“Our employees have ink in their blood” – an interview with edding

When your brand name takes on such a life of its own that it becomes the de facto umbrella term for an entire product group, you can’t have done much wrong. But edding, a family-run business founded in Hamburg in 1960 and with consolidated sales of €125.7 million in 2020, represents more than just markers and writing utensils.

We spoke with Andreas Helmis, Managing Director of edding Vertrieb GmbH with responsibility for marketing and distribution in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He revealed to us why he’s looking forward to Insights-X and how clearly communicated company values can leave a positive mark on end customers.

Mr Helmis, how pleased are you that Insights-X will again take place in person in 2022?

Andreas Helmis: We’re delighted with the return of the on-site Insights-X. Having had to minimise face-to-face contact with our customers over recent years, we’re now all the more excited to interact with them in person. We also welcome the fact that customers will finally be able to hold and try out products for themselves again, as that’s the best way for them to make sure they really like them.

How do you feel Insights-X contributes to brand development and building at edding?

Andreas Helmis: Trade fairs really have a big effect on brand building. At Insights-X, the brand can be experienced in its totality, so to speak, in personal dialogue, while trying out the products and at presentations. Everything about how we present ourselves at the expo reflects our core values and the philosophy underpinning the edding product brand. Of course, our team at the expo has a crucial role to play in the brand experience. We like to say that our employees have “ink in their blood” – they feel connected to the brand and can convey this to visitors at the expo.

Speaking of company values – by taking a strong position on sociopolitical matters, does this help to make your brand more tangible for customers? For example, you clearly set out your stall recently in respect of Russia’s attack on Ukraine with your product edding 800 Peace Marker.

Andreas Helmis: Customers increasingly want to know what stance companies are taking, what their position is when it comes to political or social matters. More and more consumers are linking their decision to buy specific products with the respective organisation’s viewpoint and culture. Through conscious consumption and boycotts, people can exert significant pressure on companies and also tell others about this on social media. That’s why it’s particularly important for us at edding to clearly and transparently communicate where we stand when it comes to Russia’s war against Ukraine, for example. In addition to our early and categorical statement on the suspension of our trading activities with Russia, our Peace Marker product embodies special symbolism. As a brand, we feel that this is the most succinct way for us to express our commitment along with our customers directly through our products. The Peace Marker creates a very close emotional bond with our customers.

Does edding have other interesting corporate responsibility projects underway?

Andreas Helmis: We’ve set ourselves the goal of achieving climate neutrality at all of our sites with the help of offsetting by late 2024. In fact, our long-term aim is to have a positive impact on our environment. Accordingly, we’re working in a multitude of projects on lowering our carbon footprint and looking at other areas in which we use the Earth’s resources.

To reduce waste, we provide our customers at home and abroad with boxes for collecting empty and used-up writing utensils and markers of any brand. These can then be returned free of charge. After preliminary sorting, the products are sent to a recycling company that is also a supplier of recycled materials for the production of new EcoLine markers. In this way, a small proportion of the material obtained can be re-incorporated into the production line for new EcoLine markers.

Creativity is another important topic for the stationery industry. What are you doing to foster this among your customers?

Andreas Helmis: Our products are ideal for anyone interested in getting their creative juices flowing. Beginners, hobbyists and experts alike love edding’s creative range because it’s simple to use and can be relied upon to deliver high quality.

In addition to the versatile products, we also offer detailed instructions and ideas that everyone can apply in their own individual way to give free rein to their creativity.

Thank you for speaking with us!

Die Insights-X ist die Fachmesse für Papier-, Büro- und Schreibwaren, die nicht nur für die Branche, sondern auch zusammen mit ihr entwickelt wurde.

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