Innovation – what does that even mean?

Tobias Zehnder

Co-Founder / Partner

Innovation is still one of the most used buzzwords in the digital industry. For us at Webrepublic, however, it is much more than an empty phrase; innovation is a core value of our agency, integral to our mission. Since our launch in 2009, we have been passionately pursuing the goal of translating marketing innovation into business value. And especially in the past very turbulent and challenging year, we have always been guided by this principle to keep working forward with new ideas and creative projects. For the start of the year of hope, 2021, I would therefore like to briefly outline how we live innovation at Webrepublic and how it helps us stay on course even in the face of headwinds.

Know the market and use innovations in a targeted manner

The digital industry is extremely dynamic, with new technologies and platforms constantly coming onto the market. For us as specialists, it is essential that we are familiar with these developments and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages in order to offer customers a state-of-the-art solution. Only in this way can we generate the greatest possible added value for them and make targeted use of the innovations on the market.

One example is the YouTube Director Mix, which we were the first agency in Switzerland to use for a campaign. The new tool from Google makes it incredibly efficient to create up to 250 personalized video ads and play them out automatically. We used Director Mix for the complex fall campaign of CSS Insurance, which is characterized by a short time span, different offers, and a heterogeneous target group. In addition to a successful campaign (the results will be published soon) we also succeeded in using video ads as a suitable measure for performance goals – something that has always been considered critically in the industry so far.


New situations require new solutions

When the pandemic largely paralyzed public life in the spring of 2020, our customer Mammut, Swiss manufacturer of outdoor equipment, was faced with closed stores. Alternative sales channels had to be found; e-commerce and other online initiatives became inevitable. The challenge was how to reach customers who would otherwise shop offline. Since there was no ready-made solution for this predicament, our team came up with the idea of integrating encrypted CRM data from the stores into Google Ads Customer Match to address the store clientele via online channels.

Implementing offline data into the online campaign increased both sales and revenue and paved the way for ongoing CRM data integration. Adversity has inspired us to be innovative; however, the success of this solution encourages us to continue to focus more on the alignment of online and offline data with retailers in the future.


Have the courage to take the unconventional path

A few months ago, we launched our collaboration with Wirz. The equal partnership, in which both agencies complement each other's expertise, is called BoB – Best of Both. It is a completely new form of collaboration that has not existed in the Swiss advertising industry until now. We decided on this because none of the existing strategic steps, such as a merger or the purchase of another agency, would have properly covered our needs. We wanted to offer our clients the highest quality in creative and digital marketing from the start of the collaboration, while minimizing interfaces. BoB enables Wirz and us to dovetail creation, media, and technology right from the start.

I hope I have been able to illustrate with these three examples – testing and deploying product innovations quickly, responding to new challenges with new solutions, and developing a strategic move from scratch to meet our own needs – what innovation means to us at Webrepublic. I also hope to motivate others to embark on the adventure of innovation instead of the familiar, safe path. Following the test-and-learn approach, first try something new on a small scale, test it, evaluate it, and then optimize it. If it doesn't work out, you'll be left with a new insight and the inspiration for the next attempt. I wish us all a successful, innovative 2021.