Update from us, to you.

As strategic storytellers, we prefer speaking about – and on behalf of – others. That’s our profession. However, it can be useful to share a little bit about ourselves – our motives, activities and ambitions. Hence this newsletter to our valued relations.

The past year has strengthened our belief that we are of great added value to our customers, in large part thanks to our dedicated team. We face the inevitable setbacks and have the strength, resources and flexibility to handle them. By reacting intelligently to a changing reality. Over the years, countless hours of discussion have been devoted to the Darwinian concept of ‘survival of the fittest’. We align with the theory that those who are best able to adapt to changing circumstances are most likely to succeed.

Nevertheless, if 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we, as individuals, are extremely vulnerable. Thereby emphasizing how much we need to help one another. We have experienced the powerful professional relationships with our clients. Evidently, we are willing to adjust business arrangements if an organization is struggling and, in turn, we have experienced that we can always count on our clients. They don’t let us down when times get tough. For that, we are immensely grateful.

The PR profession is evolving, and our clients are adapting along.

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1. Critical glance

The ongoing global crisis is forcing us to recalibrate and reflect. As an organization, are we on the right track and is our team prepared for the circumstances we face? How do we ensure that customers are optimally served in a new reality? Daring to take a critical look at yourself, in addition to self-confidence, is, in our eyes, a sign of strength. In recent months, an honest look at ourselves and at the PR profession has provided us with useful insights. During such a moment of reflection, the conclusion is not necessarily that you are doing something wrong. The intention is to gain insight into what can be improved.

2. Cherish the press

It isn’t easy to pinpoint what Donald Trump’s presidency has brought to the world. On a positive note, he reminded us – more than ever – of the importance of freedom of the press. A well-functioning democracy cannot exist without journalists who are allowed to question administrators, politicians, CEOs and scientists. Who investigate and dig. Who reveal abuses, but also shine a light on achievements and progress. We still consider it a privilege to be so closely tied to this crucial profession.

3. Never assume

The expression assumption is the mother of all mistakes (and its less polished version) is truer than ever. The consequential amount of news and information sources ensures a pleasant pace of insights and updates, but also blurs the distinction between fact and fiction. Especially when it comes to reporting on social media, we are – certainly also on behalf of clients – more critical than ever. This means that we value the sender and, above all, that we draw our own conclusions, instead of merely following trends and hypes. Our clients appreciate this perspicuous and objective view.

4. Keep an open mind

Nowadays, it has become somewhat commonplace to look for a culprit in the event of bad news. The Dutch prime minister, for instance, receives a tornado of criticism after every press conference. Regardless of the message. This collective tendency is easily noticeable in challenging times. In general, there is a clear hardening of society. The tone is fiercer, and unfounded allegations are becoming more common. Unfortunately, this is reality. But from a professional perspective, it also presents an opportunity. Dealing with unreasonableness – in the press or on social media – does not require more ferocity, but an open mind. As far as we are concerned, the only effective weapon is a combination of reason, nuance and substance.

5. Sustainable relationships are our #1 priority

In our eyes, this is so obvious that it hardly can be called an insight: the customer always has our #1 priority. The current context has put particular emphasis on the value of lasting relationships. We have been working with some of our clients for over twenty years, and with new customers, we always start a relationship that is open, transparent and close from day one. This is how we work. And how we want to work. In that respect, nothing has changed in all these years.

Issue Management

Some people make a big deal out of everything. Obviously, that has nothing to do with Issue Management. However, managing the process of decision-making around relevant and difficult topics – both within the organization and beyond – does. Especially when the issues are substantial and have major impact on a company. It’s then necessary to anticipate, or respond, through clear communication. Our team of experts consists of highly experienced communications specialists who have been dedicated to assisting clients in the private and public sectors for years in difficult, often reputation-threatening situations. Or worse. Our legal expertise comes in handy in delicate situations. For support in crisis PR, we are available 24/7 via +31 6 53 51 89 68.

… more about Coebergh…

Our colleague Eelco Parie is currently developing a new concept for media training together with former lawyer, comedian, trainer and writer Huibert-Jan van Roest. They will launch their concept, De Plopkap, in early 2021. To be continued!

We have recently expanded our team again with new talent. For example, Ouael Mousaoui, who previously worked at Simyo and presented a program about politics at AT5, strengthens our social media team. With Maria Carballo, who previously worked at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, we have a seasoned accountant on board.

More than 10% of the marketeers from DeMedia100 of 2020 are very good acquaintances of our agency. Clients or business relations with whom we’ve worked in recent times. Just saying…

Our founder Gervaise Coebergh is involved in a large number of profit and non-profit organizations and initiatives. As an investor, advisor and (non-executive) director. She recently became chairman of the board of FEMpreneurhulp, an initiative dedicated to supporting, encouraging and enabling female entrepreneurs to excel. In good and bad times. If you know someone who you think could use support, please contact FEMpreneurhulp. #SamenSterk

… more inspiration…

This restaurant in France uses 3D augmented reality videos projected on dining tables to surprise guests during their meal. Só 2021!

Never too young to learn: 15-year-old Cato designed a series of masks and also had them produced. They can be ordered on Instagram via @_orangecut_ (at 6.50 euros each). Also check out @_geolinea_ for more line art.

Enjoying the magic of clothing in a sustainable way, without buying anything new? The Articles of Interest podcast explains the history and meaning behind various garments: from the rise of casual wear, the design of children’s clothing, the impact of jeans to why women’s clothing so often lacks pockets.

What can we learn from a country that has about 1.3 billion mouths to feed? A lot! The Indian city of Mumbai has been operating an impressive food delivery system in which the dabbawalas have been seamlessly delivering more than 200,000 homemade meals to workers on a daily basis for over 130 years. Without using modern technology! Have a look at the inspiring TED Talk on the topic.

More food for thought from India. The entrepeneur and inspirational billionaire Naveen Jain discusses issues that concern us all. What if chronic diseases were optional? Is that a viable future perspective?

Design studio VOUW introduced a new work of art: watch the poetic video of the Lightbox here. The 100 numbered works depict Amsterdam as seen from the sky. When lights go off in the immediate vicinity of the artwork, the starry sky that usually remains invisible above Amsterdam appears. Bringing Amsterdam’s starry nights into your home…

Needless to say, it has been a challenging and turbulent year. With adjusted targets and a sting in the tail because of new heavy Covid measures. And none of us really have a clear view on what 2021 will bring.

What we do know, is that our clients can yet again count on us in the coming year. That we have a wonderful team. Energetic, driven, involved, fast, sharp and a pleasure to work with. We hope that you also have the drive to go all out in 2021, strenghtened by the knowledge and experience that the peculiar past year granted us.

But first, a break: from December 24 to January 3, our office will be closed. However, in urgent cases, we are here for you, as per usual. For crisis situations and Issue Management, we can be reached 24/7 via +31 06 579 56 215.

We hope to see you soon, stay healthy.

Happy holidays and all the best for 2021!

Gervaise Coebergh & Kiki Hirschfeldt