Monitoring and analysis
What is Switzerland’s image abroad and how can it be nurtured and improved? Successful communication abroad requires a precise picture of how Switzerland is perceived in other countries and where its strengths and weaknesses lie. The legislative mandate on Switzerland’s communication abroad provides for observation and analysis of how Switzerland is perceived, and early detection to ensure a timely response to potential crises.
How people in other countries see Switzerland
Switzerland's public image in other countries is generally positive – as various image studies and reputation indices such as the Nation Brands Index show. Traditional facets such as the Swiss landscape and quality products have a positive and lasting impact on public perceptions of Switzerland abroad. Well-known stereotypes such as the Alps, watches and chocolate are positive factors, too.
Other Swiss strengths include good governance, political stability, the close relationship between citizens and politics, high quality of life and pronounced environmental awareness. Switzerland also scores well on education, research, healthcare and transport. Swiss celebrities from the worlds of sport, culture and entertainment also have a positive influence, even if by international comparison Switzerland's profile remains quite modest.
The impact of 'traditional' Switzerland and 'travel destination' Switzerland on the way Switzerland is perceived correlates with geographical distance and the level of general knowledge about Switzerland among members of the public. In distant countries like in Asia or Latin America, the perception is more positive than in our neighbouring countries, where image studies indicate Switzerland’s strong association with banks and terms with negative connotations such as 'tax haven' or 'cherry-picker' (in the EU). These associations are present to some extent among the general public, are stronger among foreign opinion makers in politics, business and the media.
Switzerland reflected in foreign media
Switzerland’s positive image among the general public contrasts with picture in the foreign media that is sometimes more critical. For its size and relative importance on the world stage, Switzerland has a comparatively high profile in the foreign media. Various financial and tax issues, public debates on immigration and the ongoing strength of the Swiss franc in light of the European debt crisis have raised this profile further.
There is less reporting on topics which have a positive impact, such as the stability and competitiveness of the Swiss economy, innovative political approaches to healthcare, transport, energy, the environment and research, and direct democracy.
To fulfil its legislative mandate, Presence Switzerland develops and exploits various analytical instruments. These are used to formulate the basic strategy behind Switzerland's communication abroad, identify priority themes and communication channels, and detect image crises early.
Image and perception studies
Presence Switzerland conducts regular image and reputation studies to measure perceptions of Switzerland among the general public and opinion makers.
In order to monitor foreign media coverage, Presence Switzerland operates a permanent, software-supported media monitoring system. The resulting analyses contain recommendations that flow into Switzerland's communication abroad (e.g. weekly reports, quarterly and annual analyses, in-depth thematic and geographical analyses).
As a centre of competence for monitoring and analyses, Presence Switzerland advises other federal agencies on questions of Switzerland’s image and communication abroad and produces analyses as required