with all due respect, what seems to be the common theme here?

All three are clearly in Public Relations + Media yet do not actively utilize all forms of media which in todays modern world include social media.

None have made it to the global list of thought leaders, probably for the above reason. Even if they have great ideas, they can’t make it outside of the Swiss borders to help the rest of the world. The information is stuck inside the silo’s of newspapers, TV and radio stations only accessible by Swiss markets.

The Swiss might not be strong on social media, but they sure are EXCELLENT with sustainability and long-term planning…something the rest of the world could greatly benefit from!

All three of the leaders have created traditional media channels such as television, newspaper or radio show. Meanwhile, this year the GDI survey found that the English speaking part of the web has reached a tipping point where social media outweighs the authority of the established media with independent publishers and peers driving influence. (Established media includes newspaper, television and radio.)

What all of this means is that like I always say:

“What happens in one segment of reality — does not remain exclusive to that segment.”

Eventually, as more immigrants penetrate Europe with English becoms the more universally adopted language — that these trends of the English speaking web trend are going to creep into the Swiss markets. It’s only a matter of time. The first real signs of disruption are from my predictions to occur towards the end of 2017.

First the news and media outlets will notice a decline in advertising revenue to their print and television publications. Then they will begin to distribute that same content across social media.

Eventually — as social media becomes more interesting to the Swiss people — more people will become interested in entrepreneurship. We already have Zurich Start-Up Grind and many other people championing entrepreneurship. Next thing you know — very large companies will begin to be threatened by start-ups and this whole idea that business only happens through word-of-mouth referrals will simply evaporate into thin air replaced by social sales and a more interconnected world.

It’s like watching the American Fortune 500 tumble one at a time on a slow motion disruption on replay. It’s going to be chaotic and it’s not exactly unpredictable…

Humans are adopting digital at a faster pace than most companies care to notice, because it quite frankly executing traditional marketing is WAY easier. Buying advertising pales in the complexity of understanding marketing across various social media channels that all have to play together to drive sales.

If you are keen to this trend, I think you will see there is ample opportunity to learning more about digital marketing…