How old do you think we are?

Our new website is online. You may think it’s pretty – as do we – but I especially want you to think it’s interesting. The content is in fact our number one priority, as it has been for over 30 years.

Well, I’m aware that it’s impossible to argue about birthdays. Even though I know couples who don’t celebrate their wedding date but the day of their first kiss. And, to be clear, that day precedes the wedding date by a mile. Connect has a similar story. Our foundations are 30 years old, and soon, the house will only be 10. For convenience’s sake, we celebrate both. 30 years ago, in 1987, the base of Connect, Slangen & Partners was founded. I started working there 10 years later, in 1997, and I didn’t find myself in an agency but in a culture. A culture that treated every client’s question or problem as the beginning of a journey. No answer was fixed. Often, we came up with solutions to problems the customer didn’t even know he had. And only afterwards, he understood that this solution was essential. That foundation and profundity are in our DNA. Still, to this very day.

Team of 35 communications professionals
Almost 10 years ago, in 2008, Connect was founded, and we were completely focused on infrastructure projects. In that niche, we’re still Belgium’s market leader, but nowadays, we accomplish so much more. We’re a strategic communications partner that counsels more than 60 governments, companies and organizations in Belgium and the Netherlands each year. That’s only possible because we’ve expanded into a group of 35 Flemish, Dutch and French communications advisors. Recently, we have also acquired a Dutch office in Eindhoven.

The cases, the team and the fun
As you can tell by our website, the projects are our focal point, as are our clients. But for every case you read, there is also one that we can’t share with you. Because we work on socially sensitive projects, or because our clients demand confidentiality. We also use our website to present our team. Even though a fellow manager deterred me from doing that: not only clients but also competing communications agencies will have a menu to choose from. So be it, our employees are the ones who realize the projects and so, yes, they’re definitely featured on our website. They also put the fun in “fundamental”, by the way. Team-building activities on the island of Malta, and a running competition with our employees: that too is what Connect stands for. And, of course, the content, which we have been sharing faithfully in blogs, Tweets, Facebook-posts, newspaper articles, books and whitepapers for years. We recently shared our 70th newsletter. We’re going to keep doing that, and our newsletter will also be updated: more images, same amount of content.

Speak, only if you can improve the silence
“We provide strategic communications advice.” Those words are currently on our homepage. And that’s what we do. Using more words isn’t really necessary. You see, we made the conscious decision to be an agency of few words. Because every time you speak, you miss the opportunity to listen. To a client, and to his problem. And the more words you use, the greater the risk that the real message won’t be conveyed. That is why we communicate briefly and fairly directly: a statement even our clients in the Netherlands – known for their directness – agree with. That must mean we’re doing okay. And even that has been strategically contemplated. Until the next time.

Bart Derison