Farner Consulting
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Holmes Report
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Farner Consulting

Corporate and financial communications, public affairs Switzerland

Holmes Report


Now entering its 60th year, Farner Consulting is one of the oldest public relations firms in continental Europe, and one of the most respected, having established itself as the largest firm in the Swiss market during its early days and retained that position for most of the intervening years. Over those years, it has been involved in many of the biggest PR stories in Switzerland, from a groundbreaking anti-pollution campaign in the mid-60s to the introduction of Barbie via a series of fashion shows to the aftermath of an arson attack on McDonald’s franchises in the early 80s to a comprehensive overhaul of the healthcare system in the 90s.
Probably best known for its work in public affairs and corporate and financial communications, Farner now offers a wide range of services, with public relations expertise in the financial services, healthcare and technology sectors, and additional capabilities in advertising and event marketing, enabling the firm to deliver truly integrated campaigns. In 2010, the firm expanded its portfolio of services with the introduction of a sponsorship consulting operation, which complements the firm’s impressive event management division.
The firm’s network of offices in Switzer-land—Zurich, Berne, Basel, Lausanne and Geneva—provides comprehensive national coverage, while its relationships with inter-national public relations agency Porter Novelli and U.K.-based crisis communications specialist Regester Larkin provide international reach.
Current managing partner Christian Konig joined Farner in 1992 and led a management buyout in 1999, along with Andreas Kurz and Jacqueline Moeri, who remain partners in the firm today, along with more recent additions to the partnership ranks Daniel Heller, Urs Knapp, and Marc Comina. The most significant addition of the past 12 months was Christof Marti, former head of global sponsoring and events at UBS, the leading Swiss bank, who joined as head of Farner sponsorship and events.
With a substantial portfolio of business in the banking and finance sector, Farner felt the impact of the financial crisis, but was able to balance any losses with public sector assignments from the Canton and City of Zurich and the Swiss agency for public transport as well as not-for-profit organisations such as the Birgit Nilsson Foundation, The Basel Kunstmuseum and Opéra St-Moritz. As a result, the firm closed last year with growth of about 3 percent. The resurgence of the Swiss real estate market has provided a boost in 2010, but the overall business is expected to be flat once again. The firm continues to work with blue-chip corporate brands such as UBS, Marc Rich Group, Dassault, Bouygues/Losinger, Symantec, Heineken, Novartis, Sanofi Aventis, Swiss Banking and Swiss Life, with new business over the past few months from Pfizer, Danone, jobs.ch, Astra, Clariant, Ideas to Market, City of Lausanne (for projects in Moscow and Shanghai) and the Association of the Swiss Press.
One of the largest projects in 2010 involved an integrated communications campaign for the Birgit Nilsson Foundation and the first Birgit Nilsson Prize award ceremonies in Stockholm, which honoured Plácido Domingo. Farner handled branding, corporate communications, website development, management of the event in Sweden, and PR in 16 countries. According to Rutbert Reisch, chairman of the Foundation, Farner was “fabulous and absolutely remarkable, noteworthy, exceptional and resplendent.”
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