How are Swiss companies using purpose-led communication to build trust and credibility among stakeholders?

A global health emergency, geopolitical instability, a climate crisis, inflation and the advent of artificial intelligence are just a few of the challenges that are shaking up the corporate communications landscape.

In times of uncertainty, the corporate website becomes a crucial platform for companies to communicate their stance, actions, and commitments. It serves as a centralized hub where stakeholders can access reliable information, understand the company’s response to the challenges, and gauge its transparency and accountability in navigating these complex issues.

Turning towards purpose

In the face of these challenges, companies have been compelled to reflect on their purpose and show, in concrete terms, their plans for the future. The purpose, which seeks to explain the company’s raison d’être, acts as a unifying force encompassing strategic vision, values, sustainability commitments, innovation investments, substance in addressing key issues, and the ability to communicate a story. These areas are, in fact, the six pillars of our flagship .trust research, which evolves over time to meet stakeholder demands.

The evolution of .trust

Alongside numerous new criteria introduced in this edition, an expanded research sample includes both listed and non-listed companies. The inclusion of non-listed companies acknowledges the growing expectations of consumers, stakeholders, and business partners to communicate transparently and with purpose.

Forty companies have been evaluated, starting from a wider selection process, which initially included around 80 of Switzerland’s most prominent companies. The 40 organizations, which have been selected for inclusion based on their levels of transparency, include 31 listed and nine are non-listed companies.

Swiss companies have made good progress when it comes to defining a purpose, however, it is not yet being used to its full potential. 

Purpose is the embodiment of an organisation’s values, answering fundamental questions about its existence and role in society. 

The findings of the .trust research revealed that although more 70% of the companies explicitly express having a purpose, not all of them have successfully transformed it into a guiding force that strategically shapes their corporate communication.

Only 47% of the companies establish a compelling connection between their business strategy and their purpose, highlighting a lack of credibility. Just 33% connect purpose to sustainability strategy.

Effectively communicating strategy demonstrates transparency and accountability, showcasing the organisation’s commitment to open communication with its stakeholders.

Under half of the research sample (45%) make a clear link between business strategy and sustainability, again highlighting a disconnect between what the companies say and do. Furthermore, just 28% highlight how global trends are influencing the business. Incorporating megatrends into the explanation of corporate strategy provides valuable insights into the external forces shaping the business landscape and enables organisations to proactively address emerging challenges and opportunities.

In the era of the ‘Great Resignation’, people are seeking new aspirations in their professional lives—looking for purpose-driven companies with inspiring corporate values that instil trust in the future.

With the exception of a few cases like Firmenich, Migros, and Sika, corporate communication has generally lagged behind the evolving expectations of employees and jobseekers. Just 53% of Swiss companies provide information regarding training and development programs, while employee compensation policies are presented by only 25% of the sample. Moreover, just 33% of the evaluated companies establish a direct and credible link between their purpose, mission, and vision within the “Careers” section.

Finally, just 35% of the companies effectively provide a glimpse of what working for the company is like, through stories, images or videos – a missed opportunity to connect with potential new talent.

Download the whitepaper to discover the research methodology.

.trust Switzerland 2023


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Rosanna Campbell-Gray

Companies included in the research sample:

Adecco, Barry Callebaut, Bühler Holding, Clariant, Coop, Credit Suisse, Dormakaba, Dufry, Firmenich, Georg Fischer, Helvetia Group, Julius Baer, Lonza, Migros, Oerlikon, Partners Group, Richemont, SBB, Schindler, SIX Group, Sonova, Straumann, Suva, Swiss Life, Swiss Post, Swiss Re, Syngenta Group, UBS, VAT Group, Zürcher Kantonalbank, Zurich Insurance Group.

“The purpose acts as the binding agent that unites business values with tangible impact. Effectively communicating this purpose requires a deep understanding of the ‘why’ and a prompt response to the ‘how’. Companies that succeed in doing so earn trust and establish credibility in the eyes their stakeholders.”

Joakim Lundquist
CEO Lundquist