Interview Romain M. Vetter, Digital Manager at PHD Switzerland

Today I present a new interview to a Social Media professional working in Switzerland. This series of interviews pretend to reveal the person behind the social media strategies of successful companies based in Switzerland. It consists of community managers, social media managers, content strategists, innovation specialists, etc. It is the interviewee the one that decides who will be the next person to interview, making in this way a chain of Social Media professionals.

Today I have the pleasure to interview Romain M. Vetter (@digitalrmv), Digital Manager at PHD Switzerland.

Hi Romain. How would you define yourself in just one tweet?

Think outside the “swiss” box when it comes to online innovation.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your origins, your early days without a Mac, and anything you want to make public.

I was born and raise in Geneva, Switzerland. I spent over 19 years of my life in this city, with a short one year break in Bienne playing volleyball for the junior national team for a year. I have been playing volleyball since I am 13 years old. After this experience, I attended a commercial high school, CEC Nicolas-Bouvier, in Geneva, while working for Allianz Suisse as an intern. My last year of school, I found an agent who helped me get a scholarship in the USA. I was lucky to get a full ride to a university close to Los Angeles. I learned English, studied business administration and marketing while playing volleyball and traveling within the USA during my 4 years. We won the national title 3 times and I received my bachelor in 2008. My highlight during those 4 years was to meet my future wife my first year of university. But I only started dating her my third year… One thing great we have in common: we are both Swiss. Her grandpa was from Bern. She however never went to Switzerland before. We got married a year later our schooling done in 2009 in Long Beach. Once my studies done, I was able to find work with Gorilla Nation and Atomic Online near Los Angeles. The job was my way in to online advertising and marketing. I learned everything about the online business representing large website online advertising inventories. In 2011, both my wife and I decided to come back to Switzerland to try a new experience together. We came back in June 2011 and after a series of meeting, I was hire as the Digital Manager for Omnicom Media Group (our department OMD Sky was renamed, PHD Switzerland in January 2011). 2011 was also my last year playing high level volleyball in the Swiss first division. We ended up winning the national title. A great way to end my career and now concentrate more on my various activities.

What are your interests in life?

I love traveling with my wife Jennifer, go to church, play volleyball, read L’Equipe and Mashable, as well as come up with way too many business ideas on daily basis.

You sold a company in the US and came to Geneva. Was it difficult the transit entrepreneur-employee, US-Switzerland?

I was still employed while having my own business. So the transition was ok on this aspect. It was however a bit hard at the beginning concerning the way of working in Switzerland. I had forgotten about it… Everything is very fast paced and straight to the point in the USA. Here, things go slower. Both are very valuable business approach. The USA way of working help me produce a lot of things and come up with ideas outside the box. The Swiss way of working help me stay organize and thorough. It’s a great mix!

Let’s talk a little bit about your current position. At PHD, you work for brands such as easyJet, Apple, Siemens, Nintendo, and The Economist. Every brand is a different world or do they all have something in common?

All are different and this is why I love my job. We take different approaches depending on clients, products, campaigns… At the end of the day, each client expects the same: profitability.

As an innovation specialist, what do you do on a normal working day?

Actually when it comes to innovation and creative thinking, my ideas come at random moments. This is the reason why I always have a piece of paper nearby to write them down.

The first 2 minutes of the first meeting with a new client, you ask…? And you are being asked…?

I usually ask how are you… We never talk about business the first 2 minutes of a meeting is about our personal lives. I love to get to know my clients and have friendly talks. We are here to make a local connection with them. Business is business, but relationships between people are everything.

You have a broad range of specialties, from mobile advertising to social media management. What is the area that you prefer the most? Why?

I actually love to code websites. HTML and CSS through WordPress is something I love doing. The reason is simple. If you want to do a good online job, you better know what is going on behind the design of a website.

How important is mobile advertising today?

Crucial. It is the future of online advertising. Too many brands have yet to understand it and too many clients still do not have mobile optimized website. Big mistake!

And finally, which professional working in Switzerland with social and media would you recommend for the next interview? Why?

I would recommend to contact Olivier Tripet. He is the founder and president of the Swiss Community Managers association. Someone to know in Suisse Romande.

Thanks Romain!

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