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We strengthen our positioning and sharpen our brand profile

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An interview with Holger Hätty, Chief Commercial Officer of Swiss International Air Lines

Mr. Hätty, SWISS is currently doing very well. Why the need to sharpen the current brand profile? And why now?

Past successes count for very little in today’s competitive environment, and we can’t afford to get complacent. We need to lay the foundations today for the successes of tomorrow. And it was with this aim in mind that our Board of Directors and our Management Board took a long and careful look at our present business strategy to determine if it was still optimally suited to our aspiration of being and remaining Europe’s leading airline. We came to the conclusion that the course we are currently pursuing is indeed the right one. So in this sense, we are not repositioning SWISS; but we have decided to pursue our present path with an even clearer focus and even greater resolve.

What about the new logo: what does it represent?

While many of us have developed a strong affection for the present “cube” design, our new logo, which shows a SWISS tailfin with its Swiss-cross emblem, is much more clearly aligned to our positioning as the airline of Switzerland. And, together with a new advertising look, the new logo will enable us to be far more consistent and effective in communicating our “Airline of Switzerland” credentials. With the choice of the Swiss-cross tailfin, the new logo makes our Swiss roots and character abundantly clear – at first glance, even from afar and with no need to add our SWISS name. And that, we feel, is a major step forward.

What does this “step forward” mean for SWISS?

There are no two ways about it: our results are becoming increasingly influenced by external developments and events. Added to this, we have seen a steady increase in the competition we face over the past few years, and this will only intensify further in the years ahead.

We have every intention of keeping to the SWISS vision of being Europe’s leading airline in product and service quality and in profitability terms. But if we are to do so in the face of today’s ever-increasing mass of air travel service products, we must maintain a clearly-distinguished positioning in the market arena and the competitive environment, along with a stronger profile.

The key elements in SWISS’s profile and positioning are our credentials as the airline of Switzerland and our traditional Swiss values. These are what we strive to embody and convey in everything we do. We are genuine; we are close to our customers; and we are totally devoted to delivering optimum product and service quality.

Our personnel have already assimilated these values. What we now need to do is communicate them even more to our customers, so that we are seen and felt – for all the personal touches and character that we each bring to our work – as a single team with a shared and common purpose.

By doing so, getting even closer to our customers and offering them an even better-quality service, we can address a market segment that still offers sizeable potential; and we can appeal to a genuine present-day need in a world that is becoming increasingly impersonal, anonymous and hard to comprehend.

The Swiss cross, which our brand will now be incorporating even more, stands for our commitment to delivering consistently high quality – Swiss quality, in other words. If our standards ever fall below this, we won’t just be missing a major market opportunity; we won’t remain successful in the longer run. In short, then, we want to make SWISS even “Swisser”.


And what will this involve?

Our new brand concept extends to a bold and distinctive new advertising look that will be focused on our aircraft, and on their Swiss-cross tailfins in particular. Our aim here is to create a truly individual profile that will enable our advertising – and thus our company and its products – to stand out in the market and the competitive environment.

The new logo, which will be better aligned to our strengthened market positioning and our sharpened brand profile, will be gradually adopted from October onwards. In design terms, the new look will mean hardly any changes to our aircraft’s current livery, since the new logo has been derived directly from our existing tail design. All that will be needed for our aircraft fleet is a slight modification to the overall colour scheme.

The new concept will be rounded off by a new claim, too, in which we have distilled our quality aspirations and our commitment to our customers into a few simple words: “Our sign is a promise”. We’ll be using this claim in our advertising, in combination with the new logo.

And how will all this be put into practice in concrete terms?

We’ll be adopting a three-step approach. The first is preparing our new internal and external look, which will be rolled out from October onwards. This will include a new advertising campaign and a new look for our various communications channels, such as the SWISS website. In Phase Two, from December onwards, we’ll extend the new look to our airports in Switzerland.

In Phase Three, in the New Year, we’ll be gradually spreading the new look and logo to our other airports and locations worldwide. This will, incidentally, also include those parts of our company that don’t deal directly with our passengers, such as Swiss WorldCargo. The whole process is likely to take several months. And 2012 will also see the new look and layout extended to other media and communications tools.

Dr. Holger Hätty: a brief résumé

Holger Hätty, who is 53 years old, has been Chief Commercial Officer and a member of the Management Board of Swiss International Air Lines Ltd. since 1 July 2009. In this capacity he is in charge of all SWISS’s marketing, product and sales affairs.

Holger Hätty began his professional career as a project manager at Roland Berger & Partner, Munich, before moving to Sixt AG, Munich to become Head of Marketing in 1992. Three years later he joined Lufthansa German Airlines in Frankfurt as Head of Product Management. In 1999 he became Head of Group Strategy; and four year later he was appointed to the Executive Board of Lufthansa Passenger Airlines, before joining SWISS in 2009.

Holger Hätty is a member of the Board of Directors of bmi British Midland plc and a member of the Executive Board of Germany’s Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations. He holds a diploma in commerce and a doctorate from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany), and has completed a senior management programme at the Harvard Business School, Boston (USA).
He is married and has four children.

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  1. Super jazzed about getting that knh-owow.

  2. I love that rebranding as well ! A real step foward. Now Swiss will have a real “airlines” logo. I’ve always hated the cube. Nothing to do with aviation. And as a Swissair lover, I can only appreciate such a design… Well done ! Keep going on !

  3. OK, OK, OK. So far I have read at least 99% of NEGATIVE feedbacks on this new LOGO!!!

    Will SWISS take these feedbacks into consideration??? YES? NO?
    SWISS is indeed waisting lots of monney on minor & unnecessary changes with this LOGO. Why change it? WHY?
    How about placing all of this monney SWISS is spending for this un nescessary new logo, by offering, once and for all, on a 13th monthly salary to SWISS Employees instead????!!! After all of their hard work, as well the pilots as flight attendants, they really deserve it, don’t you think?

  4. I totally agree with what JB stated above. I LIKE IT as well!
    Nothing wrong with the current logo, but I would bet if one would show this logo to someone outside Switzerland and without being able to read the small letters in the right cube, nearly everyone will think it´s the logo of a Swiss bank or insurance or something. With the new logo Swiss will position itself closer to an airline. Besides, from reading the press-kit available online, it obviously more to it than just the logo!

    To all those out there that dislike the new claim? What´s the current one? I don´t know, so that can´t be a good one, I guess…

    And on top of all, to those stating that they will stop flying with Swiss because of the new logo: This is just the most stupid thing I have heard, sorry to say so. Taste is always matter of opinion of course, but not doing business with a company anymore because of their new logo?!? How professional is that?!

  5. Hm, I seem to be the only one to actually think that the the new visual identity is a big step forward. Yes, I LIKE it.

    The new logo is clear and clean (that is what Swiss design is about, right?). The airplanes will look fantastic, especially when next to the one’s of virtually all of the other airlines. And more importantly it tells me in an instant that this company is an airline. The current logo always painfully reminded me of the identity of some trendy design office, or maybe a furniture company. While I love Tyler Brulé’s publications, I think that he just pulled the wool over everybody’s eyes with this logo/identity. Where’s the self-confidence in that design? The same experts that hated the Winkreative design ten years ago, defend it now. Hm, somebody is not happy that they did not get the job?

    If this is really a step back towards Swissair, what’s wrong with that? The Swissair product and identity were outstanding. So were brand recognition and image. The company went out of business because of lunatic management not because the product was flawed. I am a regular passenger on many airlines and still today Swiss offers one of the best services around. Anyone who has ever tried a BA sandwich will understand. Or seen the awful red uniforms of Austrian Airlines’ flight attendants (what sadist designs those???).

    Well, I look forward to boarding the newly decorated planes and seeing the big Swiss cross on international airports. It will remind me of the many things that this country does really, really well.

  6. If one of your values is “We do things properly or we don’t do them at all”, why is that in the presentation of the new brand the “claim” is “A sign of difference” (on p. 3, in the example of the advertisement on the bottom of the page), but it’s changed to “Our sign is a promise” in the rest of the text? It seems like: 1) not such a proper work – inconsistent presentation; 2) you changed that claim in the very last hour/day when the presentation was already prepared. I wonder thus how much thinking went into that, and if it’s a properly done work…

  7. Actually I thougt, the only good thing about the grounding of Swissair was it’s new design…
    Now SWiSS makes one step backwards.

  8. why are you changing the logo??
    the cube is great and unique, the new one… unprofessionel…. could have been drafted by trainee…. sorry

  9. How can it be that hardly anyone has noted “Schweiz, Suisse, Svizzera, Svizra” should disappear as well? This is culturalism formed in one entity. Stop the fuss and let the current logo live.

  10. “Our sign is a promise” – Unglaublich aber wahr – wir versprechen an jedem Flugzeug ein Leitwerk…

  11. You can’t be serious with this LOGO!! How can somebody come up with such a design?? Add “air” and we are back to Swissair! Is that the intention? The Swiss cube is such a strong, unique and simply ingenious symbol! Why change a perfect logo that says more than words? The new logo is simply a joke!

  12. Sadly, I will miss the Swiss cube, because this was a strong message for me. As employee I will be still proud of our airline regardless of the new logo and this logo will not change the way I work for this great company. I remember 10 years ago, the Swiss brand was introduced with this cube, and the comments of professionals in marketing where bad as well. So give the new logo a chance, maybe in 10 years again, a new logo will be introduced, and then we will see the success of it ;-)..

  13. It’s interesting to see that despite the claim in this interview that “Our personnel have already assimilated these values. What we now need to do is communicate them even more to our customers, so that we are seen and felt” on Facebook there are quite a few Swiss flying attendants and thousands of customers who find this move utterly bad. So I guess it’s a sign this brand sharpening is a failure just one day after its launch.

  14. Normally I love all SWISS do, but… this time, I don’t see this logo better than the oldest one.

    Also the actual website is really cool…
    I love also the actual livery.

    “We need to lay the foundations today for the successes of tomorrow. “

    This is true, but, the change must be in better way, I don’t see this logo better than the one before.

    The old logo, say that it is an airline becouse on the left cube, there is writed: Swiss International Air Lines.
    It also contai a Swiss flag in the right-bottom-right part….

  15. Was für ein langweiliges neues Logo. Das alte mit dem Würfel ist in meinen Augen um ein vielfaches besser. Schade für die Swiss!

  16. What were the people behind this move thinking? I as the rest think that this is a bad move. The cube was unique and already represented Swiss as a reliable and trustable airline. Why move to the “follow-all” logo? Bad move Swiss! Think twice before taking this backward step!

  17. What a huge step back! The old logo was that clear and unique, everyone around the globe was used to that logo and could identify SWISS from big distances through the airport or wherever. The new one looks like it comes from a school / kid contest.

    SWISS don’t do this mistake!

  18. Das alte Logo, gehörte zu den stärksten Logos in der gesamten Wirtschaftswelt. Es war modern, kompromislos und symbolisierte eine klare Linie und einen klaren Qualitätsanspruch. Das neue Logo ist leider einfach nur belanglos.

  19. Ich sehe ein dass ein gewissen Invest betrieben werden muss, aber bitte nicht in so was…. Nachdem jetzt viel Geld in die Flotte investiert wurde, wäre es evtl. mal an der Zeit wieder ins Personal zu investieren! Das ist wie wenn eine Mutter sich mit unnötigen Dingen eindeckt und dabei vergisst für ihre Kinder zu schauen. Nein ich arbeite nicht für Swiss und bin froh darum!

  20. Mr. Hätty says in this interview: “we are close to our customers”. The incredible amount of negative reactions going on at this moment about the new logo clearly shows that they have immediately failed on this point. Show that you are really we are close to your customers, and open a discussion about the new brand, otherwise it will be remembered as one of the biggest failures in corporate branding! Please learn from Gap (!!!

  21. Wenn das neue Logo evtl. von der Agentur Nose oder von der Agentur Jung von Matt kommt, dann sollten diese Agenturen sich schämen so ein einfaltsloses Design zu liefern. Jeder Marketing Designer greift sich bei so was an Kopf. Augenkrebs schlechthin :-((( Ohne Stil, ohne Pep, kein Esprit, keine Aussagekraft. Schlichtweg billig. Da ist ja der Kranich von der Mutti mit noch mehr Aussagekraft behaftet bzw. hat Erkennenungswert. Wie kann man nur!

  22. what a silly idea to change the logo into something nothing !!!
    the cube logo was simply perfect made and spoke for themself – no need to change because the cube logo created a viusual brand feeling – the so called new one is disgusting and will stopp me from flying swiss

    spent the budget instead for propper meals and crew training since my last flights in LX even in business class have been as bad in terms of overall performance as the new logo looks like

  23. looks like a bad powerpoint design-joke. the old design was just perfect! There is absolutely NO reason to change it!!

  24. Is l’atelier starno comissioned for the new logo?
    Even if the creative director is ”a Swiss made, Swiss born, Swiss grown and Swiss educated” as he boasts, it seems that he is more of an American now, than ”Swiss-American” as he also boasts. It is so obvious on the work posted on starno’s site. Purely american graphic design. So this is who will define Swiss – the airline of Switzerland – that wants to be obvious from miles far that it is Swiss?

  25. They have ruined the iconic piece of graphic design from Tyler Brulee and his agency Winkreative. A bad move that has pushed Swiss back years in terms of progressive design.

  26. Wow, it’s incredible to see the amount of negative comments about this new logo which is going on on the internet. How on earth have they done this? Couldn’t they test the new design with their customers before launching it, or though the social media team? It’s really true that especially in this time of crisis, Swiss is showing the worst behavior a company can have: disconnected with their clients and wasting lots of money on minor changes instead of addressing the real issues customers are asking for.

  27. A company normally changes it’s Brand imagine in two cases.

    1.If the company doesn’t do well and is need or revitalization.
    2.The logo seems dated according to the current graphic design trends.

    What’s the case with you Swiss?

    The 2. surely it is not.
    According to the press releases,
    neither 1. is the case.
    Or is it?

  28. The origin double square logo is very original and still attractive. As proof of it just look around you how many times firms have used (or copy) similar logos. Is it really appropriate to change to a logo looking so old-fashioned?
    Changing a logo isn’t free. In this time of crisis for many countries and people it’s an insult to all the people who are bringing money to the airline for such a cheap looking result.

  29. I’ve never seen so many negative comments (here, on Facebook, Flyertalk etc.) for a company’s new brand. It seems Swiss got it really wrong this time. And this just when they say “We do things properly or we don’t do them at all”. Clearly they have totally lost touch with their customers. Will you soon publish another interview to hear how Mr. Hätty responds to this massive uproar?

  30. In the marketing world, a product that bares the swiss flag is synonymous with quality.

    Swiss Intl’ Airlines, already has this, plus the very ‘swiss’ name.

    It seems totally unreasonable to make any changes.

  31. From Swiss twitter page

    1. We are true to ourselves and do not pretend to be something we aren’t.
    Pretending to be Swissair maybe….?

    ‎2. We do things properly or we don’t do them at all.
    Better give up then with the new awful logo

    3. It’s the small things that bring us closer to our guests.
    And Big things like this, that brings you appart…………….

  32. Ouch, the negative feedback SWISS gets (comments in online newspapers, SWISS Facebook-page) is devastating. I hope SWISS takes its customers seriously and will have a second thought about it.


  34. You have to make a new one, the hole world will laugh about this.

  35. How can some on like this Logo, good to know it won’t be on the airplanes. But on the choncolats 🙁 Swiss always stand for Qualiti. But not anymore wit such a Logo. Sorry you need to make a new one. If Swiss loses theire good name I will fly Lufthansa, it’s nearly the same product.

  36. Maby you will winn the worst company Logo award. I woud vote for you. Even Swiss is my favorit airline.

  37. I will stop flying swiss if this is the way you chose. Swiss will lose their good name.

  38. Normaly I care about the broduct and not about the Logo. But this Logo is so bad, it makes the product bad too. This is a bad move, the Logo represent the company and this is a bad representation.

  39. OMG…this design is just a fail! I can´t get how a professional airline like swiss could so such a crab!? It is really interesting how the fans on your Facebook-Fanpage are discussing about the “new” design and they don´t like it. And so far- you are not acting- that is weird and shows, that you totally do not get the current market-developments, to ask your audience and your fans and involve them…You could do it better Swiss. The time I always told my friends why I love Swiss, that they have the best airline-branding in the world, is over I guess…

  40. Well, no doubt the old logo was a little worn out and it is good you keep the flag in the logo, no matter what some may say – however, I am convinced, that you could do better!

  41. Was ist wichtiger? Der Claim oder das Logo? Ansonsten – naja, das ist Geschmacksache. Aber irgendwie schaut das Logo alt aus…

  42. OMG Claim is OK – But the Logo? Have you paid for that or was it created with powerpoint?

  43. I don’t understand why every Swiss brand that I see around the world (ie. cheese, chocolate, airlines) must incorporate their flag in their logo? Seems to betray a national insecurity – or maybe it’s actually extreme nationalism? Also there is the obsession with Helvetica, admittedly a great font, but so predictable. Hm I seem to remember BA wasting hundreds of millions of pounds on a similar make-over a few years ago!

  44. I don’t hate this Logo, but why??? A new logo shud be a lot better then the old one.

  45. They are a lot ways to make a better Logo then the cube, but this defenitly isen’t.

  46. As well from my side, bad move, the cube logo was definitely better

  47. OUR SIGN IS A PROMISE … it would be great when your callagents on the frequenttraveler Hotline speak and understand swiss german.

    I like the new sign

  48. Why don’t make it like withe the San Francisco airplane, let the peaple do the Logo and vote for their favorit. This is cheaper and i bet the resuld is better!

  49. I read this text and asked myself where the new logo is, well it mabe looks nice on the chocolat paper. I new Logo cost a copany a lot, so there shoud be a good resen to do it. The Slogen is nice, but better buy more airplanes then paying Managers with such idees. The “old” Swiss logo was very special and if there shoud be a newone it shoud be better then the old. I don’t think I ever get accustom to it.

  50. Bad move, the cube logo was very strong.

  51. Don’t really get how this is sharper than before. The existing logo is rather unique, the new one isn’t anymore. Not really at least. But Mr. Hätty knows what he’s doing. Quick, everyone sketch the “Sixt” logo on a napkin. You know, the one with the swoosh over the “i”. Sharp!

  52. If thats the new sign, it’s not a very good promise, just put in a Swiss Flag is not enogh.

  53. It loks like it was designed in Word, I alsow love the idee (With the Flag and the slogan is good too) but it just don’t look right 🙁 Untli now for me the Swiss logo was one of the best, because it was special, but this is one of the worst, sorry. Just good to know it won’t be painted on the airplanes.Swiss (My favorit Airline) neads a good Loge.

  54. It doesn’t look right for me, and I normaly love new things. I think the idee is not bad, but the Flag shoud be in center. Or the Flag on the right and the Slogan under the Logo. And maby it looks better if the lins of the Flag are parallel, like the old swissair Logo. I don’t think I ever will love this Logo, pleas make some changes!

  55. What an innovation! Its in a way a step back to the old Swissair logo, …