Author: Wouter Glaser, founder & managing director Glasnost
October 5th, 2020 – Today, Glasnost became part of the Born05 Group. This step is a wonderful new chapter in the ambitious adventure that started eight years ago. Looking back, I am grateful for the opportunities that we were presented with and proud of everything we achieved through sheer ambition and audacity. This is our story.
Ambition & Audacity
From the very beginning, Glasnost has been all about openness, connecting people, brands and society as a whole. For us, openness revolves around audacity. The audacity to be honest. To be a pioneer in the field. To offer solutions that other agencies were scared to propose. We are rebellious; controversial. But always with our clients’ best interest at heart. Openness and transparency is in Glasnost’s DNA. And with it comes audacity. It is with these qualities that we approach our clients and our work. Ambition and audacity form the foundation of the way we work, and our view on the future. It has brought us to where we are today and it is one of the main reasons clients come to us and stay loyal to our company.
We never lacked ambition. We always wanted to be unique in our methods and outperform the establishment. We aspired to assemble the best team and build the most impressive and innovative portfolio. That desire has never left me. Together with business partner Henk Boersen, I oversaw a growing business. Inspired by the GoFastForward experts and such books as Goodto Great and Scaling up, we managed to expand our company. In 2018, we put up a poster with a hefty growth objective: become a worldwide one-stop-shop for modern PR and communication. We dreamt about Glasnost offices in Berlin, New York City and Hong Kong. It was a mind-boggling vision. It still is, in a way. Nevertheless, ambition and audacity are moving us in that direction.
Born05 Group, a team of young entrepreneurs
The step we are now taking within the Born05 Group is mainly about our ambition as an entrepreneurial agency. Born05 Group was founded in 2019 to bring together leading agencies and entrepreneurs as a collective to organize a broader service provision towards brands. Strong agencies with strong entrepreneurs. We do not believe in egos and individual interests, but in cross-pollination and the collective interest. Then the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That’s the reason I started it, because we’re far from done.
We have found our entrepreneurial and cultural image in Born05 and Blauw Gras. A great click, with like-minded souls. Rogier IJzermans, the initiator of the Born05 Group and founder of Born05, started straight from school at the age of 21 and, 15 years later, has a leading digital agency to show for it. Erik Wiese and Erjon Tuenter of Blauw Gras have a similar story: they started after their studies with €400, and are now the social agency in the Netherlands.
We are looking forward to entering the market together and adding a new sound. A sound that matches the changes in the market.
Back to Glasnost. Our current position is the culmination of many different projects and good opportunities. Over the past eight years, our clients have presented us with creative challenges that have helped us realize our ambitions. To illustrate my point, I am sharing three of these projects with you:
#1 Our first award: Dutch Traffic Safety Organization (VVN) (2013; 2 employees)
The year is 2013 and the Dutch traffic safety organization VVN asks for our help in building an app to teach schoolchildren general traffic rules. Of course, we accepted the challenge. We wrote our brief from the viewpoint of both parents and children and engaged an app designer. Five weeks and a successful PR campaign later, the app was downloaded 100,000 times in one month. The resounding success of the VVN Traffic Safety Exam app resulted in a Digital Communication Award: our app beat hundreds of entries from all over Europe. It was almost surreal. What else was in store for us?
#2 Our first mammoth client: Vodafone (2014; 5 employees)
We had only just moved into our new offices in Amsterdam when telco giant Vodafone came knocking. Their talented PR manager Annelies Valk gave us four weeks to organize a marketing activation for a new payment method: the Vodafone SmartPass. She thought our four-man army was likely too small for the job but gave us creative carte blanche nonetheless. It took Henk and I only 15 minutes of brainstorming to come up with the idea of making one of the most famous boutique shopping streets in Amsterdam ‘wallet-less’. Our layered strategy resulted in a second international award: the 2014 European Excellence Award.
#3 Our first integrated campaign: Magnum Pyjama Party for Unilever (2017; 14 employees)
And then came Thijs Sleddering, a talented young daredevil bold enough to allocate part of the media budget to a brand event unlike any other. The crème de la crème of Dutch influencers was introduced to an epic experience: the Magnum Pyjama Party. You weren’t an influencer if you weren’t there. The famous Amstel Hotel was entirely transformed into chocolate heaven. Dress code: luxurious PJ’s. The next day, a famous social media expert asked us how we had hacked the Instagram algorithm. He simply didn’t have another explanation for the sheer number of stories and posts that mentioned the event. That in itself was wonderful, but the fact that it also resulted in a significant rise in sales and brand impact for Unilever and GfK was the real reward. In 2018, the Amstel Hotel was again the setting for the Magnum Pyjama Party and later that same year, Glasnost was awarded the first SAN Award in the FMCG category.
A big shout-out!
I am writing this story to pay tribute to the entire audacious and ambitious Glasnost team; to express my appreciation to all the suppliers that we have worked with and to offer my gratitude to the agencies that gave us room to play on bith strategic and creative levels. But I especially want to salute the clients who gave us the opportunity to work with them and who had the guts to go along with our advice. I would hereby like to thank all our clients, colleagues and suppliers from the bottom of my heart. It has been a fantastic team effort.
We’ve had some hectic times lately, but the real adventure is only just beginning. And just like before, audacity and ambition will prevail.
Off we go!