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My life's journey

Lundi 19 Juin 2023

I have unique know-how in the very specific field of "Röstigraben Relations" and inbound PR. As former Director of Public Relations for telecom operator sunrise, I represented the brand with the smile for seven years in all Swiss media, rain or shine, and was instrumental in the rise of its media representation in French-speaking Switzerland. 

I was born in 1967. So I'm a year older than the Internet. After a classic Vaud childhood, I left Lausanne for Eastern Switzerland and St Gallen at the age of twenty, to learn German and Swiss German, to study business economics and marketing, and to do a few internships. After spending two years in the marketing department of a well-known Welsh steel and tool retailer (at the time, B2B was not yet a reality), I founded an advertising agency and a specialist publishing house at the age of 25. At the time, we weren't yet talking about start-ups... Then I helped organize Geneva's first Multimedia Fair, as part of the International Book and Press Fair. 

From 1993 onwards, I edited several IT publications in French and German (Orbit News, Computer Infos, Swiss Business Computing, BUG2000, Agrovision) and founded a consultancy to bring together French and German speakers. As part of the Computer trade show, I co-organize the "20 Years of the PC" exhibition with German specialist Röbi Weiss, and edit the French version of the retrospective poster. In 1998, I co-founded Europe's 1st Internet party (Internet Partei) with a number of Swiss Net pioneers. That same year, I chaired the board of directors of a service company active in pre-press, lithography and multimedia until 2001, when the Internet bubble burst. 

Sensing the tide was turning, I became spokesperson for the operator sunrise in 2001 and headed its internal and external communications department in Zurich and Lausanne. I returned to French-speaking Switzerland in 2004, still as spokesman and head of communications for sunrise in French-speaking Switzerland (internal and external corporate communications, lobbying, event sponsoring), to devote myself fully to French-speaking Switzerland. That same year, I obtained the SAWI/SPRI Communications Director diploma, as well as the Federal Diploma in Communications Consulting. I was a member of the board of the Société Romande de Relations Publiques from 2005 to 2008, and the representative for French-speaking Switzerland on the board of the Société Suisse de Relations Publiques (now PR-Suisse). I presided over the Société Romande de Relations Publiques from 2006 to 2008. 

From 2006 to 2007, I moved back and forth between Lausanne and Zurich as Swiss PR Director for sunrise/TDC Switzerland AG. In December 2006, I was appointed to represent French-speaking Switzerland on the jury for the "Award Corporate Communications". Following my departure from sunrise, I joined the public relations agency Rochat & Partenaires in January 2008 to develop the agency's new information technology sector and national mandates, while continuing to fight the "Röstigraben" on a daily basis between Zurich, Basel, Bern and Geneva. I founded the CommunicationRomande.ch social network at the end of 2008, and the InformatiqueRomande.ch social network in 2009. 

From January to November 2010, I was BAT Switzerland's Corporate Communications Manager and company spokesperson. From October 2011 to July 2014, I was Head of Communications for the Reformed Church in the canton of Neuchâtel. I then carried out various communications mandates for the Eglise réformée vaudoise, including that of co-head of its information and communications office during 2016. 

During these years, I practiced and orchestrated all the disciplines that make up the various forms of brand expression. Both on an institutional and promotional level. And I've come to realize that the public relations sector is going through a major existential crisis, having failed to keep pace with the rapid development of digital communication. It has not been able to overcome its historical weaknesses (its inability, or great difficulty, to tangibly measure the results of its campaigns or the return on investment of its various operations). As a result, the PR sector has lost some of its influence with senior management, to the benefit of digital marketing, which is not seen by senior management as a cost center, but rather as a profit center, directly calculated on a brand's commercial success, unlike the PR sector, which struggles to prove the effectiveness of its actions. 

With this in mind, I set myself the mission of restoring the image of public relations and improving the employability of PR professionals of all ages in an increasingly digital society. To do this, I have developed a new PR practice that takes full advantage of digital to contribute directly to the growth of a brand and its customers. 

In 2018, I developed my skills and expertise in digital marketing and more specifically inbound marketing and became a customer growth consultant for the agency 1min30.com, the French pioneer of inbound marketing. I developed a similar method of inbound communication in the field of public relations and created pleeaase.com, the first French-speaking inbound PR agency, as well as the Inbound PR Academy, where I teach inbound PR to PR professionals wishing to develop their digital skills. 


I have invested time in training PR specialists in inbound PR and developing inbound PR programs for my clients in Switzerland and Europe, to transform their brands into media and take them beyond the mainstream. 


At the start of 2020, I added a new stone to my edifice with the creation of the smartketing.ch and smartketing.eu agency. Its mission is to help independent professionals and SME owners develop their online business and stand out from their competitors through various digital marketing and communication services. This new agency is based in the canton of Fribourg, on the language border, and allows me to work in German, French and English. 


In 2023, I founded smartketing.ai, the first European agency powered by artificial intelligence, and published the book "Smartketing Mastery - How to boost business growth with artificial intelligence ".

Mathieu Janin

Mathieu Janin

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