Part 1 of 3: Field in a box™
Jaap de Carpentier Wolf, head of Corporate Communications at TenCate, the materials technology concern, has formulated a clear vision when it comes to communication; keeping one's eyes and ears open to what's happening in the world and endeavouring to translate key trends and themes into a coordinated communications plan. By way of several concrete examples, Jaap explains his vision in a series of three blogs. Part one describes the way in which Ten Cate's communication plan is put into practice, with reference to its Field in a box™ system, for which C4Real has developed an awareness film, a 3D animation, a 3D product configurator and a 3D print of the total solution. Each and every one of these forms part of a wider strategy.
Staying ahead of the game
For many years now, we have adopted an ‘outside-in’ approach, in both word and deed. In fact, for a B2B-minded production company, this is an absolute necessity. The outside world - in this case end-users and clients - is the all-decisive factor. Furthermore, the corporate communications team also has numerous internal clients, not least the marketing teams in the various Ten Cate divisions. In reaching out to their external clients, we offer a helping hand, providing them with collective instruments as part of a sophisticated marketing toolbox. Whilst they each have overall responsibility for devising a communications plan vis-à-vis their specific markets and target groups, we aim to support corporate communications by way of a collective strategy towards the rest of the world.
Over the last nine years we've been hard at work building on TenCate's image as a business with advanced materials and solutions. The challenge for us has been to stay ahead of the game in terms of communication. We already knew years ago exactly what we wanted to achieve and how, and this still drives our vision today. Over the next three to five years, we know what steps we need to make systematically to take things to much higher levels than before.
Communicating information effectively
In essence, our work is to help communicate information - often technical in nature - more systematically and effectively, so that our target groups are able to understand it and that, as a result, we can influence them. In doing so, we hope that our target groups are incentivized to adopt a certain behaviour so that we can enter into an ongoing dialogue with them. The result will be a relationship on a personal level. So, in principle, nothing has changed: we aim to set in motion the traditional, underlying chain of knowledge, attitude and behaviour consistently and effectively.
Nowadays however, there is an information overload. More and more, target groups are turning in on themselves and are seeking ways of filtering out information more selectively. This is one of the main reasons our aim at TenCate has been to make the communication visual. That means short, concise and readily understandable.
The more visual and interactive the content is, the more accessible and the greater its impact will be. At the bottom of the content ladder is text, followed by photographs, icons, infographics, videos, animations and interactive animations/videos. The higher up the ladder, the easier it becomes to convey the message compactly and concisely. What's more, each manifestation is developed for a specific moment in the buyer's or customer's journey, so that individual target groups understand immediately that the information ties in directly with their information, communication or conversational needs. In this way we aim to gain their commitment so that we can form a content-based community with them.
Field in a Box
The media we have used for the Field in a box™ total-solution system – a multi-community centre for grassroots development – are a feel-good awareness film, a 3D animation and a 3D product configurator. Each of them compelled us to convey the message as concisely as possible. Not an easy task, since it's quite a story!
Field in a box™ is a sustainable platform for sporting activities and social development. It is an all-round solution in the form of a sports field – with all its attributes, including the substructure, fencing, goals, lighting, etc. – brought together in a single container. All this requires effective communication, with partners, potential B2B clients, NGOs, public authorities and other stakeholders. We chose to do this visually in order to tie this in as much as possible with our own vision. We think this works well, not only for creating an awareness within our own organisation, but also for communication with the outside world.
For Field in a box™, TenCate worked closely with C4Real. The following visual media were selected:
- Awareness film
This is a feel-good film made exclusively for end-users. The script has been written in such a way that its poignant images move its audience. To this end, C4Real recorded footage in India with the product's typical end-users: kids living in slums who are keen to develop both socially and in terms of sport. Two versions of the film were made: one with a street coach who puts his dream into words; and a second one - coming soon - which depicts a girl hockey player in action. The mood evoked by the film among its viewers means it gets shared a lot on Facebook, for example. In fact, awareness creation is the aim of these videos.
3D product animation
- The product animation summarizes specific information about the total solution, i.e. the product, its different components and materials, and communicates this to interested parties. The animation visualises all its possibilities and functions.
3D product configurator
- The product configurator enables you to adapt the field to suit your own specific requirements, so as a potential buyer you can see exactly what the results will be. For example, add fencing or lighting if you want. In this way the product comes alive, matching the objectives and the requirements of the client. A PDF can then be generated showing the total solution the client himself has designed. Contact can then be established to add the finishing touches before the order is finally placed. This configurator is made for the end of the customer journey, that is, when the target group is ready to make the final purchase.