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Dynamism at the heart of The Old Continent.

Pairing Switzerland and Miami is not something that automatically comes to mind. A contrast seemingly starker than Cheese and Chocolate, Switzerland might not seem the logical choice of European Outpost for a company that serves founders, funders, entrepreneurs and disruptors around the world. And yet, it feels a natural fit for the philosophy of Perceptual Advisors and its founding partners.

The 2022 Global Innovation Index of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ranked Switzerland as the world’s most innovative economy for the 12th time in a row. Switzerland also scores fourth in the World Happiness Report based on a range of happiness inducing factors, from life expectancy and GDP to one’s freedom to make life’s choices. Indeed, Switzerland’s pretty-darn-happy status can in part also be attributed to its famed neutrality – the ability to see both sides of an argument and a live and let live attitude. That and producing more than 40% of the world’s global chocolate supply (190,000 tons to be precise).

The passes through the snow-capped Alps are arteries connecting Switzerland to France, Italy and Germany – countries which have given Switzerland three of its four official languages. This unique international profile means that Swiss based innovation can be quickly rolled out across Europe as well as benefit from Europe’s deep talent pool sourced from a number of world class Universities - one of the reasons that the country attracts a robust innovation pipeline across various industries from financial services to healthcare and life sciences.

Running a business in or from Switzerland is as smooth as the mechanisms of a prized Swiss watch. For this reason, you can find the highest density of Fortune 500 companies here and an even greater number of international headquarters. The Swiss neutrality results in an openness to the world that attracts international talent, including persecuted minorities. Indeed, foreigners have been central to Switzerland’s success. Henri Nestle, founder of the eponymous company hailed from Frankfurt. Leo Sternbach, a Polish Jew who fled the Nazis, invented Valium, a blockbuster pharmaceutical. About half the CEOs of Switzerland’s biggest firms are foreign.

That’s fine for Big Cheeses, I hear you say, but what about disruption? Is a hotbed of happiness conducive to disruptive innovation? The country that gave you Velcro, Muesli, aluminum foil and the computer mouse has attracted more than 5000 Google Engineers to their new technology hub in Zurich – the largest outside of the US. ON running, the fast growing and innovative “run on air” running show was born in Zurich and counts national treasure Roger Federer as a board member. Indeed, Zurich is fast becoming a major startup hub in Europe. Unsurprisingly perhaps biotech, ICT and Fintech attract the most attention for the moment but do not represent the sole areas of growth. Fashion and Luxury goods, as well as beauty are also seeing fast expansion.

Exposure to multiple cultures, an open and safe environment, propensity for understanding, dialogue, and communication, and an innate drive for innovation are all reasons why Switzerland is an excellent hub for Perceptual Advisors.

One of Switzerland’s more famous foreign residents, Albert Einstein, once said “Don’t let criticism destroy your dreams. The only person who never makes a mistake is someone who does nothing.” Also big on dreams, the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung talked about how our dreams are universal through the collective unconscious. What better place to house the collective dream of success shared by founders, funders, entrepreneurs and disruptors?

About the Author

Based in Zurich, Switzerland, Michela joined Perceptual Advisors as Head of EMEA to oversee all client work in EMEA. A creative catalyst and gifted storyteller, she has spent a rich career in reputed multinational organizations learning to build billion-dollar brands from the ground up. Her ambition is to help brands find their greatness, building emotional connections and relationships between brands and their stakeholders.

An engineer by training, Michela started her career in New Product Development at Procter and Gamble, working her way through the ranks to become Chief Communications Officer of their Prestige Beauty Division.

Michela has held senior Marketing and Communications roles in various businesses including serving as Communications Lead for eBay Europe, Middle East, and Africa, CMO of Salvatore Ferragamo and SVP Marketing Communications at Swarovski.

Fluent in multiple languages, Michela has a fascination and strong understanding of what drives human behavior and has been able to use these skills to drive impressive results in companies that have needed to rebrand or reposition themselves, companies going through significant growth through M&A, or companies that needed to find their purpose and relevance.