2_3_DiscoverBenelux_Issue14_January2015_Scan Magazine 1 26/01/2015 20:01 Page 51
Discover Benelux | Design & Innovation | VBAT
MAIN IMAGE: Director Eugene Bay (left) is one of the founding members of branding agency VBAT. ABOVE: VBAT's long and successful working relationship with Heineken has produced many memorable product designs including Sol (left) and Brand beer (right). BELOW: Jumbo received an identity overhaul from VBAT and is now the Netherlands’ second biggest supermarket chain.
Heijn under pressure by being much more innovative,” he comments. Another client Bay passionately points out is their collaboration with SNS Bank. Working together since 2000, VBAT reinvented the bank’s identity twice and also designed its current logo. “Banks have obviously been hard-hit by the financial crisis, so this project was extra challenging but is has been a very rewarding partnership,” he says.
Exporting a pragmatic approach Originally from London, Bay decided to stay in the Netherlands; it was Dutch pragmatism that appealed to him. “VBAT is a very international company, currently half of our staff is from abroad and our working language is English. The one thing we have in common is a pragmatic way of working. This can sometimes appear direct or almost crass, but if you know how to confine it, it is a very efficient and effective way of working, and one of our best export pro ducts!” Bay says.
lutions. In Asia or Mexico for example, their hierarchical working culture can hinder or slow it down.”
Then two years ago we set up an office in Mexico because local demand was too high to do this from our Dutch office,” Bay says.
Taking on the world VBAT was set up 30 years ago in Amsterdam, with Bay as one of its founding members. Thanks to successful partnerships with global brands such as Heineken, ING bank and FrieslandCampina, entering the international market became a logical next step. Recently branching into Central America, VBAT was the team behind the new look of Mexican beer brand Sol. “Seven years ago Heineken asked us to go to Mexico with them for a new venture.
Next on the radar is China, in particular Shanghai, but Bay is keen to develop their business organically before jumping into a new market. “We don’t enter a new market because of an ideology; we first want to see business in a region and then open a new office.” He concludes: “We expect that within a few years the majority of our clients will be from abroad.” vbat.com
While common among Dutch companies, this pragmatic quality is actually unique in the world. Bay adds: “Being able to quickly come to conclusions where everyone can speak their mind and exchange ideas openly really speeds up the process and produces better so-
Issue 14 | February 2015 | 51
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and France.