Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
“We started in 2011 after joining a course about making young business development plans organized by our studies Fontys Hogeschool communication in Eindhoven. Since we were students and looking for job opportunities we came up with the idea to start our own communication agency based on trust and skills instead of diplomas. This evolved into Yongbloed. Yongbloed is a creative network of young professionals which functions a communication agency. It wasn’t possible for us to start a traditional agency with full time employees so we thought of a flexible setting. Instead of being a communication agency with a network we decided that we would have the network to be the agency. We wanted to have a good answer to every question that we would get and in order to do that you need to have the right people to answer those question. We are the core of the team and think of the concept and strategy part and than we ask others to join us in the specific assignment.
We went from a more straight forward question like ‘can you design this?’ to what we do best: thinking of concepts and strategies. We always start from the identity of the company. This separates Yongbloed from other communication companies. We always search for ways to make communication strategies which suit the company. We function as a mirror for organizations and dare to confront. When a company asks us something we search for the question or problem lying underneath.
What would you consider your distinctive achievement?
We really focus on identity so obviously we do that ourselves as well. The three words that summarize our company are “young, solid and unorthodox”. For example, in the So What project we are working on right now we were asked to find a solution to manage the process. Instead we made it a lot bigger than the actual question in order to give the right answer to the question. We broaden the borders of the questions. That we found people to work with us in this is an achievement.
Secondly we have a recognisable identity. We get a lot of positive response to the way we communicate. This means we do something good. That is an achievement as well.
Our biggest achievement is that we had an idea to flip the formula of more traditional communication agencies and create a company with our identity. Even after all these years we are still here and it’s still a formula that works. We are picky in the projects that we do because it has to suit our identity and way of working.
What are you looking forward to?
Right now we have some good projects and doing ok. But we want to take a next step with Yongbloed in taking an active role in society as a company. We want to be more involved and also make a difference in the way people think, interact and do business. With Yongbloed we want to be a springboard for young people so they can learn how skilled they are and meet other people and get their professional career started. In the southern part of the Netherlands there is a lot of ‘ground to be gained’. The creative industry can grow a lot here. Geographically speaking we are located in a good region and there are a lot of initiatives. It would be nice to see how we can put this region forward by for example working together.
A dream is to create a hub where everyone can work together. And also keep connected with cities were things are already happening and boiling; like Eindhoven.
We want to grow as a company, have bigger clients and more continuity. Than we can get more young people to work and let them use and develop their skills. Yongbloed wants our mentality to change our surroundings and the way people collaborate. The Yongbloed heart should reach as much people as possible: share skills and collaborate.
Which advise would you give to other professionals?
Practice what you preach. You have to think of your own organization as well and see your own organization as your first client: know why you do things, have a strategy.
Believe in yourself. You started your own company to make a change or do something. Always preach what you believe and show people that they can trust you and your believes.
Set doable deadlines: because else it’s not fun anymore and your creativity is gone.
Stay inspired because else you will lose all the creativity and things that make you stand out.
Dare to ask money for your work. If you don’t dare to ask a reasonable price for your work than you lose the fun in it. Know why you ask a certain amount because than you feel more secure in asking money.
Fulfil the promises you make.
What are the challenges we need to overcome to make cultural entrepreneurship more accessible?
The whole society is in a transition: there are old ways of doing business, money based, and new ways of doing business, sharing is caring. The frame we work in is still the old way of doing business which makes it hard to work together. In the cultural sector we need to find a way to translate the vision on the future we have in the old ways of doing business without becoming the old way of doing business. There are a lot of people with good ideas but it’s hard to find a way in that old way of doing business. We, as the creative industry, have to collaborate and be more of a professional sector. The cultural sector should be a bit more ‘ballsy’ and stand for their believes and vision. The old rules are restricting and we don’t agree with that. Entrepreneurship should be improved and the government should support this. Thinking commercial is not wrong. Being socially concerned and commercial can be combined. It’s not wrong to make money of what you think is important or needs to be done.
The last advice Bran and Emmanuel give is: Be relevant! Because than you can show why you deserve money and do what you do. This can make the difference: “don’t scream for a better world if you can’t make it as a revenant, but preach what’s relevant”.