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ISSA/INTERCLEAN - what's in it for you?1st of May 2012
Why do companies return to Amsterdam again and again to exhibit at ISSA/INTERCLEAN? And in these tough times is their investment still worth it? Ann Laffeaty asks exhibitors their chief reasons for attending – and whether the economic crisis has tempted them to think again this year.
The ISSA/INTERCLEAN exhibition in Amsterdam has now been running for an impressive 45 years. It began inauspiciously when two window cleaners got together and came up with the idea over a drink at the Café Hoppe.
Since 1967 the exhibition has gone from strength to strength and exhibitors now come from all over the world to attend the event. But what exactly do they hope to gain from ISSA/INTERCLEAN? And has the economic crisis made them think twice about attending this year?
Premiere Products regularly uses ISSA/INTERCLEAN as a launch-pad for new products. “We have exhibited at the past 10 shows and we always try to make sure we have something new to demonstrate to visitors and a new story to tell,” said international division director Mark Hughes.
“Last year we launched a new brand, for example, and this year we are introducing several products.”
He said the company tends to begin planning its stand in the October prior to the exhibition. “We would probably bring forward a launch to tie in with the event if necessary,” he said.
Besides using the exhibition as an innovations showcase, Premiere Products also attends ISSA/INTERCLEAN to meet existing customers and make new contacts. “We never actually make sales at the event, but we often generate sales leads,” said Hughes.
Owing to the financial crisis the company has scaled down the size of its stand and is fielding a smaller crew this year. So in these tough times is it still worth attending? “I’ll let you know after May,” said Hughes.
SCA is committed to ISSA/Interclean and regularly hosts stands both at the Amsterdam event and at other shows around the world. “It is an excellent way to meet our customers and it gives us an opportunity to show them what Tork is all about,” said European communication manager Alexandra Grubb.
“It is also perfect for making new contacts, finding out our customers’ demands and creating a brand identity by expressing the brand values behind the products.
“In these difficult financial times it is still important for customers to come and see how best to remain efficient. We want to meet them because they are the future - and we need to prepare for their new demands. It helps us to understand trends and find out if and how their needs have changed.”
Dibo attends ISSA/INTERCLEAN to make new contacts, to be seen and to demonstrate its machines in the bespoke demo area. The company has been exhibiting for more than 20 years and aims to make sales and create a brand identity at the 2012 event.
“We are continuously striving for innovation and we consider ISSA/INTERCLEAN to be the most important exhibition to show our latest developments and our complete product range to customers,” said marketing manager Katrien Jacobs.
The economic downturn has not deterred Dibo from exhibiting – on the contrary, says Jacobs. “In such times we see more possibilities for gaining attention for our innovations so it's important for Dibo to participate even in periods of financial crisis,” she said.
Showcase for innovation
Kimberly-Clark is returning to ISSA/INTERCLEAN after an eight-year absence to promote its Healthy Workplace Project and its Aquarius range of dispensers. According to regional target market communications leader Beatrice Tissier de Mallerais: “Exhibitions like this allow us to showcase our innovations to a larger audience and to network with our existing partners while developing new working relationships for the future.
“Even during difficult financial times companies must keep one eye on the future as well as one eye on their financials. Exhibitions allow us to illustrate that even when times get tough we are still always looking to innovate.”
Gojo will be launching a range of colour coded dispensers for the food processing market. According to European marketing manager Suzanne De Maine exhibiting at ISSA/INTERCLEAN is definitely worth the financial investment, even when times are tough. “We always commit to this important event in our marketing calendar since it’s the one event that all key stakeholders attend,” she said.
“It allows us the scope to showcase our new developments while raising awareness of our company and hand hygiene programmes along with issues faced by our target market.
“We also use this time to network with our customer base in one location.”
Nilfisk-Advance says ISSA/INTERCLEAN has multiple functions and roles for the company. “Our presence helps to support the creation of our brand identity – especially in 2012 when the group has invested heavily in the development of its branding and image,” said Andrew Caddick, senior group product manager for professional high pressure cleaners.
“We also use the event to present new products and innovations to the market and to make new contacts, or simply to organise events with contacts we would normally find it difficult to bring together at one time.”
He says Nilfisk-Advance’s presence at the show has been a part of the company’s marketing strategy for many years. “It is a regular appointment with our customers and potential clients - not just from Europe but from across the world,” he said.
“Exhibitions in general often figure high on the list of activities to be postponed in times of financial crisis. ISSA/INTERCLEAN remains the only true international cleaning show in Europe where it is possible to meet key players from all sectors of the industry from the continent and beyond.
“The investment has always proved to be valuable in terms of brand image, new contacts and later spin-off sales.”
Bio-Productions attends the show specifically to pick up new business says managing director Mike James. “We’re not there to see existing customers: we go to ISSA/INTERCLEAN to find new ones and it hasn’t yet let us down,” he said. “It is a very good show and we have picked up business from Africa, Australia, India – in fact from all over the world.”
The company has been attending the event for around 16 years and James sees the current downturn as no reason to stay away. “On the contrary, if you don’t attend there is always the chance your competitors will be there aggressively carrying out business - which means you may miss out,” he said.
Metsä Tissue describes ISSA/INTERCLEAN as “the most successful exhibition of its type in the European area”.
“All our major customers attend and our major competitors are represented,” said UK and Ireland sales director Mark Dewick.
“We believe ISSA/INTERCLEAN offers us the chance to introduce and demonstrate our products as well as providing opportunities to catch up in the marketplace in general and to look at market innovations from other suppliers. It also facilitates networking right across the industry.”
This is Metsä’s fifth time as an ISSA Amsterdam exhibitor. “We believe the event gives us an industry presence and helps us to gain additional visibility,” said Dewick. “It also enables us to make new contacts with end customers and establish new business partnerships. We believe that this industry exposure and added value makes the show worthwhile.”
Kärcher feels the event provides an ideal opportunity to showcase its machines in the demonstration areas. According to management board vice-chairman Markus Asch: “ISSA/INTERCLEAN in Amsterdam is one of the world’s most important industry get-togethers. It offers service providers and manufacturers an excellent platform for an intensive exchange of ideas and experience.
“The fair is a fantastic opportunity for any company that wants to be right up to date with developments to stand out from the competition and to serve customers as well as possible.”
Hagleitner uses ISSA/INTERCLEAN to make new contacts and build long-term partnerships, says head of marketing Franz Naturner. The company regularly attends the exhibition to keep in contact with existing customers and partners, and sees no reason to change this pattern despite the tough economic climate.
“ISSA/INTERCLEAN Amsterdam is the most important place and date for the hygiene sector in Europe,” said Naturner. “We have been attending since the early 1990s and we feel that innovative hygiene solutions will always find their market, no matter how difficult times may be.”
For full details of ISSA/INTERCLEAN visit www.issainterclean.com