Behind the scenes of Bernafon Alpha

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Have you ever wondered how a new Bernafon product campaign is created and what it takes to bring a hearing aid to the market? This is part of my daily work and of many others in the Marketing & Channel Support team at the Bernafon headquarters in Bern, Switzerland. So, let me tell you the story of Bernafon Alpha.

Not an R&D story

The R&D department puts extensive effort and time into the development of a new Bernafon hearing aid and its technology. An equivalent of 700 years of work by R&D engineers, project managers, and many others were put into developing and testing the new chip, hardware, features, and connectivity options for Bernafon Alpha. With their great expertise, the R&D project team builds and assures the exceptional technological performance of the new Bernafon Alpha hearing aids. But this blog is not the story of how a hearing aid is developed, rather the story of what happens afterwards.

The marketing team is pivotal in the development of the product name, key product benefits, and product feature descriptions – all key elements of a campaign. Therefore, to create a marketing campaign, the team must first develop a strong understanding of the technology, features, and ultimately the hearing care professionals and client’s benefits.

With this knowledge in our pocket, the cooperation with our marketing agency starts. As usual for a creative process, a lot of ideas are generated at the beginning. Only a few concepts though will be tested and reviewed by consumers and marketing executives in our key markets for attractiveness, message-understanding, and cross-cultural compatibility. The “Bernafon Alpha. Inspired by the best.” campaign convinced us all with its strong visualization and emotional headlines. And, as the campaign concept slowly took shape, it was finally time to nail down the product name.

The hunt for one of a kind

Now, one might think that finding a product name is easy, but let me tell you, it is one of the hardest tasks along the way. Like finding a name for a newborn, lots of aspects need to be considered. Is it easy to pronounce in multiple languages, short, catchy, and positively perceived? And foremost, does it support our product’s characteristics and is it also available for use? The marketing team went over more than a hundred names together with our Intellectual Property department. In the end, Bernafon Alpha cleared all the hurdles and prevailed.

Audiology sets the tone

There is one main rule we follow when describing a new product: whatever we say needs to be substantiated and supported with evidence. For this, the Bernafon audiologists conduct clinical trials to validate the benefits that our products bring to the end user. The test results from both clinical trials and technical measurements ultimately flow into all the marketing messages accompanying the product release.

Having locked down the campaign concept, naming, and main messages, it is time for my personal highlight -- the exciting development of visuals, movies, and marketing materials.

That one perfect shot

For the campaign key visuals, we were looking for models, or look-alikes, to visually match the wolf, owl, and lynx. These animals with exceptional hearing abilities inspired us for Bernafon Alpha. A professional photoshoot to me is like a glimpse into a different world where technical equipment is vast and attention to detail is the holy grail. “Move your head a bit to the right, chin up, look positive but don’t smile”, tuck in that collar, a hand repositioning a strand of hair, light check, “focus your eyes”, flash, click and repeat - until the one picture is nothing less than perfect. Here is a peek behind the scenes:

Image credits: Myriam Schneider

And... Action!

Moving on to the shoot of the intro movie, a film crew of 10, our model, two animal trainers and a young, adorably playful wolf, uh … dog, set out to a forest in Zurich, Switzerland. The organization of the entire crew was flawless, the only unpredictable part being Eryu, portraying the wolf. Eryu is a Northern Inuit Dog, the same breed used in “Games of Thrones” to play the dire wolves. But, although a bit too playful for a big, strong wolf, Eryu delivered beautifully and a catchy 45-second clip was produced:

Image credits: Sandra Wichowski

Getting ready to excite

At this point, our work is far from done. The Bernafon headquarters team of international product trainers train the Bernafon wholesale companies around the world, bringing them up to speed so they can best relate product information to you, the hearing care professionals fitting Bernafon Alpha hearing aids.

Various tools to counsel end users and promote Bernafon Alpha are developed by our internal multi-media design team. Talented and truly versatile in their abilities, they bring the campaign to life digitally, on paper, and in the form of decoration pieces for your shops.

And when our initial work in Bern is done and we shift our focus to the next project in line, Bernafon Alpha finally takes center stage at your end. All around the world, exciting launch events are taking place. They bring Bernafon Alpha to you with prominent hosts, connectivity experts, wildlife speakers, and even some visits to the wild hearing experts who inspired Alpha.

Bernafon Alpha. Inspired by the best.


About the author:

Myriam Schneider
Myriam Schneider
Myriam has been leading projects and conceptualizing global marketing campaigns in Bernafon’s marketing communication headquarters since spring 2018. With a degree in international hospitality management from EHL and previous work experience in sales and innovation management, she aims for a holistic communication approach and strong customer focus. In her free time, Myriam loves to travel far and often, enjoys plunging into a new world when reading fiction books, and spends sunny days floating in Bern’s home river Aare together with friends.