Campaign Went Dutch

For a conversation around entrepreneurship and innovation, Suzanne Bidlake reports.

There’s an entrepreneurial spirit in the Netherlands, a start-up way of life, that bleeds into business. It’s one reason why so many companies choose it for a Europan base and why many brands put their faith – and global accounts – in the hands of Dutch agencies. And it’s why Campaign landed down at the Waldorf Astoria in Amsterdam for champagne, canapes and conversation with those who know it best.

Who wants to be an entrepreneur?

Innovation is the heartbeat of a global marketing economy going through a time-warping period of exponential change. There’s no choice any longer – just an imperative. It’s a new reality which puts huge pressure on marketers and their agencies to be entrepreneurial and agile in their thinking, whether in a multinational corporation or a bike-shed start-up.

Claire Beale, Campaign’s global editor-in-chief, kicked off the conversation, noting that Holland is home to some fantastically disruptive companies, such as Uber and Netflix, many creative companies and some of the world’s coolest brands. But what does it mean to be entrepreneurial in today’s climate, she asked?

Lisa Hogg, European marketing director at TOMS, jumped in: “It means taking risks. You have to change and reinvent yourself all the time. You can help people connect with the risk-taker inside themselves and I’m excited that I’m at a point where I can empower others and let them know that failure is just information.” Holland embraces such a spirit, said Kerrie Finch, CEO of FinchFactor. “In this room, roughly half of us aren’t Dutch. It’s incredibly entrepreneurial to live abroad. It’s the spirit of adventure and of discovery.”

Sitting in a large corporation, Eric Kramer, CEO of GroupM Netherlands, believes the speed of early adoption, and especially tech, among Dutch consumers forces the entrepreneurial agenda. “But I don’t want a few people on innovation, I want everybody. I want it in the culture. You can’t have an entrepreneurial DNA just because you have a department for it.”

Kim Dingler is managing director, new media at Talpa Global. It’s part of Talpa Media whose founder John de Mol’s hits from “Big Brother” to “The Voice” have contributed to Holland’s ranking as the world’s third largest exporter of TV formats. The Dutch are entrepreneurial, she said, “but we’re not extreme risk-takers. In the US, if you go bankrupt, that’s embraced. Here it’s not. We really want to succeed.”

Read the full article here: Campaign Magazine 9 December 2016

13 December 2016

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