Adriaan Oomen (left) and Bernadette Hemels.

Dutch Experts Discuss Brand Management Company During Visit

Dutch entrepreneurs and communication experts Adriaan Oomen and Bernadette Hemels told the students and faculty at the University of Georgia they had two ambitions for their company, ADDFOCUS.

The two said they want to become the “number one brand positioning consultancy in the Netherlands” and they want to “Stay small and work for big clients.”

Oomen and Hemels were at the University of Georgia at the invitation of the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, and they were meeting with a small group of faculty and students in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The Cox Center is the international outreach unit of the Grady College.

Oomen founded ADDFOCUS in January 2007. Hemels joined the company a year later as a co-owner. Approximately a half dozen others work with ADDFOCUS on a freelance basis, the two explained.

ADDFOCUS offers expertise on brand and positioning strategy and competence building in marketing and advertising for marketing and communication departments. It is based in Valkenswaard, the Netherlands.

Oomen said he focuses on making brands stronger. Hemels said she works to make people in organizations stronger “in order to make it possible for them to live the brand.”

Prior to creating ADDFOCUS, Oomen worked as a senior marketing manager and advertising manager in several major Dutch companies, including TNT Mail, Reaal Insurance Company and Rabobank.

At Rabobank he was responsible for brand positioning and advertising strategy and was responsible for an advertising campaign in the Netherlands that won several advertising awards, including the Golden Effie (2004) and the Advertising Company of the Year in 2005.

During the presentation at the University of Georgia on Oct. 4 the two showed some of the video from that campaign.

Hemels began her career in management at Credit Lyonnais Bank and then established her own company to work as a team and assessment consultant. She developed several in-house Marketing and Innovation Programs for companies like TNT Post.

The two told the graduate students and faculty at the small gathering that ADDFOCUS does work for service companies, such as insurance companies and banks, and for nonprofit organizations and companies like TNT Parcels, Ernst & Young and Fontys Hogescholen, one of the largest colleges in The Netherlands, both in business-to-business and in business-to-consumer markets.

Oomen told the faculty and students he is finishing a book with the working title "How to position your brand in 7 steps (and a halve)."

Both Hemels and Oomen were enrolled in a class on graduate research methods taught by Cox Center Director Dr. Lee B. Becker in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, in 1986.

Hemels subsequently spent six months studying and collaborating on research with Dr. Becker at the Ohio State University, where he was a faculty member prior to his moving to the University of Georgia in 1997.