Dear readers,

Bernhard Diel

Honestly, how often have you said that in the past few days, how often has it been said to you? And perhaps more importantly, how often was it meant honestly?

And 2021 is actually getting off to a good start: the vaccine is being distributed – yes, not fast enough, not enough vaccination doses, not everything is going as planned, but something is moving!

According to the IMF’s forecast, the economic data are not that bad either. 2020 will be a catastrophe in terms of gross domestic product, but in 2021 – according to the IMF – there will be another global economic plus of 5.2%. This puts Germany at 3.7%. However, the so-called emerging countries benefit more than the industrialized countries; the “greed is cool” mentality has become too entrenched in people’s minds. Products are no longer – and have not been for a long time – produced and bought domestically, but people turn to cheap stores, preferably from the Internet.

But, and that is a lesson from Corona, you can also buy “domestically”, you don’t have to use the big online shops. And the products are usually not that much more expensive than online. And yes, you and I can change our buying behaviour, too.

Corona also showed something else concerning trade and production. That is that one hass lost without diversification. Those who only rely on their (niche) product will lose, have already lost. This is actually not a new finding, as the Albrecht brothers with their discounter store (for the non Germans: ALDI) have always known. But what does that mean for us and our industries? Here too, we have to broaden the range. And not only that, the offer must also reach the customers, in other words advertising. Here, too, a wide range of advertising in all media hits more customers.

Another point that urgently needs to be addressed in 2021 is that the customer has to learn what our products are for; now, of course, the dentist already knows what he needs his stamp for. The private customer must be targeted more clearly. The customer must have an experience with his newly acquired product. The effect of “I have to have that, too” must be brought into focus.

Apple seems to be rediscovering this after the low phase after Steve Jobs’s death. He knew how to do something like that: 13 years ago nobody thought that he or she needed a smartphone. Yes, you read that right, the iPhone has only been around since 2007. But today it is an indispensable part of everyday life. Perhaps our industries also need a revolution like this.

To inventors of this world, get to work!

The world is changing and with it consumer behaviour. What the market needs changes with it. It’s time to tackle that in the New New Year. Let’s take the stamp pen as an example. It bobs at the “management level” of companies. Why do teachers not know that there is such a thing (I have already passed quite a few to enthusiastic colleagues)? In Germany alone there are around 780,000 teachers, not including the universities. And that’s just a small example. The world is big!

“Carpe diem” – “seize the day,” says the Latin. Take advantage of the new beginning from the various corona lockdowns, have the courage, reinvent (yourself)!

Stay healthy and “Happy New Year” (honestly!),

Sincerely, you

Bernhard Diel

(OStRiE) is General Manager of AEGRAFLEX, European Union of Engravers and Stamp Makers