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Edelman’s Amsterdam office was transformed following the 2016 appointment of Arent Jan (AJ) Hesselink—formerly head of content and channels at Philips—as general manager. He brought a strong focus on integrated marketing and built up the in-house content, production, paid, creative services, digital marketing, strategy and data science capabilities. He also helped to move the firm upstream to handle financial crisis and risk management work and other critical issues, working closely with his deputy Steven Heywood.
Hesselink has now moved on to become chief operating officer for the EMEA region, with Heywood taking over as GM, leading a team of 85 professionals with expertise in heavy industry, energy, tech, pharma and especially food and drink. In the latter sector, the firm works “from farm to fork” with clients including Nutreco, FrieslandCampina, Beyond Meat, Princes food, and Ahold Delhaize. Other notable work included M&A communications for GrandVision during its merger with EssilorLuxottica; helping Shell to open up and answer tough questions from stakeholders; serving as a hub for the Booking.com business; global work for DSM; and European coordination for Tata Steel.
The Brussels office, meanwhile, rebounded last year (up by close to 20%). There’s a team of more than 30, led by Gurpreet Brar, focused on public affairs with expertise in healthcare, energy and industrials, tech and food & beverage policy, supported by a content team which combines media relations, digital communications and research and data analytics expertise. Key clients include Ajinomoto, Astra Zeneca, GE Aviation, HP, Lidl, Mars, Microsoft, Roche, and Sanofi, with new business from CSR Europe, L’Oreal, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Strong work included content creation for Eurochild’s campaign to create a new EU Commission for Children.—PH
Bijl PR (Independent)
Founded by Ruud Bijl in 1991, Bijl PR is a boutique PR firms (fee income last year was around €1.7 million with a strong heritage in crisis communications—especially in the maritime sector. But it has expanded its offering in recent years and now provides reputation management, traditional and social media capabilities designed to help clients clearly position themselves and engage openly with their stakeholders—working with companies that span healthcare, retail, industry, and sports, as well as government and non-profit organizations.
From its headquarters in Rotterdam, the firm works with a host of Dutch and international clients including Danone (a new addition this year), eBay, Lufthansa, Randstad, and Feyenoord City. Its work—impressively for a small firm—garnered three SABRE nominations this year, all for work with a strong public service focus: a public education initiative for the Dutch Heart Federation to help patients increase their chance of survival using defibrillators after cardiac arrest; a campaignto generate awareness and appreciation for Dutch war veterans for Veteranen Instituut; and an effort to find foster parents for 700 children, conducted on behalf of Pleegzorg Nederland.—PH
Omnicom PR Group Netherlands (Omnicom)
Omnicom merged its three global PR brands in the Netherlands in 2017, bringing together our 2018 Benelux Agency of the Year Ketchum with sister firms FleishmanHillard and Porter Novelli to create a 50-strong presence with expertise across consumer, healthcare and technology. In particular, the firm aims to focus on finding solutions in complex, regulated sectors such as healthcare and food, often for organizations that are under pressure. Under the leadership of Rosalinde van de Wall, the firm’s senior team also includes health and biotech director Danielle Friskes, creative strategy director Andre Dammers and NGO specialist Marjolein Rigter. Those skills reflect OPRG’s diverse focus, which also includes capabilities in purpose, reputation management and employee engagement.
In 2019, the firm added a string of new clients including New Motion, Boehringer Ingelheim, European Society of Cardiology, Pentax, Kyowa Kirin, MG Global and Velux, which join an impressive list of existing partners — Astellas, AstraZeneca, Baxter, DSM, Fitbit, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Mastercard, Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, MSD, Royal Philips and Signify among them. The firm also heightened its focus on purpose and corporate reputation, fueled by the organization’s research backing the importance of both. Hallmark campaigns over the last 12 months include working with the Ministry of Justice and Security on driving the importance of cyber security; helping Mastercard and the World Food Programme promote the importance of school meals for children in developing countries; and launching the iconic MG into the electric car market. — AS/DM
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