5 Great Dutch Brands to Inspire You
A great brand inspires people in some way. It has an amazing, instinctual, emotional connection to its audience. Some say it’s a gut feeling. Some call it the essence of a brand. No matter what you call it, we can all agree that its definitely intangible.
Amazing brands are specifically built considering the wants and needs of customers in advance. They aren’t shooting from the hip. They have a clear strategy, ultimately resulting in a look, feeling, words, and emotional connection with their audience.
That’s why sometimes brand strategy in itself is difficult to grasp. It’s the foundation (in strategic words), long-term and short-term goals, that are the base for all the external marketing and visual connections that you actually see.
Can you operate without a brand strategy? Of course. Will it be detrimental? I can’t determine that for you. What we do know from experience and other brands’ experiences is that it can be costly (in both reputation, expenses, sales, loyalty) to redo again and again and again by testing the market and marketing. Doing it right through brand foundation saves loads of headaches and makes much faster connections.
If your customers believe in your vision and mission, they will come back for more to keep being part of it.
Get your brand at the top of your customers’ minds.
Just remember that small companies can also do what big companies do. If you have the passion, you are already one step ahead of everyone else.
Here are some examples of (not massively huge) companies in the Netherlands that got it!
Magnet.Me is a platform where students or graduates can discover jobs, internships, and events. They are based in Rotterdam and have around 35 employees.
Looking at their site and reading through their content, one can say that they embody the archetype of a caregiver with a combination of explorer. In their messaging, they use keywords such as “helping”, ”empowerment”, and “opportunities”. They are targeting students who are feeling lost and unsure about their future, and their messaging makes their customers feel guided but also providing freedom. We present you with the opportunities, now go and explore them.
In terms of design, their website is really clean and easy to navigate. Their main brand color is orange, blue with a combination of while and black text. This gives the audience the feeling of calmness and professional with the color blue as well as action and alertness with the color orange. If you picked a red color that shouted “NOW” at you, it is more likely that you would start feeling frustrated about the process.
Their logo matches with what they are claiming do provide for their customers, which is connecting them with companies. The magnet signifies a strong connection and their name itself is a powerful phrase. “Magnet me – Connect me”. In their style of imaging, they use colorful photos with young people who are enjoying working together as a team, laughing, and who are working at a cool and a hip environment. When the target audience looks at this imagery they feel energized, comfortable, and ready to trust these people to find a suitable job for them.
Sla is café/restaurant that is focused on pure and healthy food. Their target audience is busy working individuals who are in need of a fast option to ea. Their solution was a healthy buffet salad, where you can top your plate with your favorite salad ingredients or conveniently pick one from their menu. The problem they are addressing is busy life and the question “what will I eat”, instead of ready-made preserved food, they are offering the option eating a healthy, organic and local food in a fast way.
Their design and website is very minimalistic which fits with their mission. They use tones of dark/light greens, gray, with a combination of white/black as text color. Their style of imaging includes their food or a combination of different ingredients as background image. The images are full of vibrant colors, which make it inviting to eat.
Their minimalistic website design and logo (which is just their name “SLA” – this means salad in Dutch) and vibrant imagery of their food suggests that this is about the food they make and that is what matters. They elevate their dishes by presenting them as online shop, which creates the feeling that you are investing in yourself. They also have a blog which they showcase their recipes. As a restaurant this might be unusual, but it fits with their brand strategy because they want to educate their customers about healthy eating and cooking and also inspire them about it.
Also in the food category is one of my favorite new concepts, Cropbox. They are a small kitchen that stared in 2014 focused on fresh, organic, healthy, unique to-go boxes of vegetarian grubs – delivered direct to your door – in Amsterdam. There is no menu, every single box is different, and they only deliver on Tuesdays and Thursdays by pre-order only.
I whole heartedly stand behind their product myself, and secretly wished I lived in Amsterdam so I could have some.
They are friendly and very obviously portray an archetype combination of caregiver (environmentally minded), royalty (only the good stuff, some may say hipster), and every man (delivery straight to your door).
While I’m not a huge fan of their website, although it totally does the job just fine. It could be more visual, I can just imagine how powerful full-width parallax would be with the product ingredients and inside of boxes. They explain the product, process, allow you to order online and have some really rockin’ artwork and drawing. Like their logo, giving the exact feel of their organic and special kitchen.
In the communications and messaging department, they focus on nourishing. Exactly what their food provides. The mission is to deliver nutritious, healthy lunches to busy people and is clearly on their homepage. I love this transparency! Their lovely communications extend to the active, and really beautiful images on their Instagram account.
Have you tried Cropbox yet? I wonder if I can have it delivered to myself at Starbucks in Amsterdam? So worth it!
Bloomon is also a new concept and while not a small company anymore (expanding into Germany and had a recent investment round), they are worthy of a feature. Think of it as subscription plan for fresh flowers. Seriously! Delivered straight to your house, direct from the growers. They are incredibly fresh and in the few months I’ve had the service myself, my flowers have consistently lasted 2 full weeks, I’ve also seen flowers that are so unique I am amazed. Season. Fresh. Amazing combinations.
For their brand look and feel, the logo is fabulous. Simply their name in a thin, fresh font.
They also use the B in a circle throughout their branding as a stamp style.
The website is easy to navigate and has a super-cool background video looping. It’s not distracting and I’ve actually watched it a dozen times now.
The tagline: “Everyday happiness. Altijd verse bloemen op tafel.“ Says exactly what they do, every happiness. Always fresh flowers on the table.
Similar to Cropbox they have a feeling of “handmade” by bringing in hand-sketched graphics.
The small product list, simple a Small, Medium, or Large format of a bouquet, gives a focused and simple choice to consumers. So the questions aren’t what KIND of flowers you want, it’s what size can we bring you?
When receiving the actual product at my door, I was pleasantly surprised by the brand consistency, from the yellow striped pattern on the rope tying the flowers together, to the hand-sketched on cardboard flower wrapping.
Their method is very clear and they include an inspiring video on their website. Showing the sketching and care taking to design and develop the unique combinations.
They are super active and consistent on all social media, and focus a lot on the community, even having a few customer stories on their website.
All these elements suggest a brand archetype of innocent, everyday man/woman with a touch of royalty due to their high quality.
Lastly, it’s pretty obvious that a lot of their audience are women, this is also clear with the visual style and coloring. However, the company is founded by 3 men and has roots in family business, flowers, and healthy living. I love everything about this company!
Are you inspired yet?
I hope you are equally inspired by these cool and fresh dutch brands as I am. Do you know any others we should feature here? Let us know in the comments!
Who am I?
I'm Gina Dunn, Brand Strategist and CEO of iGina - and my mission is to help entrepreneurs to define and build brands. Let's bring your brand to life!
Did you know that brand-led businesses outperform their competition by 83%? Get started by mapping out your very own brand strategy yourself with our Brand Canvas - get it here.