R.I.M. Porter Novelli

Organization of the “Days of Canton de Vaud in Moscow”

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CHALLENGE

Every year, one of the regions (cantons) of Switzerland holds a presentation in Moscow aimed at promoting business and cultural ties. 2009 was a year of canton de Vaud – one of the largest in territory and population Francophone region of Switzerland, located on the shores of Lake Geneva, with a capital in Lausanne.

Apart from the main challenge – to successfully implement major international project Days of the canton de Vaud in Moscow, agency alongside with Farner Consulting AG (Swiss member of Porter Novelli international network) had to attract additional funding for event organization.

Actions for providing maximum business trip efficiency for Swiss companies representatives while strengthening the reputation of canton de Vaud as an investment-attractive region of Switzerland that is open to Swiss-Russian business cooperation were also on priorities list.

SOLUTION

Comprehensive campaign for Days of the canton de Vaud in Moscow was planned considering key Russian-Swiss mutual interests in business, sport, culture, tourism, health care and other areas. A number of seminars, workshops, meetings, negotiations and one-on-one’s, were part of the strategy aimed at delivering practical results.

Agencies worked out individual sponsorship proposals for 500 Swiss participants that were interested in attending a presentation in Moscow.  In exchange for sponsorship fee Swiss companies received an opportunity to participate in the overall program and individual meetings with potential Russian business partners.

Major support from Moscow Chamber of Commerce – a business partner from the Russian side – ensured participation of number small and medium Moscow enterprises’s and additionally contributed to the organization of meetings with senior officials of the Moscow city government, including canton  delegation’s meeting with city mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

Days of the canton de Vaud in Moscow program included:

  • a business forum presenting features and benefits of doing business in Switzerland, that was attended by representatives of Nestle, Ferring, KPMG and other companies;
  • Health and Life Sciences forum, featuring actively developing in the canton de Vaud applied science, biotechnology and health care, as well as presentations of medical tourism in Switzerland potential;
  • Travel forum for Russian travel agencies and operators;
  • Sport and the Olympic Movement forum with an accession ceremony for Sochi entering the International Union of Olympic Cities. An agreement was signed by mayors of Sochi and Lausanne in the presence of Minister of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy of Russia Vitaly Mutko, President of the Organizing Committee Sochi 2014 Dmitry Chernyshenko, head coach of the Russian national hockey team Vyacheslav Bykov, as well as executive director of the International Olympic Committee Gilbert Felli.

For participating Swiss business delegation agencies organized a special seminar on doing business in Russia, more than 100 bilateral meetings with potential partners from Russia, as well as a number of informal meetings of canton de Vaud officials with the State Duma deputies and members of the Council of the Federation.

Following the meeting, Moscow and the Canton de Vaud officials signed an agreement on mutual trade and economic cooperation between the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and the United Chamber of Commerce that represents Swiss business circles interested in developing business in Russia.

In addition to formal program, the Days of the canton de Vaud in Moscow featured a number of cultural and educational events that attracted public attention. A photo exhibition of unique portraits of Emperor Nicholas II family, that were taken by Swiss teacher of royal children in 1917-1918; Design de Luxe – an exhibition of customized design snowboards inlaid with Swarovski crystals; musical evenings at the Moscow house of Music with famous bands from the canton de Vaud, and a special jazz evening featuring the legendary Montreux festival director Claude Nobs.

A significant challenge with campaign media coverage was caused by the necessity of sharing canton de Vaud key messages for Russian businesses and the general public that didn’t meddle in the format of news articles about the Days of the canton de Vaud. Expanding campaign agenda with variety of formal, social, cultural and sport events significantly expanded range of media covering the campaign. Agencies hosted four thematic press conferences, as well as a number of press briefings.

Six weeks prior to the Days of the canton de Vaud in Moscow agencies organized a press trip to Switzerland for a wide range of journalists from target federal media educating them about key messages of a program. In partnership with Kommersant publishing house agency published Business Guide “Switzerland”.

RESULT

Successfully implemented strategies resulted in event scale and achieved positive media coverage in both in Russian and Swiss media.

The amount of private investment twice exceeded the original budget allocated by the canton’s government. The total budget of the event exceeded $ 1 million, and the number of Swiss participants increased from 50 to 120, representing almost 40 companies and organizations.

More than 20 business and formal events, 100 meetings between members of the Swiss delegation and Russian businessmen were held during Days of the canton de Vaud in Moscow. 600 representatives of small and medium Russian enterprises attended those events.

Agencies worked with more than 1000 media outlets and almost 200 media journalist visited various events. Positive coverage appeared on all major federal TV channels, detailed articles  were published in federal and Moscow newspapers as well as numerous online pieces and publications in Swiss media/ Number of contacts gained from media coverage was more than 70 million people in Russia and Switzerland.

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