An Interview with Attila Castiglioni

Mr Castiglioni, V-ZUG’s new TV advertising campaign launched in March. What do you personally like about the new campaign?

The new brand film combines lots of different elements: emotions, sustainability, design and beauty. It triggers positive emotions and brings together the attributes that we at V-ZUG stand for. I’m really pleased with it.

«Passion for details» is the core story of our brand. Last year we focused on «details that make the difference». This year «the magic lies in the details». In your opinion, how is this magic manifested at V-ZUG?

It is manifested whenever we work together to achieve something. That has a lot to do with our organisation and the connection that exists between us all. We are not a small organisation these days, but we still all know each other. The Development department isn’t 500 kilometres away, it’s just over the road. This proximity to each other and what we can achieve together is something magical and it is manifested in the results, from development through to the production and sale of our appliances.  

V-ZUG’s advertising presence has changed in the last three years, in terms of both its appearance and its content. Does that reflect changes in the company and the brand itself?

We have undergone some important and positive changes in recent years. We have kept hold of the elements that make us who we are – whether that is in terms of our brand presence or our core activities – and combined them with innovative new approaches. This allows us to take things to the next level and to achieve the brand positioning that we are aiming for. That also requires courage. That’s why I’m particularly pleased with the amount of positive feedback we have already had from the market about our new «Pearl» appliance colour, for example. We’re the only ones who are offering it – and the gamble has paid off. 

Where do you see this going next? Could you outline your vision for us with regard to brand development?

We need to take care of our brand, cultivate it, further consolidate its basis and build upon it. The challenge here is that we want to target and cater to all customers across the spectrum in Switzerland, from the simple rental segment to the premium segment. So we need to manage this balancing act without tearing ourselves in two. It’s a case of finding the right balance and making very fine adjustments. 

So how do you go about achieving this balance? And how would you, as Director of Service and Marketing for the Swiss market, like to contribute to V-ZUG’s success?

I see myself as a kind of foreign minister for V-ZUG. I believe it is extremely important to look after external relations with our customers. In the future, I would also like to take the time to listen and speak to lots of different customer groups in order to get their input and incorporate it into our company. The needs of our customers should always be our focus. I would like to set an example in this regard and motivate my colleagues to take all external input on board and place it at the centre of our work.

In your opinion, what are the challenges on the Swiss market at the moment?

One of the greatest challenges relates to the strength of the property market at the moment. The property market in Switzerland has been in a growth period for over 20 years. This is an extremely impressive fact and has of course been a huge help in terms of our success. There is an entire generation that has only ever experienced a constant upward trend in the construction industry. Now we are starting to see the first consolidation tendencies. This means that growth is stagnating and the market is experiencing sideways movement. We need to keep an eye on this development and we may need to compensate for a lack of growth with other endeavours in the future. 

How would we do that?

By expanding our international business, for example. If growth stagnates in Switzerland, we need strong drivers in other markets to help us compensate. That’s why we are also investing in expanding our international activities. The broader the base we have in these markets, the more stable we will be at our core.

The first forecasts and tendencies are currently being discussed in the industry. How do you see things developing in the property industry?

Forecasts are always difficult. Property reports indicate that new construction will decline by 10 % in around five years. At the moment, it is unclear how the renovation business will develop in parallel to this. People have been speaking about a «renovation backlog» for years, but the dam hasn’t broken yet. Replacing household appliances will provide a healthy amount of bread-and-butter business, but we are unlikely to see the levels of growth that we have had over the last two decades. That’s why we need new approaches and a strong team.

What core values are important in your team? 

Respectful cooperation is the top priority for me. We need to help and support each other and treat each other with respect. This isn’t always a given, but it’s very important to me. This is another area where I want to lead by example by demonstrating this attitude to my team on a daily basis.

You seem to be someone who follows his heart. Is that how your best friend would describe you?

Yes I think they might well do. My friends know they can count on me. I’m a very reliable person and I think I’m good at forming relationships. I have friends and acquaintances that I’ve known since my school days. Or take my first boss, for example: I knew him for 35 years and always kept in touch with him. That kind of thing is very important to me. 

At V-ZUG we have a passion for details. What are you passionate about on a personal level?

I’ve always been passionate about sport and exercise – they make my heart beat faster, literally! I’m not good at sitting still; I love being active. Whether it’s gardening, jogging or a new challenge – I want to achieve something.

About Attila Castiglioni

Attila Castiglioni studied business in St. Gallen. After 18 years in various sales and management roles at IBM Switzerland in Zurich, he moved to V-ZUG Ltd in 2011. He started off managing the Sales and Marketing division and has been in charge of Sales/Marketing and Service & Support as Director and Member of the Executive Board since 2015. Attila Castiglioni lives with his wife and two sons in Uitikon Waldegg in the canton of Zurich.