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Jaarbeurs (VNU Exhibitions): robust strategy in a dynamic environment

Jaarbeurs is 100 years old. During this period it has seen enormous change in the definition of its mission: ‘Put trade in motion’. Fairs, events and meetings take place differently than before. Digitization, technological developments, new generations, new business models and new competitors ask for a reassessment of vision and strategy to put Jaarbeurs firmly in the saddle for the future.

‘Jaarbeurs should be cycling up front again, in the leading group of the world of live events. People are curious, they want to smell, feel, taste, see and talk with each other. This experience has to be synonymous for Jaarbeurs.’
Albert Arp

Jester supported Jaarbeurs in the process of strategic review and rebalancing and in the translation into practical tools for implementation. This review process took place in two parallel tracks:

  1. Jaarbeurs looked at its strategic positioning
  2. Jaarbeurs looked at the optimization of its business portfolio, in the Netherlands as well as for its international activities.

In both tracks the project teams went through four phases.

Albert Arp
CEO at Jaarbeurs

Four phases

Phase 1: Analysis

Jester guided Jaarbeurs in a fact-based analysis. With a scenario analysis, business model analysis and portfolio analysis the strength and fragility of the positioning of Jaarbeurs and its portfolio of product-market combinations were analyzed.

Phase 2: Direction

Together with the executive board we determined vision and strategic direction. With these Jaarbeurs in the next few years will fulfil and give substance to its mission. The strategic direction was decisive for the generation and selection of strategic options.

Phase 3: Generation and selection

Together with board and management we determined, within the overall direction, strategy for the main components of Jaarbeurs: its own events, the accommodation of events for third parties and its international organization.

Phase 4: Planning

The selected choices we translated into objectives, KPIs and actions. A detailed implementation plan is the guide for Jaarbeurs in executing the new strategy.

Robust choices for the future

The strategy process led to some robust content choices. The main choices Jaarbeurs will be focussing on in the next few years are:

  • A strong focus on creating intense customer value through ‘live events’
  • Revitalizing the venue: the Jaarbeurs complex in Utrecht
  • Focussing on a growth of the accommodation for third party events
  • Increasing focus in the brand portfolio with the aim to be the market leader in selected markets
  • Focussing on strong synergy between the activities in the Netherlands and in Asia.

Substantial change of direction with wide support

This strategy means a major change of course and is supported by the entire management of Jaarbeurs. Through Jester’s approach the strategy has become a strategy of and for Jaarbeurs. This approach proved extremely suitable to fully involve employees and stakeholders in the process. Teams worked actively on their own results and presented their own findings to the management and supervisory board. Through the online community the teams stayed involved among themselves and they could quickly share results and knowledge.

‘The uniqueness of Jester is that the strategy is strong, sharp and fact-based, but with a broad support within the organization. I have not seen many strategy firms thát strong in gaining support and creating commitment, without making concessions to the content of the strategy.’
Albert Arp

The result is a broad-based ‘own’ strategy of Jaarbeurs with a clear roadmap to achieve implementation. The presentation of the new strategy by Albert Arp, CEO of Jaarbeurs, was enthusiastically received by employees, supervisory board as well as important stakeholders.

‘The Jester team really wanted to have an impact and they succeeded. The commitment, quality and innovativeness of their approach was high. The online community in which everyone could think along and contribute ideas was also very valuable.’
Albert Arp

Please contact Bas Schulten (Jester) for more information about this project.

The world is changing. What do you do?

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