Rufener: from a local party organiser to a global event professional

Published on 10/31/2016 by
Samsung Galaxy Launch (Rufener, MCH Group)

Stage a classical champagne event? That's nowhere near enough now when a brand is vying for attention. In Switzerland, there's hardly anyone who knows this quite as well as Rufener and its creative employees in Zurich. Clients including UBS and the Zurich Film Festival have been relying on their know-how in live communication for many years. The company had its beginnings more than 20 years ago as a trendy party organiser.

A dance show with interactive elements and a 360° projection delight those who have come. The app created especially for the gala evening provides them with additional information and lets them discover the Galaxy S4 and its features through a competition. The Swiss launch of Samsung's latest flagship device conveyed VIP guests, dealers and the company's most important partners into a multimedia world of experiences. A hybrid event, where virtual and real elements merge into one.

"In the 1990s, events involved purely manual skills"

An event such as this, planned and implemented by the Rufener creative agency in Zurich, was still unusual in the 1990s during the agency's initial years. Back then, everything was comparatively simple. "It was mainly a case of building an event – purely manual skills", says Hans-Jürg "Schoscho" Rufener, who founded the agency named after him in 1990 and is still on the Board of Directors. Today, events have to offer a great deal more. They are used for marketing, brand management and selling. Through multimedia storytelling, they allow brands to be emotionally experienced.

Worldwide series of events for bank jubilees

Over a period of more than 25 years, the small party organiser, Rufener, which has been part of the MCH Group since 2009, has become the most important Swiss agency for live communication. Around 30 employees handle some 80 events each year: planning worldwide event series for UBS and Credit Suisse for their respective 150-year jubilees, producing the opening and closing gala for the Zurich Film Festival since 2005, and organising specially developed multimedia shows, including for the 125th company anniversary of Julius Baer.

Julius Bär Jubiläum (Rufener, MCH Group)

The communications sector, which is undergoing a process of change, and digitisation mean that brands are facing challenges – something which is prompting the constant further development of live marketing. "Brands have to stand out more than ever before, have a clear profile and tell an authentic story. In short: they have to differentiate themselves", says Tina Huber, Head of Concept Development at Rufener. Working on from the right strategy and suitable content, specially tailored scenography and dramaturgy are devised for the live encounter. "The big opportunity offered by a live experience is the immersion with all the senses, the emotional appeal, the dialogue and the interaction", explains Huber.

Authentic stories, dramatically staged

"A brand experience is felt much more intensely through live marketing than through any other comparable measure", adds managing director Robert Erhart. "Personal contacts with people are the perfect way of underscoring client retention. True friendship is developed in personal encounters." In this way, brands are not only rendered visible but can also be experienced, and the guest becomes a sustainable brand ambassador.

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