Media - Sonova News Room
An international career Down Under
Sonova offers its staff the option to develop their careers on an international stage, and marketing expert Beat Meier has seized this opportunity with both hands. The Swiss national has swapped his workstation in an open-plan office near Lake Zurich for a desk in Sydney, Australia.
Behind Beat Meier’s desk in the spacious loft headquarters of Sonova’s Australian retail business, Connect Hearing Australia, hang two large clocks. One indicates that it is 7 o’clock – still early morning – in Switzerland, where Meier used to work, while the other dial shows 3pm, the time in Sydney, Meier’s new adopted home.
Meier has been Group Marketing Manager at Connect Hearing Australia since April 2016 – “an exciting posting that immediately appealed to me,” as he says. Before starting his new job in Australia he had worked in Sonova’s group headquarters in Stäfa, Switzerland. “Getting to know a new country on the other side of the world and working as part of an international team here is a fantastic experience.” Meier loves the high quality of life in Sydney. When it comes to maintaining a healthy work/life balance, he says, you can’t beat going for a quick surf on Manly Beach after a packed day at work.
Getting to know a new country on the other side of the world and working as part of an international team here is a fantastic experience.
Beat Meier, Group Manager Marketing
Trading places presented an interesting professional challenge: Australia is almost twice the size of all the countries in the European Union put together. “Our team manages to stay in constant contact with our customers right across the country, despite the long distances involved,” explains Meier. In addition to the face-to-face service offered in more than 120 specialist stores, they have also gone online; Australia is an ideal market for e-solutions. Many customers are extremely internet-savvy – more than half of older people in Australia surf the net and possess smartphones, and Meier and his marketing team make use of this when communicating with them.
They post new content to the “We’re all Ears” community’s Facebook page almost every day and the website already has more than 14,500 fans, with more joining daily. There is also a “We’re all Ears” online platform, through which Sonova provides information on an array of topics and issues. “We want to offer our users genuine added value,” says Meier. The posts range from tips for jobseekers who wear hearing aids, through recommendations for relatives of people with hearing loss to the latest audiological research findings. “Dealing with hearing loss has always been the heart and soul of the project, it’s not principally about products,” explains Meier. “We also use promotions to invite potential customers to visit our specialist stores.”
“Beat and his team are making a big contribution to expanding Sonova’s already strong position in Australia’s retail sector,” says David Resch, Sonova Retail’s Vice President Marketing from group headquarters in Stäfa. “Overseeing a range of international products while he was still in Switzerland allowed him to gain experience that has stood him in good stead in Australia.”
The Sonova Group actively encourages international careers like Beat Meier’s, as doing so helps to promote global exchange and knowledge-sharing. “We are looking for real team players with joined-up thinking, who can get behind strategic goals and cultivate our shared vision,” explains Resch.
Meier is one of the many staff members who have been given the chance to work on a number of different continents – shortly before Meier’s arrival, a team colleague had transferred from Sydney to Sonova’s regional hub in Singapore, for example. “Staff swaps like this take place right through the group, in every business segment and department,” informs Resch.
Beat Meier has an appointment with Sonova audiologist Julie Sutcliffe and the “We’re all Ears” community in Sydney today – every two months, users can ask the hearing care professional questions in a live chat. The aim is to provide members of the community with help while simultaneously finding out what might be on the minds of customers and potential new customers alike.
Meier and the team sit around a conference table in the roomy loft of Connect Hearing Australia’s headquarters in Sydney and wait for questions: the live chat is projected onto a screen and the audiologist’s responses are typed directly into the computer. She mainly supplies contact information for hearing care professionals and doctors – for many, this advice is the spur they need to address their hearing problems. “Once again, we’ve been able to help lots of users,” notes Julie Sutcliffe, the audiologist, at the end of an almost two-hour session. Marketing Manager Meier is also very happy. “Our work with the ‘We’re all Ears’ community represents an active contribution to improving many people’s quality of life – I find that very satisfying.”
Evening gradually falls over Sydney, and the gentle rays of the setting sun catch Meier’s face as he leaves the Sonova loft and steps out onto Victoria Street. He pauses for a second to enjoy the moment: “What more could you want?”