Tibor van Bekkum


Father, speaker, writer and founding partner of Valuebridge; an Amsterdam based consulting company that supports companies on strategic identity issues. His personal expertise lies in strategic decision making on positioning, brand portfolio strategy and the resulting organizational change. He helped answering this Q&A.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew-up in and around Amsterdam, I have two lovely small kids (1 and 4- years old), a great wife, I try to run three times and swim once a week, and that I am allergic to insincere people.

How important is strategy? If ideas are the most important thing, can just great ideas be enough?
First thing you should ask yourself is ‘what is strategy?’. To me, strategy is all about the choices an organization actually makes. A great idea can be a very important vehicle to solid and consistent decision making. But, without actual choices and commitments in terms of time, energy, money and all other kinds of resources to bring an idea to life, the idea is nothing but a wish list or a day dream.

Will companies be able to be pretend to be something they’re not?
Of course a company can pretend to be something it is not, or at least try to. In the end, however, they will not be able to convince others that they are what they are pretending to be if the gap between the desired state of the organization and the actual state is substantial. The best an organization can aim for is to become something they aren’t fully yet. Every new and desired identity state should be build at least on some fundamental pillars that are already present inside the organisation An identity transformation can only be realized if the company has the competencies, leadership and stakeholder support that enable the organization to become what it wants to be.

Why is now, more than ever, the time for companies to change?
Is it? Successful organizational change is realized by changing as little as possible. Megalomanic ambitions fail too often. The great challenge is to continuously renew yourself in small steps based on current identity characteristics and shifting stakeholder demands and expectations.

Is trust becoming a currency?
For sure.

What’s the role of advertising in the future?
In general the role of advertising is to seduce your customers to like you, buy you, etcetera. This is what it still is. But, let’s be honest: The role of advertising in the case of brand building – especially for organization brands – is rapidly diminishing. The actual organizational performance, its culture, its identity, the repeating patterns in thinking and acting within the organization and the resulting output / outcome of all this is what is building your brand for over 80%. Advertising can expose a companies’ identity and that can be a very useful.

Thanks Tibor!