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Working together 6000 km apart with HBN Law & Tax

You’re in a hurry to launch your new brand name. You’re tempted to send it out into the ether right away. But you have to realize that creating a brand takes more than a new name, a new logo, a new corporate style and a new website. New Story was flown in to speed up the rebranding of former KPMG Meijburg & Co Caribbean to Dutch Caribbean Tax & Legal. Our promise: one week to find out what your brand stands for and how to put it in the spotlight. We ended up needing two weeks, because we got to return half a year later when DC Tax & Legal merged with the oldest and largest law firm in the region: HBN Law.

Why there was such a rush

Curaçao was historically seen as a tax haven. This is why it hosts many large financial consultancy firms. Think of Grant Thornton, EY, KPMG, Deloitte, Baker Tilly and BDO. Changed (international) laws and regulations led to a consolidation battle among financial consultancy firms. That’s why KPMG took the strategic decision to pull out and transfer almost all its interests to EY Caribbean. Local tax specialists and associates of KPMG Meijburg & Co Caribbean didn’t want to join under any circumstances.

From hero to zero

The partners decided to move forward on their own as DC Tax & Legal (DCTL). Quite a challenge, because in terms of name recognition you instantly go from hero to zero. And unknown makes unloved. If you’re looking for quality in the world of tax advice, KPMG Meijburg has to be the Rolls Royce of consultants. But no one has ever heard of DCTL. Time for marketing, but where to begin? With positioning. And positioning starts with soul searching. In the words of Diahanna Lue of DCTL:


"To some extent, positioning appeared to be a matter of the heart"

- Diahanna Lue van DCTL


The power of mapping

Positioning has to come at the right time. Perhaps more importantly: it has to be carried by your team. Only if everyone knows which direction you want to take – and supports it – can you unlock the true power and potential of your organization. Through our mapping method, New Story involves all relevant stakeholders in the development of a brand. We take the broad strategic issue and break it up in manageable workshops. The findings are translated into posters. This is how we create insight and overview for everyone involved.

Everyone’s insight counts

New Story may have been the first in the Netherlands to start mapping. Through trial and error we’ve learned and optimized a lot. We know which expectations we create and how to manage them. We know which conversation techniques to use in various group dynamics. And – very importantly – we’ve learned what is needed to achieve optimal participation and get insights. All our workshops are stripped of complicated jargon as much as possible. Not only the marketeer, but any person should easily manage to contribute at the table. New Story’s process shines in its simplicity. It lets us switch on organizations within one week.

Back to the table

After one week the new organization DCTL – and New Story too – were ready to place the brand in the market. The brakes were still put on, because a strategic merger seemed at hand. The largest, oldest and iconic law firm of the region – HBN Law – proposed to unite both companies. The full-service office offered everything except tax law advice. In the term sheet, DCTL included that HBN Law should go through the same workshops with New Story. They saw it as a Cultural Due Diligence. You might go together on paper, but do you see the same spot on the horizon? And do you want to reach it in the same way?

Is it all up and running again in Curaçao?

We’ll admit that we travelled to the island for the second time with a bit of healthy tension. We arrived on Saturday evening. Monday morning we had to get to work. We were, of course, worried about the time difference. We were also quite impressed with the exceptionally distant portraits of the HBN partners on the website. The knowledge that they had already worn out three agencies in previous positioning attempts didn’t help either. With a one week program, there was no margin for error: ‘We’ll just come back on Monday’ wasn’t an option.

Adrenaline made up for the time difference when we walked into the boardroom. There we were, face to face with the team we only knew from pictures. We noticed right away that they actually also had no idea with whom they were sitting at the table. We wonder if this became clear after the introduction presentation. But it was immediately obvious that everyone was motivated and excited. We know from experience: if you want to work things out together, it works.

Our program

  1. Explore map
    Breadth and depth analysis of the market, the organization and the competition.

  2. Persona map
    Analysis of goals, motivation and obstacles of potential clients and employees.

  3. Positioning map
    What’s the purpose of the organization? The central promise? What are the most important characteristics and how are these reflected in the breadth of the service?

  4. Story map
    The brand story that creates an emotional connection between developments in the market, the drive of the organization and the products it supplies.

  5. Site map
    How do we make the brand and services visible on the new website? How do we disclose information and with which techniques?

  6. Logo & Style map
    What’s going to be the new look and feel of the new organization?

Mission accomplished

Based on all the insights, we’ve brought the two brands together into one. We decided to make use of the HBN Law heritage and eventually only added ‘& Tax’. But the rest has been rearranged completely. We managed to create a totally different brand within 30 days. We developed all the tools the brand needed to go public. Website, MS Office templates and a full blown marketing campaign included. Salient detail: we developed everything in utmost secrecy. The team of almost 100 employees in both organizations was only informed the day before going live. We included them in the considerations with a Presentation Zen and won them over.



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Ready for more

New Story wants to be the best place to grow. We believe that fun work is a condition for delivering good work. That’s the main reason why we were happy to take on this challenge. An occasional workcation in Curaçao is something to look forward to and to look back on with great pleasure.

Want to know more?

Please contact Steven de Bruijne
+31 6 48072396