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Interviews | March 23, 2021

From the digital MIDO to a new globalization 

We talked with Giovanni Vitaloni, president of MIDO, the day after the announcement that the next edition of the show will be not in-person, but only digital. He explained how they took this difficult decision and the scenario for the future.

words Stefano Ampollini

On March 22 you announced that the next edition of MIDO, planned on June 5-6-7, will be only digital. When did you realize that it would have been impossible to do it in person?

To be honest till January we were still confident that the edition of June could be held in person, but the evolution of pandemic in Italy in the following weeks and the difficulties of traveling worldwide pushed us to think differently. The last dpcm (Italian Prime Minister decree) that made all the fairs forbidden even in the “white” regions (the safest grade of pandemic in Italy) pushed us to take this tough decision, after talking with the main exhibitors. We didn’t have any chance. I’m also an exhibitor and I understand how it’s critical the period before an international show, especially in an uncertain moment like this. That’s why we decided to inform immediately all the people involved and we chose the formula of a live announcement to do it. I received hundreds of messages in the last hours, the people understood and appreciated that we talked personally.

Did you consider different solutions?

Of course we did, but the range of solutions were very tight. MIDO is partner of Fiera Milano so it was not in discussion to change the location. On the other hand we didn’t want to go over the Summer: the calendar of September is already over crowded and, for us, it’s too close to Silmo and DaTe. We preferred to focus on a new concept of digital edition in June and in organizing a great edition in February 2022 (12-13-14). In the meantime we still hope to have a new edition of DaTe in September, as we did last year. We’ll announce the dates soon.

How has been the reaction of the exhibitors?

MIDO must be the solution, not the problem, and our decision respected this idea. Our show, owned by ANFAO (Optical Manufactures National Association), is a strategical asset for all the market, not only Italian. As in the past months we had few cancellations, even now we saw a great sense of belonging and collaboration by all the exhibitors. This is an important sign of trust for the future.

How will be the digital edition of MIDO? 

Last year we were caught off guard and we spent a couple of months to think about the best solutions to adopt. Now we are more aware and ready to face this situation, even if nobody would have been chosen it. In June we’ll work in two parallel directions. First of all we improved a digital platform to make easier the business matching between the brands and the buyers. Furthermore we’re working on a live format in order to involve the protagonists of the market, we want to collect their thoughts regarding the actual conditions of the eyewear and the next scenarios. Our ambitions is to create a sort of talk show as it was in person. 

As CEO of VANNI, what’s your feeling in this moment and what are you doing to go over this crisis?

I think that in the last months we all went over our limits. VANNI has 5000 store-clients all over the world and last year, from one day to another, they all closed at the same time, for many weeks. It was something unpredictable and nobody was ready to face. We invested in digital solutions to present our products: on the B2B side we created in three months a platform in collaboration with SAP in order to talk with the opticals worldwide, while on B2C side we increased our offer on shop-on-line and the social media channels. One of the consequences is a faster and most effective match between offer and demand: the collections adapted immediately to the request of the clients. All the choices and the informations are shared with the markets. It means more efficiency and less waste, but over all more trasparency.

What will be the future of globalization in the new scenarios?

The digitalization is changing the game rules. Before the COVID a consequence of the “globalization” was the standardization of the products in all the countries. Now the digital tools can be used by everyone to promote the details and let know the differencies. It’s a great opportunity to have a new kind of globalization, more ethic and transparent, even more exclusive and linked with the local territory. The next challenge will the control and the management of the distribution chain in order to make this change sustainable in the long period.