On 7th April 2020, IEG’s BoD approved the 2019 balance with a double-digit growth of +11.8% in turnover compared to 2018. What were the main leverages and strong points that led IEG to achieve this result?
The results at 31st December 2019, the best our Group has ever seen, confirm our company’s significant and constant growth trend and are proof of the effectiveness of the strategies enacted in terms of developing products in our portfolio and the growth of external lines. Strategies that have allowed each of the Group’s business lines to record extremely positive results. Performances at the end of 2019, show IEG’s strength in terms of offer richness and quality and reward our constant urge to position ourselves as sector innovators. We will continue to look towards the future, without ever forgetting to fully promote our products, their history and the world of values for which they are the core. And we will do it with an exceptional boost throughout 2020 because our customers need us, now more than ever. And we will not abandon them. We want to be their starting point. In facts and numbers.
In a time of crisis like the one we are experiencing, do you think that companies, especially SMEs that make up the majority of the Italian gold-jewelry industry’s business framework, can glimpse an opportunity for re-thinking their business strategies? Or better. Besides the enormous impact and damage that all this will have on their activities, how, in your opinion, can they “exploit” this lockdown period?
The entrepreneurs operating in the Italian gold-jewelry industry, to whom we listen every day, are busy trying to understand how current events will impact their business model and which areas will require new levels of service and support. This situation is undoubtedly leading to a more rapid use of new technologies. The planet is seeing an accelerated rush towards e-commerce, digital payments and remote working. If our companies, which always manage to astound us, and, may I say, always achieve and have always achieved authentic “miracles”, now make a decisive step towards these tools, a good part of the recovery will already have been earned, I am absolutely sure of it.
Let’s talk about legislative measures to support companies in managing the crisis. What should the governmental priorities be in order to concretely help companies in the medium and long-term period?
Besides postponing VAT and tax payments at least until September, I believe that providing companies with liquidity, through the banks, is of fundamental importance. Then, without a doubt, interventions are needed for the recovery in order to avoid having to resort to lay-offs, including increased fiscal detractions on investments and marketing expenses to facilitate consumer credit and deferred payment solutions, particularly through digital payments.
IEG’s agenda includes 48 directly organized and hosted trade shows, 190 congress events as well as participations at foreign events. What will the trade show be like in the future? And what is the trait d'union that holds together all IEG’s events? What is the indispensable element, besides the different environments in which they operate?
Just as after 11th September, people continued to fly. And even after this pandemic, people will still go to trade shows. It will be the responsibility of the organizers, as it was then for the airports, to do everything necessary to make the traders safe. We are preparing all the requirements in terms of ideas and resources to be one of the best Centers in relation to health safety. One of the common denominators at all our events is the extreme accuracy of our services for the exhibitors and careful hospitality measures for the visitors. Another is “vision”, that is, the role that traders acknowledge us for as a privileged observatory for trends and development trends.
What is the trade show model that is able to provide business continuity to a company even “when there is no trade show”?
It is the one which all our world has been working on for years and I am not saying anything new by affirming that “there is always a trade show”. It is, at least as far as IEG is concerned, all year round. I’m thinking of the business matching platforms, for example, that, months before the actual trade show event, allow companies and buyers to start relations that continue over time and which then have a physical meet-up moment at the show. It is just one of the decisive steps in their relations. A model that we designed and activated a couple of years ago, after our entry at Vicenza and which is now fully operative for all our jewelry trade shows. The current health crisis has, undoubtedly, imposed a sustained acceleration of these themes but it is exactly that, just an acceleration.
Let’s talk about systemization, one of the most delicate topics at the moment, especially for SMEs. On the trade show level, how important do you think collaboration between Italian and international shows is in coordinating calendars and protecting exhibitors? What has been done and how much do you think is still to be done?
The topic is decisive, articulate and also coherent with the idea of European and international cooperation that we have in mind. Coordination between organizers is indispensable and urgent. But the return to normality is not a return that can be invoked. It particularly requires the awareness, on the part of all trade show players, that, this time, either we all get there together or we don’t get there at all. That goes for every topic in the exhibition world, and even more so for calendar harmonization. But if you ask me if the trade show system players are clear about that…