#Designgoeson: Designdiffusion.com talks with Daniele Mazzon, General Manager of Cristina Rubinetterie, about the importance of communication to overcome the emergency

What are you doing to overcome the Covid-19 health emergency?

Even before the decree of the Presidency of the Council, we, at the company, were already making preparations to close. We finalized the last shipments and, on March 24, we suspended production. However, the offices that can do it, are working remotely. We have provided employees performing necessary functions with a laptop and a smartphone. In this way, some activities, such as marketing and communication, which are vital, can be carried out remotely. The sales department, on the other hand, has been working remotely for some time now, so it has just continued to work the way it did before. The commercial part will never stop because the halt due to Covid-19 is moving randomly and there are countries, such as China, Korea, the Far East in general, where they have already started working regularly, after the forced stop.

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What consequences will this unforeseen stop have on Made in Italy furniture and the industry in general?

It is not easy to predict the impact of this worldwide stop. First of all, it will depend on its duration: two months will have an effect, but, if it lasted for four months, the effect would be quite different. Of course, even two months could have a disastrous impact on our industry. That is why I hope for a strong intervention on part of the government, implementing measures to help small and medium-sized enterprises. Smaller companies will need a lot of help, and it will be necessary to support them with decisive measures to allow them not to succumb to the economic crisis that will follow the health emergency.

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The health emergency and communication

What are the best tools to overcome this temporary lack of physical means of communication (trade shows, presentations, meetings)?

In 2020, we will deal with two problems. First, there will be no Salone del Mobile di Milano. Second, and related to the first, for some months, there will be severe restrictions on both domestic and international travels. From a strictly commercial point of view, the absence of the Salone del Mobile and of the International Bathroom Exhibition might be less serious than we may think; it depends on how close we will be to our customers – which applies to both Cristina Rubinetterie and all the other companies.

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On the other hand, from the point of view of communication, we will need to adopt different strategies, and perhaps invent something new. Social media and new technologies will certainly help us maintain client relationships. As for the presentation of new products or the new catalogue, contemporary media are a big help.

Communication: the role of trade shows

As far as trade shows are concerned, however, I am not so sure that we can do without them, at least because they allow us to meet clients and potential clients. The fair is the ideal place to talk with people, to exchange ideas with agents, and to meet them all at the same time. Furthermore, although it is doubtlessly possible to present a product remotely, then it becomes necessary to touch it, and the ideal place for this is a trade fair.

If the Salone del Mobile and, as a consequence, the International Bathroom Exhibition were not held, we hope that at least Cersaie will. The public of the Bologna fair in is very different from that of Milan, and it is an important fair, in which we have been taking part for years. In any case, we will make a virtue out of necessity, and we will try to make the best possible use of the opportunities offered by new technologies.

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