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Kirkman Company: ‘How can our departments position themselves better?’


A department within an organization functions at its best when it has a clear vision of its own internal role and offers a clear proposition to external stakeholders. The better you communicate what you represent as a department, the more successfully you operate. It helps to win over customers during a customer or acquisition interview, without falling into the trap of listing all the services and skills your department has to offer.

Kirkman Company helps organizations to become more relevant for all stakeholders: customers, employees, partners, environment, and shareholders. They do this with a team of 80 passionate professionals and a network of clients, encouraging them to learn from one another. Kirkman Company asked Linden & Barbosa to refocus and clarify the positioning of two departments that have seen substantial growth in recent years.

First, we analysed the needs of the company by personally speaking to various consultants and practice leads. We noticed that the company was using their ‘Why, How, What’ interchangeably and that each department had different USPs. Based on this input, we developed a working method to provide a ‘live’ experience of that need for change.

We put together a working group for each department and planned joint sessions. However, a radio reporter ‘broke in’ during the sessions to hold some surprise interviews, with quick-fire questions such as ‘What do you embody?’ ‘Why are you different from others?’ ‘How would you explain to my 65-year-old mother what your work involves?’ When answering the questions, we noticed that we were dealing with experts. They jumped right into the content without telling us about the department's bigger story. And it is precisely this story that makes people form the right image of who you are and what you do. Having gained some extra motivation, we set to work together to clearly define the positioning of the departments. We made choices in terms of USPs and internal auditing. At the end of the sessions, we had created a solid story for each department.

Jona ter Meulen, who takes care of marketing, communication, and PR at Kirkman Company, had this to say: ‘We really liked working with Linden & Barbosa. The company's approach and the sessions have really refocused our minds on the importance of your own story, which you're consistently communicating to the world. The results have given us some direction and are at the heart of our new website and content strategy.’

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