What is Swiss about Schaerer?
Swissness in public relations
Typically Swiss values and characteristics are often summarised with the term “Swissness”. What exactly is meant by this term and what role does “Swissness” play at Schaerer? This is the question our employees attempt to answer in the blog series entitled “What is actually so Swiss about Schaerer?” After team members from technical development and sales have had their say, it is now Jelena Bozic’s turn to give us some interesting insight into public relations. As a marketing manager, she knows better than anyone that Swiss culture and lifestyle are an essential part of the Schaerer brand identity. In an interview, she reveals what she especially loves about her job, which “Swiss virtues” play a crucial role for a coffee machine manufacturer, and what surprises her most after a long stay abroad.
How would you describe your work at Schaerer? What are your responsibilities?
I have been working for Schaerer in marketing for over three years with a focus on German-speaking regions. However, my experience reaches back much further — I have been working in sales and marketing for over 15 years now. In all this time, I have always enjoyed my work a great deal because it simply never gets boring. Every day brings new challenges and you have the chance to make creative contributions. This can also be exhausting, of course, but exciting jobs, like planning a photo shoot or preparing for trade fairs and events, always make up for it. These kinds of projects shake up everyday life, so you don’t just have to sit at your computer all day.
My specific activities and main responsibilities at Schaerer vary quite a bit. For instance, I am in charge of certain campaigns for sales promotion and I also supervise sponsoring activities — for SC Bern, for example, or most recently the Cafetier Suisse coffee conference – as well as organise video shoots. But I am also responsible for classic press work, such as exchanging information with trade journals and the like. The great thing about my job at Schaerer is how flexible my work is and how I can contribute my ideas to projects. I also appreciate the great communication amongst our team of seven people, even though we have been working from our home offices a lot in the past months and have rarely seen each other in person.
Let’s talk about “Swissness”: How would you define “typically Swiss”?
When most people think of Switzerland, they think of three things: Precision, quality and safety. These three characteristics of Swiss identity are not mutually exclusive; they build on each other. Internationally, many people also associate accuracy or precision with Switzerland, for example when thinking about the famous Swiss watches. At Schaerer, we too attach great importance to precise manufacturing and carefully thought-out production processes. That’s why everything was adapted at the factory in Zuchwil so that each work step can be carried out as efficiently and reliably as possible. This helps to prevent errors and inaccuracies. The completed coffee machines are also thoroughly inspected before delivery. This unusually strong focus on precision has a direct, positive effect on quality. If you buy a product from Switzerland, you can rightly expect high quality. The same applies to our machines. High-quality, reliable devices also mean investment security for customers. For us, however, safety begins in our production processes — effective occupational safety and the well-being of employees are essential at Schaerer.
I see that this is not the case everywhere when we have guests from abroad. If possible, I like to take our visitors on a tour of our production facilities and show them everything. Everyone is always very impressed by how smoothly, cleanly and quietly the production processes run. The fact that we can produce such large quantities so efficiently in a small village like Zuchwil also never ceases to impress.
Besides these general values, is there anything else in particular you associate with Switzerland? How does this “Swissness” affect your work?
I think when you live here, you don’t really see what’s so special about Switzerland. That’s why it’s always so interesting when I come back home after some time abroad. The first thing that strikes me is how neat and tidy everything is. This goes hand in hand with the fact that punctuality is very important, both for people and for trains. In other parts of the world, this is more the exception than the rule. This means that the temperament of most Swiss people is calm and steadfast. Neutrality is not only the highest maxim of the Swiss state, but people here are generally also reserved.
But this should not give you the wrong impression. Switzerland not only stands for efficiency and thoroughness, but also for hospitality and enjoyment. Anyone who has tried Swiss specialities such as raclette, fondue or the world-famous “schoggi” knows what I’m talking about. I also always associate diversity with Switzerland. Four official languages are spoken throughout the country, which is also reflected in the cultural characteristics of the different regions. If you drive a half an hour from Zuchwil, you will already hear more French than German — this doesn’t happen often in countries with a population of 8 million and an area of around 40,000 square kilometres. More than a quarter of the people living in Switzerland do not have Swiss nationality. At Schaerer, too, many employees come from abroad, myself included. But this diverse workforce is not a contradiction to “Swissness” — quite the contrary. In my work, I adopt the “classic” Swiss values and focus on precision and the best results, while at the same time letting the different cultural perspectives and sense of enjoyment make their mark.