Thursday, February 10, 2011
The Label industry, his world!
While I was still in school, I started to get training as a salesman in my father’s company. One of the first lessons my father gave was, “If you cannot talk, you cannot sell”. It has stuck to my mind ever since. Mike Fairley, the international label guru, also made a similar comment while recognizing and appreciating the master salesman in Roger Pellow, Managing Director of the Labelexpo Group. Mike said, “You have the gift of the gab!” Roger is the marketing face of Tarsus. He is a tireless traveler and trots around the globe, meeting Label printers suppliers and end users, in an effort to market his high profile Labelexpo series of shows. He can surely talk and live out of a suitcase. Mike further adds, “Roger is like a bouncing ball and cannot be kept down. Every time you throw it down it bounces back to you”. Roger appears at regular intervals at faraway destinations to renew his contacts with the label world. “The global Label industry is his world”.
The Labelexpo group headed by Roger Pellow was acquired by the UK based Tarsus group in 1998. Tarsus are the owners of Labelexpo exhibitions and summits. Additionally they produce a series of annual publications like Labels and Labeling along with the China and India editions to cater to the local markets, “Encyclopedia of labels and label technology” in several languages, “The Labels Yearbook”, “The RFID How to Book” and a host of other surveys and yearbooks. In 2005 Tarsus acquired the “India Label Show” founded by Anil Arora and later renamed it as “Labelexpo India” to be part of the global Labelexpo series of exhibitions. The Labelexpo exhibitions held in Europe, USA, China and India are the Mecca of successful label printers around the world. The Labelexpo exhibition was founded by Clive Smith in the year 1979, almost the year I entered the Self adhesive Label industry. In 1980 the first Labelexpo exhibition was held in London’s Royal Horticultural Hall, in a net area of 1000 square meters. Three shows later in 1985 the show moved to Brussels and in 1998 it was sold to Tarsus.
Roger Pellow joined Tarsus around 2001, the brief to Roger was to bring the show to global standard and scale of participation from exhibitors as well as visitors. There was lot of work to be done. His first task was to bring the global label community to a single platform. He identified the big three, Nilpeter, Mark Andy and Gallus and set himself the task of building a bridge of friendship with them. His first meeting was with Jakob Landsberg of Nilpeter in early 2003 at Copenhagen. Jakob was annoyed with Tarsus and Roger went committed to that meeting. He left that meeting happy and satisfied. Nilpeter was now a permanent and trusted partner to Labelexpo. In quick succession Mark Andy and Gallus shook hands with a highly indulgent Roger. Labelexpo 2003 was huge and successful. Roger was now aspiring to achieve more success at other venues. He started to clear the bottlenecks that he had inherited. He recognized the “Guru” in Mike Fairley and found in him a mentor in the Label industry whom he could consult at all times. Every successful professional manager has to respect the history of his organisation and understand the core inherent strength. To achieve this he found support from the founder of Labelexpo, Clive Smith, whom he befriended early in his career with the Labelexpo group.
Success does not emanate out of stagnation, one needs to move forward and expand. After the success of labelexpo 2003, Roger Pellow put together a team that thought like him and supported his endeavors. He led the group to launch “Labelexpo China” without a single employee in that country at that time! He followed this up with a series of Label Summits and events around the globe, topping it up by acquiring “The India Label Show”. When asked about the nightmares, he refers to the difficult situation that prevailed at the show following the 9/11 attack in USA and the show in New Delhi after the terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008. The shows finally did go through with moderate success but they were sad moments. Roger has divided his focused clients into four major groups i.e. Suppliers, Visitors, Media and End users. Recognising the importance of each of these groups in making the shows successful, he travels around the world and spends time adequately distributed between these focused groups separately. He has setup a good sales team but he singularly remains the marketing face of labeexpo group. His marketing mantra is, “Think global and work local” he further adds, “You have to understand what drives business” He now intends to focus also on the Middle East and African markets.
Roger Pellow was born in Cornwall, England into a family involved in shipping related business. As a young boy he was a keen sportsperson and due to this fact he still spends close to an hour in the gym in his office building each morning before starting work. Surprising as it looks he calls me almost each week at around 10.30-11.00AM when he is driving to work, I am sure readers will understand that it is 6 to 7 AM in the morning there in a bone chilling weather. After completing a B.A. in Geography he became a senior school teacher and soon realized that there was no money in it. Shifting job, he joined an fmcg company to sell Dunhill and Rothmans cigarettes and three years down the line he knew how businesses ran and was ready for yet another change. He joined a publishing company with a magazine for DIY products, building interiors and design. Seven years later he moved yet again to join United Business Media a division of CPM to get his first exposure to the exhibition industry. This company did shows for electronics. He liked the show business and moved eventually to his present job at Tarsus. Instantly he fell in love with the label business and found the job extremely satisfying. He found the people in the label business extremely warm and friendly. As time progressed he made close and dear friends everywhere in the world. He looks at the international label industry as a closely knit global family.
Roger travels 18-20 days each month and has active support from his wife Jayne, whom he met at a beach and initially they did not like each other. However still they ended up in love. She was a nurse who later became a stewardess in British airways. She now is a home maker taking care of their two daughters Kate and Sophie. Roger wishes that his daughter travel the world like him and be the “Children of the World”. If it was not for Jayne, Roger could not have done this, travelling 18-20 days each month. Having been a stewardess herself she understands the needs of a job that calls for extensive travelling. With her active support Roger Pellow would still be travelling around the world for many more years and getting the label industry together to create a global label family because, “The label industry is really his world!”
Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 30th January, 2011.