A Focus On... Switzerland


Population: 7,913,000.
Monetary unit: Swiss franc
Capital city: Bern
Major languages: French; German; Italian; Romansh (locally)
Major religions: Roman Catholic 41.8%; Protestant 33.0%; Muslim 4.3%; Orthodox 1.8%; Jewish 0.2%; nonreligious 11.1%; other 7.8%.
Ethnic composition: Swiss 78.9%; Italian 3.8%; German 2.7%; Serb/Montenegrin 2.5%; Portuguese 2.4%; Turkish 1.0%; other 8.7%.
Age breakdown: under 15, 15.3%; 15–29, 18.4%; 30–44, 22.7%; 45–59, 21.1%; 60–74, 14.5%; 75–84, 5.7%; 85 and over, 2.3%.
Life expectancy: male 79.8 years; female 84.4 years
Education: Percentage of population age 25 and over having: no formal schooling to primary education 4.1%; lower secondary 2.0%; upper secondary 63.8%; higher vocational 2.6%; university 27.5%.
Urban/Rural split: urban 73.6%; rural 26.4%
Income per household (USD): -
Broadband internet users (%): -

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica


Switzerland may have a population of just 7.6 million but its workforce is highly skilled, and many are employed by a highly developed financial service sector and a thriving hi-tech manufacturing sector. As a result it has one of the highest GDP per capita rates in the world, and is an important consumer market.

This is reflected in its PR industry. Renata Cavegn, Head of Marketing & Communication of Accenture in Switzerland has recently returned to the country having spent several years abroad, and she reports that the size of the PR industry has ballooned in her absence. “I am amazed at the number of PR specialists there are now in Switzerland. In almost any sector it is easy to find a very good agency that understands the Swiss market and can help you influence it.”

Switzerland is one of the most international countries in the world. It has three official languages - German, French and Italian – and the influx of global corporations to the country has brought with it a new wave of English speakers. As a result it is vital for PR practitioners to be fluent in all four languages.

These high quality, multilingual PR specialists do not come cheaply. Like so much else in Switzerland, PR services are expensive. Cavegn comments: “Good service has its price, so in this country you must be willing to put forward a suitable budget.”


The main national daily newspapers are Tages-Anzeiger, Neue Zürcher Zeitung and Le Temps, but it is the Sunday newspapers which really set the agenda: Sonntagszeitung, NZZ am Sonntag, Sonntag. Free newspapers such as 20 Minuten

and Blick am Abend have been gaining ground recently.

There is a nationwide television channel for each of the three languages: SF1 in German, RTS UN in French, and RSI La 1 in Italian.

Major Brands

Think of Switzerland and most people think of chocolate and clocks. This stereotype is reflected in the country's leading brands with Nestle, Lindt, Toblerone and Suchard remaining some of the world's most recognised and consumed chocolate brands, and Swatch, Hublot, TAG Heuer, Tissot and Omega are synonymous with high quality timepieces.

There is though much more to Switzerland in the

21st Century. Zurich is one of the world’s leading financial services centres and Zurich Financial Services is a global brand. Nespresso and Nescafe are strong coffee brands, Swiss Air is known throughout the world, and then there are smaller up and coming brands such as women’s fashion label Tally Weisl, food manufacturer Maggi, computer accessory company Logitech and winter sports kit manufacturer Mammut.


Switzerland may be one of the most international countries in the world, but curiously this is not reflected in its agency market which, despite Edelman's acquisition of Zurich-based K Comms in February 2012, remains dominated by locals. In fact, Burson-Marsteller and Grayling are the only global groups with any notable presence in Switzerland.

According to the 2011 report from the industry body, the Bund der Public Relations Agenturen der Schweiz (BPRA), the largest agency is Farner Consulting with 60 employees and an annual

turnover of 15 million Swiss francs, up 4% from its 2010 turnover. Behind it is Burson-Marsteller with 339 employees. As a global group it does not release financial figures specific to the Swiss market.

Next comes a group of agencies with 15 to 30 employees and turnover between 2.5 million and 5 million Swiss francs: YJOO Consulting, Communicators Zurich, freicom, Furrer Hugi & Partner, Grayling Suisse, and Prime Communications. While most of these larger agencies have remained stable during the past

couple of years, the final two on that list showed a decline in turnover between 2010 and 2011 of 26% and 30% respectively.

For Cavegn at Accenture a notable feature of the Swiss market in recent years has been the growth of micro-agencies and the freelancer market. “There are now many highly experienced and very capable consultants working on their own or as part of a small partnership,” she says.

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