A self-described ‘business builder’ and chief international officer with V-ZUG, Alberto Bertoz, has spent almost a decade growing V-ZUG into a global brand with international presence. Alice Blackwood speaks with him about their exciting three-year plan for V-ZUG in Australia.
March 17th, 2022
While V-ZUG, a kitchen and laundry appliances producer of particular note for its bespoke manufacturing approach and stand-out sustainability credentials, came to the international market a little later than some, it has been thanks to its chief international officer, Alberto Bertoz, whose leadership and vision for global brand with ‘local presence’ has seen V-ZUG establish itself in various new markets countries across multiple regions in just over a decade.
You may be surprised to discover that Australia was one of the first countries V-ZUG had chosen for its maiden voyage into foreign markets. Under the leadership of Australian managing director, Nic Naes, who joined V-ZUG in 2018, the brand has grown exponentially within Australia. Its manufacturing and design philosophy resonates with a growing community of design aficionados who appreciate the brand’s remarkable approach to innovation in technology and engineering, its vision for highly personalised cooking and cleaning, and superior ‘simplex’ functionality (that is, incredibly smart but also so simple to use).
Together Naes and Bertoz are deep in the planning of three new destinations for V-ZUG in Australia. The first, a V-ZUG Studio in Sydney is in the works, with a plan to open later this year. Followed by a Brisbane Studio in 2023, and a revamped Melbourne Studio in 2024.
It’s part of a wider five-year vision, says Bertoz, for V-ZUG to establish a “network of showrooms that will act as the centre of gravity for the design life of its home city”. A desirable result for a highly desirable brand.
But expanding internationally for a Swiss company that has always operated incredibly successfully on its home soil, has not come without challenges.
In the early days of international expansion, Bertoz was a critical proponent for the role of the showroom – the experiential “house of the brand” – in establishing the V-ZUG name, brand presence, and portfolio among its prospective customers.
“We want to touch all senses and be flexible enough to offer different experiences for different audiences,” says Bertoz. For developers, for example, it’s a conversation around shared values and vision; while designers will often seek to better understand V-ZUG’s design philosophy.
Serving this complex layer of needs calls for a studio-like space, where a variety of clientele can create and experience first-hand with V-ZUG. “The V-ZUG Studio is a place where we can design together and enrich people’s lives at home,” Bertoz confirms.
Another learning that has emerged, says Bertoz, has been the importance of have local talent on the ground; finding passionate and committed brand ambassadors who know their market and can ‘talk the talk’ – so to speak.
Naes and his Australian team are a fabulous case in point: the steady building of the V-ZUG business within the country; their ability to bring the quintessentially Swiss V-ZUG vision to the fore and translate it into a local context with currency and relevance; finding points of resonance with Australian developers, designers and homeowners. It’s the building of these connections and a wider sense of trust that is feeding the next three years of growth.
Bertoz is quick to clarify, though, that there is a conscious and considered approach to V-ZUG’s growth. Bringing the brand to the world through its Studios is a matter of ‘right time and place’. That is, finding the right city that has the design understanding and the appetite for growth. And being able to inspire that market, while also instilling in it a sense of confidence.
Thanks to Naes and his team, V-ZUG has passed through that tough first round, and for many Australian developers, architects and designers the conversation is firmly focused on putting V-ZUG’s excellence into action.
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