With their lucrative premium image, Lantal Textiles AG can demand a brand premium from its customers. Here, we look at why.
Experts from the Swiss government estimate that local companies generate additional revenue of around 6.3 billion Swiss francs every year on account of the designation of origin "Made in Switzerland". This equates to one per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
But it is not only ‘Swissness’ that generates extra revenues. The ability to increase customers' willingness to pay is the hallmark of any attractive brand. And this also applies to Bern-based company Lantal Textiles AG, a leading global manufacturer of carpets, curtains and seat upholstery for aircraft cabins.
Following a management buyout back in 2003, a new team, under the leadership of CEO Urs Rickenbacher, resolved to turn the internationally successful textile manufacturer Lantal into a premium supplier to the aviation and transport industries.
Thomas Burst was responsible for the operational side of the new strategy. As a branding specialist with experience in the consumer goods industry, he was responsible for the brand, design and development.
"Before embarking on the new strategy, we had lengthy in-depth discussions within the company," recalls Burst. Joint workshops were held with management and the Board of Directors to pinpoint what was unique about what Lantal was already doing. The following value proposition was then developed as the essence of the brand: "the highest well-being for passengers".
The new philosophy then had to be put into practice. The value proposition became a mandatory guiding principle for the operational activities of all 380 employees at every level of hierarchy – from research and development to production and marketing.
Sales had a key role to play. "We had to explain to our front-line staff that they sometimes have to say no," explains Burst. Gradually, the company stopped participating in bidding contests in order to achieve good margins compared to the rest of the industry.
Today – ten years after the launch of the brand strategy – the transformation process is complete. "Customers are prepared to pay a premium for our brand and the value proposition it represents," says Thomas Burst.