Risk managers met in Holland last week for their annual get together. The main focus was on branding and how it can be used to differentiate a company

The annual Narim congress for Dutch risk managers began on Thursday May 26 in the coastal resort of Noordwijk aan Zee.

Event organiser, Sylvia Tieland van Huut of Narim said: “We have over 280 people attending the conference today. Narim is now 15 years old, and the number of people attending the conference is increasing every year.”

Those attending the conference included 145 Narim members, who are all risk managers, and the rest was made up of insurers, brokers, lawyers and analysts.

The overall theme of this year’s Narim conference was “branding.” Branding is becoming more and more important in the highly competitive economic climate, because it allows companies to differentiate themselves from their peers without relying on price.

In the context of the Narim conference, “branding” is also a play on words. In Dutch “branding” also means the breaking of the waves. This reflects the coastal resort where the conference took place but it also alludes to the sea change that is currently taking place in the fields of marketing and branding.

The event was MCed by Anita Witzier, a Dutch television celebrity, and various seminars and events were introduced by Ellen Rekker, president of Narim.

Early on in proceedings the Narim award for “Ladies in Risk” was presented. This award recognises excellence and encourages women who work in the field of risk management.

The winners were Yvonne du Floo of Synbra Holding BV and Jacqueline Plessius, who is an insurance manager at TNT Express as well as being a board member of Ferma (the umbrella risk organisation in Europe).

The first keynote speech was delivered by Paul Stamsneijder, a public relations and communications specialist who has published several books on management and communication.

In his speech, he concentrated on the complexity of risk, reputation management and branding in the modern business world. He attempted to establish a “reputation risk-matrix”, with particular attention being given to the implications of social media. A variety of workshops followed this presentation.

On the second day, the keynote speaker was Stephan Fellinger, CEO of Blogomedia. He concentrated on the developments in marketing afforded by smart phones and social media.

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