Strong brands at Insights-X – an interview with STABILO

These days, STABILO pens and markers are essential items in the pencil cases of pupils and students, as well as on desks at home and in offices. This is because STABILO International GmbH, one of Europe‘s leading writing instrument manufacturers, has been producing its customers’ favourite pens for over 160 years. And the company and its products are just like the brand itself: curious, trend-conscious, inspiring and visionary! In other words: STABILO International GmbH is a company that simply has to be part of Insights-X. Matthias Paetzolt, Head of Marketing Germany, tells us why the stationery expo is so crucial for the company, and which trends influence the product range. 

STABILO has been part of Insights-X since day one. Why is it so important for you to take part as an exhibitor?

Matthias Paetzolt: Besides the friendly and relaxed atmosphere for showcasing our new products and talking to our customers, the expo is also of central importance to us as a brand. It enables us to make our brand values tangible to our customers and business partners as well as for our own staff in a way that no other event can. 

Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Insights-X cannot take place live in Nuremberg in 2021. But what new products would you have had in your luggage that the trade should definitely not disregard when deciding what to include in their assortment?

M.P.: In the 2021/22 business year, retailers can once again expect an array of new products from STABILO in various product areas – from early childhood painting and drawing to writing for adults. Of course, trends play a decisive role: above all, pastels are on trend again this year. They can now be seen as a perennial favourite among colour trends, but one which has lost none of its appeal among the target group.

Digital change is affecting all industries. What is your attitude towards this topic and what impact does digitalisation have on your product range? 

M.P.: The general trend towards digitalisation, which has been evident for a long time, has certainly been given a further boost by the last 18 months and is also becoming more and more of a focus for us as a sub-area of product development, so that we’re well prepared for the future. However, we’re currently noticing that analogue is still clearly dominant in our two strategic core areas of early childhood and adult painting and drawing as well as when it comes to learning to write. And we assume that this will remain the case for many years to come. 

Does the topic of ergonomics play a key role in the development of STABILO products?

M.P.: The topic of ergonomics – derived from our brand core value of “caring” – is a key component of our product development in all areas, but especially for products related to learning how to write. Here, with the EASY family’s sequential learning-to-write system, we show what’s possible according to the current state of scientific knowledge, and we set standards in terms of ergonomics for children’s hands. 

Marketing strategy has a huge impact on the success of a company. Which marketing measures are particularly important for you right now? Has there been a rethinking of marketing activities due to coronavirus?

M.P.: During the course of the pandemic, we have, of course, examined all our measures with regard to their current relevance and we’ve also made some adjustments. For example, the focus of our advertising now places more emphasis on products from the creative field, since children and adults alike wanted to keep themselves occupied in a meaningful way during lockdown. On the other hand, we have held on to our basic strategy as well as our level of investment, as in the case of our big EASYbuddy campaign for the start of school. Even – and especially in difficult and uncertain times like these – it was important for us to continue to be present as a reliable brand to the end consumer and to support the retail sector with effective, sales-promoting measures.

How important is working with influencers for you? 

M.P.: We‘ve been working for years with various influencers from various areas who play an important role in our marketing mix as multipliers – especially in the creative sector. We rely primarily on nano- and micro-influencers, who are particularly credible as genuine brand ambassadors for STABILO. The next major influencer project is an advent calendar for the entire family. It was developed in cooperation with two female influencers and is now being sold exclusively via our STABILO brand ambassadors and our own online shop.

STABILO is going to remain loyal to Insights-X in the years to come. What are you most looking forward to when the orange carpet will once again be rolled out in the halls of the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre?

M.P.: I’m definitely looking forward to face-to-face contact and dialogue with our customers, some of whom we’ve only seen on a screen for the last 18 months. And even though that has worked well in most cases, ultimately a Teams call still can’t replace a real, live product presentation with real products to touch, and in a very special and stimulating environment like that of the most important expo for the stationery, school and office supplies sector.

Thank you very much for the interview Mr Paetzolt

Insights-X is the expo for paper, office supplies and stationery that was not only developed for the industry, but also in cooperation with it.

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