Tag Archives: customer journey

ValueCheck HDU.001

Photos: Heidelberg / HDU. Collage: Andreas Weber, Frankfurt am Main


“We’re remodeling customer interfaces for Heidelberg and creating a seamless digital ecosystem for its customers.” Rainer Wiedmann, Head of the Heidelberg Digital Unit (HDU) and Chief Marketing Officer at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG.

German Version

New digital ecosystem for the print media industry

The new “leading light function” of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG heralded by CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer midway through 2017 is increasingly taking shape and making dynamic progress. “The new Heidelberg Digital Unit is boosting the company’s e-commerce business, online presence, and digital marketing expertise,” said member of the Management Board and Chief Digital Officer Dr. Ulrich Hermann just recently.

What exactly does that entail? Rainer Wiedmann discussed this publicly for the first time in an interview for ValueDialog. A successful digital pioneer, Wiedmann took charge of the Heidelberg Digital Unit start-up company (HDU for short) on April 1, 2018 in parallel with his role as the Heidelberg Group’s Chief Marketing Officer. – The interview was conducted by Head of Value Andreas Weber.


Info box

About the new Heidelberg Digital Unit (HDU)


Bildschirmfoto 2018-06-09 um 07.03.50


Location: Wiesloch-Walldorf, with branches in China, the United States, and Asia

Initial workforce: 50

Objective: To enjoy dynamic growth and establish the number one digital ecosystem in the print sector

Partner: Internet specialist iq!


As CDO on the Heidelberg Management Board, Dr. Ulrich Hermann is a dynamic driving force behind the company’s digital transformation. 



Digital business models inspire the customer journey

Mr. Wiedmann, you were already a digital pioneer over 20 years ago when you founded the argonauten group, a multimedia agency that was an immediate success. What has changed since then?

Rainer Wiedmann: Back then, I was already heavily involved in shaping customer interfaces. This approach led by way of marketing innovation to e-commerce. Nowadays, the focus is on end-to-end digital business models. Thanks to IoT (the Internet of Things), machine learning, voice control, and similar innovations, a complete digital customer journey is now possible for the first time – not only sales & marketing, but many other parts of the value chain are being digitized. 

So you see this as a linear dynamic development?

Rainer Wiedmann: What I see is an extremely dynamic process. An online presence is no longer the be-all and end-all. Access to customers and interaction with them are the most relevant things. Based on the new approach, an optimum customer interface is essential if digitization is to generate value. 

What’s your motivation for treading new ground with HDU in the mechanical engineering sector, of all places?

Rainer Wiedmann: I started out as an engineer and, following my studies at the University of St. Gallen’s Institute of Technology Management, I gained vital experience with a large number of industrial customers. New forms of connectivity are rapidly transforming mechanical engineering, and Heidelberg is extremely well placed to benefit from this development. 

How so?

Rainer Wiedmann: Our machines have long been networked. We also have our own global sales and service organization with a portfolio incorporating hardware, software, and consumables. 

What’s more, the executive management team at Heidelberg understands exactly what transformation through digitization means, as demonstrated among other things by the new subscription model – a first in the industry. As I see it, all this creates the perfect conditions!  


HDU in a nutshell


How is the newly founded HDU positioning itself in this context?

Rainer Wiedmann: Our goal is to design customer interfaces for Heidelberg that create a seamless digital ecosystem for the company’s customers.

What are HDU’s core values?

Rainer Wiedmann: HDU is all about creating added value based on permanence, consistency, and relevance. Its main value lies in getting the maximum number of existing and potential customers to use the Heidelberg offering on a weekly or, better still, daily basis. It’s not simply a case of registering a large number of nominal users in the system, but of having as many active users as possible. As I see it, content, function, coverage, and interaction are the key to success.

Does your new approach with HDU fit in with the Heidelberg culture?

Rainer Wiedmann: On the one hand, the people at Heidelberg come across as being open and innovative. On the other, they like to follow precise rules. In the digital transformation context, however, I feel a more target-driven approach is vital for employees.

What does that achieve?

Rainer Wiedmann: One advantage of HDU that can be transferred to Heidelberg is that in order to achieve specified goals or optimize target achievement, we work as a team on the structure of rules so that we can make adjustments as and when required.

Heidelberg is indisputably strong when it comes to technical innovation. But what about the company’s customers? Are you aware of any reservations about digitization?

Rainer Wiedmann: Given that all kinds of print production have long been based on digital data, our customers are well advanced with the process of digitization, and e-commerce is nothing new to them either. Online printing has created a huge new growth market. Our approach of working closely with customers to offer a comprehensive package providing peace of mind has therefore proved very popular. If you know what needs to be done and the goals are clear, digitization in printing is regarded very much as an opportunity.

Digital print shop processes are one thing, but the go-to-market strategy in the digital age is another matter entirely. I see a weakness here. Am I right?

Rainer Wiedmann: The important thing in my eyes is for Heidelberg to demonstrate the positive effects of digitization as effectively as possible to customers who are in dialog with us. Only personal experience gives a proper impression of how print shops can also put this to good use in their own customer relations.



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Screenshots from the Heidelberg Digital Unit’s new website.

HDU mission statements

“We develop innovative digital sales, marketing, and service solutions for all stages of the customer journey and deliver measurable results with a multidisciplinary team and external partners focused on success.”

“We contribute to the operational excellence of all Heidelberg units by offering a digital, state-of-the-art ecosystem that sets new standards in this area.”

“We don’t shy away from any risk. We rely on our entrepreneurial skills and make unexpected, disruptive decisions that enable us to score points with our customers.”

“We won’t let anything stop us achieving our goals and dreams. Continuously pursuing them and measuring our progress will see us succeed.”

“We embrace the digital age. We enjoy working with people who leave the office happy because everyone has done their best and is proud to be part of the team.”


It’s all about clear goals and measurable successes

HDU started out with 50 staff and is aiming to expand rapidly. What skills do you require?

Rainer Wiedmann: Around 80 percent of our initial team are very experienced and highly skilled in the print market. We’re adding new people who have experience in areas such as e-commerce, digital marketing, and social media. 

What’s special about your team?

Rainer Wiedmann: We have the right mix! The mutual respect and common goals of our “mixed” team make us particularly effective. The excellent market position enjoyed by Heidelberg and our geographical proximity to the company are very helpful and motivate us all. We are “Born in Heidelberg” – a statement that perfectly demonstrates our unshakable commitment. It also boosts our credentials as an employer beyond the confines of the sector.

How is HDU’s work being integrated into the Heidelberg Group’s everyday operations? And how is the collaboration going?

Rainer Wiedmann: We’ve gotten off to a very promising start because we actively approach Heidelberg staff, provide them with all the information they need, and listen to what they have to say. We have contacts for the individual Heidelberg business units and access to all the sales units. Our global Growth Hacking Tour has already started. We’re using it to raise the local profile of our portfolio in key markets, offer training on our new tools and software solutions, and introduce e-commerce initiatives that we’ve developed.


HDU Growth Hacking Tour 2018

Roadmap of the Global Growth Hacking Tour in the startup phase of the HDU. (Photo: screenshot from the HDU website)


Focus on maximum competitiveness and market relevance

Does that effectively mean HDU is offering in-house consulting and agency services at Heidelberg? 

Rainer Wiedmann: Yes, but we’re not uniquely a service provider. We offer support with customized tools, efficient campaigns, and in-depth know-how. And we enter into clear target agreements. Our task is to create measurable results and boost e-commerce sales. We focus closely on figures to deliver success. And we achieve results as a team when we generate leads and sales. 

What is the response to the Growth Hacking Tour? 

Rainer Wiedmann: People are immediately seeing that we’re coming to them with the offer of added value for their day-to-day work and demonstrating a true community spirit. As a subsidiary, we have a clear advantage. We’re creating a trusting relationship from scratch for joint success.

Looking beyond Heidelberg, competitors on the digital printing market are claiming they provide their own digital platforms as ecosystems for print. What can and do you want to do differently or even better?

Rainer Wiedmann: Yes, we have our rivals, but in our segment – commercial and packaging printing – we have the highest market shares and by far the largest installed base. What’s more, we’ve had the world’s largest database for presses for over ten years. 

And that means what?

Rainer Wiedmann: It enables us to offer even better functions and optimum access to our entire portfolio along with detailed knowledge of specific customer interests that is always up to date. Our extremely strong service is now helping to expand things again on the operating side.

So does that mean the HDU ecosystem must make it possible, based on the Heidelberg platform, to significantly improve all aspects of performance?

Rainer Wiedmann: We don’t simply want production to run smoothly at print shops. At the end of the day, we’re improving our customers’ competitiveness and market relevance – not just here and there but at all levels as far as possible. 

Hand on heart, as a digital expert, what do you say to the boss of a print shop whose customers tell him printing is outdated and they no longer want to use it?

Rainer Wiedmann: Print media will never disappear. In fact, we’re seeing growth in areas such as packaging, labels, and mass customization. Yes, there are shifts from analog to digital – in particular when it comes to company marketing – but new applications will keep on emerging. For me, HDU’s main task in the long term is to unlock this new potential and enable customers to act flexibly, proactively, and sustainably as times change.

How do you personally think HDU will fare in the short, medium, and long term?

Rainer Wiedmann: I’m more than confident. We’re sticking to the vision and mission we formulated for HDU. And we’re measuring our progress, then responding immediately.

– Thank you very much for this interview. 



My take on things – a solution of striking simplicity

It’s enough to take your breath away. Heidelberg is putting in an impressive sprint on the home straight, hurtling forward in a completely new guise – the Heidelberg Digital Unit (HDU) – and showing the competition quite clearly who’s in first place when it comes to digital transformation. 

It’s official! A traditional company has without doubt completely reinvented itself – in record time –demonstrating the courage to take risks based on its wide-ranging expertise in printing and all things digital. Rather than abandoning much of the previous system, the company is using and optimizing it to benefit from new developments. One important additional aspect: Heidelberg has realized that in the digital age it’s no longer sufficient to aim for success with best-in-class product innovations.

Launching HDU in this form is a real stroke of genius in my opinion. A subsidiary designed as a start-up – fast, flexible, and firmly anchored with an excellent network – it provides new, user-oriented “digital” services for the Group and at the same time becomes a pacesetter with measurable results to make sales, marketing, and services permanently fit for the digital age on a global level. In my eyes, that’s the perfect way to firmly establish highly innovative products and solutions on the market on a lasting basis.

The biggest winners are Heidelberg customers and the market as a whole because, for the first time, they have access to a well thought-out, effective ecosystem in the form of an exponential platform that takes industrialprint production to a whole new level in the digital age and makes it fit for the future. To sum up, this is a real win-win situation – especially for Heidelberg staff, shareholders, and numerous new partners. 

The “crux of the ‘digital’ transformation problem” I identified in my #ValueCheck is thus soon set to be resolved!



Rainer Wiedmann




Rainer Wiedmann comes from Stuttgart and is one of Germany’s great digital pioneers. After studying at the universities of Stuttgart and St. Gallen and gaining several years of professional experience, he founded the argonauten group (350 employees at 11 international locations) in 1996, the aquarius group (100 employees based in Munich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai) in 2005, and the iq! group (based in Munich and Palo Alto) in 2014.

The iq! group maintains close links with the new Heidelberg Digital Unit (HDU), which started operating on April 1, 2018 with 50 employees.

HDU is a start-up company and a subsidiary of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, where Wiedmann plays a dual role as Head of HDU and Chief Marketing Officer. 

From 1999 to 2003, Wiedmann was President of the Deutscher Multimedia Verband e.V. (now BVDW e.V.). From 2003 to 2004, he was on the board of Gesamtverband Kommunikationsagenturen GWA e.V. in Frankfurt.


About the author

Andreas Weber has been a print expert and internationally renowned business communication analyst, coach, influencer, and networker for over 25 years. His activities focus on transformation for the digital age and include lectures, management briefings, workshops, analyses, reports, and strategic advice. – His blog inspires readers from over 140 countries worldwide.

About ValueBlog IMG_9105





ValueCheck Lufthansa 2018.001

Photos: Lufthansa


By Andreas Weber, Head of Value | German Version

Note: As a teenager, I made my first flight experience with Lufthansa. That was great! Over the next 45 years, I have had some ‘Ups & Downs’ with the Kranich Airline (also a few years as a premium customer with Lufthansa Senator status). — I watch relevant news as an analyst always highly interested.

With a big bang, millions in advertising revenue and full of fervor, Lufthansa is re-branding itself. At the heart of this is an elaborate re-design – above all the crane as its symbol – which according to estimates has taken at least seven years to be fully implemented.

According to Group CEO Carsten Spohr, the new brand world is the icing on the cake of modernization, he says with pride and joy. It works. Experts are not tired of holding forth about all the design aspects of the new brand identity. [The newspaper HORIZONT provides an overview].

However, the news channel n-tv rightly noted, with the help of media expert Thomas Koch, that whether the redesign will actually bring in new customers and give the business wings is debatable. According to Koch, it’s the customer who decides on the performance [quality] of the offer. A redesigned logo as a trademark is more incidental. 

Lufthansa’s head of marketing, Alexander Schlaubitz, emphasizes that it is about more than that [or even about everything!] As his Group CEO has said, Lufthansa needs modernizing. For corporate marketing, this means doing away with anything which cannot be optimally digitized in order to do justice to the digital transformation and mobile communication, right down to the last pixel. [See interview by Fabian Wurm].


Kranich vorher nachher 58181-detail

Photo: The Lufthansa logo since 1990.


This was actually something that the godfather of the design, Otl Aicher, had his eye on at the start of the 1960s when he created the crane as the trademark as part of a comprehensive CI. But his demand for clarity, conciseness and simplicity ruffled a few feathers at the time, and compromises had to be made in the tradition. Surprisingly, now, almost 60 years later, the results that have been reached hark back to Aicher’s original intentions. [Note: I became aware of this first-hand because I personally spent a few years working closely with Aicher on his Rotis typeface project and he often spoke of Lufthansa and other clients.]

NOTE: A great review of Lufthansa’s design was already published February 8th, 2018: Feeling Blue.

Much ado about nothing?

As is often the case, the customer’s experience of the brand is very different to how marketing assumed it would be. Lufthansa simultaneously sent out an email (presumably to all customer program members, in modified form also used as a manifesto by advertising motif), which is thought-provoking as it overdoes it with self-praise while in many staccato sentence fragments manage to forget possible customer benefits.

  • The introductory sentence starts with “We” (in terms of “We at Lufthansa” and not “We as a community”).
  • From the outset, the customer is stylized, to put it bluntly, as the “flight attendant”.
  • It is assumed that customers must follow the Lufthansa claim.
  • The advertised claim, in modern hashtag dexterity, #SayYesToTheWorld is laughably banal and implies that Lufthansa customers can best take off by being a yes-person.
  • Last but not least, the key visual in the email shows the tail fin of a plane, as if the person in question had just missed his flight…
  • And last but not least: It’s not personal! An option or even an active request for the email recipient to give immediate feedback to the modernized Lufthansa “outfit” by return is not included. What a shame. Or is it? Because this goes against the values that the digital world stands for in the social media age.
  • Note: It should be assumed that many hundreds of thousands of customers have received the email, in any case presumably significantly more than had received it at the time of the email being sent by re-branding via the media customers.

In my view, the “crassly modern” digital electronic mail-shot back-fired because it does nothing for the customers – instead it wants to create a good impression. This brings to mind unsettling experiences which, as a long-standing senator of Lufthansa, I was continually subjected to.


Better late than never: reverse the communication course!

If it really is about the Lufthansa brand (its self-image as being a “premium” brand) being brought into the digital age, Lufthansa’s thinking and mode of communication needs be changed radically.

In my view, these aspects should be considered:

  1. It is crucial that the innovation and technology mechanisms be made use of so that dialog or conversations with customers take place in real time, to serve the optimization of services and products so that they are aligned with the individual needs of the customer.
  2. The brand itself is no longer at the center, instead it becomes a kind of mutual vehicle for companies and customers. Mass marketing becomes customized mass marketing. If, like the majority of established brand companies, the focus is placed on brand experience, to impress customers using the hopefully strong charisma of the brand through mass penetration and thus motivate the customer to make a purchase, in the best case, costs can be covered but it is barely possible to make profit from organic growth or to achieve profit margins in double-figures.
  3. The reality is unavoidable Customers are increasingly disappointed when brands have clearly lost personal contact with them.



My take

Sometimes the stork appears like a swallow which has not yet brought the summer with it. To avoid dissatisfaction and loss of loyalty from customers, in my opinion, what is needed is not necessarily a change in brand identity but first of all a change in the mission and a change in thinking by those in charge. By acknowledging globalization, cosmopolitanism and curiosity”, a start has been made. – But at least, put the customer first! – This is all the more important since Lufthansa, according to its own statement, is starting the largest investment in advertising in the history of the company” – after the company had the best financial year in its history in 2017, with 130 million customers recorded.


As of June 5, 2018 Lufthansa does not come from the negative headlines. An embarrassing mishap at a football World Cup spot for Russia as well as constant improvements in the redesign are already more than amazing. Sounds like intended, but not skillful. — By the way, who, as I recently observed a Lufthansa jet in the new look at the start, notes that even at low altitudes above the city with the naked eye does not recognize that its a Lufthansa airplane … It just lacks the yellow! Ouch!


Lufthansa recently had to change the blue of its new livery because it was too dark (Photo: Lufthansa)



About the author

Andreas Weber has been working as an internationally renowned business communication analyst, coach, influencer and transformer for over 25 years. His activities focus on ‘Transformation for the Digital Age’ with lectures, management briefings, workshops, analyses & reports and strategic advice.

In his current ‘Think Paper’, Andreas Weber presents provocative thoughts on ‘Brand Experience vs. Customer Experience’. With the key questions: “What does a brand mean to a consumer? What does a consumer mean to a brand?”.

In case of interest, please send an email to receive the above-mentioned think paper: zeitenwende007{at}


#drupa2016: Exceeding All Expectations- Objectif Lune Expands Their Market Position Remarkably

“Global leading print tradeshow, drupa 2016 was an immense success. We exceeded all expectations,” says Didier Gombert, CEO of Objectif Lune (short: OL) on the outcome of #drupa2016.

“The show-motto ‘Touch the future’ encouraged us to notably expand our strategy in becoming a leader for innovative software solutions in the field of interactive business and customer communication,” adds Gombert. Striking really, since drupa traditionally showcases news around print- and paper technology.

The reasons behind OL’s success, according to Gombert: In the digital age we understand how to set print into context in an appropriate manner. The starting points are HTML, CSS and JavaScript, enabling to connect print applications seamlessly to any digital communication process.

OL’s drupa-motto demonstrated their focus: “Simply clever: Turn data into personalised cross-media solutions!” This attracted customers and business partners from around the globe. Partners such as PitneyBowes, Canon, KonicaMinolta and Ricoh, presented a portfolio of OL solutions on their stands, hereby extending to the next level: The Connect concept foresees that all modules of the OL applications portfolio can be linked, allowing for an unobstructed scalability: from user-friendly starter utilization to highly complex expert solutions.

Company background: Objectif Lune (OL) develops simple and effective software in the field of customer communication management. Founded in 1993, Objectif Lune now has over 240 employees worldwide, serving over 20,000 organizations. OL provides global technical support and owns three R&D facilities in Montréal (Canada), The Netherlands, and Australia. OL works hard to make the lives of businesses and workforces, easier. The OL headquarters are in Montreal, Canada.

Further info at
Info for Journalists via OL Media Center:

Simone Angelica Wolf
Marketing OL EMEA
T +39-0522-511-301
M +39-342-531-73-33


ValuePublishingOL Didier Gombert.001

Im Rahmen des ValueDialogs nahm Didier Gombert zu OL’s Vision & Mission und mit Blick auf die drupa 2016 Stellung. Hier ein Auszug aus dem englischsprachigen Interview von Andreas Weber.



  • Die drupa 2016 muss uns ermöglichen, Print mit neuen Augen zu sehen, mit einem ganz neuen Bewusstsein. Produktivität ist dabei ein wichtiger, wohl bekannter Faktor. In herausfordernden Zeiten wollen wir alle besser werden. Erst wenn man aber sein Bewusstsein erweitert, kann man erkennen, was die Zukunft tatsächlich zu bieten hat. 
  • Dieses Jahr zeigen wir mit Hilfe von innovativen Web- und Mobile-Technologien, wie man direkt vom Tablet oder via E-Mail professionelle Printproduktionen veranlasst. Insofern ist die drupa 2016 eine riesige Chance für die Druckbranche.
  • Die Suche und das Finden von talentierten und hellwachen Menschen als Mitarbeiter sind von entscheidender Bedeutung. Man muss lokal denken und global handeln!


Was ist Ihre Leitlinie als nachweislich renommierter, visionärer Unternehmer?

Didier Gombert: Ich mag es darüber nachzudenken, wie man für andere das Leben verbessern kann und funktionierende Lösungen für Kundenprobleme findet. Das hat mich über die letzten 20 Jahre angetrieben! Unsere Zielsetzungen waren anfangs recht bescheiden und wir haben inzwischen unsere Erwartungen längst übertroffen.

Wie gehen Sie mit Innovationen als wichtigstem Eckpfeiler für OL? 

Didier Gombert: Innovationen entstehen durch die Herausforderung einer Ansammlung und Kombination von Problemen. Wir suchen darum Lösungen, die effektive Prozesse bieten und wir tun dies aus verschiedenen Blickwinkeln heraus.

War es Ihnen möglich, innerhalb des Rahmen, den Kunden und Projekte vorgeben, auch experimentelle Wege zu beschreiten?

Didier Gombert: Die Erfahrungen mit Kunden führten uns zu unserem strukturierten Vorgehen, konstant von Innovationen angetrieben. Der Katalysator für eine Idee ist zweifellos etwas, was einem gezeigt wurde, was man gefragt wurde oder was aus der Umwelt resp. den Umfeldern stammt. Das Neue wird aus der eigenen, persönlichen Erfahrung geschaffen.

Stimmen Sie der These zu, dass Innovation stets beste Teamarbeit und verlässliche Partnerschaften einbezieht?

Didier Gombert: Menschen sind das Wichtigste in jeder Art von Unternehmen. Viele Firmen sehen ihre Werte bei „geistigem Eigentum“. Aber was wirklich entscheidend ist, sind die Menschen, die das erschaffen und bewahren. Vertrauen ist der Schlüssel für Partnerschaften, Mitarbeiterverhältnisse und Kundenbeziehungen. Vertrauen bildet sozusagen die Plattform für Innovationen.


OL Video Statement Didier GombertVideo-Statement von Didier Gombert zu Connectivity (in englischer Sprache).


Was ist aus Ihrer persönlichen Sicht das Geheimnis von „connectivity“ (Konnektivität) — ein Begriff, der Ihnen äußerst wichtig ist?

Didier Gombert: Konnektivität – oder wie wir im Englischen in Verbindung damit sagen: „connecting“ – ist für mich bedeutungsgleich mit Kommunikation. Unternehmen der Zukunft müssen neue Anforderungen sofort adaptieren können, neue Wege nutzen, um Geschäft zu machen, ebenso wie neue Wege der Kundenkommunikation. Die Verbindung zu Kunden und Mitarbeitern ist entscheidend, ebenso wie die Verbindung zwischen IT-Systemen. Eine immer während steil ansteigende Zahl von Systemen bringt immer mehr Kommunikationsmöglichkeiten mit einer Person mit sich. Hier kommt Konnektivität voll zum Tragen. Eine „bessere“ Kommunikation ist und wird immer das wichtigste Ziel sein. Darin liegt über Technologien hinaus die zentrale Bedeutung. Wir bieten darum effektive Kommunikation aus allen Blickwinkeln heraus an — Menschen sprechen mit Maschinen, Maschinen „sprechen“ mit anderen Maschinen oder Maschinen sprechen mit Menschen, stets muss die Möglichkeit zur nahtlosen Konnektivität gegeben sein. Die Kreation und die Optimierung der erforderlichen Prozesse sind das, was wir im Markt bieten.

Aus meiner Erfahrung und Einschätzung heraus wird die drupa 2016 völlig andersartig als frühere Messen. Die Erwartungen sind extrem hoch, der Begriff „Print 4.0“ rückt in den Fokus. Abseits der Relevanz der Digitaltechnologien, was wird aus Ihrer Sicht die sog. „Customer Experience“ prägen, um die künftige „Customer Journey“ attraktiv zu gestalten?

Didier Gombert: Die Digitaltechnik hat sich enorm weiterentwickelt. Print aber ebenso! Und tut es noch! Ein PDF an ein E-Mail anzuhängen und weiterzuleiten, bedeutet nicht nur Digitaldrucke über Dienstleister zu veranlassen. Dieses Jahr zeigen wir mit Hilfe von innovativen Web- und Mobile-Technologien, wie man direkt vom Tablet oder via Email professionelle Printproduktionen veranlasst. Insofern ist die drupa 2016 eine riesige Chance für die Druckbranche. Während die digitale Welt sich in Web-Technologien fit macht, gibt es nur sehr wenige mit profundem Fachwissen, um den Wert von Print zu verstehen. Aber es gibt immer den Bedarf, Inhalte auf Seiten attraktiv und effizient zu gestalten und so aufzubereiten, dass Informationen leicht zu finden sind, angenehm fürs Auge/zum Lesen. Wenn man diesen Mehrwert mit digitalen Techniken koppelt, dann beginnt man erst zu erkennen, wie relevant Print ist und bleibt.


Trotz aller Digitaltechnologie: Der Mensch steht immer noch im Mittelpunkt. Fotos: OL.


Mit anderen Worten: Print und die Druckbranche sind nicht aus der Mode gekommen?

Didier Gombert: In keinem Fall! Ich erkenne unverrückbar an, dass die Druckbranche eine Industrie ist, die sich mit anderen messen kann, um einwandfreie und optimierte Kommunikation zu ermöglichen. Konsequenterweise müssen wir per drupa 2016 [als globale Leitmesse der Druck- und Papierbranche]  deutlich der Welt klarmachen, dass wir Kommunikation in all ihren Facetten verstehen, dass wir ebenso souverän mit Web-Technologien, Online/E-Mail Marketing, Portalen etc. umgehen können. Das macht „Print 4.0“ aus: Es ist facettenreich und multimedial.

Welche Art von Besuchern erwarten Sie entsprechend bei OL auf dem drupa 2016-Messe-Stand? Was wird deren Nutzen sein?

Didier Gombert: Zur drupa kommt das Who-is-Who der Branche. Wir erwarten Top-Experten vor allem auch aus dem Ausland [also aus dem Nicht-D/A/CH-Raum] sowie auch Top-Vertreter unserer wachsenden Zahl an Handelspartnern. Zudem erwarten wir Druckereifachleute, Letter-Service-/Direktmarketing-Spezialisten, Print-Room-Betreiber mit kleinen bis großen Volumen und Quereinsteiger. Definitiv bietet uns die drupa 2016 die beste Gelegenheit, unsere neuesten Technologien und Lösungen einem breiten Publikum vorzustellen.


OL Mission


Sie haben reiche Erfahrung, wie man ein global aktives Unternehmen führt. Was sehen Sie als Erfolgsfaktoren, um Länder- und Kontinent-übergreifend unterschiedliche Kulturen, unterschiedliche Ansprüche und Bedürfnisse zu erfüllen?

Didier Gombert: Die erste und beste Zutat ist das Glücklichsein. Ohne glücklich zu sein, kann man keinen Erfolg haben. Die Fähigkeit, etwas richtig zu erkennen und entsprechend zu handeln, treibt den Erfolg an. Die Suche und das Finden von talentierten und hellwachen Menschen als Mitarbeiter ist zudem von entscheidender Bedeutung. Man muss lokal denken und global handeln. Dabei haben Vor-Ort-verankerte Mitarbeiter stets die besten Voraussetzungen, um regional-spezifische Strategien zu entwickeln, die maßgeschneidert regional-lokale Bedürfnisse erfüllen. Wir suchen gezielt Mitarbeiter mit der richtigen Haltung; die Eignung kommt an zweiter Stelle, weil man Dinge lernen kann. Eine Haltung ist dagegen meist unveränderlich. Das hilft uns, die Verbindung mit unseren Partnern und Kunden fest zu schmieden.

Messen Sie die Zufriedenheit Ihrer Kundenbasis am Umgang mit Ihren Produkten? Gibt es Monitorings?

Didier Gombert: Wir praktizieren minimal-invasive Kundenzufriedenheits-Befragungen, um nicht aufdringlich zu wirken. Mit den Ergebnissen bin ich sehr zufrieden. Nichtsdestotrotz haben wir den Anspruch, uns stetig zu verbessern. Dass dies bestens funktioniert, zeigt sich in unserem großen Kundenstamm.

Wie lautet Ihr Rat an die drupa 2016-Gemeinde um das diesjährige Motto „Touch the future“ in nachhaltigen Geschäftserfolg zu überführen?

Didier Gombert: Zeigt euch mit einem offenen Geist! Denn: Zukunft kann man schwerlich voraussagen. Die Druckbranche war stets sehr konservativ. Als ich die Universität verließ, lag mein Fokus auf der Druck- und Papierbranche und was man daraus machen könnte. Seitdem haben uns erstaunliche Entwicklungen überrollt – das Smartphone wurde auch zum Radio, zum Musikspieler, zum Fernseher und Kino, zum Helfer, zur Einkaufsplattform und so weiter. Ich glaube nicht, dass die Druckbranche darauf vorbereitet war.


Didier Gombert Detail 2

Zur Person

Didier Gombert ist Mitgründer und Vorstandsvorsitzender von Objectif Lune (kurz: OL). Seine Mission ist es auf weltweiter Ebene, effektive Lösungen für interaktive Geschäftskommunikation zu entwickeln und zu vermarkten. Innovation und Connectivity sind für ihn Bestandteile seiner DNA und damit Grundvoraussetzung, um stetig neue Wege zu finden.

Profil via LinkedIn:

OL Media Center zur drupa 2016:


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ValuePublishingOL Didier Gombert.001

drupa ante portas – automation, flexibilization, and digitization make print a top growth market! Beyond printing technology Multichannel newly defined is focussing communication effectiveness at its best. (See my expert comment as well)A good reason to talk to an extraordinary entrepreneur, Didier Gombert, the Co-Founder and CEO of Objectif Lune (abbreviated to: OL), before drupa 2016 will start to catch his vision and POV of future market developments.  —Interview by Andreas Weber (Editorial Assistant: Sudarsha Rambaran).

Some insights: OL’s offering will touch the areas of pre-media, print, multichannel and future technologies. OL’s performance promise is quite different from other drupa exhibitors: OL is dedicated to simple and effective software that is fun and helps companies around the globe communicate more efficiently with their customers. At drupa 2016 OL will be present in two halls: Hall 7a /E23 close to the drupa innovation parc (dip), plus Hall 8a /D21 close to the digital printing technology world.

Key messages by Didier Gombert

  • I like finding solutions for customer pains and getting rewarded for it
  • Innovation is the cornerstone of our company to make life better for others; we always try to look at it from multiple perspectives
  • Success isn’t something you dream up out of the blue. It is created out of your personal experience.
  • At the end of the day, it’s simply offering proper communication from every aspect by providing the ability to have all of these connections and seamless connectivity. 
  • Creating and optimizing these processes is the foundation of what we bring to the market. All of that inside one single system; that is the key element.
  • I consider the print community to be an industry perfectly capable of competing with many other industries claiming to perform impeccable or better communications. 
  • Consequently, at drupa 2016, we need to emphasize to the world that we understand communications, that we are capable of undertaking web technologies such as email, web pages and portals. That is what Print 4.0 is; it is multi-faceted.
  • drupa 2016 is important because it is way of informing customers by human representation, unlike an email or a web page.


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Didier Gombert, Co-Founder and CEO of OL. Photo: Screen from OL’s corporate video.


—PART 1: Insights about entrepreneurship, innovation, connectivity and global business success

Could you please explain what guides you as a visionary entrepreneur?

Didier Gombert: I like to think about how I can make life better for others. It’s what wakes me up in the morning. I like finding solutions for customer pains and getting rewarded for it. In other words, finding solutions for customers and trying to monetize it!

Starting OL more than 20 years ago, did you expect to reach the point where you are today?

Didier Gombert: Definitely not! The bar has been rising higher and higher with time. When we started out the goal was certainly more modest than it is today. But I feel very happy and very lucky for what we have managed to achieve. We expected to do well, but certainly not to the current size and especially the current recognition!

If you were able to re-start, what would be different (or equal)?

Didier Gombert: Interesting question, worth to put quite a bit of thought into it. When you reach a certain stage, you want to go to the next one and see what you can do next. — Naturally, knowledge of the future would put anyone in an advantageous position! I would certainly do a lot of things differently if I had to restart. We were dealt quite a few challenges, but we learned from our mistakes. I like to think that we gain experience the same way I try to solve issues — by finding solutions to problems. I believe that constant need, or drive, to improve things — either for oneself or for others — is what helps in being very innovative. Since innovation is the cornerstone of our company, it’s very difficult to say “lets restart!”. As such, if I had the same set of knowledge, I’d probably do it the same way. It’s the only way I know how to do things.


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If innovation is OL’s cornerstone how do you deal with it?

Didier Gombert: Innovation is created by being challenged with sets of problems. We try to find ways to do things more efficiently, or more practically, with more benefit and so on and so forth. This is the way we’ve always done things. We look at an issue and think about how we can improve it! We always try to look at it from multiple perspectives.

And in relation to your customers and projects, was it possible to run experimental efforts, or are customers very conservative in that sense?

Didier Gombert: Initially, people were much more willing and open to experiment. However, when you reach a certain size, experimentation carries quite a bit of risk. If you believe in yourself and you have a bunch of people uploading that new version of software — I don’t believe that they would appreciate the word ‚experimental’.

Nowadays, our mode of operation is much more structured, as we need to grab expected results. In the early days, we experimented quite a bit more. Through our experiences of talking to customers and being asked certain questions or having certain requests made of us, we have created our structured approach. Naturally, this approach leads to innovation — of course you come up with certain things that haven’t been thought of before! The catalyst of an idea is undoubtedly something that was shown to you, asked of you, or something from your environment. Success isn’t something you dream up out of the blue. It is created out of your personal experience.

But the whole thing with innovation means for me all the time to have more or less trustable partners, so if I can trust somebody, I’m ready for a journey, even if I don’t know the way. Do you agree?

Didier Gombert: I’m very people-oriented. I absolutely agree with you on that topic — for me it’s important to trust the people around me. Business is driven by relationships. A lot of companies claim that their assets are their people — but they don’t really mean it. I am convinced that people are the real assets. Most companies attach great importance to intellectual property. Yet intellectual property isn’t like wine — it doesn’t age well. Technology, fashion, language all change and develop with time. What is really important is the people who create and maintain intellectual property, not the intellectual property itself. At the end of the day, you need to trust your partners, your employees, and the customer. The trust relationship you have with them is a vital basis.  



I checked a lot of OL’s blog posts and Twitter posts and also you shot a personal video on your website. If I got it right, one of your key words is “connect”. From your personal point of view, what is the secret of connectivity?

Didier Gombert: Connectivity, or connecting, is synonymous with communication. People connect through some form of communication. Nowadays, the pace of change is accelerating at an alarming pace! As such, the companies of the future will need to adapt to new requirements, new ways of doing business, new ways of talking to their customers. Hence connecting to their customers, their employees or even connection between systems is crucial. There are an ever-increasing amount of systems, more ways of talking to a person rather than a system or a machine. That is what connectivity is for me. We need to have something which is flexible and thus future-proof.  There is no company out there who could claim that their communication is perfect. Accordingly, better communication is a universal goal. The words connect and communication are the same to me, and they describe perfectly what we are trying to do with our new products.


Interjection (by Andreas Weber)

I love that term connectivity as well because when I was rethinking what I’m doing as a communications analyst, dealing with all those suppliers for more than twenty five years and then I started publishing a lot because everything was about innovation, nobody knew what we were thinking and talking about. Then I have those three terms which work for me, advise, knowledge and connectivity. I think they are strongly related to each other, and when I screened what OL is also doing with blog posts other things it’s exactly that! Giving good advice, being good advisors share your knowledge and always struggle to give the best connectivity you can.



That means connectivity also has importance beyond technology?

Didier Gombert: Most certainly! What are we if we don’t connect to others? Think of social networks! I’m not saying that we’re involved in social networks, at least not yet. Social networks provide a way of connecting to a larger, wider audience and a way for that audience to connect to you. Communication is one of the key processes in life — whether it’s business or personal, we all like to be communicated with in a proper way, in a timely manner among many other sorts of criteria on communicating, or connecting. 

Words such as ‘disconnect’ have very negative connotations, and correspondingly, ‘connect’ is an extremely positive word! Right?

Didier Gombert: I’m an engineer. As such, the word connectivity initially meant machine talking to machine in my days at university. Entering the world, I believed connectivity was more about machines talking to humans, especially considering things like page composition and languages like PostScript. This is evident in the fact that we have interactive software rather than just a piece of paper — you have web forms, inputs and buttons you can click, even in an email! This form of connectivity is human connecting to a machine, which is the reverse of what we traditionally did when we started out. At the same time, however, we also offer options for electronic communication. That means machine to machine communication and connectivity, so going back to my old definition of connectivity! At the end of the day, it’s simply offering proper communication from every aspect by providing the ability to have all of these connections and seamless connectivity. Creating and optimizing these processes is the foundation of what we bring to the market. All of that inside one single system; that is the key element.



—PART 2: drupa ante portas — how to touch the future?

According to my personal view Drupa 2016 will be very different compared to the past. The expectation is already extremely high to celebrate “Print 4.0”. Beyond relevant  digital technologies what will be key to augment the customer experience and to ‘orchestrate’ the (new) customer journey?

Didier Gombert: There is a lot to be said to this question. In my view, things are evolving tremendously, and digital is certainly one of those things. Nevertheless, print is also evolving. People going to a print show expect to see a lot of paper. Since the evolution of the PDF, not necessarily the early days, but the actual evolution as in the content, the management system etc. and things such as the option to attach files to email. Print has evolved a lot. People still print today…

… and attaching a PDF file to an email is effectively a doing digital print?

Didier Gombert: I think it is going even further than that. We will be showing some web technology and some tablet technology. This demonstrates that we can print directly from a tablet or an email. The important thing about drupa 2016 is the fact that the print community has an opportunity here that is completely misunderstood. There are many people out there who are capable of creating websites or doing web developments. It is a widespread skill among university students nowadays — many of them are competent in html, java script or other web technologies and understand platforms such as WordPress amongst others. These kinds of skills are very easy to find.

However, there are very few people who understand print and the value of print. People need to realize that print is still relevant! It isn’t a growing thing, but it is certainly still relevant and necessary in the digital age. There is still a need to compose a proper page on which information is easy to find, which is appealing to the eye, which is attractive and efficient. Then if you add all the other technical aspects, you begin to see how print is still relevant.


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Didier Gombert, Co-Founder and CEO of OL. Photo: Screen from OL’s corporate video.


You mean print and the print industry are not out of time?

Didier Gombert: The print industry is an industry which is capable of doing print properly, but it has trouble understanding web technologies, multi-channel distribution of information, and new connectivities. I consider the print community to be an industry perfectly capable of competing with many other industries claiming to perform impeccable or better communications. Consequently, at drupa 2016, we need to emphasize to the world that we understand communications, that we are capable of undertaking web technologies such as email, web pages and portals. That is what Print 4.0 is; it is multi-faceted.

So in the past the print industry focus was on efficiency, especially to make their own workflows and processes efficient. If I got your message right, in the meantime it’s all about effectiveness but the technology has to be efficient, but communication needs effectiveness. Is that what you mean? 

Didier Gombert: Absolutely, in every aspect! What I mean, though, is that people are looking for printables. Printable avoidance does not mean they don’t want to print — it just means they are avoiding the cost of paper, envelopes and so on. drupa 2016 is important because it is way of informing customers by human representation, unlike an email or a web page. Anyone can create an email or a webpage, but not everyone is able to print. So the print industry could profit greatly from adding to their skill set, as in the web or email representation of information.


It is all about managing the best way of informing customers by human representation. Photos: Screens from OL’s corporate video.



What kind of visitors do you expect to come to OL’s drupa 2016 booth? What will be their benefit?

Didier Gombert: This is an industry, so naturally the who’s who of the industry is going to be there. I recently had a chat with our Australian people and they said they are expecting a lot of their customers from Australia to be there! — In all honesty, our main customers are usually the people who have their own booths at the show. We sell our software to the seller community, and since they are all present at drupa 2016, we are expecting to, and hoping to, talk to them more than anyone else. The people that are walking in aisle are generally end-users — that means they obtain our software through our first-hand customers. From that perspective, I’m expecting mail service providers, creators of big print rooms, medium to large, migrant customers. This is great, because we have the opportunity to demonstrate what we can do and we are definitely excited to show our newest and latest, and our capacity.

So everything you do at drupa 2016 is more or less on a strategic level but even if operators come they could learn about your solutions?

Didier Gombert: Absolutely! We believe that we have a good brand and good brand recognition as well as a good reputation. As such, we definitely think that our customers will look for us at drupa 2016. There are also likely to be many people in other booths who will talk about us, so we’re expecting to see that traffic, and of course we will support out partners in their own booths.

You are experienced in running a global business successfully. What is your key success factor to ‘harmonize’ all those different cultures different levels with different needs?

Didier Gombert: I have a personal definition of success. The first ingredient of success is luck. I don’t think you can be successful without being lucky. Mind you, the ability to recognize that luck and acting on it is what drives success. The best way to do this is to find the right talented people, and keep them around you. 

You have to think local and act global. You need good people that work for you on a local basis to be your eyes and ears. They tell you what’s important. Once you have a basis of this, you can start to see what is important on a global level. Obviously, there are different ways of doing certain things in different countries. At the end of the day though, you need to pick and choose what is best on a global level. It’s best to try to take the thing that is most widespread, most rewarding from a global perspective, and then you have a chance to see what you can do for the most benefit in a specific region. That is the approach to being successful on an international level.


OL Mission


Quite impressive: OL is able to handle a customer base of 20,000+ organizations while having around 240 employees. What is your secret to keep this successful? And; what kind of talents characterize your staff?

Didier Gombert: In the first place, we look for people with the right kind of attitude. Aptitude comes second. Why? Because aptitude can always be learned, but attitude can rarely be changed. If you have people with the right kind of attitude, it allows you to forge better relationships with your partners.

As to the 20,000+ customers, we did not do them one by one. The fact is that we are good with our resellers and partners. The kind of people we look for are people who care, who work very hard, which is not always easy considering the work multiplies corresponding to the number of customers you reach.

What also sets us apart is that we offer products that cater to a wide range of company types. We are capable of providing for small to medium size companies as well as very large corporations. There are companies out there that only serve the Fortune 500. The fact is, this limits you to 500 customers!

Do you monitor the happiness of your customer base dealing with your products, do you have the possibility to monitor that?

Didier Gombert: We do inquire and do our surveys, but we try to limit this, as we don’t want to annoy the customers with survey after survey. We certainly welcome feedback, especially good feedback! I must admit that I am very pleased with customer satisfaction. I get a lot of emails from customers saying they were well served, and we are very sensitive to this sort of thing. We could always do better, though. We are always working on improving our method of feedback. Ultimately, though I think that the fact that we have so many customers for such a long time, that they keep coming back for more, shows that we have happy customers.


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Good approach: Share your knowledge and reduce complexity by Online Learning.


What is your advice for the drupa 2016 audience to transform the drupa motto ‘touch the future’ into sustainable business success?

Didier Gombert: First and foremost, my advice would be to show up with an open mind. The future is very hard to predict. Our industry has been very conservative. When I came out of university, the goal was the paper technology and what you could do with that. People are still talking about it. The development in the past years has been astounding — in the last decade the phone has become a radio, a walkman, a TV, a movie theater, a concierge and so on and so forth. I don’t think the industry was ready for that!

I think that people out there are looking to make more money out of communication, or to make it cost-efficient. Thus, the audience coming to drupa 2016 needs to look at print with a new mindset, and with an open mind. I think that productivity is a prominent factor in all of this; in challenging times, we all want to perform better. The audience needs to open their minds and then they might be touched by seeing what the future has in store for them!


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Didier Gombert is the Co-Founder and CEO of Objective Lune (abbreviated to: OL). His mission (on a worldwide level) is to create and market efficient solutions for interactive business communication, which open up innovative paths in customer communication, giving immediate access to all the advantages of the digital age.

Profile via LinkedIn:

Visit OL’s Media Center as well:


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ValuePublishingOL Company Profile.002


ValuePublishing Recommendation for drupa 2016:
Visit Objectif Lune visit! – Hall 7a, Stand E23

See as well:

• ValueDialog by Andreas Weber with Didier Gombert, Co-Founder and CEO of Objectif Lune)

• #drupa2016: Exceeding All Expectations- Objectif Lune Expands Their Market Position Remarkably

Objectif Lune (OL) develops and sells software technology, worldwide, creating innovative solutions for interactive business and customer communications, giving immediate access to all the advantages of the digital age. This significantly eases digital transformation as well as the optimisation of communication processes. The advantage: the processes of capturing your business-critical data & documents and transforming them into digital communications with interactive workflows is what the OL Connect solutions offer. Typical documents flowing through such a process could be: invoices, statements, purchase orders, shipping documents, average looking boring emails, personalized datasheets, flyers, mailings and invitations. OL Connect facilitates the entry into a clever mix of digital and print-based solutions, from small & simple to large & complex projects.

Objectif Lune cultivates long-standing partnerships with top-class print, technology and business partners who are concerned with customer communication management and are working with the range of solutions we offer. At the core of everything stands a constant exchange of knowledge, experience and state-of-the-art-technology.


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One of the technical aspects is that OL (one of the few independent providers) whose portfolio includes the possibility of connecting non-related software solutions, which structure and administer the entire document cycle efficiently with a “perpetually mobile effect”. The results are targeted digital solutions that significantly improve business relationships and therefore promote customer relationships, long term.

Seen from a business perspective, OL has taken a unique route: starting out with a philosophy of turning visions into reality, and always following new paths. OL has developed into the first company on the market that provides a range of applications that span from beginner to top expert-use, in all important areas — especially document design, process automation, personalisation/individualisation (with variable data print), postal sorting and preparation, as well as electronic forms. Thanks to the OL company philosophy, prices to this day remain to be very reasonable, and the solutions are designed in a simple and adaptable manner, throughout.


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Big progress: OL presented already Software-Suite Connect 1.4.


Important milestones

For OL customers the acquisition of PrintSoft (the manufacturer of PReS) in 2011 opened doors to new applications of a powerful solution for large print volumes. — At the end of 2015 the OL solutions were improved further with the release of the version 1.3 of the OL Connect software suite, now including a number of multilingual user interfaces. — With Capture OnTheGo, OL offers a mobile solution to capture data from electronic forms, which triggers processes when on the go per digital signature. — OL has also found a way to reduce paper use and paper-based processes, with a digital pen.

The special feature

OL solutions allow all companies to undertake a seamless transformation and experience dynamic growth, long-lastingly. Seeking and finding new paths serves to increase efficiency, all that with the OL customer in mind. OL’s focus is making interactive business correspondence an essential component of an enduring effective Customer Communication Management (CCM).

The OL solutions in detail, which can scale to grow along with the customer’s requirements:

  • PrintShop Mail Connect | A VDP tool for personalization of documents, made easy.
  • PlanetPress Connect | A multichannel solution that includes workflow and process automation
  • PReS Connect | A tailored enterprise solution for high volume business communication, and Hybrid Mail
  • Capture OnTheGo| A solution for process automation, combining on-the-go convenience with fast document processing through digital signature.

Company background

Objectif Lune (OL) develops simple and effective software that is fun and helps companies  communicate more efficiently with their customers. Born in 1993 from an idea by three friends, Objectif Lune now has over 240 employees worldwide, serving over 20 000 organizations, who all want to bring their customer communications to the next level. With technical support around the world and three R&D facilities in Montréal (Canada), The Netherlands, and Australia, OL works hard to make lives easier. The OL mission statement: “Objectif Lune’s mission is to free customers from legacy mentality by creating elegant software tools to help our customers communicate more effectively with their customers.” The OL headquarters are in Montreal, Canada. The German headquarters of the company are in Darmstadt.


Simone Angelica Wolf, OBJECTIF LUNE,
Management OL Italy & Marketing OL EMEA

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