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The Super-Branding of Geneva

As of March 1, 2010 Geneva, Switzerland, has a trademark created by Saatchi & Saatchi in tandem
with a public/private sector pilot group that joined together cantonal, city, and local community
representatives along with members of the hospitality and commercial sectors and Geneva's tourism
The trademark, featuring the French word Genve with the city's best known landmark the Jet
d'Eau - a jet of lake water pumped 140 meters (459 feet) into the air - fused with the letter 'n', and a
base line that reads, in the English version, A World of its Own , has its source in a redefinition of
what Geneva is all about. And it is that new perception, as encapsulated in the new mark, that Brand
Genve - or if Saatchi has its way, Lovemark Genve - is supposed to imprint in the public heart
and mind.
But before getting into the new definition, here is a brief refresher with some basic and inalterable
Geneva facts.
Geneva, Switzerland, 101
French-speaking Geneva is both a Swiss state (canton) and a city. It is the second smallest full Swiss
canton with only 282 square km (109 square miles) but the second largest Swiss city after German-
speaking Zurich although neither is the capital of Switzerland - Bern is. Except for some 4 km (about
2.5 miles) of border with the rest of Switzerland, Geneva is entirely surrounded by France.
A proudly independent city-state for most of its existence, Geneva became part of Switzerland in the
early 19th century but still retains a sense of its own specialness that many Swiss in the rest of the
country - including other French speakers - think of as aloof.
The city of Geneva is often dubbed ''the world's
smallest big city'' because it is little more than a
town, with less than 200,000 inhabitants (the
whole canton only has around 458,000) and yet in
terms of infrastructure, feel, and the role it plays in
international affairs - as a banking and business
center but more saliently as the home of the UN's
European headquarters and many other
international organizations - it transcends its
actual size.
As Rmy Pagani, Geneva City's mayor, recounted with obvious pleasure at the press conference
launching the Genve trademark, he was recently told by a visiting Chinese official: ''To us [in
China], Europe is London, Paris and Geneva.''
Redefining Geneva
At the entrance to the press conference, providing a contemporary contrast to the impressively
ornate Neo-Classical reception rooms of Geneva's 19th century Town Hall, Palais Eynard, stood
skeletal chrome structures on which visuals printed on cloth of Geneva, city and canton, had been
stretched. The textless display was another part of ''le teasing'' that has been going on in Geneva
since mid-February to build curiosity about the unveiling of Genve The Brand.
It was manifest from these visuals that the redefinition would revolve around Geneva as an open air
city with parks, splendid trees, a lake that not only has an iconic water jet but a shoreline that
twinkles with lights at night and features a young, laid back leisure-harbor vibe in the summer
months when it is the site of spectacular fireworks during the Ftes de Genve
Shots of grapes and a chteau winery were a reminder that, yes, there is a Geneva countryside and
a wine scene (Geneva is Switzerland's third largest wine producer). A fine timepiece marked
Geneva's role as a world watch and jewelry capital.
Pictures of international organizations like CERN and the World Meteorological Organization
signaled Geneva's role in science (CERN is home to the Large Hadron Collider as well as where the
world wide web came into being), while an image of the International Committee of the Red Cross
Red Crescent headquarters brought associations of its role in humanitarian causes as well as its
many museums - the Red Cross Museum being one of the city's best.
Capping it off was reference to Geneva's many fine dining opportunities and five-star hotels.
Tourism Brings Geneva 2.5 billion Swiss Francs Annually
During the press conference Militza Bodi, director of communication at Geneva Tourism, confirmed
that these impressions were right-on, and described the spirit of Genve as traditional, modern,
reserved, open, elegant yet chilled out.
Bodi particularly stressed Geneva's cultural diversity, highlighted in a new clip on the tourism
office's website that shows ''Louise and Anthony's home video'' of their ''world tour'' where it turns
out they were in Geneva the whole time.
The presidents of Geneva Tourism and Convention Bureau and the local hotel association, as well as
the director of the convention center Palexpo, all stressed that the Genve trademark would be
used by them and their constituents as part of the concerted move to cement Geneva yet more firmly
in international perception as a destination of choice. Tourism generates 2.5 billion Swiss francs
(about the same in US dollars) annually in Geneva and employs some 18,000 people.
A representative of Saatchi & Saatchi's Geneva office was not present at the conference, but the
firm announced its Lovemark ambitions for Genve in a press release handed out to journalists on
the day.
The new campaign including launch is costing a relatively modest 200,000 Swiss francs, and will be
rolled out to the international press in the lead-up to Geneva's International Motor Show, a key
annual event, taking place in 2010 from March 4 to 14.
Genve The Lovemark? That remains to be seen as the campaign plays out over the next five years.