TenCate's visual vision 3/3

21 September 2018

Part 3 of 3: the Circle of C

Jaap de Carpentier Wolf, former head of corporate communications for the materials technology group of TenCate, has a clear vision on communication; being customer oriented and listen to what happens in the world and the primary trends and translate these topics into market-oriented communication methods. Jaap has portrayed his vision through three blogposts obtaining specific examples. Following the first fragment concerning the case of Field in a box ™ and the second part regarding how the various divisions of TenCate deal with the visual content, is now following the last part. Here, Jaap explains the communication model used and how the digital driven corporate communication of TenCate can practically be concluded within: the Circle of C.


Implementing a sustainable future vision in corporate marketing communication starts by clarifying the stages compulsory for the long run. The first step TenCate took is visualising the communication strategy. This offers a complete overview for colleagues and supporting suppliers, thus maximal insight in the steps to be endured. Hereby we have generated a long-term plan divided in four phases. The first phase involves the information as such. Usually there are lots of static – stationary – sources to be found regarding knowledge and experience of the company. Mostly unknown, often – incorrectly – unloved. Literally: ‘treasures of information’. As long as nothing happens with the information, nobody will ever know how extraordinary or high-tech it all is. Information (1.0) must be structured, prioritised and systematised first. Then it will be ready to be revealed. Especially when done digitally. Our image library is the source for all the image material. The CMS is the source for all texts. Currently data (and big data) are a new mountain of information.

The second phase (2.0) is concerned with making intended information communicate. In the case of TenCate it involves the lot of interesting backgrounds about high-tech materials and technological solutions. In this phase, newsworthy content provides so many context, that the target audience will take on the dialog and continues to converse (3.0) about the topic. Simultaneously it offers the chance for people to bond and stay fascinated about the enterprise and her exceptional products and services. Thus in the course of time an involved and intensely interested community (4.0) will arise. By dividing the phases in three years per section, thus containing nine years of which the corporate marketing communication area has continuously evolved. Insight through overview. 

Within the first phase, three elements together determine the strength of ways in which communication is used for communication: knowledge (which in principle is passive); attitude (an activated alignment in regard to new information); and behaviour (the willingness to be responsive or interactive with another, a group or an organization to share news with). Furthermore there are three goals to be achieved by the target group due to communication: adjusting knowledge, attitude and behaviour. The communication model 2.0 shows it perfectly with a diagram of 3x3. By continuously refining and fine tuning the dynamic information according to continuous communication, conversation and a growing community a dialog is created. The advanced, market oriented solutions remain a topic for the B2B-conversation. The brand identity leads to concrete brand identification. While TenCate becomes a thought leader, the image grows and the reputation of the enterprise increases. The company as a – growing – authority can (keep) claiming (more) better position in the market. 

In our first three years we focused in particular on communication that helped increased the knowledge of the target group. It often became clear that a material or solution from TenCate was still inadequately recognised. In the following phase it was namely based on (pro)active communication, in order to further influence the knowledge and changing attitude of the target group. In the last three years we focused ourselves, accompanied by a growing toolbox consisting of digital resources, particularly on interactive communication, by which we wanted to influence the knowledge, attitude and behaviour. Sequentially to modify suspects into prospects and convert leads into actual sales. From a corporate point of view there is an increasingly communicative group of stakeholders and (potential) customers.In 2016 we achieved the highest communication goal with among other things interactive product explorer. However we endeavour for more, so we look further. We appreciated imagery more than written. For that reason, moving pictures instead of static images. Visual rather than textual, using infographics and icons. Even animated icons. Video’s, clips, animations, interactive moving image. Professional films. Also virtual reality, and in the nearby future augmented reality, are important means to let clients experience information– so knowledge and experience – in B2B. With inter alia C4Real, we have realized numerous tools. 


Every company must ensure that knowledge, attitude and behaviour of the target group is systematically affected and continues being communicative. That there is a mutual understanding and that information achieve connected. Primarily it could succeed by unlocking relevant information and offer it as newsworthy. We identify this as the ‘magnet effect’ of interesting content, provided in the right context. Content in context. Factual pull marketing. Often focused on the end-user, which assists in creating the market demand. ‘Rumour around the brand’. This leads to specifying the customer. 

Going from communication to conversation material. Be the conversation of the target group by visually illustrating exceptional solutions. Precisely by putting it into a practical perspective. Allowing technology to takeover to explore the total solution. The essence of the message. What use is this high-tech solution? What is the social relevance? To what does it contribute? It provide answers to the latent or manifest needs of the (end) user. Especially in B2B. From communicating to conversing. From individual to community. From suspect to lead. From customer to ambassador. 

The change does not come naturally, however in time it goes faster. Sending becomes receiving. Listening becomes a conversation. The dialog becomes a debate which brings a chance to integrate means. It becomes intertwined. It keeps requiring more creativity and campaigns, if provided consistently and consequently supplied and introduced. One message and a variety of means. Steadily keep the conversation going by deliberately keeping silent now and then, let the target group or customers tell the story. Passive, active, interactive, knowledge, attitude and behaviour, every expression fits in a box. By listening we bring our communication model phasewise from 2.0 to 3.0 to 4.0. In those last phases the focus is on marketing automation, a professional CRM system and a high quality and flexible central CRM. 

This method provides a growing bunch of data which could be made use of, no, should make use of. It is the source of new information. Then the circle is closed. That helps refine the buyer funnel and the customer funnel.