JOEP HANSEN, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF IMC (INDUSTRIAL MERCHANDISING CONCEPTS) HAS OVER 20 YEARS EXPERIENCE IN BUILDING BRANDS IN THE HEAVY TRANSPORT INDUSTRY – FROM SUPPLYING HANDCRAFTED SCALEMODELS TO SETTING UP COMPLETE MERCHANDISING CONCEPTS. WE FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN BUILD YOUR COMPANY INTO A BRAND.
Joep Hansen started young – at the heavy haulage company Van Seumeren, in his hometown, de Meern. “Right after school we went to van Seumeren. Pretty soon I was in the PR department. organizing customer days, producing brochures, drafting the internal magazine etc. It was then that I got inspired by the heavy duty machines – the huge cranes and the many many axle-lines.”
After studying communication, Joep began working at professional football club PSV Eindhoven. But soon he got a phone call from Frans van Seumeren, who had taken over Mammoet and – the same year – planned to raise the Russian nuclear submarine, Kursk.
“For me it was a great time at Mammoet, experiencing everything that makes this business interesting.
Travelling around the world; full media attention; hard work; safety procedures. Teamwork, friendship, trying to earn money, and lots of humour. More importantly, I learned this industry is loved by a lot of people. Not only does is it interest the press but, at the same time, every guy I knew was either already part – or at least dreamed of being – of this industry.
“It attracts everyone – from little kids to old wise grey men. Operating these huge machines, or to be in control of 220 axle-lines SPMT. The horsepower – the energy – makes it a fascinating world. Yet I still see that many company owners, or marketing departments, don’t take note that their company is their image!
“People want to know about your company. They want to see – in their hands, at home – a bit of what you are doing, whether that’s a beautiful diecast scale model, or a plush toy of the truck for their kids. In the end it works
for companies to handle their image in a way that their employees can be proud of. Their clients see the value of the company. And fans worldwide can be a part of that company feeling.
“After we raised the Kursk, and successfully integrated van Seumeren and Mammoet, we set up the Mammoet Merchandising department. We created and built company identity by organising guided tours, customer days, open-house events, merchandising articles, and scale models. Setting up our own safety workwear line (tested by Mammoet employees) resulted in a fast-growing section, with a turnover of around 4 million Euro. But companies don’t have to be globally active to have a merchandising shop. We also handle shops for local companies because it is part of their strategy. In most cases we break even.
“After Mammoet I wanted to see if I could help this industry grow in their merchandising and marketing activities. There is so much potential.
A good example is ‘HeavyTorque’ – a great new publishing design that immediately sets a standard. I really love to see these initiatives coming because, for sure, it will help other magazines think about their off- and online strategy.
“So it was time to start a new company, and in 2013 I created IMC. IMC Branding can supply companies in our market with all sort of merchandising needs: from a small assortment of caps and t-shirts to complete workwear line for employees, or enable an online-merchandising shop. We work for companies like Sarens, TII Group (Scheuerle, Kamag, Nicolas), Nooteboom trailers, Kobelco, Mammoet, and a lot of European companies active in the world of heavy transport and lifting.
“IMC Models develops and produces handcrafted scale models. They range from small-quantity series to complete, diecast mass-production models. Both are recognised in our industry: and I want to play a major role between the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), their customers and fans worldwide.
Our newest models, the Nooteboom Wheelwell trailer and the SPMT from Scheuerle, are so realistic that you can’t even imagine what the next step will be in model development.
“You can compare IMC’s strategy a bit with the sports world, where I got inspired by their energy and knowledge – on how to build a brand and set up merchandising as a strategy. That’s where for companies it’s not only about spending money, but more about how to control budgets, or even how to get money or attention with it. Measuring that is important, and we do that both off- and online.
“Currently we are very busy with a lot of BAUMA (a leading trade-fair) activities. Our customers want to present themselves well at Bauma and therefore we supply them with creative ideas that suit their wishes. From a nice give-away to hand out to fans, to complete shops with merchandising, marketing and sales targets.”
“3D printing is everywhere around and, like the Net, will impact on our daily life. We are less static behind television screens and magazine papers but search more for interesting news, movies and articles. For the scale models we produce, I already see a great shift. Before, OEM used to handle demands for 3000–5000 pieces as a minimum order (needed for the overall investments). Nowadays customized models have a quantity of 100–300 pcs. It is a fact we cannot deny. As a consequence, how we react makes for change. 3d printing is a tool for that.
“The world – and the world of marketing your company – is changing rapidly. Everything we learned 20 years ago has completely altered. That makes it a challenge to convince companies they should take a completely different approach when it comes to marketing and merchandising.
“Communicating with your customers is not one-way anymore. More often, it is the depth and breadth of attention they get from you. And that company must itself excel, especially when you see today’s standards: Safety, Environment, Corporate Social Responsibility. How to have a clear mission is where it starts for them. How to visualise and brand it is where we would like to help.”