Tentoo's PR strategy had an almost laser-like focus. The lesson: be a big fish in a small pond. Discover how your business can be seen as an expert by the most leading news program in the Netherlands.
Tentoo became known in the Netherlands as the first company to offer payrolling. It later evolved into a full-service HR company and was eventually acquired by Pay For People.
In 2016 there was a lot of controversy over the DBA law. This legislation - coming from former minister Asscher - was intended to combat sham self-employment. The legislature feared that an employee would be hired as a freelancer, allowing both employer and employee to benefit from tax advantages – at the expense of the government. Ultimately, the legislation never achieved its intended effect and has been replaced by other laws. But in 2016 it was a hot topic: there was much confusion about this legislation and numerous freelancers deregistered as entrepreneurs.
This situation presented an ideal starting point for the marketing and communication strategy of Tentoo, which offers payrolling. With payrolling, a company outsources the responsibility for its employer status to an external party (such as Tentoo) and the staff becomes employed by a payroll company. Payrolling seemed to be a logical alternative to being a freelancer at the time.
PR Strategy: Focus, Focus, Focus
Tentoo decided to focus heavily on PR in 2016. By distributing a press release every month on a fairly select number of themes, the company would become recognizable in the market and media. Those themes were predictable: entrepreneurship, freelancers, the DBA law, and the confusion surrounding this legislation.
By claiming a specific theme and regularly communicating about it, a brand becomes more recognizable. This creates a connotation: Tentoo is the expert in the field of payrolling, freelancing, and the DBA law. The fact that it is one of the market leaders in the field of payrolling also helps in this respect.
The PR Content Mix
To appear in the news regularly around this theme, a mix of various forms of content was compiled. Tentoo used the following types of PR content:
- Own data
As an industry leader, Tentoo's data provides insight into the overall freelancer market. The FD reports on the company's quarterly figures: "In the third quarter of 2016, according to payroll company Tentoo - which also focuses mainly on the freelancer - not only has the number of freelancers it provides services to increased by 36%, but the average number of hours that freelancers are deployed via Tentoo payroll has risen by 38% compared to the same quarter last year."
Many companies have a wealth of valuable information. Sharing and reporting on the increase in the number of freelancers may seem somewhat commercial, but it is anything but. It provides an impression of the developments in the market for freelancers. Particularly technology companies or platforms could get more out of their data. The Tentoo quarterly monitor often caused a lot of publicity in trade magazines and sometimes also in national press.
- Data from research
There is still much uncertainty about the model agreements that replaced the VAR on May 1. Nearly one in five clients indicates that they are less likely to hire freelancers when the VAR is replaced by the model contracts of the DBA law. This is evident from research by Tentoo, as reported by Baaz.nl.
By regularly surveying employers and employees, quantitative content is created that journalists find interesting. Research among employers provides content that is relevant for management and HR magazines. Surveys of a thousand Dutch people about their vision on entrepreneurship often attract attention in general media (such as AD or Telegraaf), but have also led to attention in a business newspaper like the FD.
- Soft news
Tentoo director Paul den Ronden was a guest on the radio program Zakendoen by BNR. The topics included the DBA law and the image of payrolling. Den Ronden said: "I also think it's not a good law."
Tentoo financially benefited from the DBA law. It made payrolling an attractive alternative to being a freelancer. By publicly criticizing the DBA law, the company takes a stance against a development from which it is financially benefiting. This creates soft news: the company expresses an original opinion and shares it, while it does not profit financially from it.
And then Nieuwsuur called
By regularly conducting research into the DBA law and taking a stand in the debate, Nieuwsuur saw the company as an expert in this field. Some context: Nieuwsuur is Champions League-level journalism. The current affairs program of the NPO has won De Tegel (a jury award for pioneering journalism) for years in a row and is known for the Teeven deal (the notorious and lost receipt). Not every medium conducts an investigation that results in a state secretary resigning. That such a program wants to hear your opinion indicates that you are seen as an expert.
"This year we see a 40 percent increase of freelancers who now work through a payroll company," payroll company Tentoo tells Nieuwsuur (and the NOS). In the TV segment, Den Ronden talks about the shortcomings of the DBA law: "As a company we mainly benefit from the new legislation. I am convinced that the growth in the number of payrollers will only continue. This is because the legislation is complicated, and the uncertainty will remain unclear for quite a while."
Let it be clear: we did not approach Nieuwsuur with a request for an interview with Tentoo. Nieuwsuur called Tentoo. Without me, as a PR consultant, knowing anything about it. Let this be the goal on the horizon: to be so recognizable that media approach you for your opinion.
How did Tentoo achieve this?
- Claim a specific theme
- Ensure that this theme fits the zeitgeist. For example, the DBA law was quite controversial
- Create different forms of content about this specific theme
- Ensure regularity in PR campaigns- The more often your organization is in the news, the greater the likelihood that your brand is seen as an expert.