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Although I had had a busy week, and university deadlines had been piling up on top of each other, I made sure I was able to attend the Amsterdam Commercial Night (ACN) event last week. Partially as a gesture of commitment as the MAA’s Chief Digital Marketeer, but mostly because it seemed like an event jam-packed with knowledge beneficial to me as a future marketeer! This blog post is here to tell you exactly how the event unfolded.

 Upon first entering Posthoornkerk – yes, a church – I encountered  the inevitable array of nuts, chips, crackers and free drinks: a display of the classic Dutch borrel. As I was barely on time (unsurprisingly), I had no time to enjoy these treats and had to scurry up to the main hall where the presentations were being held. I was in awe; the stage was set right beneath the church’s main spired tower you see from the outside, and the seats were lined by dimly lit, small bricked atriums that lead to the stage. 

 The main host of the night was Gijs de Beus, the strategic mastermind behind Friends & Foes: a creative agency located in Amsterdam. He opened the ACN Storytelling event with a little clip on how Friends & Foes was founded, while teaching us the basis of what storytelling is and how crucial it is for brand strategy. He paved the way for the three speakers of the night. The first speaker, Rik toe Water, represented GroupM: the world’s largest advertising media company, with subsidiaries that make beloved shows such as Love Island possible. It isn’t hard to imagine the source of GroupM’s success if all their employees have personalities and presentation skills like Rik’s. He was able to make the church echo with laughter while still remaining educational throughout his entire presentation. He provided exceptional visuals for the audience to understand the power of brand storytelling, as well as pitfalls that come with it if it isn’t done right. His take home message, repeated adamantly throughout the presentation, was to: use all platforms available, consistently engage with your consumers, scale your message, and stick to one main story.

 The second presentation took a surprising turn from the first one. Philips, represented by Dirk van der Horst, offered us an insight into their own (hi)story as game changers within the healthcare industry. We were taken back to 1891, when the three founding fathers of Philips joined forces to establish what has become a powerhouse of innovation. The presentation focused on Philip’s own success story while looking into the future at the incoming trends bound to shape the digitalisation of healthcare technology. Of course, a presentation about the healthcare industry would have been incomplete without a little side note reminding us students to take care of our  alcohol intake. Don’t get me wrong, it was greatly appreciated – but hilarious given that we were fortunate enough to have Grolsch sponsor the event’s supply of beer! 

 Following the two presentations, we had an interim break where we headed back to the borrel area to network, nibble on some snacks, and grab ourselves a bottle (or two) of Grolsch’s beer. The speakers joined too, engaging with students and divulging the companies’ secret recipes to success (or so I hope). At the borrel, Walters People – a recruitment consultancy firm operating  in major European countries – was there to help us with our LinkedIn profiles. I would like to take this opportunity to say that my LinkedIn profile was actually complimented by Walters People themselves…although they did say that my profile picture needed an update (to which I wholeheartedly agreed). After this ego boost, I went back into the main hall where I saw the opportunity to talk to the host, Gijs, and ask him what he was most looking forward to during the event.

 “I was really curious to hear the first presentation because it’s very close to what we [Friends & Foes] do, but with a slightly different take. The second presentation – yea, I know Philips intimately and have worked for them as a consultant. It’s such a complex organization, they’re going through such a profound transformation so it’s interesting to hear how story can be used in that transition. The third presentation I think is a classic example of marketing done well through the use of a story; we still need to hear it, but I’ve had a sneak peak of the presentation and I’m really curious to hear it – really excited.”

 After speaking to Gijs, and sharing his excitement, it was time for the  last company presentation of the night. Ard Bossema, Grolsch’s very own Marketing and Strategy Director, was the third presenter of the night. He kick-started his presentation with an incredible promotional video capturing the essence of the company, and continued to woo us with facts about the company that really set it apart from the rest. Did you know that Grolsch was the first beer to use a swing-top bottle cap? Me neither! Supposedly, it makes Grolsch’s beer bottle the second most famous bottle in the world – after the Coca Cola’s, that is. We were then immersed into stories of Grolsch’s explosive past. Literally speaking. Their first brewery in Enschede was destroyed by fireworks 19 years ago. Nonetheless, they made an astonishing comeback and rebuilt their brewery from scratch. Ard then dove into the company’s strategic trajectory, which included being completely transparent about how they were going to successfully entrance us, their target market, into choosing their new beer targeted to the youth. Watch out for Kornuit! 

 The evening concluded with even more drinks, nibbles, and a goody bag! By this time, everyone was way more social than during the interim break (thanks Grolsch!), and we all got together to discuss the presentations and other less important things, such as our impending workloads and unfinished theses. Overall, I’m glad I attended Amsterdam Commercial Night. I had a great time, felt productive, and left the event more equipped for my future career than I was when I came in.

By Derya Yildirim 

As the deadline for committee applications is approaching – and you may still be unsure as to whether you should apply for a committee or not – we’ve decided to give you the inside scoop on what it’s like to be part of an MAA committee, from a committee member herself! We’ve asked Anneloes – the event planner for the Amsterdam Marketing Event (AME) – if she could give us insight into her experience.

Anneloes van der Steenstraten is 25 years old, Dutch, and has lived in many different countries all over the world. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in hospitality from Hotelschool The Hague, she worked in the investment banking industry for two years. Currently, she is pursuing her master’s degree in international management at the University of Amsterdam. Alongside her studies, she works as a market analyst for a startup that consults other startup firms and their business development. 

As the event coordinator, Anneloes plans the AME; undertaking activities such as organising the seating plan, the roles of other members during the event, and beverage catering. Simply put, she does a whole lot of planning!

 

Why did you choose the MAA?

“That’s a good question — I came across it through promotional speeches for their different events. I was then approached to join one of the committees, which spurred my interest to get to know a little bit more about the MAA. I think it’s a great group that, despite the differing interests – whether that be marketing, consulting, or different areas – you get to create a great network and meet a lot of different people at the university.”

 

What made you apply for the AME committee?

“I think because their recruitment event is one of the largest recruitment events in the marketing area. I also get to apply my event organising skills from my hospitality study. Additionally, as I’m finishing off my studies early in December, it’s a committee that works well with the end of my studies.”

 

What does your future career path look like? How does being part of the AME committee help you in that path?

“I hope to go into the area of strategy consulting. I think that through the committee you learn to: interact with a lot of different people; do teamwork; organise a big event; talk to different companies; and combine different tasks including work, studies, and the committee together. So you really learn to plan your time accordingly. It’s also a great way to build your network because you’re in contact with so many different companies and people, which is really cool.”

 

What advice would you give to students who want to join a committee?

“I would highly recommend anyone to join a committee just to get to know different people and broaden your horizons. A lot of university students don’t have a lot of work experience yet, so in that sense it’s a great way to casually go into that environment while still being with fellow students. It’s a great way to get energised and get a sneak peak into the industry as well.”

Being a committee member allows you to develop in many disciplines; improving both your personal, and social life. The ability to have fun, network, and hone your skills in key areas such as time management, is precisely what being a committee member is all about! If you’re in the third year of your bachelor’s degree or pursuing a (pre-)master degree, apply here before 22 September! ma-amsterdam.nl/committees/

by Derya Yildirim (Media & Branding)

Nowadays resumes seem to be top priority to students. Therefore, it’s important to do a lot of other activities next to your study program. In times where you are expected to be online on social apps 24/7, it is necessary to create a proper work-life balance! But how do you manage that? With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to fully relax when you’re ‘off duty’

1. Only you decide when you’re ‘off duty’

First of all, only you can decide that you are ‘off duty’, by switching off your phone or by not responding to any more requests no longer. Tomorrow is another day! It is important to think about the energy you will get out of doing certain activities. If you do not look forward to doing something or you are not enjoying participating in a certain activity, then don’t do it! It will only make you more stressed and you will have less time to enjoy the things you do get energetic from! It is therefore important to be able to say no sometimes.

2. Close your eyes for a couple of minutes

Now that you’ve learned to be off duty, take advantage of this time to close your eyes for a couple of minutes each day and think about things you value. There are certain useful apps that can help you with that, like the app HeadSpace. This app allows you to concentrate on yourself for about 5 to 10 minutes every day.

3. Do not arrive in a messy home

If you have a tight schedule and come home late, it is important to make sure you do not arrive in a messy home. Having a tidy home can be helpful to reduce the chaos in your head. Therefore, it helps to make sure your home is organized and tidy, so that you are not reminded of all the things you still have to do when you get home!

4. Exercise will help you relax

Last but not least, exercise is an important aspect of relaxing. It keeps you healthy and makes you focus on your physical instead of cognitive skills. If you don’t have enough time to go to the gym, there are certain exercises you can do behind your desk to make sure you will burn some calories. Or just walk the extra steps to the toilet on the other side of the building!

If you would like to know more about lifestyle, stay tuned for next week’s tips on optimal concentration!

Have you ever imagined what Amsterdam would look like without any form of advertising on the streets? Maybe it has crossed my mind, but the scenario seemed to unrealistic to give any further thought. Not for Gilberto Kassab, a former mayor of São Paulo. Due to the exponential growth of advertising in the city and the difficulty to regulate it, Kassab decided in 2006 to ban advertising altogether. He introduced the “Clean City Law”, outlawing the use all outdoor advertisements, including billboards, transit and storefront signs. In a single year, 15.000 billboards and 300.000 oversized storefront signs were removed in the the city. Was São Paulo in 2006 the start of an era of ad-free cities? Or is it just naïve to think we can fully banish advertising?

Positive Vibes

For São Paulo, it has definitely led to some positive things. The hidden beauty of the urban city was revealed and the unique character was able to resurface. To help people identify and distinguish between businesses, buildings were painted in various colours making the public space vibrant and attractive again. Moreover, it freed up space for street artists to work on graffiti masterpieces. And above all, it forced them to be creative and agile, leading to a thriving advertising industry. They had to come up with alternative methods, like indoor innovations such as elevator ads, but the primary focus was on digital media. It has made São Paulo a front runner in the area of social media and digital marketing.  

No pain, No Gain

On the other hand, São Paulo had to deal with some negative consequences as well. The city went through something like an identity crisis, since the uncovered and ugly concrete jungle was making the city look worse without its advertising mask. The once hidden favelas were revealed showing gross inequalities and the city became less safe due to the loss of lighting. Furthermore, it had a large impact on the local economy, leading to revenue losses and the disappearance of jobs. Not to mention the limitation of the freedom of speech. Consumers have less information on which to base purchase decisions, damaging the rules of a market economy.

We may think that advertising is the devil bringing us nothing but misery, but there might be more to it. People have a basic need for relevant, entertaining and informative content. If it’s done in the right way, commerce can be a valuable exchange. If brands are part of the public space, it enters people’s thoughts and becomes the subject of conversations. And most of all, advertising helps to fund city infrastructure and is often a crucial source of revenue for many cities. Generally, it is not feasible to discard advertising.

Yay or nay?

All in all, an advertising ban has a big impact on the economy. It might look better, with less distraction and more focus on art, but it is a utopia? If it’s not on the streets, it will be somewhere else. Marketers will find other ways to influence you. And is restriction always the solution? Perhaps, it is possible to find a middle ground that takes all considerations into account. What would you like for Amsterdam?

Written by Jasmijn van Veggel

From passengers getting dragged out of an airplane, to a soft drink that solves social issues. This year we have had it all and thanks to the Internet everyone not only knows about it immediately, but also can comment and share their feelings. When such incidents spread widely, it becomes a nightmare for the particular brand. Let’s first have a look at the most memorable social media fails of 2017 so far.

The one that probably no one missed was when United Airlines dragged an Asian-American man violently off a plane to give his seat to a crew member. Of course people on the plane filmed the whole accident and posted the video on YouTube and Facebook where the clip went viral. It was watched over 5 million times on YouTube and people reacted to it in the funniest ways.

 

The second greatest corporate social media fail this year, which I’m sure you’ve heard of is from Pepsi. When they released a commercial featuring people of every gender, shape, and color enjoying ice cold Pepsi to show how #woke they are. Yet, they overstepped it by having social media star Kendall Jenner creating peace between police and protesters by offering the cops a Pepsi. Of course people reacted to this insane idea on social media.

These two examples where obviously two companies not acting according to the understanding of social and cultural norms. However Dove, who is known for its cultural sensibility (“real beauty” – campaign) now created a new campaign offering customers a limited-edition of six different body wash bottles who are representing the diversity of woman’s body. The containers are curvy, skinny or hilariously pear shaped. This campaign has been seen very critically on the Internet. Even though many believe it was a great idea, the majority criticized the way Dove executed this idea. Is every woman now supposed to pick the bottle that most closely aligns with their own body shape? Is okay, if a skinny woman chooses a round bottle? Well, for sure people reacted to it on social media networks.

All of these events would have never been viewed so widely if it wasn’t for the Internet. Nowadays, when a brand makes a mistake it may receive backlash from millions of people around the world.  All these comments and shares on social media made the incidents go viral. When people react to it by creating their own pictures and more content, the effect even multiplies. In the three examples mentioned above, the reaction of people was obviously not in favor of the brands, but it can also be the other way around. The best example of 2017 would be Salt Bae. Chef Nusret Gökce went viral with his video adding salt to raw meat in an artistic way. This led to great attention to his chain of Turkish steak houses.

In conclusion it can be said that marketers will never be able to control which content goes viral and which not. They can only try to lead it in a favorable direction. And for sure people will always continue to react, create, share and comment their own opinions.

Written by Meike Behrens

‘Building a better future’ is one of the main objectives of the company Hilti. The building element in their case literally building as Hilti is the leading company when it comes to supplying products in the construction industry. This B2B company is also a loyal partner of the Marketing Association Amsterdam. But what is Hilti exactly? And what is it like working in such an industry? Today we speak with Nadine Gijzen, trainee of Hilti. She will help us understand more about the Hilti career possibilities and what it is like as a woman working in a male oriented sector.

Hi Nadine, thank you so much for finding the time to do this interview with me. Could you first tell something more about yourself and how you got in contact with Hilti?

Of course! My name is Nadine Gijzen and I am 27 years old. My study career started with International Business and Management. After finishing my bachelor’s I started a premaster and completed a Master of Strategy and Organization at the VU. My father always worked in the construction sector therefore I had heard of the name Hilti before, but I never imagined myself working in such a company. After my master’s I was looking for a sales traineeship. Like most people I started looking on LinkedIn and browsed on the Internet,  until I came across a vacancy with Hilti which said that it was also suitable for women. I became curious and looked for more information. Next, I wrote an application letter and before I knew it I was scheduled for an interview. Afterwards, I was invited to an introduction work day to better understand a regular day at Hilti. I really liked that day and the rest is history…

Ah nice! And what do you like most about working at Hilti?

The thing I like most about working at Hilti is the work climate. Everyone is just really informal and casual. The feeling that I get when working with my colleagues is one of the main reasons I enjoy Hilti.  Nowadays, I am often on the road in this period of my traineeship. Still I speak to many colleagues every day. The contact between colleagues is very good. A couple of months ago we even went on wintersport together. That is a really good way to develop friendly relationships with each other.

Did you already have a passion for construction?

No, not at all actually. That is also not that important for Hilti. Of course you need to have some affinity or interest in technics, and want to learn more about the product of Hilti. Though, you do not need to have a technical background. It is more about what kind of person you are and if that fits with the culture of Hilti. It helps if you are easygoing and social to handle clients. The technical stuff you will learn along the way, so do not worry about that!

Still the construction world looks like a male oriented world from the outside, how is this world for you as a woman?

Actually there are also a lot of women working at Hilti and more and more are joining. However, from the perception of the client they sometimes still have to get used to this. For example, in the beginning the clients were testing me a bit more than my male colleagues. They are just curious where you came from. But if you show them you know what you are talking about and if you don’t know right away, they want to see that you handle it right.

Ah good to know! And could you tell us something more about your traineeship and the career possibilities at Hilti?

Yes, I started this two year sales traineeship in January 2016. With this traineeship you work as an account manager for 2 years but at the same time you receive coaching and training. Now I am working for the outlaws program, this is a business case inside the company. Besides the sales traineeship there is a technical traineeship, but you marketers are probably less interested in hearing about that. Also there is an international program, where you can work as an account manager for 1 year and after you go abroad for a new assignment. For me the sales traineeship was the most interesting because I want to stay in the Netherlands for now. Although, If you choose one traineeship there are still multiple possibilities. In these 2 years working as an account manager I am building my own client network and I have the autonomy to control for myself for what I want to do next. Hilti is a big company, but the nice thing is that you can easily switch positions for a different function or a different location. It is also possible to apply for one position instead of a traineeship. Also there are possibilities for internships. That is a nice way to get to know Hilti!

Ah, and what kinds of study background are you looking for in your new employees?

We do not pay that much attention to which study you have done. Your personality is more important. We are looking for people who are social, communicative, independent and creative. Also we speak Dutch internally so that would also been a requirement. Still internationals are welcome if they are open to learn Dutch. Also our new director from Germany is learning Dutch now!

What will you recommend to people that are still doubting if Hilti is a good fit for them?

There is always a possibility to get to know us better! You can just come over for a cup of coffee and we can talk about your options. It is important that you have some interest in sales and that you would like to improve your sales qualities for the sales traineeship. Also everyone will have an introduction work day to really discover how everything works at Hilti. So, I would like to recommend to you to come talk with us, and ask yourself and us critical questions. You are not only there to present yourself but it is also the other way around!

Nice to know:

  • Nadine’s favorite tool of Hilti is the new robotic total-station, it can measure everything on the construction site!
  • Nadine’s most memorable Hilti experience is when the whole company visited the head office in Lichtenstein, which was very impressive!

Written by Suzanne Bolander