2018 - A happy year in review

“Success happens when you encounter luck while taking action for good.”

2018 has again been another happy year for our BR-ND company. Looking back I can only be grateful with the opportunities to impact on the happiness and wellbeing of individuals, teams and companies. With a bit of imagination, maybe even on the happiness of the world around us. Below a summary of our performance in 2018.

This year started with moving our company into a new space in the center of Amsterdam. We have happily used the shared offices of Spaces already for several years, but on top of the state-of-art business club facilities, we now got our own bright space on the second floor, overlooking the Vijzelstraat and Kerkstraat. It was only a year ago that we cleaned out the place, prepped the walls with chalkboard, bought new chairs, cupboards and as a cherry on the pie before the end of 2018, we get a handmade giant table made from beautiful local Elmwood.

2018 also has been a year in which we grew our team further and lived up to our promise to support the growth of young talent. A special mention goes to Ezra Bakker, having been part of our team for over a year. Ezra made in 2018 a worthy move next to his studies in branding and communications. Some of you already know that Ezra is a successful field-hockey trainer-coach, next to his work at BR-ND. In 2018 Ezra took up a new professional role at Ring Pass Delft to train the trainers, coaches, managers, and players. Next to that Ezra is Head Coach of Delftsche Studenten Hockey Club and Technical Director at SportWays, organizing international training camps for youth players. Ezra, thank you for your friendship, fun and the many tips you gave me on field hockey coaching.

Further, I mention Michal Vaya, our Israeli intern from Tel Aviv, who joined us during the final stages of a Masters program of the University of Gastronomic Sciences, Pollenzo in Italy. Michal made clear again that young people indeed have the future. With her amazing drive, global focus, and understanding of how the food industry makes the world go around. Michal’s professional interest is further in crisis management and probably the food industry is in the middle such a major crisis. Think of the rise of obesity and other food-related illnesses, animal wellbeing in the industrial animal farming sector, and the explosion of plastic packaging materials. So lot’s of work to be done! Michal, thank you for your work at BR-ND and the perspective you gave us on the situation in the Middle East. Michal, I wish you all the best.

More recently we welcomed Piri Bodon as a new teammate. Piri is prepping for a Masters at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in Culture, Organization and Management. She’s a keen interest in architecture, design and sports. Welcome Piri!

In 2018 we worked together with several longtime associates of the BR-ND company. It was again a such a pleasure to work with marcom diva Kim van der Brugge on various creative activities. And with storytelling maestro Frederik Melchior on an innovative leadership development program for one of our hospital clients. And not to forget the illustrious naming couple Ivo Grupping & Elles Koch, with whom we created several new brand names and brand architecture solutions. And obviously, I have to mention design diva Kiki Hartmann, my beloved roomy at the BR-ND office, for creating yet again amazing graphic designs for many of our clients. And not to forget Swiss-based German design diva Anne Treichel, who helped us with overhauling the graphic design for one of our hospital clients. And most recently we started working with copy & concept maestro Victor Silvis, helping us out on employer branding campaigns.

Then there is the one and only Michael Cortino. Mike joined the BR-ND company late 2017, graduated in 2018 and decided to stay on board as project leader with a special focus on introducing 23plusone method in higher education. Mike, it’s a pleasure having you around and I hope we can keep you busy for the next couple of years.

A last personal thank you goes to my long-time biz partner Kim Cramer. For 13 years Kim has kept up with me professionally and with my many eccentricities. Thank you for that, Kim. 2018 was another year of loyal friendship, with our weekly sports sessions, our so-manieth Dam to Dam run, super business trips to Mykonos, Lisbon and Paris, several gastronomic orgasms and uncountable discussions about branding, happiness, sports and the amazing world around us. I can only hope our partnership will last for many more years to come.

Then I wish to make special mention of Alice Muurlink, with whom we are taking steps to further shape our B Corp status. About a year ago we were certified as B Corp, and we feel the need to stretch ourselves further by developing our company even more as a force for good. With the help of Alice, we have agreed on new activities to make more impact on the world around us. No doubt we can do even better in how we promote and activate purpose-driven branding, how we positively interact socially and how we reduce our environmental footprint. In 2019 many of these activities with see the light. Although we are a company with minor environmental impact, we did make significant improvements in our environmental performance, by changing the plastic packaging of the 23plusone boxes to cardboard. Also we now completely split our daily waste in paper based and others. Lastly we stopped using cardboard coffee cups and now are back to good old porcelain espresso cups and cappuccino mugs.

Last big thank you goes to our clients in 2018. Without them, it would all not be possible. I am grateful for the trust they have in BR-ND to support them with brand and organization development. Some of our clients are new in 2018, but for many of them, we have been working for many years. How special is that? Below a list of our active clients in 2018 and a brief sum up of our activities. Again, thanks to all those business leaders for entrusting us with your business.

  • Allchiefs. Integrated new brand creation for a startup in the field of advanced technical consulting & staffing.

  • Bernhoven. Brand equity research and creation of a common brand story, purpose and brand strategy.

  • Dierenbescherming. Creation of a common brand story, purpose and brand (portfolio) strategy after the integration of many organizations in the field of animal welfare.

  • IENS / Thefork. Brand equity research as part of the development of a rebranding strategy.

  • Nextview. New brand creation for a merger of various companies in the design thinking and technology category.

  • NRG. Support with brand portfolio & architecture strategy, further development of visual expression of Advancing Nuclear Medicine and creation of an employer branding program.

  • Ministerie van VWS. Brand story creation and teambuilding sessions in order to create a new visual expression for internal and external communications.

  • Omons. Integrated new brand creation, an initiative of Firan (an Alliander company) in the field of energy transition.

  • POPRADAR. Brand strategy and teambuilding activities leading to the rebranding of Haags Pop Centrum.

  • RAKU. Creation of a common brand story, for a new medical organization. Founded by UMCU, Sint Antonius and Meander, in the field of rare cancer research and treatments

  • Santeon. Employer branding strategy, brand story creation, and overhaul of the visual brand world.

  • St Antonius. Brand portfolio & architecture strategy. Various brand design assignments.

  • Volksbond Streetcornerwork. Creation of a common brand story, purpose and brand (portfolio) strategy as part of a merger.

Apart from the above client assignments, we have consolidated the 23plusone Licensed Friends network. At the end of 2018, we are now with a friendly army of 42 trained licensees using the 23plusone method. As for our Emotome business, we will discontinue the standalone approach of the program under the Emotome brand. For 2019 we will make this ‘positive brand culture program’ an integral part of the BR-ND business.

For those of you interested in our financials, our preliminary numbers indicate that we have improved our positive equity position, both our top and bottom line financials have gone up and so has our cash flow. Also nice to know is that we are debt free to third parties.

All we can hope for is that 2019 will be likewise or maybe even more successful. We know that our success depends only on the people we work with and their drive. We will continue to create happy working conditions. We wish to stimulate highly motivated professionals who love working together, who empathise with clients and suppliers as trusted partners and with nothing but good intentions in our hearts. We would be excited if you could join us in our longstanding quest of creating brands and companies as a source for good.

Amsterdam, 25 December 2018
Alexander Koene
Co-Founder BR-ND Emotive Transformers

Alexander Koene