Uwe Schoenfeld and fellow Dmax.tv co-founder Ray de Bono, speak to The Accountant about some of their firm’s projects in Malta & Germany, Social Media Advisory Services and their budding Reverse Logistics Solutions company in Germany.
The article below was published by The Accountant Magazine, Spring 2016; This Journal is the official voice of the accountancy profession in Malta, spearheaded by the Malta Institute of Accounts (MIA) Link to the original article.
Link to the original article
TA: What’s Dmax.tv all about?
Dmax: Launched in Malta in 2006, Dmax.tv is a Maltese-German boutique firm offering online business solutions serving clients in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
It is by no means a coincidence that many people in Malta associate our firm with email marketing software, since we have been a driver behind the use of this service in business – particularly Email Intelligence via the Dmaxepaper.com service. Businesses and professionals have finally realised that this medium provides unparalleled, traceable and real-time metrics. It is proven to deliver significantly higher results at a fraction of the cost via traditional offline media – which cannot offer any reliable statistical record.
Dmax.tv provides dedicated social media management solutions for the finance, professional and medical/scientific sectors, with clients that include Malta’s leading banks and finance institutions, as well as multinational business advisory firms. We help our clients to monitor competition while building and managing their online reputation. We provide a secure, professional and personalised service that helps our clients to monetise their online communications.
Our online knowledge share platform, Dmaxpedia, enables companies with remote offices, partners or staff to work together, sharing data and documents working as one.
Uwe Schoenfeld Dmax CIO
TA: Whilst it may be relatively little-known locally except in specialised circles, Dmax.tv may well be one of Malta’s most prolific branding houses. Why the low profile?
Dmax: Internationally, Dmax has been involved with IPOs and launches, for example, for the German equity firm Spuetz AG. Our team has created identities for the Israeli Cyber Security firm Cybro Group, international investment company ‘Vertical Group’ and for many of its global affiliates – which incidentally have included Twister Group (which was also branded by Dmax), the Dutch founders of Big Brother (series 1-10), ‘Deutschland Sucht den Superstar’ (Pop Idols) and ‘Das Supertalent’ (Germany’s Got Talent), amongst others.
“Through our work in London – where we have serviced clients in ICT and Transport, such as the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organistion, a multinational body made up of telecommunications and ICT partners from around the Commonwealth – we came across interesting contacts based in Africa. Little did we know that these new friends, upon their return to their homelands, were going to convert them into our new business frontier,” reminisces Ray. A project that has occupied Dmax for quite some time these past few years in fact was the identity, creation and production of Ghana’s first business magazine – the Ghana Business & Finance Magazine (aka GB&F), and its online portal.
With contributors all over the world, GB&F was initially produced monthly in Malta for African Business Media Ltd, and with our initial support is now being laid out and printed in Accra. Dmax.tv is the brand advisor for this publication and Mr de Bono is an active member of the editorial board.
TA: Given your branding background, if you had to suggest to the Maltese government three ideas that would help boost Malta’s brand identity, particularly where business is concerned, what would these be?
- Malta is gasping for a comprehensive rebranding exercise. This will do so much to strengthen our small country’s soft power. We need one image for this nation, not one for each economic sector. Malta needs an official government typeface, and a fixed set of identity guidelines. Our country needs to see improvement in its basic infrastructure, from new traffic signs (which are currently not standardised), to roadside furniture (that is basic, if not primitive). For an EU economic top performer we surely deserve better, don’t you think?
- Make sure that key government websites, particularly those attracting investment to Malta are looking at their very best, and that they are primarily all in good English. Alternative European languages, besides Maltese, should include German and Italian.
- Launch a state-financed TV channel, or at the very least a 24/7 radio station, that broadcasts only in English. If we are attracting investors and expats to our lovely shores on the promise that this is an English speaking nation, then we shouldn’t let them down on something so easy to create on a national level (i.e. public funded). If PBS, the state broadcasting house, can afford to have a 24/7 juke-box station, ‘Magic Malta’, with due respect to the people involved, why not turn this resource to better use? So many tourists and expats in Malta complain that they have no access to good radio or TV news in English that broadcast news and information (as trivial as simple weather or traffic reports) from a local perspective. And if we are to employ local staff, can we make sure that their spoken English and diction are up to scratch? Isn’t English one of our official languages, after all?
TA: How do you see Social Media as complimentary to business development, particularly that of finance and professional service providers?
Dmax: “Can your firm afford to be invisible in the Social Media dimension?” asks Ray de Bono, who also heads the Dmax Social Media Advisory team in Malta. “In recruitment, lead generation, business development and PR, Social Media rules supreme over any other medium in terms of public attention on a global level.”
According to mainstream LinkedIn stats, 35% of its users access this platform daily and 39% of them pay to use it via premium accounts. Over 25 million profiles are viewed on LinkedIn daily and one out of three professionals on the planet has a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is the strongest professional network in the English speaking world and a leading one in the Eurozone.
While still not as popular in Malta as it is in Northern European states, Twitter is expanding locally too, attracting professionals, business leaders, NGOs, politicians, students and academics. Thousands of Maltese users are populating this platform which they consider less ‘congested’ than Facebook and more casual (and fun) than LinkedIn. And for the number crunchers out there, every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter worldwide, which corresponds to over 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year. Can you afford to stay out?
Facebook leads the way globally in terms of its reach, and in Malta it is estimated that over 200,000 people use this platform, many of them daily. Overall, there are over 1.59 billion monthly active users on Facebook; 307 million in Europe alone. (Source: Search Engine Journal). “42% of marketers report that Facebook is critical or important to their business. This is a crowded marketplace, but you can’t afford to sit it out, because odds are fairly high that your competition is there,” Mr de Bono explains, “The key is to use Facebook marketing correctly and make sure that your efforts stand out from the crowd.”
At 1.49 billion, Facebook has more monthly active users than WhatsApp (500 million), Twitter (284 million) and Instagram (200 million) combined. (Source: CNBC) Facebook continues to reign in popularity over other Social Media channels.
“Quite frankly, social media is way too big to ignore,” opines Ray de Bono.
TA: Local papers have reported that Dmax.tv has recently acquired a 40% interest in Tedlog.de. Can you tell us more about this new venture?
Tedlog Team. Nils Poepperl, Claudia Oelcerman & Uwe Schoenfeld
Dmax: Tedlog.de is a German company based in Cologne, focusing on IT solutions for reverse logistics. Co-founded in 2013, the company is partly owned by Dmax.tv together with Tomlog.de, a consulting firm specialising in waste management.
“Our IT team in Malta is delivering, and has over the past ten years acquired outstanding, if not unique, levels of knowledge on reverse logistics on the island and the future looks very exciting for Tedlog.de in Germany”, says Mr Uwe Schoenfeld. “Dmax.tv has upped its shares from 33% to 40% last year as we saw potential in the reverse logistics sector in Germany; an area where we have built a good reputation as solutions providers, thanks to our Maltese IT team.”
Tedlog.de clients, which include sector leaders like Mammut, Logex, Ecocycle, Noventiz and GfR, are mainly recycling companies, generic or specialised collectors and logistics firms. These businesses operate under a strict German regime, which necessitates constant legal compliance, system audits, checks and balances.
TA: Dmax is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year. Where do you see your business in five years’ time?
Dmax: None of our companies’ milestones would have been possible without the central role played by our staff in Malta and in Germany. Looking back on the past 10 years, Mr de Bono stressed that he appreciates the guidance received from people such as the veteran industrialist Anthony Guillaumier – who serves as company chairman and mentor – and from his business partner Uwe Schoenfeld: “Together, we have found a way to combine the creative strengths of our firm with ICT and software skills and the recipe is bearing fruit.”
“Ten years is a long time in business and our plans concentrate on continuously upgrading our HR skills and in-house technologies. We want to remain relevant to our clients’ needs by providing them with innovative solutions which they see as essential for their business growth. It’s a tall order but we’re working on it every day”, concluded Ray de Bono.