What has 2021 done to us?

What has 2021 done to us?

Corona and no end…

… or rather the beginning of something new? As always, it depends on the perspective!

All the developments surrounding the infectious events caused by Corona seem to have no end – but the effects of all this have in many cases led to an end to the comfort of prosperity. And thus represent a diverse new beginning, or at least they open up the potential for it.

Pure evolution! The virus is constantly evolving – and due to the necessary adaptations, our society and economy suddenly manage to adapt to the new requirements surprisingly quickly or to go completely new exciting ways. This doesn’t just mean the (important) topics of digitalisation and sustainability, but a general trend to think in a new way and see opportunities.

This ranges from vaccination itself (unbelievable how agile BIONTECH acted), to the flexibility of many in the event industry – who were forced to become unemployed and successfully engaged in entrepreneurship within days in the area of test centres, for example – to commitments by retailers to redefine themselves both digitally and analogue. The examples are countless once you start researching. And all of them deserve the utmost respect for their openness and their individual thinking in terms of possibilities.

When in the last 20 years have we had a surge of innovation like we have had in the past almost 2 years? And how long would we have needed for this development under normal circumstances?

This is not meant to be a paean to Covid-19, nor should it be, because the sacrifices are far too great. Especially in terms of health. On a physical, mental and economic level. Here too – evolution as it is written in the book.

Despite all the emotional consternation, the rational development is immensely exciting!

What applies to the general public also applies to us at CX. For us as people, company and entrepreneurs. First and foremost: we are proud and happy to say that everyone has been vaccinated and everyone is healthy. A few of us have been hit by the virus, but the course has been mild and we very much hope that it will stay that way.

We can also look back on the development of the company this year with even more pride. This then has less to do with luck than with commitment!

We started with a 60% drop in turnover due to budget cuts by clients. The uncertain economic situation and the ban on events that are part of our range of services were the reasons for this. We ended the year with a very good economic result across all locations, which was achieved solely due to the commitment and flexibility of our team!

What happened along the way? We were forced to think and make decisions in a new way! As a result, we reached agreement more quickly on strategic issues for long-term planning that had already been discussed but not yet decided. In parallel, we made spontaneous operational decisions that helped us economically in the short term.

In the long-term perspective, we had already dealt with our own positioning beforehand. In the end, Corona “helped” us to make a consistent decision. Because we decided to make strategic brand consulting, which has developed into our strongest competence over the years, the nucleus for everything. Strategic consulting is based on competence. Therefore, the decision for this path has logically opened up the possibility and necessity of expanding and investing in this competence. This has resulted in a reorientation of the Cologne location, under the leadership of the managing partner Hartmut Müller-Gerbes. Hartmut has expanded our competences to include PR and the Newsroom.

In addition to the locations in Rheine, Koblenz and Cologne, we opened a fourth location in Hamburg together with Managing Partner Melanie Lammers and expanded our expertise around the topics of Digitalisation and New Work.

The bundling of all competences logically led to the positioning as “CONCEPT X management consultants for brand communication” in the fields of competence: Market, Brand, Attitude, Communication, Organisation. A unique spectrum of competencies that for the first time also extends strategic communication consulting into the efficient organisational structure of the client.

On the operational level, we not only received many awards for our communications work, but also won new clients through the commitment of the teams at all locations. CX in Koblenz has expanded its consultancy in the context of sustainability and destination marketing. And thanks to the ideas of our colleagues in the events department, two Corona test centres were initiated within a few days and an open-air festival was set up, which provided an impressively broad cultural programme for the population over a period of three months.

A highlight was also our belated anniversary “25 years CX”, which we were able to celebrate extensively with the entire team in Hamburg.

As an entrepreneur, I am sure that all this – and many other commitments – would not have been possible, or would not have been possible so quickly, without Corona! All these experiences have cost a lot of energy for everyone in the CX team – but on the other hand they have also provided an incredible amount of motivation for the future.

As I said, it always depends on the perspective. That is why we as CX are looking forward to the future and the new challenges, because you help us to go new ways and thus to constantly develop further. 2022 remains exciting, stay healthy and make the best of it!

Finally, thank you to everyone who makes CX what it is and what it will become in the future!

Ulf Gassner, 29.12.2021

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Ulf Gassner CONCEPT X

Ulf Gassner

Brand & Purpose
„Seeing the whole – and recognizing the essential.“
Getting to the heart of things is my attidtude and goal. Since it is very difficult from an internal perspective to think outside the box and detach from the status quo, sparring at leadership level is so powerful.
Going where it hurts, thereby seeing the exciting possibilities for yourself and the company. The basis is recognizing the potential of the brand - and what attitude the brand positioning is based on. An attitude that holds up even when you have to prove it!
Because only the common understanding of brand and attitude enables the company to have an entrepreneurial spirit. This opens up new possibilities, as the team can identify with it and stand behind it. This is the only way to ensure the company's success in the long term.
That motivates me. Both as founder of CONCEPT X and initiator of the international agency group 27NAMES (20 countries, 600 experts) - and as a sparring partner for the success of our clients.
Curious now?
About a message via e-mail or contact form I would be very happy.
Contact me now


Hörstkamp 7
48431 Rheine
+49 (0)5971 1632-0
Löhrstraße 87 a
56068 Coblenz
+49 (0)261 973 299-0
Gemarkenstraße 12
51069 Cologne
+49 (0)172 241 8683
Zesenstrasse 22