Fast economic growth rates have boosted IT, telecomms and transport work

Fast economic growth rates have boosted IT, telecomms and transport work

Compared with the problems faced by Germany, the Dutch economy is facing

a comparatively easy ride. When measured in April, inflation was only

two per cent and unemployment 7.2 per cent.

The Dutch energy for encouraging investment and creating jobs has led to

1.8 per cent economic growth in first quarter of this year - one of

fastest growth rates in western Europe. Politically, the climate is

similarly stable with the coalition government looking almost certain to

remain in power until May 1998. This consensus extends to business,

where employers and trade unions co-operate in a steady route forward.

Fridie van Loon, president of PR trade association VPRA says: ‘The

market is growing fast and business is booming. 1995 was a good year but

1996 will be even better.’

Principal growth areas include information technology, insurance and the

national infrastructure - particularly transport and telecommunications.

A retail revolution is also underway as deregulation makes the sector

one of most liberalised in Europe. It recently reported a rise in year

on-year turnover of 4.5 per cent.

Unsurprisingly particular growth has been seen in those agencies that

are strong in IT - Bikker Communicatie Groep, Harlon Communicatie, Van

Sluis Communicatie and Schoep & Van der Toorn/Public Relations. In

November UK hi-tech agency Text 100 opened its first Dutch branch in


Bikker one of the youngest agencies in the league, is now one of top

three. Striving to keep its branches small and specialist, Bikker’s

Rotterdam office concentrates on construction and business-to-business,

while Utrecht is strong in banking, insurance, and IT. A new office

opens in The Hague in September to take advantage of government work.

Bikker is also about to open its first overseas office in San Francisco.

The company won the project communications for the construction of the

Noordlijn in Rotterdam - an attempt to ensure high quality public


Other big gains include support for the Municipality of Amsterdam in

major civic projects, marketing communications for Levi’s ‘Dockers’

brand and all Visa International’s PR in the Netherlands.

Managing director Leendert Bikker’s corporate philosophy remains ‘small

is beautiful’ and is based on a theory of ‘cell division’. He says:

‘When any company grows to more than 12 people, we create another office

with specific expertise geared to growth areas in the market.’

Harlon Communicatie has shown steady growth, albeit largely through

diversification. It has opened two more locations in Utrecht and


Fridie Van Loon is managing director of Harlon. She believes in

integrated marketing: ‘We now handle corporate advertising, direct mail

and a lot of internet advice.’ Van Loon thinks it unlikely that Harlon

will grow as fast over the next year, concentrating instead on

integrating its services and moving towards ISO 9000 quality

accreditation Burson-Marsteller’s team was boosted in June 1995 with the

addition of Peter Stroink, former head of press at Shell Netherlands. B-

M’s speciality continues to be big clients, big projects and big fees.

Managing director Peter Juergens says there are no plans to open new

offices and that, unlike Harlon, the company is concentrating on its

core PR expertise to maintain fee revenue.

Juergens claims a healthy balance between Dutch national clients and

multi-national corporations, but says it is against company policy to

reveal any names.

The Dutch office has introduced the much publicised ‘perception

management approach’ adopted by Burson-Marsteller worldwide, which he

says: ‘helps us focus on our business results for clients.’

For the future, Van Loon sees two types of agency emerging: ‘There’s a

new wave of specialists concentrating on growth areas like crisis

management, investor relations, fund-raising. At the same time there’s a

generation of consultancies winning business at expense of specialists.

These are staffed by highly educated, young consultants with economic

and financial qualifications.’

Juergens believes senior business management is valuing communications

more highly and agrees that agencies are employing better educated

people, who are able to discuss business strategies with clients. ‘The

industry is 20 years behind management consultancy but, thanks to a

higher degree of professionalisation, we are climbing the pyramid,’ he



Euro Consultancies: Netherlands (part one)


Rank  Company                       Fee income (pounds)    Location

                                     95          94

 1    Winkelman /van Hessen       3,435,176   4,000,000    The Hague

 2    Burson Marsteller Holl.     2,467,000   2,156,000    The Hague

 3    Bikker                      2,200,000   1,800,000    Rotterdam

 4    Van Sluis Communicatie      2,150,000   1,600,000    Amsterdam

 5    Harlon Communicatie         2,137,404   1,970,702    Utrecht

 6    Bennis PR                   2,105,000   1,727,000    Amstelveen

 7    Van Rossum & Prtnrs         1,980,000   1,740,000    Utrecht

 8    J. Van den Berg/A. Kleyn    1,600,000   1,400,000    The Hague

 9    Schoep & Van der Toorn      1,398,000   1,050,000    Amsterdam

10    Van & Van Publiciteit         927,000     810,915    Maarssen

11    Hollander/V. der Mey/MSl      921,000     972,500    The Hague

12    Hill & Knowlton Nthrlnds      897,000     813,000    Amsterdam

13    Van Hulzen PR                 778,083     654,412    Voorschoten

14    Pauw & van Spaendonck         760,456     646,640    The Hague

15    Shandwick Van de Meeberg      746,000           *    The Hague

16    De Joode Kok                  715,000     640,000    Amsterdam

17    Zwart & partners              650,800     620,600    Z-H

18    Bex/Van der Schans PR         647,170     555,095    Eindhoven

19    Key Communications            600,000                Amsterdam

20    Hollander GCI                 540,000     348,500    Amsterdam

21    Wisse Kommunikatie            528,000     356,000    Arnhem

22    DSP Communicatie              475,000     430,000    Rotterdam

23    Klijnsma & Bodes              435,000     415,000    The Hague

24    Forman Grayling               354,000     303,000    Naarden

25    Blum & Partners               330,000     290,000    Amsterdam

26    Broekman PR                   325,000     305,000    Nijmegen

27    Lammers van Toorenburg        300,000           *    Utrecht

28    BETA PR                       225,000     215,000    The Hague

29    Nolles PR                     210,000     200,000    Ridderkerk

30    Verberne PR                   190,012     213,206    Amsterdam

* Figures not available. VPRA top ten agency HPR/Horticom.did not submit

figures in time for inclusion.



Euro Consultancies: Netherlands (part two)


Rank  Company                       Status

 1    Winkelman /van Hessen         Independent

 2    Burson Marsteller Holl.       B-M subsidiary

 3    Bikker                        Independent

 4    Van Sluis Communicatie        Edelman affiliate

 5    Harlon Communicatie           Independent

 6    Bennis PR                     Comms Int subsidiary

 7    Van Rossum & Prtnrs           Independent

 8    J. Van den Berg/A. Kleyn      Independent

 9    Schoep & Van der Toorn        Euro Plus member

10    Van & Van Publiciteit         Independent

11    Hollander/V. der Mey/MSl      MS&L subsidiary

12    Hill & Knowlton Nthrlnds      H&K subsidiary

13    Van Hulzen PR                 F-H affiliate

14    Pauw & van Spaendonck

15    Shandwick Van de Meeberg      Shandwick subsidiary

16    De Joode Kok                  Independent

17    Zwart & partners              Independent

18    Bex/Van der Schans PR         ECCO member

19    Key Communications            Trimedia/Key member

20    Hollander GCI                 GCI subsidiary

21    Wisse Kommunikatie            Worldcom member

22    DSP Communicatie              Independent

23    Klijnsma & Bodes              Independent

24    Forman Grayling               Grayling associate

25    Blum & Partners               Independent

26    Broekman PR                   PR Prtnrs Europe mbr

27    Lammers van Toorenburg        Independent

28    BETA PR                       Independent

29    Nolles PR                     Independent

30    Verberne PR                   Independent

* Figures not available. VPRA top ten agency HPR/Horticom.did not submit

figures in time for inclusion.


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