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Newspapers dead caused by publishers.001

© 2014 by Value Communication AG, Mainz/Germany

 

By Sudarsha Rambaran, Value Art+Communication Fellow, Mainz
(This blog post is part of a new Value iBook “The Real Value of Print” which will be available soon)

 

ValueLearnings

• Beyond craziness? — The Woeful Tale of the Newspaper and its War with the Internet

• Publishers’ strange behavior (since decades): they ignore the needs of their customers

• The biggest enemy of print & publishing are newspaper publishers and their partners in the traditional media business

 

Five years ago, in an interview with Horizont, media expert and author of What would Google do?” Jeff Jarvis made some visionary comments about the future of the newspaper industry. He stated that society is being massively restructured because of the internet, however, Google is not the instigator of this process as many believe, but rather a result of it. These days, if you cannot be searched on the net, you cannot be found. The mass market for newspapers may be dead, but there is still a niche for them in the world. The news itself must change: it has to be tailored to target audiences, which is why regional newspapers can benefit so much from Google. Google itself is currently changing their whole marketing approach. They are concentrating on making the advertising relevant to local markets by personalizing the stories (nice example here). They no longer want to mass produce messages that work on a global level, and it’s working brilliantly!

The advantages of the online world for newspapers are many; low costs, cheap distribution, fast updates, and discussions with the readers. There was the nice example with the New York Times. They took down the paywall on their  site and their internet traffic rose by 40%, which started a snowball effect: they earned more money from advertisements, and they moved up the list on the Google search page, which led to even more readers.

Currently, the German regional newspapers are rebelling against Google, because they believe it doesn’t help their sites, especially on the Google News side. One prominent example of this is the “Braunschweiger Zeitung”, which has abandoned the Google News feature. Their  reasoning for this, in my opinion, made little sense: they wanted to show their confidence and independence from Google. They also want Google News to suffer for it; if many regional newspapers leave it, Google will have a problem. Yet in reality it would be their problem if they can’t be found! The whole story reminded me of this:

On the other hand, the Zeitung went about this in a clever way, as they started a massive marketing campaign in order to raise awareness and advertise the newspaper. However, They could have done the marketing campaign without leaving Google, and Google would only have supported it! The marketing campaign did increase the visits to their website by 27%, though, but I still don’t see how leaving Google helped with this.

So the big question we asked ourselves here was: why blame Google for the decline of the newspaper industry when all it’s doing is helping? (And why not Twitter, which would have made far more sense?). The facts:

  • Google is a great source of promotion. We send online news publishers a billion clicks a month from Google News and more than three billion extra visits from our other services, such as Web Search and iGoogle. That is 100,000 opportunities a minute to win loyal readers and generate revenue—for free.
  • In terms of copyright, another bone of contention, we only show a headline and a couple of lines from each story. If readers want to read on they have to click through to the newspaper’s Web site. (The exception are stories we host through a licensing agreement with news services.) And if they wish, publishers can remove their content from our search index, or from Google News.
  • The claim that we’re making big profits on the back of newspapers also misrepresents the reality. In search, we make our money primarily from advertisements for products. Someone types in digital camera and gets ads for digital cameras. A typical news search—for Afghanistan, say—may generate few if any ads. The revenue generated from the ads shown alongside news search queries is a tiny fraction of our search revenue.

Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google Inc, writing for the Wall Street Journal

It all speaks for itself, really. Readers also don’t necessarily want to read newspapers solely on digital platforms, as many in the newspaper industry fear. The actual percentage of people who do exclusively want digital content is at 10-12%.

“News is not one-size-fits-all” – Jeff Jarvis

The newspapers do not just have a problem with the Internet, they also have a content problem. They need to change their approach by tailoring news to target audiences rather than trying to reach everyone, which is why regional newspapers, like the Braunschweiger Zeitung are so important today. Dr. Andreas Vogel put it quite nicely in a study:

“Bloß die Verlage glauben, [dass sie] mit einem Einheitsprodukt alle Leser [gewinnen können]“

Roughly translated, this means that only the newspapers themselves believe that they can reach all types of readers by creating one mass product.

Dr. Vogel believes that one possible solution to this content problem is to differentiate the product by offering different versions of it. Not too many, however; perhaps three or four intelligently created versions, which can be decided on by polling the readers and asking them about their interests. These versions might be smaller/thinner than the original edition, and cheaper. This is a great idea, as it is more personal, which is so important these days, and it views the buyer as a reader/consumer. Many newspapers seem to ignore this; fact is, what might be academically recognized as quality journalism may not be something the reader can cohere. Newspapers need to connect to their readers, or at least write pieces that their readers can relate to.

Now back to the evil that is Google, according to publishing companies. A German organization, VG Media, own by a number of media companies like Axel Springer SE, sued Google for copyright reasons; they claimed that Google was stealing from them by showing short snippets of their articles on the search page. The result was a law, called the Leistungsschutzrecht, which forbids Google from showing these snippets (it is rather vaguely written, though). The result of all of this ridiculousness was this: October 1st, 2014, Google announced that it would no longer show the snippets, instead just the name of the article and maybe the author. They don’t even show the paper’s logo on the search page. And the papers are crying wolf at Google again. At the end of the day, what really happened is that the newspapers blamed Google for the problems they were having (and still are). They were simply afraid that Google was taking business away from them and thus making more money. Whereas in reality, Google only promoted and linked to their content, thus delivering readers to them on a silver platter! The PR brochure promoting this stated that “If someone wants to use our content, they have to ask.” It’s pretty easy translate this into what they really meant, and German blogger Stefan Niggemeier did so flawlessly: “Google must use it and pay”. Now Google isn’t using it or paying, and they’re left crying in the corner because they got what they wanted; Google doesn’t showcase their content anymore. And they will lose clicks.

Newspapers dead caused by publishers.001

ValueCheck! — Zeitung

© 2014 by Value Communication AG, Mainz/Germany

 

By Sudarsha Rambaran, Value Art+Com Fellow, Mainz

 

ValueLearnings

• Learn why Google is de facto a vital source of promotion for newspapers, rather than “the enemy“.

• Newspapers no longer have a mass market, but a new niche. Discover it!

• What a lot of newspapers think Google is doing vs. what they are actually doing.

 

Five years ago, in an interview with Horizont, media expert and author of “What would Google do?” Jeff Jarvis made some visionary comments about the future of the newspaper industry. He stated that society is being massively restructured because of the internet, however, Google is not the instigator of this process as many believe, but rather a result of it. These days, if you cannot be searched on the net, you cannot be found. The mass market for newspapers may be dead, but there is still a niche for them in the world. The news itself must change: it has to be tailored to target audiences, which is why regional newspapers can benefit so much from Google. Google itself is currently changing their whole marketing approach. They are concentrating on making the advertising relevant to local markets by personalizing the stories (nice example here). They no longer want to mass produce messages that work on a global level, and it’s working brilliantly!

The advantages of the online world for newspapers are many; low costs, cheap distribution, fast updates, and discussions with the readers. There was the nice example with the New York Times. They took down the paywall on their site and their internet traffic rose by 40%, which started a snowball effect: they earned more money from advertisements, and they moved up the list on the Google search page, which led to even more readers.

Currently, the German regional newspapers are rebelling against Google, because they believe it doesn’t help their sites, especially on the Google News side. One prominent example of this is the “Braunschweiger Zeitung”, which has abandoned the Google News feature. Their reasoning for this, in my opinion, made little sense: they wanted to show their confidence and independence from Google. They also want Google News to suffer for it; if many regional newspapers leave it, Google will have a problem. Yet in reality it would be their problem if they can’t be found! The whole story reminded me of this:

On the other hand, the Zeitung went about this in a clever way, as they started a massive marketing campaign in order to raise awareness and advertise the newspaper. However, They could have done the marketing campaign without leaving Google, and Google would only have supported it! The marketing campaign did increase the visits to their website by 27%, though, but I still don’t see how leaving Google helped with this.

 

ValueCheck! — Zeitung Illustration.001

© 2014 by Value Communication AG, Mainz/Germany

 

So the big question we asked ourselves here was: why blame Google for the decline of the newspaper industry when all it’s doing is helping? (And why not Twitter, which would have made far more sense?). The facts:

  • Google is a great source of promotion. We send online news publishers a billion clicks a month from Google News and more than three billion extra visits from our other services, such as Web Search and iGoogle. That is 100,000 opportunities a minute to win loyal readers and generate revenue—for free.
  • In terms of copyright, another bone of contention, we only show a headline and a couple of lines from each story. If readers want to read on they have to click through to the newspaper’s Web site. (The exception are stories we host through a licensing agreement with news services.) And if they wish, publishers can remove their content from our search index, or from Google News.
  • The claim that we’re making big profits on the back of newspapers also misrepresents the reality. In search, we make our money primarily from advertisements for products. Someone types in digital camera and gets ads for digital cameras. A typical news search—for Afghanistan, say—may generate few if any ads. The revenue generated from the ads shown alongside news search queries is a tiny fraction of our search revenue.

Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google Inc, writing for the Wall Street Journal

It all speaks for itself, really.

 

ValueCheck!
Please also check out Andreas Weber’s post, “Zeit-ung ist gleich Zeit-um?”, about a local newspaper here in Mainz, the Mainzer Allgemeine Zeitung!

 

Foto: Andreas Weber

© 2014 by Value Communication AG, Mainz/Germany (Left: Sükran | Right: Sudarsha)

 

By Sudarsha Rambaran, Value Communication Fellow, Mainz

A couple of days ago, became clear to us that many print companies believe that the internet and social media are fatal to their business. After discovering this, Şükran and I went on to research why that is; as digital natives, we could not imagine why print is believed to be a dying breed, especially by the printers themselves.

The research yielded some surprising results. I googled the term “print companies” and I found quite a few print companies from the US that are using the digital world wonderfully to their advantage. For example, Print Three is a Canadian company which has a beautifully designed website and a modern and innovative advertisement on YouTube. I loved the advertisement, since it was very customer-oriented and did not focus on explaining the technology of the printers, as printing companies tend to do. Instead, it elucidated the products, and fixated on what the company can do for “you” (i.e. the customer). They also have a sister company, Eden, which offers help on a social media level and also utilizing the web in a coherent way. Another impressive example was a company called AlphaGraphics, which works with a similar business model as Print Three.

I also came across a blog, written by UK expert Matthew Parker. It was like social media marketing for dummies, as he breaks it down into three simple steps and their advantages:

1. Create interest

  • Customers will take more of an interest in you if you stay in touch and send them valuable information.
  • Become a valuable resource for the customer; make sure you are the person they go to if they need something

2. Start engagements

  • Post interesting information, thus encouraging discussions. Why? Because every action has a reaction!

3.   Create opportunities for offline engagement

  • In order to truly do business successfully, you have to move the relationship away from social media in the final step
  • Use social media to set up human-to-human meetings

The above is such a simple concept, so I really don’t understand why it seems to be such a problem for printing companies.

 

Please read as well Sükran’s survey results.

Or watch the full movie with all results by both of us.

 

 

Vortrag Dresden 2014.046

© 2014 by Value Communication AG, Mainz/Germany

 

By Şükran Ceren Salalı, Value Art+Com Research Fellow, Istanbul

Even though print became very practical and popular with the new personalization techniques provided by attempts of various printing companies, the sector faces a crisis. Based on this, our intention was to research about the value of printing with its two faces that we called as the beauty and the beast.

My personal experience during the research was a kind of surprising. What I know as huge and famous companies in printing sector like Xerox, HP (as vendors) or Vistaprint (a leading Online printing service provider), were actually the ones who had the largest amount of complaints from their customers. Actually, the situation is also somehow related with the high amount of customers they have, however; this does not mean that they are successful and satisfying as much as they preach. Most of the complaints of customers were about the price, the technical quality of machines and the inadequate ink system. Moreover, most of the comments came with the business card demands of customers, a very simple print application.  For instance, a customer of Vistaprint was complaining about the way the company created their business cards and what he was unhappy about that they did not provide a business card holder. What he highlights made me think about the importance of personalization either by the design or by the gift attached to the printed product.

Innovation talent has to be approved

On the other hand, the success of an innovative print service provider like Elanders Germany came up as proof of increased amount of new and smart companies in the printing sector. When I read about their challenges and solutions, I was able to compare those disappointing results that came up from the companies like HP and Xerox.

As a last point, what I have found was an impressive article, or let‘s say the letter from a business developer who works for Xerox The Netherlands. In the letter, he gives several points about the value of printing and the paper. According to him, paper is much more influential than any other interactive platforms as it takes people into the digital world, being the most catchy product for customers.

Hence, as a result of the research on the two-faced value of print as the beauty and the beast, the printing sector faces with crisis which requires more innovative and communicative attempts from already famous and big companies by getting rid of technical problems of machines and by focusing more on the expectations of each customer with personalized products, benefits and even gifts.

 

Please read as well Suri’s alias Sudarsha blog post.

 

Or watch the full movie with the research results by both of us.

ValueCheck! — Sommerfest in Mainz bei VRM.001

 

Eindrücke, Erlebnisse und Erinnerungen von Andreas Weber
(die er gerne per Social Media und v. a. auf Facebook teilt!)

 

Prolog

Mainz, die Gutenberg-Stadt, feiert gerne. so auch letzte Woche am 25. Juli 2014 auf einem tollen Sommerfest. Geladen hat die IHK Rheinhessen und die Handwerkskammer, Gastgeber ist die Verlagsgruppe Rhein Main (VRM), Sponsoren sind die Schott AG und andere. Rundum ein gelungenes Fest, mit Live-Musik, tollem Buffet und der gesamten Mainzer Business-Elite.

Soweit alles OK?
Im Prinzip „ja!“.
Dann aber doch „nein!“.

 

Bei einem Sommerfest mit Sponsoren müssen auch Reden gehalten werden. Und klar, das übernimmt zunächst der Gastgeber VRM durch den Sprecher der Geschäftsführung, Hans Georg Schnücker, der punktgenau seit 10 Jahren im Amt ist. Und einen prima Job gemacht hat: Neues Gebäude, gute Marktposition als Regionalzeitungsgruppe (im Vergleich zu anderen Zeitungsunternehmen). Und doch klagt der Chef und oberste Verleger sein Leid mit der zunehmenden Digitalisierung, die da auf uns einströme. Er erläutert, wie man darauf aus seiner Sicht erfolgreich agiere, indem man seine Online-Angebote per Websites ausbaue, sogar mit der Gründerszene in Mainz angebandelt habe, um neue technische Möglichkeiten zu nutzen und das Online-Engagement weiter zu optimieren. Das Credo lautete wohl: Wenn Print nicht mehr so läuft, dann stellen wir unsere Inhalte halt online. Wird schon klappen. Irgendwie. VRM-Boss Schnücker sagte wörtlich: „Die Digitalisierung ist die größte gesellschaftliche Revolution, wahrscheinlich wichtiger als Gutenbergs Erfindung des Buchdrucks“.

Und was heisst das? Digitalisierung ist ein technischer Vorgang, keine Gesellschaft-Form oder gar Kulturleistung einer Gesellschaft. US-Amerikaner, allesamt Wirtschaftsführer, wählten Gutenberg zum „Man of the Millennium“. Zum Jahrtausend-Erfinder. Und den werfen wir Mainzer, in seiner Heimatstadt, jetzt über Bord, wegen der (nicht richtig begriffenen) „Digitalisierung“, die eine Revolution auslöst? Uff!

Nichtsdestotrotz: Das alles hörte sich für die Anwesenden plausibel an. Auch dass der Verleger ein wenig verlegen war, weil er scheinbar nicht so ganz durchblickt und abschätzen kann, wie hoch die Digitalisierungs-Welle tatsächlich schwappt, die die Medienlandschaft unter Wasser setzt. Alle Gäste hörten artig zu. Und glaubten dem Redner, was er sagte. Und respektierten, dass wir in einer schwierigen Zeit leben. Des Verlegers Journalisten und Fotografen wuselten umher, um artig „Content“ zu erstellen, der dann, später, in der Zeitung (Print und dann auch online) erscheinen wird. Schließlich sind die Anwesenden ja allesamt wichtige/potenzielle Anzeigen-/Werbe- und Lesekunden.

 

Hoppla: Facebook wird geschmäht! Und Gutenberg über Bord geworfen!

Während sich das abspielte, tummelten sich einige der Gäste auf Facebook und Twitter, um zu teilen, was sie erlebten. Zehntausende Mainzer, die nicht zugegen waren, tummelten sich auch „online“: auf Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Sie nutzen alles intensiv, nur nicht die „digitalen Online-Angebote“ der Verlagsgruppe Rhein-Main. Warum auch, steht ja alles anderntags in der gedruckten Zeitung. Klar, alle Journalisten arbeiten für Print und die VRM-Websites.

Jedenfalls blieb die Facebook-Seite der VRM vom schönen Sommerfest während es stattfand unberührt — und damit auch der Normal-Leser aus Mainz und Rheinhessen, egal ob nun Sommerfest-Besucher oder auch nicht.

Co-Redner Dr. Peter Hanser-Strecker, selbst Verleger, Träger des Grossen Verdienstkreuzes der Bundesrepublik und Beiratsvorsitzender der VRM, fand auch einen guten Grund, nicht mit den Facebooks, Googles und Co. warm werden zu können. Das seien ja alles Urheberrechtsverletzer. Ganz schlimm. — Und auch ganz paradox. Denn die Ministerpräsidentin Malu Dreyer hatte bei der Ordensverleihung in der Staatskanzlei zu Mainz über Dr. Hanser Strecke gesagt: „Sein Name steht für die ertragreiche Verbindung aus unternehmerischem Pioniergeist, moralischem und sozialem Ethos und kultureller Verantwortung“.

Das wird Präsident Obama auch über Facebook-Gründer Marc Zuckerberg zurecht sagen. Und nun? Wer hat recht? Wiederum: ein klares „sowohl als auch“. Klar hat der Dr. Peter Hanser-Strecker recht, Urheberrechte sind heilig. Aber er bezieht es ja gar nicht auf uns, sondern auf sich, seinen Verlag, seine Autoren. Und die wollen Geld für die Nutzung ihrer Inhalte. Die Bösen, die zudem noch Gutenberg verehren, die machen Inhalte kostenfrei zugänglich… Pfui!

 

 

Value Key Visual Gutenberg Statue Colored.001

 

Wichtig: Media ist Social!

Und hier schließt sich der Kreis: Der Verleger und die VRM wie auch der genannte VRM-Beiratsvorsitzende sträuben sich gegen die Digitalisierung und ignorieren die Wichtigkeit des „Social“ bei „Media“. Schade, denn Interaktion und Anteilnahme sind in der Social World weit ausgeprägter, als beim Publizieren von Websites und gedruckten Zeitungen, die so gut wie gar nicht auf Interaktion ausgelegt sind. Interaktion ist aber nötig, um Emotionen zu wecken. Alles andere ist Datenvervielfältigung, was nicht besser wird, wenn man statt auf Papier diese auch per Website ausliefert.

Übrigens: Die Verdienste des Gutenbergs liegen weniger im Buchdruck (was auch immer das bedeuten mag; Gutenberg nutzte die Hochdruck-Technik zum Drucken von Büchern, hat dieses altbekannte Verfahren aber nicht erfunden), sondern im Setzen und Drucken mit beweglichen Lettern. Im Zeitalter der vielgeschorenen „Digitalisierung” hätte Gutenberg als smarter Mainzer bestimmt das Publizieren mit beweglichen Daten erfunden (das ja heute sogar bei Drucksachen geht). Ob das die VRM dann lizensiert und nutzbar gemacht hätte? Wer weiss. Wer weiss.

Und, wen interessiert das schon mit dem „ollen Gutenberg“, dem ersten weltweit erfolgreichen Start-up-Unternehmer in Mainz? Den hat es doch weggefegt! Hauptsache das Sommerfest war klasse! Und 1.100 Gäste waren gerne dabei. Ja dann, bis zum nächsten mal. Ciao!

 

Epilog

Wenn man die VRM Verlagsgruppe Rhein Main auf Facebook sucht, taucht als erstes eine von Facebook automatisiert erzeugte Page auf (die sich aus Wikipedia speist). Erst auf den zweiten Blick bemerkt man, das VRM auch selbst eine Page betreibet, allerdings mit sehr wenigen „Besuchern“ (am 29.7.2014, 12:00h waren es nur 514, und nur 434 „Gefällt mir“ Angaben; waren wohl die eigenen Mitarbeiter, oder?). — Und zum Sommerfest ist immer noch nix von VRM gepostet!

Irgendwie ist mir das als Wahl-Mainzer peinlich.
Es macht mich verlegen, obwohl ich gar nicht Verleger sein will…
Sorry, Mr. Gutenberg! We still love and admire you!

 

 

Value Key Visual Gutenberg Illu Lidia Colored.001

ValueNonsenseCheck Key Visual .001

@ 2014 by Andreas Weber, Value Communication AG, Mainz/Germany

 

 

Ein herzliches Willkommen beim ValueNonsenseCheck!

Die zentrale Herausforderung im 21. Jahrhundert: Den Sinn im Unsinn erkennen. 

Nichts in der Welt passiert ohne Grund und ohne Konsequenz. In loser Folge stellen wir alles vor, was den sinnentstellenden Unsinn als Vorboten der Dummheit beflügelt. Wir stellen jedem frei,  das sich daraus ableitende, disruptive Innovationspotenzial für sich zu erkennen und nutzbar machen. 

 

WARNUNG: Nicht alles ist ernst gemeint und sollte für bare Münze genommen werden; es könnte aber in jedem Fall zutreffend sein!

 

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Motto im Monat Juli 2014

„Keine (dumme) Kuh ist so unheilig als dass man sie nicht schlachten könnte.“ Andreas Weber

 

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Beyond #NSA — Topsecret!
Snowden veröffentlicht auf einem Bierdeckel einer sibirischen Kneipe die Liste der Top10 unter den Google-Nutzern in Deutschland. An Nummer 1 steht nahezu uneinholbar: Dr. Mathias Döpfner, Vorstandsvorwitzender (sic!) der Axel Springer AG, Hamburg.

 

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Value Open Innovation Award 2014

#Ephraim #Kishon erhält als erster (leider bereits) verstorbener Mensch den internationalen Value Open Innovation Award, der mit 10 Millionen Lachern dotiert ist.

Prämiert wurde #Kishon für seine herausragende Innovations-Kurzgeschichte über einen genialen Tüftler, der eine Maschine erfand, die Kartoffeln säht, bewässert, aufzieht, erntet, schält, kocht und dann sogleich verspeisen kann.

 

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Innovation per Dialog:

 

Auf Facebook am 5. Juli 2014

Markus Reimer„Wenn die NSA, deren Kernkompetenz die Spionage ist, den NSA-Ausschuss, der die Spionagetätigkeit der NSA untersucht, ausspioniert, dann ist das doch viel weniger skandalös, als viel mehr richtig logisch und endgültig konsequent …“

 

Flocky Auxburg:  “Mit a bisserl Hilfe vom ollen Da Vinci könnt ein Perpetuum Mobile draus werden”

 

Andreas Weber„Stimmt. Logisch ist auch, lieber Markus Reimer, dass ein #NSA Bundestagsausschuss Geheimdiensten anbietet und erleichtert, die Ausschuss-Arbeit auszuspionieren. –Begründung resp. Innovationsansatz:

1. Mehr offene Demokratie und völlige Transparenz wagen.
2. Ausschuss produziert – äh – bleibt Ausschuss. Was soll also schon passieren?
3. Höhere Effizienz: Es können erheblich Kosten und Aufwand bei den Geheimdiensten gespart werden.

PS: Wenn die sich “#NSA Ausschuss” nennen, muss sich NSA doch eingeladen fühlen. Sonst müsste es ja #NSA AusschLuss heißen

#SocialInvestigation. Haha.“

Markus ReimerDas PS ist ja oberlogisch!!! Super, lieber Andreas Weber!

Andreas WeberWir sollten, lieber Markus Reimer, daraus ein gemeinsames InnovationKabarett-Programm (IK) ableiten. Motto: IK statt IQ… Oder? Ich arbeite dazu nachher gleich etwas aus. Wird wunderbar!

 

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[DIESER BEITRAG WIRD UNAUFHALTSAM VORGESETZT!|

 

Dicke Lillie Schild IMG_8123

 

 

 

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Please check out our ValueCheck! as well.
It’s a unique and disruptive approach to unify Communication, Art and Culture to “Connect Innovation to Proift!”

 

 

 

 

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