‘If there isn’t a war on, the economy is the only story’

The trade magazine C of Logeion, the Dutch professional association for communication professionals, interviewed our director Marina Millington-Ward for its cover story. The author of the interview is Wim Datema, and the photos were taken by Eran Oppenheimer.

With Logeion’s permission, we were allowed to publish the interview below. The Dutch original can be found below the English translation. To see the full feature and pictures click here.

French IT company Sopra Steria is acquiring Dutch Ordina for €518 million. The Pharming shares made a 33 per cent jump in price as a second drug from the Leiden-based biotech company has been allowed to enter the US market. The European Commission comes to the rescue of European consumers with an attack on greenwashing.

These are just a few headlines from Het Financieele Dagblad in March 2023. They touch on the profession of financial communication. A world in which Marina Millington-Ward feels like a fish in water. We talk to her about what is still uncharted territory for many of her colleagues.

Millington-Ward is co-founder and co-owner of agency Stampa, specialising in financial and corporate communications and is based in Amsterdam, London and Brussels. From the beginning, her career has been all about financial communications. With a degree in Law – supplemented by a top degree in Economics – in her pocket, she managed to fulfil a dream in 1995 and started working as a financial reporter at Bloomberg. The company is renowned worldwide for its economic reporting and information. After that, Millington-Ward’s roles included head of Investor Relations at Buhrmann, financial analyst at Deutsche Bank and journalist/economics coordinator for NOS news broadcast.

Being where the action is

Asked why she is so drawn to financial communications, Millington-Ward quotes Mike Bloomberg: ‘If there is no war, economics is the only story’. It may sound a little overblown she says, but, “I’ve seen at NOS that it’s really true. And I like to be where the action is, so with my economics and journalism background and analytical mindset, a career in financial communications makes pretty good sense. Follow the numbers if you really want to know how things are. That’s what I do.” Returning briefly to the start of her career, Millington-Ward emphasises how important a good mentor has been for her. In her case, that was James Ludden of Bloomberg London. “At Bloomberg, I was thrown to the wolves. But James knew a lot about complicated financial topics, and I was able to spend a lot of time with him, which was golden.”

Naming pain points

With Stampa, Millington-Ward helps companies communicate their financial-economic development or developments with financial impact. The four founders were driven by their experience in financial journalism when they started the agency 15 years ago. “We saw that financial communication could be better. Less focus on output, such as press releases and presentations, but more on the process leading up to it. The biggest added value you can offer as a consultant in this profession is seeing and naming pain points earlier than others. To do so, you have to dare to ask the right questions.” Incidentally, Millington-Ward and her colleagues got in at the right time. It was November 2008, Lehman Brothers had just gone bankrupt, and the credit crunch broke out in full force. “It was a bizarre time, when whole departments at clients flew out. Those days really don’t need to come back for me.”

Too often people in senior management don’t get to hear the ordinary concerns any more

Amsterdam, London and Brussels

Few agencies in the Netherlands have a focus on financial communications. Stampa calls itself the leading independent agency in the Netherlands. Other agencies usually fall under a larger international group. They are often London-based firms, which also have an agency here. Stampa itself started with three partners in Amsterdam and one partner in the financial heart of London. A presence in Brussels was later added, due to the increasing importance of the European Union. Its clients are mainly large international companies, whose headquarters are also often located outside the Netherlands. “That does require extra attention,” says Millington-Ward. “When we work for the Benelux country manager, for example, we also want to see the global strategy. If the messaging for the Benelux deviates from that, then we will enter into a discussion about it.”

Sustainable, long-term relationships

For Millington-Ward, a sustainable, long-term relationship with the client is an important basis for doing good work. “As a consultant at strategic level, you must have a good understanding of what a company is about. It’s a big advantage if you have been around for a while and have a high level of involvement. We secure this through an approach in which we work together intensively. We go through an annual cycle with each client. It starts with a kick-off, in which the communication strategy for the year is defined. After that, we sit down with the client’s team every fortnight or month. We then also prepare the annual and semi-annual presentations of the figures.”

Investor relations

Financial communication is sometimes mentioned in the same breath as investor relations. Yet they are really two different disciplines, she explains. “Investor relations focuses purely on investor relations, and often falls under the chief financial officer (CFO). Financial communication is broader and touches all stakeholders of a company. Investor relations also does involve messaging, but in numbers. Still, I don’t see how you can separate one from the other. So in practice, you have to make sure there is good cooperation so that all communication is coherent.”

Journalistic mindset is important

With nearly three decades of experience in the profession, Millington-Ward must have a good idea of what makes someone a good financial communications consultant. Can she outline a profile?

“You don’t have to come from journalism, but a journalistic mindset is important. Being independent and daring to ask tough questions of the CEO. There’s an English expression for that: ‘speaking truth to power’. Too often, people in senior management don’t get to hear the ordinary concerns any more. But, to be able to ask the right questions, you need to be analytically strong. And also really financially literate. I sometimes do more with spreadsheets than with words. You have to understand why an analyst has done a certain calculation. In our profession, therefore, taking a financial training course is quite normal. We also develop our own training courses at Stampa, such as communicating on financial markets.”

ESG and greenwashing misery

Millington-Ward speaks passionately about her field and the developments she sees. Such as the increasing use of social media, and with it the visualisation of messages. But the development that is closest to her heart is the increasing weight that ESG is gaining. “ESG is increasingly becoming the standard by which companies are judged. You can see it in large asset managers who no longer invest in companies that perform poorly on ESG. And the EU is also becoming more stringent, with the recent crackdown on greenwashing. Personally, I welcome the rise of ESG, but it is also professionally difficult. Companies have to be extremely careful not to get caught up in greenwashing misery, with even the risk of lawsuits. The facts and figures must therefore be right. This means that ESG is now part of the ‘hard’ side of the business and, based on the principle of integrated reporting, is also reflected in the annual reports. This also makes it logical for us, as specialists in financial communication, to deal with this. It requires the same attitude and approach.”

Dutch version below

‘Als er geen oorlog is, is economie het enige verhaal’

Het Franse IT-bedrijf Sopra Steria neemt voor € 518 miljoen het Nederlandse Ordina over. Het aandeel Pharming maakte een koerssprong van 33 procent, omdat een tweede medicijn van dit Leidse biotechbedrijf de Amerikaanse markt op mag. De Europese Commissie schiet de Europese consument te hulp met een aanval op greenwashing.

Het zijn zomaar een paar koppen uit het Financieel Dagblad van maart 2023. Ze raken het vak van financiële communicatie. Een wereld waarin Marina Millington-Ward zich als een vis in het water voelt. Met haar spreken we over wat voor veel vakgenoten nog onontgonnen terrein is.

Millington-Ward is medeoprichter en medeeigenaar van bureau Stampa, gespecialiseerd in financiële en bedrijfscommunicatie en met ruim twintig mensen gevestigd in Amsterdam, Londen en Brussel. Haar carrière staat al vanaf het begin volledig in het teken van financiële communicatie.

Met een afgeronde studie Rechten – aangevuld met een topstudie Economie – op zak, lukte het haar in 1995 een droom waar te maken en startte zij als financial reporter bij Bloomberg. Het bedrijf dat wereldwijd gerenommeerd is vanwege haar economische verslaggeving en informatievoorziening. Daarna was Millington-Ward onder meer hoofd Investor Relations bij Buhrmann, financieel analist bij Deutsche Bank en journalist/ coördinator Economie voor het NOS-journaal.

Zijn waar de actie is

Gevraagd naar waarom zij zo aangetrokken wordt door financiële communicatie haalt Millington-Ward een uitspraak van Mike Bloomberg aan: ‘Als er geen oorlog is, is economie het enige verhaal’. Het klinkt misschien wat gechargeerd zegt ze, maar: “Ik heb bij de NOS gezien dat het ook echt zo is. En ik mag graag zijn waar de actie is, dus met mijn economische en journalistieke achtergrond en analytische instelling is een loopbaan in financiële communicatie dan best logisch. Follow the numbers, als je echt wilt weten hoe dingen zitten. Dat is wat ik doe.” Nog even terugkomend op de start van haar carrière benadrukt Millington-Ward hoe belangrijk een goede mentor voor haar is geweest. In haar geval was dat James Ludden van Bloomberg London. “Bij Bloomberg ben ik voor de wolven gegooid. Maar James wist veel van financieel technische onderwerpen en ik kon veel samen met hem optrekken, dat was goud waard.”

Benoemen van pijnpunten

Met Stampa helpt Millington-Ward bedrijven communiceren over hun financieel-economische ontwikkeling en ontwikkelingen met financiële impact. De vier oprichters werden gedreven door hun ervaring in de financiële journalistiek toen ze vijftien jaar geleden het bureau begonnen. “We zagen dat de financiële communicatie beter kon. Minder focus op output, zoals persberichten en presentaties, maar meer op het proces daaraan voorafgaand. De grootste meerwaarde die je als adviseur in dit vak kunt bieden, is het eerder dan anderen zien en benoemen van pijnpunten. Daarvoor moet je dan wel de juiste vragen durven stellen.” Overigens viel Millington-Ward met haar collega’s bij de start wel met de neus in de spreekwoordelijke boter. Het was november 2008, Lehman Brothers was net failliet gegaan en de kredietcrisis brak in volle omvang uit. “Het was een bizarre tijd, waarin hele afdelingen bij klanten eruit vlogen. Die tijd hoeft van mij echt niet terug te komen.”

Te vaak krijgen mensen in het hogere management de gewone zorgen niet meer te horen

Amsterdam, Londen en Brussel

Er zijn weinig bureaus in Nederland die een focus op financiële communicatie hebben. Stampa noemt zichzelf het leidende onafhankelijke bureau in Nederland. Andere bureaus vallen doorgaans onder een grotere internationale groep. Vaak gaat het om Londense bedrijven, die hier ook een bureau hebben. Stampa begon zelf met drie partners in Amsterdam en een partner in het financiële hart van Londen. Later kwam daar Brussel bij, vanwege het toenemende belang van de Europese Unie. De klanten zijn vooral grote internationale bedrijven, waarvan het hoofdkantoor ook vaak buiten Nederland zit. “Dat vraagt wel extra aandacht”, zegt Millington-Ward. “Als we bijvoorbeeld voor de landenmanager Benelux werken, willen we ook de global strategy inzien. Wijkt de messaging voor de Benelux daarvan af, dan gaan we daar het gesprek over aan.”

Duurzame, lange relaties

Voor Millington-Ward is een duurzame, lange relatie met de opdrachtgever een belangrijke basis om goed werk te kunnen leveren. “Als adviseur op strategisch niveau moet je goed snappen waar het om gaat bij een bedrijf. Dan is het een groot voordeel als je er al langer rondloopt en er een hoge mate van betrokkenheid is. Dat borgen we door een aanpak, waarin we intensief samenwerken. We doorlopen samen met onze klant een jaarcyclus. Dat begint met een kick-off, waarin de communicatiestrategie voor het jaar wordt vastgelegd. Daarna zitten we iedere twee weken of maand met het team van de klant om tafel. We bereiden dan ook de jaarlijkse en halfjaarlijkse presentaties van de cijfers voor.”

Investor relations

Financiële communicatie wordt soms in een adem genoemd met investor relations. Toch zijn het echt twee verschillende disciplines, legt ze uit. “Investor relations richt zich puur op de relatie met investeerders, en valt vaak onder de chief financial officer (CFO). Financiële communicatie is breder en raakt alle stakeholders van een bedrijf. Bij investor relations gaat het ook wel om messaging, maar dan in cijfers. Toch zie ik niet hoe je het een los van het ander kunt zien. Dus in de praktijk moet je zorgen voor een goede samenwerking, zodat de uitingen ook samenhangen.”

Journalistieke mindset belangrijk

Met haar bijna drie decennia ervaring in het vak moet Millington-Ward wel een goed beeld hebben van wat iemand een goede adviseur financiële communicatie maakt. Kan ze een profiel schetsen? “Je hoeft niet uit de journalistiek te komen, maar een journalistieke mindset is wel belangrijk.

Onafhankelijk zijn en moeilijke vragen durven stellen aan de CEO. Daar is een Engelse uitdrukking voor: ‘speaking truth to power’. Te vaak krijgen mensen in het hogere management de gewone zorgen niet meer te horen. Om de goede vragen te kúnnen stellen, moet je overigens ook analytisch sterk zijn. En ook wel echt financieel onderlegd. Ik doe soms meer met spreadsheets dan met woorden. Je moet snappen waarom een analist een bepaalde som heeft gemaakt. In ons vak is het volgen van een opleiding op financieel vlak dan ook heel normaal. Ook ontwikkelen we bij Stampa zelf trainingen, zoals communiceren rond financiële markten.”

ESG en greenwash-ellende

Millington-Ward spreekt gepassioneerd over haar vakgebied en over de ontwikkelingen die ze daarin ziet. Zoals de toenemende inzet van sociale media, en daarmee ook visualisatie van boodschappen. Maar de ontwikkeling die haar ook persoonlijk het meest na aan het hart ligt is het groter wordende gewicht dat ESG krijgt. “ESG wordt meer en meer de norm, waar bedrijven op worden beoordeeld. Je ziet het aan grote vermogensbeheerders die niet meer beleggen in bedrijven die slecht presteren op ESG. En ook de EU wordt steeds stringenter, met als laatste ontwikkeling de aanpak van greenwashing. Persoonlijk ben ik blij met de opkomst van ESG, maar het is vakmatig ook moeilijk. Bedrijven moeten oppassen dat ze niet in de greenwash-ellende terechtkomen, met zelfs het risico op rechtszaken. De feiten en cijfers moeten daarom kloppen. Dat maakt dat ESG inmiddels onderdeel is van de ‘harde’ kant van het bedrijf en vanuit het principe van integrated reporting ook in de jaarverslagen terugkomt. Daarmee is het ook logisch dat we als specialisten in financiële communicatie ons hiermee bezighouden. Het vraagt om dezelfde houding en aanpak.”

Stampa is seeking a Junior PR Executive and a Senior Account Director

We’re looking for two talented new team members to join us in Amsterdam. With a strong team working from offices in Amsterdam, London and Brussels, we offer a dynamic, creative and international work environment.

Senior PR Account Director – Amsterdam

Het toonaangevende PR-bureau Stampa is op zoek naar een ervaren senior account director om ons team in het centrum van Amsterdam te versterken. Heb jij uitgebreide ervaring op het gebied van corporate/financiële/B2B PR of ben je een ervaren (financieel) journalist die de overstap naar PR wil maken, stuur ons dan je cv en een motivatiebrief.

We zoeken iemand die ervaring heeft met de media, zelfverzekerd met klanten kan omgaan en bij voorkeur kennis heeft van – en interesse in – duurzaamheid, de energietransitie en ontwikkelingen rond ESG en/of financiële dienstverlening en de technologiesector. Je spreekt en schrijft vloeiend Nederlands en Engels en kan ingewikkelde materie omvormen tot sprankelende PR-content.

Deze senior rol biedt je de mogelijkheid te komen werken bij één van de meest vooraanstaande business-to-business PR-bureaus in de Benelux, met teams in Amsterdam, Brussel en ook in Londen. In deze rol kom je te werken op onze Nederlandse vestiging, op een aantrekkelijke locatie in hartje Amsterdam. Wij werken voornamelijk voor internationale, vaak beursgenoteerde bedrijven en organisaties. Onze klanten zijn onder meer actief in de (hernieuwbare) energiesector, de financiële dienstverlening en de technologiesector.

Heb je vragen? Dan kan je altijd even contact opnemen via info@stampacommunications.com. Ook je cv en brief kunnen naar dit adres.

Junior Public Relations Role – Amsterdam

Stampa zoekt PR-talent! Kom jij ons team van public relations experts versterken op ons kantoor in Amsterdam of Londen? We zijn op zoek naar iemand die vloeiend Nederlands en goed Engels spreekt en schrijft, en met goede redactionele vaardigheden. Als junior PR-specialist ben je proactief en schrijven zit je in het bloed. Stampa zal je begeleiden om een expert te worden in het omvormen van ingewikkelde materie stof in een aantrekkelijke tekst. Heb je behalve schrijftalent ook ervaring met video- en foto-editing en sociale media, dan wordt dat des te meer gewaardeerd.

Ben je op zoek naar een uitdaging, ben je leergierig en wil je jezelf ontwikkelen in een internationaal bedrijf met kantoren in Amsterdam, Londen en Brussel? Dan is deze rol de perfecte voor jou. Wil jij ons Stampa-team komen versterken als junior PR-specialist, stuur dan je cv en een motivatiebrief via de link onder deze vacature.

Heb je vragen? Dan kan je altijd even contact opnemen via info@stampacommunications.com

Senior PR Account Director – Amsterdam

We are looking for an experienced Account Director to join our Amsterdam PR team. The role would suit a senior PR consultant with extensive corporate/financial/B2B PR agency experience, or a senior financial or business journalist looking to make a move to the agency side.

Strong sector and media knowledge of ESG, financial services, energy transition and technology is needed for this role, as well as the ability to engage with media and high-level clients with confidence and clarity. The candidate will need to be a Dutch speaker, ideally with strong writing skills in Dutch and English.

This senior role offers the chance to join one of the most successful and best-known corporate PR agencies in the Benelux, and work with a portfolio of blue-chip, industry-leading clients. With a talented team located in central Amsterdam, as well as teams in Brussels and London, we value people with enthusiasm for international business and communications, self-motivation, initiative and energy.

Please include a cover letter with your application, explaining why you are interested in joining Stampa and the key skills, experience and qualities you could bring to the role. For more information, contact us at info@stampacommunications.com

Junior Public Relations Role – Amsterdam

We’re looking for a new Junior PR executive in Amsterdam! In this role you support Stampa Communications’ clients, many of which are international, well-known companies. To help our clients communicate with the media, employees and other stakeholders, you craft press releases, write pitches to journalists, and create content for websites, reports and social media.

Asking questions and being curious is part of the job. You’ll need to be a natural communicator, good at getting your message across in writing and verbally. Ideally, you’re native Dutch and also speak and write English fluently.

We value people with enthusiasm for international business and communications, who are motivated, energised and like to take initiative.

This is a fantastic opportunity to join our talented and growing team, working in our office in central Amsterdam and colleagues in London and Brussels.

If this sounds like your ideal job, please apply by sending an e-mail with a motivation letter and CV to: info@stampacommunications.com

Inside view: what’s it really like to work at Stampa?

I’ve been with Stampa for just under four months now, and I feel lucky to say that I’m really enjoying my first job. Yet I didn’t fully know what to expect before I started, having had no prior experience in corporate communications or PR and having struggled to find any insight into what day-to-day work might look like. I thought it’d be helpful to share my perspective as a newcomer to the industry, and to Stampa, for those looking to follow suit.

As a humanities graduate my background is rooted in writing. In my post-uni job hunt, I was eager to find a career path where I could apply my existing skillset, figuring that communications work would be the most natural option.

Writing is foundational

As it turns out, writing is foundational to everything I do here. I work on content across a variety of mediums – from internal newsletters to external blog posts, videos and infographics – for a variety of clients. I’m also involved on the PR side, securing coverage for our clients in all types of press outlets.

For instance, in an average day I might be writing a white paper on the green energy transition, a pitch to a journalist on healthcare technology, or a script for a social media video.

Large breadth of subjects

That’s the benefit of working for an agency: you get to serve numerous companies operating in different industries, meaning you’re never tied down to one specific area. With such a large breadth of subjects to write about, having a curious attitude carries you far. And because businesses are keen to engage with the hot topics of our times, the work consistently feels relevant and is always interesting.

International presence

To speak about Stampa specifically, having studied languages at university, I was searching for a company with an international presence. It’s great to work with colleagues in London, Amsterdam and Brussels and clients all over Europe and in the U.S. The ability to travel or work abroad is unique for an agency our size. It’s not always easy to find roles where you’re able to use more than just your native language, so I’ve also appreciated the opportunity to put my French skills into practice.

CDP turns annual awards into TV show

One of the most important events in the sustainable business calendar took place this week, with the CDP Europe Awards 2021 on 2 March. Every year, this brings together top-level business and political decision-makers to discuss how the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality goal can be achieved and rewards the world’s greenest businesses and cities with the CDP A List.

Communications around sustainability are a key specialism for Stampa, so we’re proud to be one of CDP’s PR agency partners in Europe, supporting it in the Benelux. As we discussed preparations for the 2021 Europe Awards, we were intrigued to hear how CDP plans to stage its high-profile event during lockdown.

By now, we’re all used to events moving online. But let’s face it, compared to the real thing, they are mostly a disappointing experience. Having staged its previous annual awards in illustrious locations such as France’s Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs in Paris and Brussels Town Hall, CDP didn’t want its biggest European event to suffer ‘death by Zoom’. So it’s chosen a novel tactic: teaming up with Euronews, Europe’s most-watched news channel, to produce the 2021 awards for television, open to everyone and free of charge.

Euronews is producing a 90-minute show that CDP broadcasted at 16.00 CET on 2 March on cdpeuropeawards2021.cdp.net. Filmed in Lyon, the programme featured contributions from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Commissioner Mairead McGuinness, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, and Ambroise Fayolle, Vice President of the European Investment Bank. Euronews also produced a 26-minute edit of the award show to broadcast on its network.

“The urgent need to decarbonise our economy and secure our natural resources has always helped us attract top-flight speakers to the CDP Awards, backed by strong research based on CDP data. Our agenda is particularly important this year, as we focus on the urgent need for a green recovery after COVID-19,” says Maxfield Weiss, Executive Director of CDP Europe. “With this in mind, we wanted to maximise the impact of our awards with a different approach. Our topics are top of mind for business and political leaders across Europe, so we think a TV news programme is a fitting way to achieve maximum impact. We’re delighted to be working with Euronews and look forward to people tuning in.’’

Green energy: talking about a revolution

We were thrilled recently when our client TenneT – the grid operator in the Netherlands and much of Germany – won the FD Henri Sijthoff Prize for its 2019 annual report. This is the highest recognition for financial reporting excellence in the Netherlands, with the awards hosted by Het Financieele Dagblad, the country’s leading financial paper. Stampa’s talented team wrote and edited much of the award-winning report, as we have with TenneT for the last five years.

At Stampa, we find the world of green energy compelling and exciting. The scale, ambition and importance of the energy transition is like a new industrial revolution. The North Sea is fast becoming a giant wind power station for northern Europe. The task of generating that power, bringing it onshore and connecting it to our homes is mind-boggling. But it must be done, and fast, to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement.

Working with TenneT, and other clients in the energy sector, we are fascinated to tell the stories of how this revolution plays out, all the way from the turbines far out at sea to the new clean-fuelled boilers heating our homes. From hydrogen as a fuel that can carry and store renewable electricity, to crowd-sourcing power from the batteries of electric vehicles, the degree of ingenuity and innovation in green energy is astounding and growing all the time.

And as an agency with a strong track record in financial services, we can also see the impact of the clean energy revolution in the investment community. We are the proud Benelux PR partner of the much-respected CDP (formerly known as Carbon Disclosure Project), which helps thousands of companies, cities, states and regions measure and disclose their environmental impact. CDP’s rankings play an increasingly crucial role for businesses to attract investment, creating a virtuous circle as record amounts flow into ESG funds. Once a niche area of investing, the ESG market is now worth around $45 trillion.

That’s a story worth telling.

Tennet 2019 annual report wins Sijthoff prize

The 2019 integrated annual report of leading European grid operator TenneT has won the prestigious FD Henri Sijthoff prize for outstanding financial reporting. It was the third Sijthoff nomination for the company in recent years. Stampa is proud to have supported TenneT in its communications, including the writing and editing of its annual report, for over five years.

The Sijthoff prize is the highest recognition for financial reporting excellence in the Netherlands. It judges areas such as clarity of writing, transparency of information about the company, its strategy, corporate governance and corporate social responsibility. According to the jury, “the company clearly explains its strategy and provides good insight into its liquidity.”

TenneT was one of three nominees in the non-quoted companies category, along with NS and Triodos.

Stampa marks 10th anniversary with ‘golden’ move to historic Herengracht

To celebrate our 10th birthday, and – even more importantly – to comfortably accommodate our expanding team, Stampa Amsterdam moved today to Herengracht 466, a stately canalside building dating back to the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age.

The suite of beautiful new offices on the prestigious Gouden Bocht (the ‘Golden Bend’) may only be a stone’s throw from our former Amsterdam premises, but Stampa has come a long way since we were founded at the end of 2008.

Our company began with eight people working at our offices on Amsterdam’s Prinsengracht and London’s Leather Lane. Now, we have a total of 24 consultants in the Netherlands, the UK and in the Brussels office we opened in 2015, plus an extensive network of graphic design associates, videographers and animators.

And with many of our international, multilingual team based in the Dutch capital, it was little wonder the office we started out in was bursting at the seams. It was time to move, and we’ve found the perfect home in Herengracht 466.

Balloons, a festive breakfast and all manner of Stampa goodies greeted staff when they arrived this morning. There were bouquets of flowers and plaudits for Marieke Sepers, Carla de Groot-Koelemij and Desiree Durivou, who together with Marina Millington-Ward and Heleen de Graaf formed our moving committee and did an amazing job to ensure everything went smoothly.

Coming weeks will see us put the finishing touches to our new home, but once we’re shipshape we look forward to welcoming all our clients and other friends, to show you around our offices and our garden (yes!), and throw that 10th birthday party we still haven’t had.

KPN and TenneT 2017 annual reports shortlisted for Sijthoff prize

The 2017 integrated annual reports of telecoms company KPN and electricity transmission system operator TenneT, with writing and editing provided by Stampa, have been shortlisted for the prestigious FD Henri Sijthoff prize for outstanding financial reporting.

KPN is one of three nominees in the blue-chip AEX category, alongside ABN AMRO and DSM. TenneT is shortlisted in the non-quoted category along with Schiphol and public transport operator GVB.

The 64-year-old Sijthoff prize is the highest recognition of financial reporting excellence in the Netherlands. It judges areas such as clarity of writing, transparency of information about the company, its strategy, corporate governance and corporate social responsibility.

Last year the KPN integrated annual report 2016, which Stampa also worked on, won a European Excellence Award for the best integrated annual report & CSR report. It is the second consecutive year that TenneT has been shortlisted for the Sijthoff prize.

KPN integrated annual report 2016 wins European Excellence Award

KPN’s integrated annual report 2016, for which Stampa provided writing and editing, has won a European Excellence Award for the best integrated annual report & CSR report.

KPN beat companies such as Robert Bosch And Melia Hotels International to the prize, which was awarded in Hamburg on 30 November. The European Excellence Awards honour outstanding performance in a wide range of categories covering everything from internal communications to public relations, as well as a wide scope of industries across Europe.

Stampa is seeking a communications professional

We’re looking for a talented new team member to support the further growth of our business in Belgium. With a strong team working from offices in Amsterdam, London and Brussels, we offer a dynamic, creative and international work environment.

Stampa is seeking an energetic and proactive colleague with a talent for writing and editing – ideally you have a background in business journalism –  and the desire and drive to help build our business in Belgium. Previous experience in PR/corporate communications is obviously a plus.

Our new colleague will be based in Brussels and work closely with colleagues in Amsterdam and London. As Stampa advises a wide range of clients (predominantly in the financial sector, media, energy and FMCG), we are seeking a flexible person who combines broad knowledge with the curiosity and ability to dig deeper into complex topics.

Our ideal candidate has:

  • Good contacts in Belgian media and business
  • Ability to generate good ideas that appeal to journalists
  • Excellent writing style (for news articles, opinion pieces, columns, press releases, etc.) and ability to ‘translate’ complex topics into clear, engaging texts
  • Strong interest in current affairs and business
  • Flexibility to interact with diverse clients in a variety of industries and sectors
  • Entrepreneurial enthusiasm, self-motivation and the willingness to work with colleagues in Brussels, Amsterdam and London
  • Native Dutch, French or English skills, with excellent command of the other two languages
  • Skills in project management and good grounding in standard IT and office software

Your role includes:

  • Advising clients on PR/international communications/content strategies across diverse channels
  • Generating coverage of our clients in general, financial and trade media
  • Devising, writing and distributing press releases and similar content
  • Developing and pitching story ideas to journalists, maintaining strong media contacts
  • Creating news and feature stories, columns and other content based on client input
  • Identifying, creating and building new business contacts and opportunities

We are looking for an Account Director/Senior Account Manager for 38 hours a week. Part-time is also an option.

Company Profile

Stampa is a corporate communications and content agency with an experienced team of mainly former financial journalists. Our spectrum of services includes financial and investor communications; media relations and strategy; media and presentation training; crisis and issues communication; employee and change communications; strategic writing; online and social media; media monitoring; CSR communications; and interim staff.

Stampa has an 18-strong team in the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK. For more information, contact us at abigail@stampacommunications.com, or call us on +31 20 404 26 30.

Stampa’s Heleen de Graaf in Intermediair: “Success in PR is putting your client in the spotlight”

Newspapers and magazines are struggling, so it’s getting harder for journalists to find work. Many are moving into public relations. Is that a logical career switch or is it a shift to ‘the dark side’?

That’s the question posed by HR magazine Intermediair in this article ‘Van pers naar persvoorlichter’, which features communications experts including Stampa director Heleen de Graaf.

“It’s quite a natural move,” says Heleen, who joined Stampa in 2011 after a journalism career that included heading the Amsterdam bureau at Dow Jones and 10 years as economics correspondent at NRC Handelsblad. “You know the media, know how journalists work and what they need, and how to prepare a client for interviews.”

In the article, Heleen offers these tips for journalists considering a switch to PR:


“Keep thinking partly as a journalist. That way you’re of great value to your client and you can effectively assess if something is a story for a specific journalist or medium. But you do have to be aware of the internal reasons why a client might want to publish something, and be diplomatic yet robust in your advice.”


“Don’t underestimate how client-focused you need to be. It’s not sufficient just to reject a client’s wishes or suggestions for journalistic reasons; your job is to come up with something that will work. Also be aware that you’ll be operating ‘behind the scenes’. Success in PR is putting your client in the spotlight, not yourself.”

Stampa to present webinar on corporate newsrooms in January

Multinationals are increasingly looking to manage their content flow by adopting professional editorial processes and techniques. Stampa directors James Curtis and Abigail Levene will discuss the why, what and how of ‘corporate newsrooms’ in a live webinar with Newsweaver on 25 January 2017.

James and Abigail, both former journalists, will explain the benefits, challenges and logistics of bringing the disciplines of the newsroom into the corporate setting. The webinar is organised by internal communications software company Newsweaver.

The session will be full of tips and tricks gained from Stampa’s experience in advising companies on content strategies and implementing those strategies. It will cover areas including:

  • Why multinationals need to build a newsroom, for internal and external communications
  • How to run a news-gathering operation across your company
  • How to think like a journalist and editor when handling content
  • How clear editorial roles can help resolve disagreement over content decisions
  • Journalistic tips for creating news and features that will grab and retain attention

Update 27/01/2017: Here’s a recording from the webinar, as well as a link to the PDF of the slides.

Stampa expands Brussels team

Our Brussels team has grown with the appointment of content marketing and online expert Pieter Segaert as senior account manager. Before joining Stampa, Pieter was a digital marketer at insurance group P&V, where he specialised in search engine optimisation (SEO) and content marketing. Pieter is also an experienced copywriter who has worked for companies including ING, Amonis, Optima and Electrabel. He was previously a journalist at Het Laatste Nieuws.

Our multinational clients increasingly demand a coordinated offering across the UK, Netherlands and Belgium. Building the Brussels team means we can respond even more fully to the need for communications consultancy across these three key European markets. Pieter will work alongside Jeroen Lissens, who heads the Stampa office established in Belgium in 2015. In addition to his native Dutch, Pieter speaks fluent French and English.

“Leave your ego at the door” – James Curtis goes 60 seconds with Gorkana

It’s rare to read about Richard III, Arsenal, Malala and PR in the same article, but Stampa director James Curtis packed a lot into his ’60 seconds with…’ interview on media intelligence service Gorkana this month.

James answered questions ranging from “What’s the most important thing you should consider if you are thinking about getting into PR?” and “What’s the most common misconception that PRs have about the media?” to “How can you tell a campaign is succeeding?” and “If you could change one thing in the industry, what would that be?”

Journalists crossing to PR need to leave their ego at the door, James said: “Professional satisfaction shifts from seeing your own name and opinions in lights, to helping your client get all the attention.” Among his other tips were develop a thick skin, and always follow-up – never assume a journalist has read your email, however lovingly you crafted it.

PR people often complain about journalists not getting back to them, but it’s hard to imagine the number of pitches and calls reporters receive, James said, noting that he used to be bombarded in his journalism days, especially when he was a features editor. The best sign that a PR campaign is succeeding is when journalists call you more than you call them, he added.

As for the one thing he’d change in the industry, James would ban the words ‘delighted’, ‘thrilled’, ‘landmark’, ‘leverage’ and ‘solution’ from press releases.

Is technology the enemy of communication?

We at Stampa are all about communication, and digital is obviously a huge part of that. So we should perhaps be the last to complain about the explosive growth in screens in the world around us. But when leading Dutch financial newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad invited me to write about the harmful effects digital technology could be having on our brains, I jumped at the chance.

The article, titled The creeping climate change in our brain, was triggered by a lecture I had attended by British neuroscientist Susan Greenfield. She argues that the way new technologies could be affecting humans and changing the way young people, in particular, think and feel is an issue as important and unprecedented as climate change.

Greenfield is a controversial figure in the UK – critics ask why she raises her concerns primarily through the media rather than publishing academic papers – but she is not alone in raising such concerns.  In a 2012 book called ‘Digital Dementia’, German neuroscientist Marcus Spitzer said overuse of technology was resulting in the breakdown of cognitive abilities in a way more often seen in people who had suffered a head injury or psychiatric illness. MIT psychologist Sherry Turkle this month published ‘Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age’, looking at the effect on face-to-face conversation “in a world where so many people say they would rather text than talk”.

“We are being silenced by our technologies – in a way, ‘cured of talking’,” writes Turkle. She talks about a study in which her team introduced robots to elderly people, and was jubilant when a woman who had lost a child began talking to a baby seal robot. “But the question is, who’s listening to the person?” asks Turkle. “There’s nobody listening. The social compact is not just about the talking, it’s also about the listening.”

And that is the key for anyone interested in communicating in any way and at any level. The communication compact is not just about the talking, or the writing. It’s about the listening, and the reading.

Stampa Belgium moves to central Brussels

Our Belgian office has moved to great new premises in the centre of Brussels. We’re located on the elegant Boulevard Adolphe Max, close to vibrant Brouckère square and the most important financial institutions of Europe’s capital.

After a whirl of unpacking, installing and all the other usual move-associated tasks, our account director Jeroen Lissens is now fully up and running at Boulevard Adolphe Max 45/3. You’re welcome to drop in for a coffee – although with business growing ever busier in Belgium, it might be advisable to phone ahead… (+32 2 831 32 46)

Stampa expands London PR team with Lizzie Hannaway

We have boosted our UK PR team with the appointment of Lizzie Hannaway as account director. Lizzie brings more than eight years’ experience in corporate, financial and professional services public relations roles. She has worked both in-house and at agencies.

Lizzie joins from international law firm Bird & Bird where she was responsible for their UK PR programme. She also previously worked at public relations agency Broadgate Mainland, where she gained broad experience working across a range of institutional and retail financial clients.

Building the London team offers Stampa’s clients in financial services, professional information, energy, media and consumer goods a more co-ordinated offering across the UK, Netherlands and Belgium. Stampa has seen growing demand for a networked service, and already serves some of its clients across these three key European markets.

Stampa expands media analysis team

Demand for Stampa’s media intelligence services keeps on growing. So we’ve added another member to our media analysis team: Carla Koelemij, who is now working from Stampa’s office in Amsterdam as a media analyst.

Before joining Stampa, Carla taught English in secondary schools, subtitled for Dutch television and worked as a freelance translator. Native Dutch and fluent in English, she holds master’s degrees in English language and culture as well as education.

Heleen de Graaf becomes director at Stampa

Stampa, the financial and corporate communications agency based in Amsterdam, London and Brussels, has promoted Heleen de Graaf to the role of director.

Heleen has been a key member of Stampa’s Amsterdam PR team since she joined the agency in 2011, advising a wide range of clients in sectors including asset management, investment banking, insurance and energy.

Before going into PR, Heleen, was an award-winning financial journalist for prestigious news organisations including NRC Handelsblad and Dow Jones.

Stampa is a full-service communications agency, formed and led by former senior business journalists. Services include financial and investor communications; media relations and strategy; media and presentation training; crisis and issues communication; employee and change communications; strategic writing; online and social media; and CSR communications.

Stampa opens office in Belgium

Stampa has opened an office in Belgium, fulfilling the growing demand for corporate and financial communications on the Belgian market and clients’ desire to entrust their Benelux communications to a single agency.

Jeroen Lissens, 39, has been appointed Account Director in Belgium. With a background in economic journalism and business communications, Belgian-born Jeroen has the perfect experience and expertise to complement Stampa’s established practices in Amsterdam and London.

Jeroen previously worked as an independent communications consultant at groups such as Ageas, Optima and P&V Group in roles including spokesman, communications manager and head of communications. Before that, he spent a decade in journalism, reporting for Belgian business newspapers De Tijd and De Standaard.

“We have provided communications consultancy across the whole Benelux region since we began, but many of our clients were keen for us to have a local presence in Belgium. We’re happy to have found the right person in Jeroen for this,” says Stampa director Jos Havermans. As well as great experience and knowledge of the market, Jeroen brings linguistic expertise and creativity – all aspects that are crucial to making a difference for our clients.”

Since our founding in Amsterdam and London in 2008, Stampa has developed into a 16-strong international team.

We also recently strengthened our Amsterdam team with the appointment of Barbara Sanders as Account Director. Barbara has many years of experience in financial journalism as financial reporter for De Telegraaf and at real estate website Vastgoedjournaal. Media analyst Marieke Koelewijn has joined Stampa’s growing media monitoring team.

Annual reports: yearly headache or company calling card?

For many corporate communications departments, annual reports are a necessary evil, something they must compile every year to oblige shareholders and regulators. But an annual report can also be a powerful tool that brings alive corporate strategy and conveys a company’s vision to a broader audience.

How do you produce a vibrant and compelling annual report? What do investors seek? What exactly do regulators demand? These are just some of the questions we hope to answer at a special event Stampa is hosting for communications and investor relations professionals in Amsterdam on 11 September.

Having worked with numerous blue-chip companies on their annual and/or sustainability reports, we’re aiming to share some of our insights with participants at the event. Joining us will be three guest speakers, experts in their fields, who will address various aspects of the annual reporting process:

  • Paul Koster, Chairman of Dutch shareholders’ association VEB
  • Paul Frentrop, Professor of Corporate Governance at Nyenrode Business University
  • Erik van der Merwe, Chairman of the Achmea Supervisory Board and jury member for the Sijthoff annual report prize

Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and share their own best practices during the afternoon and to network over drinks afterwards. Chatham House rules will apply, allowing free and open discussion. The event will be held in Dutch.

For more information, or to register for the event, please e-mail desiree@stampacommunications.com

Stampa team makes strides in Zuidas run

Last-minute injuries and illnesses brought us one short of a full 10-strong team, but Stampa made its biggest showing yet in Amsterdam’s Zuidasrun 2014, racing against more than 3,000 bankers, lawyers and consultants in what’s known as the Dutch business run.

It was the fourth time Stampa had entered a team in the six-year-old run, held in the Zuidas business district of southern Amsterdam.

Stampa finished 32nd out of 92 business teams in the 4-mile (6.4-km) race, and our runners – five members of the Amsterdam office plus friends and partners ‒ defied the hot sun to post fine individual times. And as the photo shows, we even ended with smiles on our faces.

New recruits for Stampa’s Dutch PR and media analysis teams

Stampa is growing and so is our team. Joining our Amsterdam office are Linda Huijsmans, a new account director on our public relations team, and media analyst Johann Migchels.

Linda is an accomplished journalist and writer whose wealth of experience and professionalism are an asset for Stampa, whose clients include multinationals such as ING, Coca-Cola, Allianz Global Investors, ASML and Wolters Kluwer. Like Linda, most of our senior consultants are former journalists with distinguished careers in print, newswires and television.

Linda’s work has appeared in countless publications in the Netherlands and Germany, including Het Financieele Dagblad, Management Scope, Management Team, De Volkskrant, FEM and Berliner Zeitung. She is also the author of  Zo Nederlands als Wat, een Molukse familiegeschiedenis, which traces the history of a Dutch-Indonesian family, and Fietsen in Berlijn, a Dutch guidebook and app for cyclists in Berlin.

Multilingual services

Johann is a seasoned media analyst who honed his skills in London at the UK’s largest media monitoring agency, Durrants, and MSL Group in Amsterdam.

Irish-born Johann is fluent in Dutch, which he studied along with German at the University of Hull. Before coming to Stampa, he worked as an in-house translator for a global language solutions provider in Utrecht.

The Stampa team now numbers 15 communications professionals in Amsterdam and London.

Wolters Kluwer selects Stampa for PR services in Netherlands and UK

Stampa, the Anglo-Dutch communications consultancy, has been appointed by leading global information services company Wolters Kluwer to provide ongoing media relations consultancy and execution support in the Netherlands and the UK.

Stampa, which has offices in Amsterdam and London, is working with Wolters Kluwer to build its profile further and leverage the strength of its brand as an innovative, integrated provider of leading-edge information, software and services to legal, tax, finance, compliance, regulatory and healthcare professionals.

Founded 175 years ago, Wolters Kluwer has revenues of €3.6 billion, 19,000 employees and customers in 150 countries. It recently announced plans to migrate its over 1,000 products and services to a single Wolters Kluwer master brand. Reinforcing this global brand strategy is another key aspect of Stampa’s PR brief.

Caroline Wouters, Vice President Corporate Communications at Wolters Kluwer, said: “We like Stampa’s enthusiasm and affinity with our specialist sectors and themes, and the balanced combination of strategic advice and dogged execution they provide to support the needs of our expanding business.”

Stampa director Abigail Levene, who is leading the account, said: “Our team has huge experience working with journalists and commentators in the Netherlands and the UK. We are delighted to be able to use our local expertise in both markets to work with such a respected name and help build Wolters Kluwer’s profile among key financial and business media.”

Delta Lloyd 2012 annual report shortlisted for Sijthoff prize

Insurer Delta Lloyd’s 2012 annual report, written by Stampa, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Henri Sijthoff prize for outstanding financial reporting.

The Sijthoff prize is the highest recognition of financial reporting excellence in the Netherlands. It is awarded annually by financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad to companies in three categories: those listed on the Amsterdam Exchange Index (AEX); midcap and small-cap companies; and non-listed companies.

“Annual reports are too often cluttered with cookie-cutter corporate texts. It’s great to see this recognition of our efforts to write a clear, accessible and highly informative 2012 annual report for Delta Lloyd,” says Stampa director Abigail Levene, who heads up the agency’s Benelux corporate content practice.

Delta Lloyd was shortlisted from 25 others in the midcap category. Nominees are judged in areas such as clarity of writing, transparency of information about the company, its strategy, investor relations, press releases, corporate governance and corporate social responsibility. Online communication and social media are also increasingly important.

Amsterdam-headquartered Delta Lloyd offers insurance, pensions, investing and banking service to consumers, small and large companies, multinationals and pension funds.

Stampa appoints Sara Loschacoff to head media analysis team

Anglo-Dutch communications consultancy Stampa has appointed Sara Loschacoff as head of its media analysis team in Amsterdam.

With more than a decade of experience, Sara’s insightful, thorough and precise monitoring and analysis of media reports are crucial ingredients for all Stampa’s PR accounts.

“Sara’s appointment reflects the growing need for fast, top-quality media analysis. Knowing what others are saying about companies is crucial for their reputation management, especially in today’s instant social media environment,” says Stampa Director Marina Millington-Ward. “Not all publicity is good publicity, and the ability to accurately analyse the quality of media coverage gives companies a much more realistic insight into its value.”

Stampa uses a proprietary system to monitor print and online articles for relevance, tone and attention value, using sources including electronic news feeds, social media and search engine alerts. But the major added value lies in the analytical skills of its media analysts, who add the necessary depth and insights to daily, weekly and monthly reports.

Stampa has a team of 14 communications professionals – many former journalists with distinguished careers in print, newswires and television – based in Amsterdam and London. The boutique agency, which combines corporate and financial PR and internal communications with strategic content and editorial services, serves some of Europe’s biggest companies, including ING, Coca-Cola Europe, Allianz Global Investors, Pimco, Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, Philips, ASML, Delta Lloyd and Wolters Kluwer.

Delta Lloyd appoints Stampa to write 2012 annual report

Dutch-listed financial services provider Delta Lloyd has commissioned Stampa to write and edit its 2012 annual report.

Delta Lloyd offers insurance, pensions, investing and banking service to consumers, small and large companies, multinationals and pension funds. It operates under three strong brands: Delta Lloyd, OHRA and ABN AMRO Insurance.

Stampa’s Anglo-Dutch team of highly experienced former financial journalists will produce the annual report in English, as well as creating a Dutch summary.

Stampa to write Vopak Annual Report 2012

Vopak, the world’s largest independent tank storage provider, has appointed Stampa to write its Annual Report 2012.

Headquartered in Rotterdam and listed in Amsterdam, Vopak specialises in the storage and handling of liquid chemicals, gases and oil products, operating 84 terminals with a combined storage capacity of almost 30 million cubic metres in 31 countries.

Vopak’s Annual Report 2012 will be written in English, making Stampa’s Anglo-Dutch team of highly experienced former business journalists a natural choice.

Stampa boosts London PR team with Stacy Hyde and Tania Wild

Stampa, the Anglo-Dutch communications consultancy, has boosted its PR team in London with two senior appointments. Tania Wild and Stacy Hyde join as Account Directors, each bringing extensive experience of working in corporate, financial and consumer public relations.

Tania has worked for over 11 years in the financial services industry, first as an analyst and then in communications. She has held senior positions in corporate and financial public relations, both in-house and with agencies including Smithfield and Abchurch Communications. Tania has substantial knowledge of financial equity markets and has worked at a high level with clients, journalists, analysts and investors.

Stacy joins Stampa from Mattison Public Relations and previously worked at a senior level in other London PR agencies such as Broadgate Mainland. She has also worked in-house and as a freelance consultant. Stacy has particular expertise in UK media relations for the professional and financial services sectors, having advised clients including the asset management firm Baillie Gifford and law firm EMW. Her background also features consumer PR, including project work for BT.

Stampa Director James Curtis, who heads Stampa’s London office, said: “Tania and Stacy are highly accomplished PR consultants with the technical knowledge, insight and flair to work across a wide range of client sectors. Their expertise and industry connections are ideal for our growing client portfolio, both in London and Amsterdam.”

Stampa was formed in 2009 and has grown to a 13-strong team based in the agency’s two offices. As well as senior communications consultants such as Tania and Stacy, Stampa’s senior team also includes consultants who joined after distinguished careers in print, newswire and television journalism. The boutique agency, which combines corporate and financial PR with strategic content and editorial services, serves some of Europe’s biggest companies, including ING, Coca-Cola Europe, Allianz Global Investors, Pimco, DWS and Philips. In the UK, Stampa’s client list includes the sports media group Sports Revolution, integrated marketing agency Kitcatt Nohr Digitas, law firms Grant & Eisenhofer and AKD, and tidal energy technology specialist Tocardo.

Renewable energy specialist Tocardo appoints Stampa for international public relations

TOCARDO International, the leading tidal energy supplier from the Netherlands, has appointed Stampa to handle its international PR. TOCARDO is dedicated to delivering the best and most economical turbines to harvest energy from the world’s oceans and rivers. It has a successful track-record of 12 years in offshore engineering and the development of renewable ocean energy devices. The TOCARDO free-flow in-stream hydro turbines generate energy from sea currents and tidal and river flows. A world-first advantage for TOCARDO is its ability to deliver fixed-price and off-the-shelf turbines, with just six months delivery time.

Stampa appoints NRC Handelsblad journalist Heleen de Graaf

Stampa has appointed Heleen de Graaf of leading Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad as account director, the latest addition to our unrivalled team of highly experienced former business journalists.

Heleen spent 10 years as economics reporter for NRC Handelsblad, where she won the De Tegel prize for outstanding journalism for her coverage of the takeover of ABN AMRO and was nominated for the Prijs voor de Dagbladjournalistiek award for a series of articles on Shell. Previously, Heleen was Amsterdam bureau chief of Dow Jones Newswires and a business reporter for Dow Jones in Vienna.

Dutch-born Heleen, 42, will strengthen Stampa’s PR team in Amsterdam, as well as contributing to our copywriting and editing work.

Stampa appointed by Design Centre Chelsea Harbour

Design Centre Chelsea Harbour – the world’s premier interior design centre – has appointed Stampa to work on a strategic content project, targeting investors and prospects. Stampa’s London team will handle the brief as part of its growing media practice, which also includes Sports Revolution and Kitcatt Nohr Digitas. Design Centre Chelsea Harbour houses some of the most exclusive brands in interiors, and has become a trend-setting destination for the international design industry.

KPN Sustainability Report Scoops Top Transparency Prize

KPN’s latest sustainability report – which Stampa played a major role in producing – has been awarded a prestigious Dutch prize for CSR transparency. The De Kristal 2010 award for the most transparent CSR report was presented to KPN’s Director of Corporate Communications, Hans Koeleman, on 18 January, after the telecommunications service provider topped a transparency benchmark survey carried out by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture & Innovation.

Along with praising the report for conveying information in a “catchy” way, the Ministry described it as “very well tailored to the knowledge and experience of its target audience, which is the wider public”. Stampa helped draft the report’s content and developed its key messages, working in close cooperation with KPN’s Corporate Communications department, CSR data verification specialist DHV, CSR auditor KPMG and designers.

This seventh annual transparency benchmark survey carried out by the Dutch government, assessed more than 450 CSR reports from the 2009 reporting period . KPN’s CSR report claimed the top spot after coming 25th in the previous year. The company’s improved CSR reporting was also recognised last year, when its report’s GRI rating was increased to A+.

Stampa appoints Gerrie Spaansen as Director

Gerrie has been a key member of Stampa’s Amsterdam financial PR team since 2007, advising clients including PIMCO, Teslin and Teleplan.

Before going into PR, Gerrie, like other members of Stampa, had a long career in journalism, working as a financial journalist for media including Het Financieele Dagblad, NOS Journaal and RTL Nieuws.

‘Gerrie has proven to be a highly valuable member of our team,’ says Marina Millington-Ward, Director at Stampa.

‘His experience and expertise make him an excellent addition to our management team. He will play an important role in shaping Stampa’s strategic direction and continued development.’

Stampa appointed by Kitcatt Nohr for UK PR

The award-winning integrated marketing agency Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw has appointed Stampa to handle its UK strategic PR. The twice winner of Marketing’s Agency of the Year has briefed Stampa to highlight the thought leadership that characterises its work, for clients including John Lewis, Lexus, NSPCC, Waitrose and WaterAid.

The appointment boosts Stampa’s media PR practice, run from its London office. Other media accounts include the sports media group, Sports Revolution – majority owned by the media industry luminary Chris Ingram. Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw, whose 2010 campaign for Water Aid has been shortlisted for three John Caples International Awards, has been established for nine years and employs 70 people at its Clerkenwell office in London.

The integrated agency has built an envied reputation for ‘creative intelligence’, executing incisive and effective campaigns across all channels, including advertising, direct marketing and online. Stampa director and former media journalist James Curtis will lead the account, reporting to Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw Managing Partner Marc Nohr and Head of Marketing, Julia Conroy.

Stampa hosts healthcare investment roundtable

On 9 December 2010, Stampa and public affairs partner SSDV brought together leading healthcare professionals, investors and politicians to lead discussion about the financial future of the Dutch healthcare system.

The new Dutch cabinet faces complex challenges in healthcare. Increasing demands on the system contrast sharply with limited budgets, leading to calls for reform. This includes opening the way for the introduction of private capital, but how will this work? The coalition agreement sets out a clear direction, but the practical details of how this can be achieved still need to be filled in.

Stampa and SSDV gathered together over 20 thought leaders from the government and private finance to help answer some of the many questions facing the sector. These included keynote speaker Véronique Esman, Director Market and Consumer at the Ministry of Health The Netherlands (Ministerie VWS). To hear more about this fast-developing issue, please contact info@stampacommunications.com or contact Marina Millington-Ward in the Amsterdam office at +31 20 4042630.

Marieke Sepers joins Stampa media monitoring unit

Stampa has appointed Marieke Sepers to its newly created Media Monitoring practice in Amsterdam. Using our new proprietary media analysis system, Marieke monitors Dutch language coverage for Stampa’s growing roster of blue-chip clients. Supporting our successful financial PR team, Marieke becomes the 12th team member of our fast-growing agency, based in Amsterdam and London.

With an MSc (cum laude) in Political Communication from the University of Amsterdam, Marieke has a strong interest in communications strategies. During her degree course and thesis – The Influence of Fear in News coverage on the Political Agenda – she gained hands-on experience of media analysis and insights into how the media can influence public opinion and the political system. A native Dutch-speaker, Marieke also speaks fluent English and conversational French.

Stampa appointed as a communications partner for GRI conference

Stampa is providing communication support for The 2010 Amsterdam Global Conference on Sustainability and Transparency, the world’s largest sustainability reporting conference, taking place 26-28 May.

The biennial conference, which is organised by the pioneering developer of the world’s most widely used sustainability framework, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), attracts an international audience of thought leaders, experts and practitioners on the topic of sustainability reporting.

Stampa is supporting GRI by raising awareness of the prestigious three-day event, further building its profile among global figures from the worlds of finance, business, government and civil society. For more information about the conference, go to www.amsterdamgriconference.org

Stampa helps KPN bring its CSR reporting to A+ level

Stampa has helped telecommunications service provider KPN redesign its approach to Corporate Social Responsibility, working with the company to set ambitious goals for its CSR reporting after it introduced a new CSR policy. The project has helped enhance KPN’s CSR profile among employees and external stakeholders.

Stampa assigned a Director and Senior Consultant to develop key messages and draft the report’s content, working in close cooperation with KPN’s Corporate Communications team and CSR Manager. We used our interviewing and analytical skills to collect all required information on the highlights of KPN’s CSR initiatives.

In 2008, we helped KPN to increase the report’s status from C+ to B+. In 2009 and early 2010, Stampa worked closely with KPN’s Corporate Communications department, CSR data verification specialist DHV, CSR auditor KPMG and designers, to increase the report’s GRI rating from B+ to A+.

Sven Drillenburg-Lelijveld, CSR Manager KPN, says: “With its understanding of GRI requirements, flexibility and familiarity with KPN’s CSR policy, Stampa has been key in producing a very readable report that meets the highest CSR standards.”

Stampa Shortlisted for European Excellence Award

Stampa has been shortlisted as ‘Newcomer Agency of the Year’ in the 2009 European Excellence Awards. The Amsterdam and London-based agency receives this prestigious nomination as it approaches its first birthday, celebrating a year in which it has attracted significant new business and grown its talented team despite difficult trading conditions across Europe.

Stampa has been shortlisted in the face of extremely stiff competition, with this year’s awards receiving a record 1,200 entries. The European Excellence Awards, which honour outstanding achievement in the communications profession on an international scale, will be presented at a gala ceremony in Vienna on 10 December.

Stampa co-founds international sustainability network

Stampa has co-founded a new international network of communications agencies with expertise in sustainability and CSR. Stampa is one of four agencies to create the network, along with Ethicity of France, Portfolio Communications of the UK, and Messagepool of Germany.

The network is designed as a resource for businesses or organisations wishing to develop in a responsible way, and with high ethical standards. Its aims include sharing best practice, knowledge and new trends, as well as enhancing expertise in CSR communications, including CSR reporting and green marketing.

The founding agencies have already begun exchanging information, with Jos Havermans representing Stampa. The network is based on a model founded by Messagepool in Germany, which set up the LOHAS Competence Centre (LCC) in January 2008. The success of LCC in Germany led to the creation of this international network, with the founders holding their first meeting in Frankfurt last month.

Teleplan appoints Stampa as PR adviser in the Netherlands

Stampa has been appointed to advise Teleplan International N.V., a leading global provider of after-sales services to the IT and telecommunications industry. Stampa’s Amsterdam-based PR team will use its expertise and extensive contacts to connect Teleplan with leading Dutch financial and business media.

Teleplan’s appointment of Stampa is testament to the agency’s experience in advising clients with complex international businesses, and in employing its team’s journalistic experience to deliver clear, compelling and targeted communications. Stampa Account Director Gerrie Spaansen is leading the account, supported by Account Manager Eveline Schijf and Account Executive Elenna Garman.

Headquartered in Zoetermeer in the Netherlands, Teleplan has 19 international branches and nearly 6000 employees. Teleplan joins Stampa’s fast-growing client roster, which includes some of Europe’s largest multinational companies. The London and Amsterdam-based agency has also recently boosted its team to serve its expanding business.

Stampa boosts Amsterdam PR team

Stampa has added to its successful Amsterdam-based PR team with the appointment of Eveline Schijf as Account Manager.

Eveline’s impressive background in law and consultancy is a boost for Stampa’s pan-European corporate communications practice, supporting clients including ING, Pimco, Coca-Cola Europe and KPN.

Her experience also bolsters Stampa’s increasing work in the legal sector, offering European PR expertise to internationally-focused clients.

Before joining Stampa, Eveline spent five years working in New York and Amsterdam as a lawyer for the Dutch law firm NautaDutilh, focusing primarily on corporate law, structured finance and intellectual property law. Most recently, Eveline worked as a consultant in the recruitment industry, headhunting lawyers for top-level positions in the corporate and financial sector.

Stampa director Marina Millington-Ward says: “Eveline is an excellent addition to our growing team. Her combination of specialist sector knowledge and broader consultancy skills make her a natural fit across our international portfolio.”

Sports Revolution appoints Stampa for UK PR

Sports Revolution, the largest media rights owner in UK football stadia advertising, has appointed Stampa to conduct its UK PR. Sports Revolution has media partnerships with 72 football clubs across all the leagues, including 19 in the English Premier League.

This comprehensive access to match-day football fans allows Sports Revolution to offer advertisers a unique opportunity to connect with men through sport. The PR account will be directed from Stampa’s London office, with additional support from our team in Amsterdam.

The journalistic background and media industry expertise of Stampa’s team helped secure the business of Sports Revolution, which is one of the most influential players in the UK’s highly valuable sports media rights industry.

Stampa supports Libersy with European PR

Stampa is helping one of the Netherlands’ hottest internet start-ups, Libersy, raise its profile amongst European investors and business customers. Libersy’s booking technology is making waves in e-business as it allows service industry SMEs to accept online reservations and payments.

Launched in 2006, Libersy is growing fast and recently secured a high-profile contract with the UK-based telecoms giant BT. Libersy’s software has been integrated into the BT Tradespace online business community. Libersy was named as one of the Netherlands three most promising new dotcoms by Emerce in 2007 and is listed in the Benelux Venture 50.

Stampa’s contacts and expertise in European media helped it secure the business, as well as its knowledge of the communications and technology sectors.