2_3_DiscoverBenelux_Issue14_January2015_Scan Magazine 1 26/01/2015 19:18 Page 50
A fresh view on brand identity At VBAT they take branding seriously. The Dutch company uses a revolutionary method immersing clients in their own identity make-over. Combined with the decisive Dutch mentality, VBAT has attracted many international clients including household names such as De Bijenkorf, Jumbo, ING, Heineken, Douwe Egberts and many more. TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTOS: VBAT
To say company co-founder and director Eugene Bay takes pride in his work is an understatement. Enthusiastically he begins: “We work with all kinds of companies, from tiny start-ups to global multinationals. Our work is part of the visual landscape, and it makes me incredibly proud to see it every day – from the design of a tub of Mona yoghurt to the identity of delivery company PostNL” Working for clients doesn’t mean doing exactly what they ask. Instead, VBAT follows an unconventional approach. Starting every new project, the question of the client is critically assessed, finding out what it is a company needs from a brand, as much as what it wants. “It’s like a sparring partner mentality,” Bay explains. “In particular, young
50 | Issue 14 | February 2015
and inexperienced managers can come up with impulsive ideas, so we always question whether they decide to take the right path.” As staff turnaround at most companies is relatively high compared to the life span of a product, some of the identity of a product can get lost. “Take for example Brand beer; we have had a partnership with them since 1982. Not one member of staff knows as much about the brand as we do,” Bay continues: “Our way of working is not for everyone, but we spend a lot of time on each client to make sure they really get what is needed.”
Refreshing the identity The working process of VBAT turns all typical branding models on their heads.
After in-depth research into a product or company, the client is then invited to become part of an interactive ‘workshop’ session. Here VBAT involves the client and confronts them with different scenarios and concepts to come to the perfect solution. “With us, the client is very much part of the process. This can be challenging at times, but it always pays off in the end,” Bay says. VBAT calls this type of approach ‘refreshing thinking’. One project that Bay remembers fondly is the rebranding of supermarket chain Jumbo. The agency gave the company an image overhaul in 2009 and since then it’s become the Netherlands’ second biggest supermarket. “Jumbo has really put market leader Albert
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and France.