Felix Stork: the Simba Dickie Group’s expert on new media.
For everything to do with iPads, Felix Stork is your ideal contact.
He never lets a day go by without a twitter. He’s never seen without his iPad. He knows exactly what’s best to post on
Facebook. At the beginning of October Felix Stork, nephew of Michael Sieber, was appointed as Online Strategy Manager for the Simba Dickie Group. He’s also assisting COO Uwe Weiler in order to get a strategic overview of the firm. He’s known the firm since childhood. “As a child I was especially fascinated by the showrooms,” he says. “But I always admired my uncle and grandfather for what they achieved along with their employees.” Felix, now 27, was keen on new media right from his teens, absorbing it all like a sponge. But it wasn’t available as a university course at the time. His other ambition, however, was to enter the firm, so he opted for international business management and marketing. He did his first degree and diploma in business studies in Munich, his master’s in Paris and Barcelona. He’s more than happy now that his route into the Simba Dickie Group wasn’t direct via toys from his childhood and youthful dreams. The new media, like Felix himself, are on the Simba Dickie Group’s starting block.
Virtual world on all channels
“Through the internet I can reach the entire globe,” he says. “Just one idea has so much impact.” His enthusiasm for the virtual world is clear to see in his eyes. When he talks, anyone can see that growth and development are never out of his mind. The new media are going to sweep across all industries now, he says – whether that means Facebook, apps or the iPad. “You can’t believe what’s possible. It’s another way to communicate, but by using this platform you can reach people very much more intensively.”
Stork thinks that internet advertising is not only fast and effective, but also cost-effective, compared with TV spots, newspaper ads or hoardings. “Some of our firms already have branded channels on YouTube,” he says. “For example, if you follow ‘Filly’, it’s incredible how many girls upload their own horse videos.” Stork broadcasts his own news via Twitter and Facebook – and so gets daily updates and is always fully informed about everything that’s going on.
Does the virtual world also involve risks? The internet is much criticised, thinks Stork, but it’s up to each individual what he or she reveals. “Of course you always need to be aware of the dangers. I’m critical myself. But I think that I’m perfectly capable of assessing the potential and the risks.”
Children are the target group, but when the Simba Dickie Group uses the new media it is principally addressing parents. “But parents don’t act without being egged on by their sons and daughters,” says Stork.
Board game to mobile game
However much Felix Stork is fascinated by the new media, he’s convinced that electronic toys are not pushing out the traditional kind. And the Simba Dickie Group is not about to abandon the latter. Nevertheless he can see mobile games or apps transforming the board games market before very long. “They also create opportunities for traditional toymakers, by designing products for these mobile games and apps.”
“Licences for social media games will evolve in the same direction as film licences,” he says. Which means that traditional toymakers will have to take an interest. His personal vision of the future? “A lot of things are still in their infancy, but I think e-commerce is going to go on expanding in the near future, while social commerce and mobile commerce will be a key theme.”