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Ceo’s of the Netherlands, take your orange box under your arm

It’s been a while since Prime Minister Rutte publicly called on the CEOs of the Netherlands to join talk shows. Explaining on Pauw, Matthijs or Jinek how things work with Philips, Unilever, ING and all the others is simply not in their nature. Apparently so. Because it rarely happens.

A good story

Of course, these superpowers often deal with matters that affect society. And so matters with multiple interests, making it more complicated to explain and tell. But what if the corporate story that these companies have to tell connects seamlessly with the way in which they deal with social issues? After all, a corporate story is immensely valuable, if the story is really ‘true’. And much easier to tell too. If the CEO makes this story his own, he or she can join the big talk shows without any embarrassment or doubt. So there are only two challenges. You have to have a story that is really true and explainable in all directions. And the management – led by the CEO – must be able to dream it. Problem solved. Off to the TV studios.

Tell in own words

The funny thing is, this doesn’t just happen with the super large companies. The companies in the divisions below also find this difficult. They probably don’t have to join a national talk show very quickly when it comes down to it, but telling their story on social media or simply at the table with a prospect is much more obvious. Telling the good story about your company is not only reserved for relationship and account managers or sales. Everyone in the organization should be able to tell. In your own words.

“Ceo’s of the Netherlands, put your company’s corporate story
under your pillow.”

On the box are

And so, CEOs of the Netherlands, step on the old familiar orange box. In a figurative sense, but also literally. I still come across the boxes every now and then at companies. And that’s where they are used. For the New Year’s speech, the half-year figures, for upcoming merger plans that are stirring things up. Actually the social issues at the local level. Will the message be combined with any corporate story? Hardly. In many cases, an external consultant or communication strategist is flown in to make the link with ‘the story’. Often when a new communication strategy is hot off the press or has been adjusted in parts. My colleague and strategist Erwin Oskam is regularly deployed to stand on such a box. And tell the company story. He’s good at that, no doubt about it. But actually this is a sin. And unnecessary. The story is really true and therefore not from the strategist, not from the external consultant. The story belongs to the company. From everyone in the company. It should not be a ‘thing’ from the Marketing department, not a ‘trick’ from Communications. It has to be from the board – with the ceo leading the way.


So, ceo’s of the Netherlands, put the corporate story of your company, under your pillow. Dream of it. And tell it proudly to anyone who wants to hear it. With a good story there are more than you might think.

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