May 19

Why competition leads to high quality, good taste and constant improvements The Estonian experience

Posted by Packaging Sense in Trends | Uncategorized

This site dealing with communication is, or should be, non-political. However, let me make a small exception… My latest two jobs before going on holiday to my beloved Ireland were in Russia (Moscow) and Ukraine (Odessa), so I have learned quite a lot about what ‘closed societies’ lead to.

I’m writing these lines after my visit to Tallinn (Estonia) which started listenig to a jazz concert with the saxophonist David Sandborn. I did a great sightseeing tour before my usual 2-3 hours’ store checking, in local supermarkets. What did I see? Great local products and local designs, as well as practically all the interesting products (with mostly great designs) from Europe, Japan and US. Such a situation would of course not be possible in for instance Russia, even before the import of EU products were stopped. If you look on a map, Russia is the so-called ‘big brother’ next to this 1.3 million Estonian population.

I’m not surprised now why Estonia has such a quality of life. As the Estonians are surrounded mostly by quality designs, their taste is formed (as for instance in Denmark) by what they see.

Now back to the sightseeing. The streets are as clean as in Singapore, Switzerland or Japan, the potholes from the Winter frost are repaired. In Ukraine,  two weeks earlier, I rode on a highway where the driver had to swing from left to right in order to avoid them. As competition leads to quality, Tallinn is a heaven for gourmets thanks to sushi bars, French cafés, Irish pubs, German Bierstuben, etc.

Back to my pack designs, as I was there to teach marketing communication (I don’t really know why, as they are already so good!) I am now more convinced than ever that an open society where competition between brands will sort out the bad or weak ones will lead to better taste. Like the Scandinavian countries, Estonia has obviously a large middle class. The quality of the typography on signs is very high and so is signage in general. Here I see another similarity with the Swedes: Estonians are very practical, which means efficiency. This is not a surprise, as they had strong ties with Sweden in the old days.

In a modern society, which Estonia cerainly is, you see people well dressed. Although some of the handicraft (for tourists) was not so ‘designed’, the woodwork handicraft was of a very high level. This is not surprising, knowing that IKEA has production sites in Estonia.

Yes, this is a site about communication and not about politics, but on a day like this, I really came to understand the importance of an open society when it comes to people’s taste. Free import (and export), as well as freedom of press (Estonia is 3rd in the world) obviously play a big role.

A business trip I will never forget!

LW/May 2015

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Packaging Sense by  wordpress themes