Making Waves

matthias@matthias-koch.ch

+41 79 843 28 50

Hello, I’m Matthias …

… a branding and loyalty expert in the airline, hospitality and retail industries, and an aspiring HoReCa professional.

Born in Bonn, Germany, I chose to pursue an international career, move around, and work with people from all over the world. Collaborating across different cultures has at times been challenging, yet, always rewarding: “making waves”, bringing about change and touching people’s lives.

Since 2007 I’m living in Geneva, where I’ve had the chance to diversify my professional expertise even further.

I look forward to hearing from you and talk about:

  • Developing your customer experience and branding
  • Winning the loyalty of your customers and employees
  • Exploring innovative hospitality concepts together

For more information and details, please keep on scrolling down.

 

Since 2010

Matthias Koch Services (Geneva)

Owner

While continuing to offer marketing consulting services, and pursuing new qualifications (Diplôme de cafetier), I also ventured into new professional pathways.

 

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What are the challenges

A prime goal is to stay relevant and to find ways of improving my offer:

What one needs to preserve & nurture, what one needs to part with, and what new journey one should embark on.

The approach taken

To ensure that the proposition to my clients remains relevant and appealing, I:

  • Joined forces with Online Presence by P. Kouvelos and project-managed the development of websites for several SMEs that wanted to invest in their brand, and
  • Acquired the ‘Diplôme de cafetier’, restaurateur et hôtelier du canton de Genève’ to open up the access to new entrepreneurial opportunities

Yet, I also stayed faithful to my background and maintained my offer of freelance services and provided marketing consulting for:

  • SWISS Airlines, helping their cabin-crew management to improve motivation and communication
  • Hawaiian Airlines, evaluating a co-branded credit card offering and
  • Olio Carli Italy, establishing direct distribution of olive oil via TV advertising in Germany

At the same time, I left behind my inhibitions and tried my hand at very different roles, such as teaching in a known private school and coordinating the visitor’s service of a reputed Geneva museum.

The results achieved

Stay tuned . . .

 

2016 - 2018

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum (Geneva)

Responsible for the Museum’s Visitor Services

2016 - 2018

In 2016, a new opportunity arose: the museum for which I had been working as a volunteer guide had an opening for the position of the responsible for their visitor service – a very different role from the one I held before.

 

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Which were the tasks and responsibilities

  • Acquire system literacy with IREC’s Global Ticketing System
  • Organise visits of international groups
  • Attribute +/- 50 voluntary guides to these visits
  • Reserve special openings of the museum and rentals of its facilities
  • Coordinate with security services
  • Plan the reception desk and
  • Secure timely payments of group bookings

The approach taken

  • Streamlined online booking procedures in French, English and German
  • Built relationship with the (former fellow) guides
  • Organised control mechanisms to secure seam- and flawless project management

The results achieved

  • Highly satisfied customers, guides, and reception staff (no complaints)
  • Measurable increase in revenue
 

2013 - 2015

Ecole Moser, Private Gymnasium (Geneva)

Teacher & School life Coordinator

Working as a teacher for the first time was an entirely new challenge which I accepted when I found myself in need of creating new professional opportunities and socially integrating in Geneva, after my previous employer went through a reorganisation of its Sales & Marketing department.

 

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What were the challenges

Assume the role of a teacher of history and geography in German for pupils aged 12 – 15.

Manage daily school life (surveillance, homework, excursions etc.) for the Secondaire I – level at the gymnasium.

The approach taken

  • Refreshened long forgotten school lessons and gathered new knowledge
  • Invested significant amounts of time in the study of the curriculum and subjects

The results achieved

  • Acquired pedagogic experience
  • Achieved literacy in  the use of state-of-the-art interactive teaching tools
 

2007 - 2010

Kempinski Hotels (Geneva)

Director Brand Management

2007 - 2010

In 2007, I moved to Geneva accepting the offer of Kempinski to become their Director Brand Management. Their proposal came after the successful conclusion of two previous consulting assignments in customer retention, while being self-employed in Belgium. 

 

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What was the challenge

  • Re-launch the global master-brand of the oldest European luxury hotel group

The approach we took

  • Established a comprehensive briefing reflecting the diverse portfolio of the group and need to create a single-minded positioning
  • Organised a Request for Proposal with several European branding agencies and managed the selection process
  • Project managed the development with Landor Associates

The results we achieved

  • A new brand platform, creative guidelines, Tone of Voice, stationary etc.
  • Its implementation across all properties
 

1997 - 2007

Welcome Back! (Brussels & Stockholm)

Co-founder & Senior Consultant

Out of Brussels and Stockholm, my colleagues and I for ten years ran a flourishing consulting business, capitalising on our experience in managing EuroBonus for SAS and Miles & More for Lufthansa. We met during the negotiations for the integration of Star Alliance.

 

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What were the challenges

  • Set up and manage an own agency in Brussels together with the partners in Stockholm
  • Build a thriving team with complementary qualifications and talents to work as one

The approach we took

  • Devised innovative and creative solutions for clients who needed to lower their customer defection rates and increase loyalty / retention
  • Developed tools to quantify the benefits of fostering employee loyalty
  • Bridged the geographic distance between the two offices by being among the first to use the Internet

The results we achieved

  • 10 successful years of consulting – among others – Kempinski Hotels, Radisson Hotels, KLM, Air France, Swedish Rail, NK Department Stores, Electrabel, Proximus
 

1995 - 1996

Lufthansa (Head Office, Frankfurt)

VP Relationship Marketing - Miles & More

1995 - 1996

In early 1995, Lufthansa announced the expiry of all miles that had been earned 3 years and more before – “bad news” that received major media coverage and public attention. As a result, a wave of demand for free travel overwhelmed the airline.

This was when I was asked to move from my previous position within Lufthansa.

 

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What were the challenges

  • First and foremost: recover customer service and restore trust in the programme
  • Integrate with partner programmes within Star Alliance
  • Turn Miles & More into a profitable business unit

The approach we took

  • Created multiple and timed opportunities for members to ‘burn’ their miles and hence eliminate peaks demand on customer service
  • Negotiated the integration of programmes within Star Alliance through initial harmonisation of accrual and redemption across the partner network
  • Later also harmonised the up-tier qualification criteria within Star Alliance
  • Introduced instant enrolment, simplified tier structure, and targeted emotional benefits
  • Developed the sale of miles to airline partners to become a major generator of incremental revenue
  • Resources: then 2 m members, 40+ staff, € 95 m budget

The results we achieved

  • Turned lost call rate of 95% into 95% calls answered
  • Laid the foundation for Miles & More to become Europe’s leading Frequent Flyer programme

 

 

1994 - 1995

Lufthansa (Head Office, Frankfurt)

VP Brand Management & Communication

My first post as a VP within Lufthansa at Head Office, tasked with strengthening their global brand presence, came only 12 months after I joined the airline and I had to move from New York back to Europe.

 

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What were the challenges

  • Raise worldwide awareness and improve the image of Lufthansa
  • Develop the brand without sacrificing its well-established recognisability

The approach we took

  • Developed a new global advertising strategy together with Young & Rubicam Germany
  • Focused on the – easier to implement – customer experience pre-flight (lounge offering)
  • Resources: 75 staff, € 125 m budget

The results we achieved

  • Introduction of new advertising campaign
  • Relaunch of lounge concept across all airports served by the airline
 

1993 - 1994

Lufthansa (New York)

GM Marketing USA

1993 - 1994

In 1993, I had the opportunity to join Lufthansa and become responsible for marketing the airline in the US. Leaving British Airways, where I first had smelled kerosene, wasn’t easy, but the prospect of living in New York was unbeatable.

 

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What were the challenges

  • Put Lufthansa in the evoked set of customers when planning travel to Europe
  • Helped implementing the sales & marketing partnership with United Airlines

The approach we took

  • Applied the lessons learnt before: rigid focus on the master-brand, integration of all communication above- and below the line
  • Launched first joined advertising of UA and LH for North Atlantic routes
  • Resources: 17 staff, $ 23 m budget

The results we achieved

  • Laid the foundation for Star Alliance to:
    • attain highest market share on North Atlantic
    • become the first major airline alliance
 

1989 - 1993

British Airways (European Office, Amsterdam)

Marketing Manager Europe

“Welcome on board” was the confirmation that I had been successful with my application to join British Airways:

Establishing a new regional office for Sales, Marketing, and Distribution in Europe and outside its home market represented a bold step for the airline and the chance of a lifetime for me to give my career a very different twist by changing industries.

 

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These were the challenges

  • Prepare the airline for the launch of the European single market in 1993
    • Increased competition on European routes to the UK
    • Loss of intra-German traffic rights following reunification
    • General consolidation of the industry
  • Help rebound after negative impact of Gulf War I on air travel

The approach we took

  • Established the team and our internal ways of working together
  • Built the network with the European and London based colleagues as well as external agencies
  • Consolidated all advertising into maximum use of a single master-brand campaign
  • Designed, evaluated, launched & operated Europe’s 1st Frequent Flyer programme (Executive Club) to build a loyal customer base
  • Participated in the development of BA’s branded Club Europe and EuroTraveller classes
  • Developed and launched ‘The World’s Biggest Offer’ post-Gulf War I
  • Resources: 5 staff and € 4 m central budget plus € 30 m locally held

The results we achieved

Pioneered European airline marketing:

  • Turned around the airline’s negative image in Europe
  • Built the first qualified database of regular flyers for an airline in Europe
  • Introduced branding as a tool to add value to the customer experience in Europe
  • Project managed a multi-national (16 language) campaign across Europe
 

1987 - 1989

VICON - Greenland (Amsterdam)

1987 - 1989

Continuing to work for the agriculture industry, but, wanting to expand my “radius of life”, I opted for a location abroad and went for a position as Sales and Marketing Manager for VICON, a producer of agricultural machinery in The Netherlands.

 

1983 - 1987

BASF - Kali + Salz (Kassel, Vienna)

As envisaged for the time after the programme, I was deployed in 1985 to Kali Export in Vienna, an export agency of fertilisers for producers in France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Israel, and Germany.

After university, I started a 2-year trainee programme in Sales & Marketing with Kali & Salz, a subsidiary of BASF, in Kassel.

 

1982

Bonn University (Bonn)

MScEng in Agronomy

1982

Studies of agronomy and degree in 1982.

At the same time, I worked as a tour guide in Bonn and also accompanied guests of the government (Inter Nationes).

 

General Information

Voluntary Work (bénévolats)

  • Following a call by the Maison du Quartier des Eaux Vives (MQEV), the general assembly of the association elected me and eight other candidates as the new members of its Steering Committee in April 2017.The different Maisons du Quartier work for the social coherence and integration in their respective neighbourhood.
  • Following a four months training, we formed the team of guides for the re-opening of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum in 2013.Our mission was to share the humanitarian initiative of Henry Dunant and principles of the Geneva Conventions. Until becoming responsible for the museum’s Visitor Service in 2016, I continued working as a guide.

Nationality & residence

Born in Bonn, my nationality is German. Here in Switzerland I have a Permit C.

 

Languages

Mother tongue: German

Fluent: English, French, Italian, Dutch

 

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