Here at Network Inference, we aim to provide clear, practical advice from experts who succeeded in their job as top marketing professionals. Whether you’re looking to find a new job, advance at your current position, or explore new paths, our interviews will help you find a path, often an unusual path.
We carefully select only the most skilled professionals to share their wisdom with our readers. Each person interviewed by us is a recognized expert in the field of marketing and advertising.
In addition, most of them speak on marketing issues at conferences and meetings.
Can you introduce yourself, Nathalie? What’s your background? What are the most important tasks you have as the head of corporate communication?
My name is Nathalie Quéré and I have been of Head of Corporate Branding at AkzoNobel since March 2012. I am essentially responsible for all aspects of the AkzoNobel brand, which includes raising global awareness and ensuring that our businesses all over the world use and promote the brand in the right way.
Some time ago, AkzoNobel went through a rebranding process, what were the reasons for this transformation? How does it affect your corporate communication?
Following the sale of the company’s pharma activities and the subsequent acquisition of ICI, AkzoNobel wanted to express its new strategic direction by developing a new brand positioning and identity.
Scott White, VP Sales at Rackspace, RealCo Seed Fund Program Mentor, is a San Antonian who has spent the majority of his career at Rackspace. He grew up in different roles within the company including sales, marketing, and service delivery. His career has taken him to London where he ran international sales.
He spent a short time at a healthcare cloud startup but remained in touch with Rackspace and eventually decided to return. He is currently responsible for sales in the Americas as well as operations, marketing, customer care, and service delivery. Scott shares his deep content knowledge as a distinguished mentor for the RealCo Seed Fund Program.
What was your greatest life accomplishment and what did it teach you?
I played a significant role in the growth of Rackspace, taking the company from 10 million to several billion. I started there when I was 20 years old, and watched the company grow from a tiny company to a company of thousands of people. In hindsight, you can not remember all that you learned but you know that you are a much different person at the end.
The Netherlands, or Holland, is a relatively small country but it has so many successful international brands that it makes you wonder what the reasons are for this phenomenon.
Well, it is generally known that the economy of The Netherlands strongly depends on foreign trade and that it is a European transportation hub, just think of the Port of Rotterdam. But there is more to it. The Dutch companies extend their presence abroad, they greatly contribute to the European and American economy. Many Dutch businesses have made their impact on education, insurance and innovative, niche products.
As a proof of recognition for “all things Dutch,” there are many elements that are developed in the Netherlands and are included in educational standardized tests like this GED test used in the United States.
The Netherlands also is the home of many high tech and innovative companies. Highly sophisticated marketing allows many Dutch companies to take leadership roles in their fields.
Add to this the openness and pragmatism of the Dutch and you will have the answer to the title question, but let’s take a closer look at the key factors:
Joost Augusteijn is a Brand Strategist at Rabobank, the Dutch bank that has the highest credit rating in the world of all privately owned banks, awarded by the rating agencies Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, Fitch and DMRS.
Moreover, the cooperative structure is an important asset and selling point for Rabobank.
I talked with Joost Augusteijn about the bank’s sponsoring strategy, creating of brand preference and internal branding.
In the Netherlands and abroad, Rabobank became the “official sponsor” of three-sport disciplines cycling, field hockey, and equestrianism and has created long-term partnerships with top sports teams.
Creating Shared Value (CSV) is a recently developed corporate strategy that encourages leading companies to identify new areas of growth and profitability while building sustainable, scalable solutions for challenges such as access to healthcare, education, and nutrition, alleviating poverty, while simultaneously promoting environmental sustainability.
This strategy was introduced by Harvard strategy guru Michael Porter in cooperation with Mark Kramer in January 2011. Since then, this concept was widely discussed and some leading businesses are already implementing it.
One of these leading companies is DSM who recently rebranded itself and put sustainability and Creating Shared Value at the heart of its business strategy. I asked Jos van Haastrecht, DSM Branding Director to join me in writing this post so we can hear firsthand what CSV is all about and, more importantly, how DSM communicates this strategy to stakeholders and shareholders.
The Netherlands was host country for the international celebration of World Water Day (WWD). This year the event highlights water cooperation, and this theme was also the subject of the recent so-calledWater Mission that resulted in signing up a collaboration agreement between the USA and The Netherlands.
Check also this video on 2018 World Water Day (March 18, 2018):
Shaun Donovan who chaired President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and Melanie Schultz, the former Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Environment, agreed to share knowledge and best practices. Donovan said. “The Dutch are no strangers to the forces of nature and I’m certain we can benefit from their experience in disaster mitigation, infrastructure management and a variety of approaches to sustainable community development and planning”.
Donovan is coordinating the rebuilding of areas in New York and New Jersey that were hit by Superstorm Sandy e few years way back and his task is hugely complex. Continue reading International celebration of World Water Day (WWD)
Kasia Bialek works in a senior position for one of the most popular global brands and to get this job, she became an expat and relocated to Germany. Like many highly-skilled expats, she has a higher income as a result from that move and she definitely advanced her career. We talked with Kasia Bialek about challenges and rewards of moving abroad for a better career path.
Q. Kasia, 5 years ago you moved abroad to pursue your career. Since then you got promoted, increased your earnings, and improved your work-life balance.
Why did you decide to leave your country, Poland?
Well, I didn’t plan it; I was quite happy at my last position in Poland but realized that I had achieved everything that was possible in my last position within the company. I am the kind of person who needs and likes challenges and loves to learn new things. I was at the stage that I should start to look for a new job.
Then I got the possibility to move to our headquarters to Germany. It was a chance that life brought me. I could have chosen to start to look for a new job in Poland or use this opportunity, stay in touch with the people I knew, and start an international career. I chose the second option.
Jean-Marc Vogel is a well-known sales executive who carries quite a few years of experiences specifically in the Strategic Alliances domain. He exerted his expertise successfully during the past decades BMC Software, Oracle, Mercury Interactive, CAST, and HP Software.
Jean-Marc received several awards in the categories Best Sales Results and Best Alliance Manager. Currently, he holds the position of Director of Strategic Partnerships at eNovance. He simultaneously is one of the founders and treasurer-honorary president Adalec (the French Association for Alliances & Channel Directors.
Jean-Marc shared his extensive work experiences on building partnerships and strategic alliances. He is a skillful sales executive and I have learned quite a deal from him working on many accounts for quite a while. Our chat was long so I will publish this in two sections.
We conducted the following interview with Jean-Marc Vogel:
Q: What is Strategic Alliances all about? From your field experiences, how can we make a partnership successful?
Dutch companies have always had a strong focus on innovation, the strong rise in innovative concepts in business cannot be denied. Recent discoveries and developments in new technologies, new products, and new services can be traced to the Netherlands. Check out this list of five ingenious Dutch innovations. They have been shaping new realities and meeting market needs for some time.
Akulon and Arnitel from DSM
DSM’s Akulon and Arnitel are two types of materials that are currently used in several Cradle to Cradle®-certified products, including the Herman Miller chair. Cradle-to-cradle, referred to as “closed loop” systems, share the goal that materials – including metal, paper, plastic, and even food – are recycled or find their way back into the natural environment.
DSM recently refreshed its corporate brand to reflect their innovative approach and achievements.