The Face behind the Front Door: Winkelman van Hessen


For this article I spoke with Mr Winkelman, one of the owners and founders of Winkelman Van Hessen, consultancy for Marketing and Public Relations. Founded more than 35 years ago by fellow students Ton Winkelman and Ralph van Hessen it grew into a company with 46 employees, housed in three stately mansions on Bankaplein and the higher end of Bankastraat.
“We started when we studied at the Erasmus University,” Mr Winkelman told me. “We were the first to see the possibilities of combining marketing with public relations. Our slogan was: think marketing and do public relations.
“We had our first interview in ‘Het Vaderland’ (‘The Native Country’, an evening paper published in The Hague between 1869 and 1982). We started office hours for entrepreneurs in The Hague and we were closely involved in the information centre in Babylon for the PTT employees who had to move to the new headquarters in Groningen. We gave information and we looked in the urban conglomeration of western Holland for new candidates for Groningen.
“We apply thinking marketing and doing public relations to government policy, to concerns and various (big) brands. All in all we now have more than 35 years of experience.
“It is important to know the market. There is hardly a sector that is unfamiliar territory to us and with 46 staff members we have experts in various fields like fashion, healthcare, culture, consumer brands, ICT, government, education and services.
“We start with extensive research and speak with the customers of our client. Public relations is an effective instrument to realize marketing targets. Capturing and creative media attention for a product is probably the most striking effect of our work. We work with well-established brands such as  Dove, Robijn, Andrelon, Unox and KPN.
“For instance: Unox stands for ‘all Dutch’, ‘winter, sausage and pea soup’. The secret is making a conscious choice and keep publishing it consistently. The New Year’s plunge at Scheveningen that we organize is a good example.
“In the cultural field we account for the organisation of the Museum Night and we help educational institutions to promote themselves better, because a sufficient inflow of students is no longer a matter of course.
“We are very busy with ‘Special Events’. We created a separate department for it. Our first ‘big event’ was an immediate success and to this day we are proud of it: the Big Improvement Day, when people from the government and from business circles meet for a day.In 2008 it won us the Oscar of the events line: the Golden Giraffe. Since 2008 it is an annual event with well-known guest speakers like Sir Richard Branson, John Fentener van Vlissingen and Jan Kees de Jager.”
“And last but not least,” says Mr Winkelman, “we let out rooms to a number of companies with whom we work in close cooperation such as a media company, a company that makes 3D prints and an expert in the field of public affairs (lobby!) and design. It furthers the internal ‘communication’ and dynamics and isn’t that what our business is all about?”

Would you like to contact Winkelman Van Hessen? The firm has its seat at Bankaplein 3 and the telehone number is 070-4161616.

10 October 2016, Josephine de Vijlder  (MM)