#bernspiration – Out and about with Brian Ruchti

Joy, curiosity, excitement, surprise ... How can we convey and evoke emotions such as these through the screen? And how can we ensure the success of digital events? We asked a Bernese expert for hybrid and virtual events: Brian Ruchti, CEO and co-founder of Newsroom Communication.

Brian Ruchti is many things – entrepreneur, host at the radio station Radio Gelb-Schwarz, avid ping-pong player, cyclist, craft beer lover, dad, Bernese through and through. And most of all: an enthusiast who loves to tackle new projects. Early on, the co-founder and CEO of the company Newsroom Communication saw the crisis as an opportunity, and so, in this past year, he and his team of 17 specialized in virtual and hybrid events. We accompanied him from is office in the Mattenhof neighbourhood to the exhibition hall at BERNEXPO.

  • Fact

    Brian Ruchti founded Newsroom Communication AG – or Openmind GmbH, as it was called at the time – with Benjamin Blaser and Simon Klopfenstein in 2013. Their very first office was set up in the small back room of a hairdresser's in the “Breitsch”, the Breitenrain neighbourhood. Today, the company has 17 employees and can be found in a large office on Eiger square.

Brian, what do you love about your job?

Working with people and the diversity. There’s no such thing as a “typical day at work” for me, my job is very dynamic. On the one hand, I am the CEO of the company and therefore have strategic tasks, and I enjoy leading a team. On the other hand, I get to be a producer, stage manager, or host every once in a while – albeit not as often as I used to. But I still love doing it. Working in the field keeps me close to the team and to the products that we produce.

What is on you team’s mind at the moment?

Our main line of work – the field of live communication – has changed a lot in the past year. But we were able to more than compensate the shortages thanks to hybrid and virtual events. From smaller events like general assemblies all the way to large town hall meetings with 5,000 employees: we work with our clients from concept to production. How can we convey and exchange emotions even though real encounters and events are not possible? How can we bring emotionality into the digital sphere? Those are the questions that we think about the most during these processes.

The current situation is also a big opportunity: it promotes innovation and creativity.

What do you find exciting and interesting about virtual and hybrid events?

The possibilities when it comes to the technology. They are near endless. And I’m fascinated by the people's adaptability. And by how happy they are to be in contact with each other, even if it’s virtual. Seeing that event organizers are not giving up and carrying on is very touching. And that they get creative and innovative and come up with something special in order to offer the participants a virtual experience that they won’t forget.

Brian at work

Brian on virtual and hybrid events

What are the advantages of virtual and hybrid events? Why is Bern a particularly attractive location for these kinds of events? And what developments does he predict for the future? Hear Brian’s answers in the video interview recorded at BERNEXPO’s Studio 7.

  • Fun Fact

    At the hybrid liquor distilling conference, for which Newsroom Communication filmed a barrel maker at work, among other things, participants included monks. They hadn’t been able to attend in the last few years, so they were especially excited about the digital format.

What makes Bern so attractive for hybrid events? A good network of technical partners and experienced companies and venues, its location in the heart of Switzerland, short travel distances, its bilingualism, an incredibly attractive destination, and likable people.

Brian, what kinds of virtual and hybrid events are possible in Bern?

A lot is possible – from a webinar that can be implemented in a small studio by a team of two all the way to large-scale events that have their own screen setting. These types of events are possible at BERNEXPO's exhibition hall, the Kursaal, the premises of Wankdorf stadium, or Gurten – Park im Grünen, for example. They are actually quite similar to a TV production: there’s a producer, cameramen, and people who supervise and manage the platform and the questions coming in from the audience. 

Which event from the past months was a particular highlight?

The transmission of the Bernese Digital Days, which was a big success. We built two studios at the Erlacherhof and broadcast all the interviews, discussions, and keynote speeches of the two-day event. The audience was able to digitally participate in the discussions and ask questions. 

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Brian's Bern

As co-founder and CEO of Newsroom Communication, Brian is involved in shaping the city of Bern through a variety of projects. What does he love about Bern? Where does he refuel? And what’s his favourite “Beizli” (neighbourhood bistro) for a “Fübi” (after-work beer)? Hear it from the local himself.

Brian, how would you describe the Bernese way of life?

Bern has the perfect combination of Mediterranean dolce vita – thanks to the Aare river – and Swiss precision and reliability. Yes, we do like to have a good time and we enjoy life. But we are also very reliable, motivated, and passionate about our work.

Bern’s heart and soul are its people and how well they work together. What I find really cool: the Bernese are ambitious, but not in an overly dogged or obstinate way. And I think that’s the best recipe for success.

What do you love about Bern?

I love going for a dip in the Aare river, the great beer culture, riding my bike everywhere, the view of the Alps and the beautiful landscape. But the most beautiful thing about Bern are the people who live here. I don’t think there’s any other place in Switzerland where the people have such big hearts. The Bernese are very warm people.

And what do you miss most at the moment?

Before the pandemic, we did the live communication for events such as Bern’s Night of the Museums, the Fernwehfestival at the Kursaal event hall, or the Gurtenfestival. Although I do find virtual and hybrid events very interesting, I’m really looking forward to experiencing events in person again. Having a cool beer on the Gurten, listening to great bands perform live on stage... Sharing a sense of community with thousands of other people is something I miss a lot! And a big highlight will be going back to commentating the games of Bern’s soccer team, the Young Boys, in a stadium filled with 30’000 fans.

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