Captivated by the magic of words

Let’s start with the summary

What I do:

I’m a strategist, with a specialization in influencing and changing behaviour. I’m particularly focused on positioning an ideology, influencing opinions/attitudes, implementing intentions or initiating specific behaviour. Students know me best for setting ambitious, but measurable goals.

For this, I use my skills as a social psychologist (major source of inspiration: Peter Gollwitzer) and the professional experience I have built up in the past 25 years.


Since 2008 I spend most of my time on the implementation of Circular Economy (CE). One of my personal subgoals thereby is to build out the social/cultural part of the paradigm.

I give lectures and workshops on Circular Economy (these days I’ve set a maximum of 40 per year, of which a maximum of 8 (20%) on a non-profit base).

I’m also one of the renowned scientists that have been invited by ‘Groene Zaak’ to contribute to the ‘Groene Brein’, where I’ve worked with VolkerWessels on including ‘quality of life’ in their corporate strategy, and with Koeleman Plants on creating a circular orchid.

How it all started: the young strategist

In late 1994, during my studies Social Psychology and Communication Sciences, I put the first steps in the world of advertising. The formation of (then) Letterlijk & Figuurlijk (which means: Literally & Figuratively) was a fact. A small but successful advertising agency, raised with Rinze van Brug: the sales records of some customers made it into newspaper headlines. In this same year, the first book was published: “Kijkwerk Aktief” (an art book for young students).

LEF Letterlijk & Figuurlijk
(LeF, my first company between 1994 and 2000.)

The advertising world: strategy, concept and copywriting

With the completion of my thesis research (about implementing intentions – occasionally coached by Ap Dijksterhuis) in sight I had a choice to make: continue as an entrepreneur, as a PhD (specialize further in collaboration with Prof. Karsten Renckstorf) … Or focus on working for larger clients than I could ever realize with my own little agency at that time: I signed a contract with Vaz Dias Advertising.

This was my chance to create campaigns for f.e. IKEA and Yamaha, but most of all: to develop my skills in a broad sense. My creative director Bart-Jan Horrée and copy director Hajo Francken gave me all the space and guidance I needed. This led, amongst other things, to walking the red carpet at the advertising festival in Cannes and a starring role in a documentary about young advertising talent. We even published a book: “Vaz Dias Kerstomnibus”.

The ‘big’ work: top agencies and awards

After three years I received an irresistible offer from TBWA, at that time the largest agency in the Netherlands, led by Jenny Elissen, to work “through the line” for a.o. Telfort, Postbank, Novib and Freeler.

This was a time of Really Hard Work and winning more awards, including a silver Esprix and FEDMA ‘best of Europe’ for the introduction of Freeler.

L&F (LeF) disappeared more and more into the background until in 2000 it was lovingly taken over by Michelle Burer, who renamed it into the current L.E.F.

online strateeg in leiden
(Picture by Mariëlle Verhoef.)

A temporary focus on online strategy

In 2002 it was time to say goodbye to the traditional advertising world: developments in the online field were screaming for my attention. And I could only devote time to that if I was self-sufficient.

Between 2002 and 2008, when there were hardly any specialists in the area of online strategy, I have worked on websites for clients like ABN (MoneYou, MNF, Florius), Rabobank (Moviq), VBO (Woonwijzer) and NVM (Funda Inside Wonen).

Meanwhile, in my opinion, online communication has grown into an adult profession.

Although I’ve gained a lot of insights in the online world, for me this is nothing more (and nothing less) than a tool for communication. Communication, aimed at achieving goals.

In this time frame, also two other books were published

2008: The deep dive into Circular Economy

From 2008-2016 I have worked as strategic advisor for a.o. prof. dr. Michael Braungart. Since then I have contributed to various projects implementing Circular Economy in companies and governments. In 2011 I was asked to bring my professional experience and expertise to Erasmus University.

Always the same base: influencing and changing behaviour, implementing intentions

The common thread in my work is effective, targeted implementation strategy, not “Internet” or “mobile application”, not even marketing. For some goals, you need other resources. Like a one-to-one conversation with a CEO, or a casual lunch with some board members.

At the beginning of my career, I mainly used my skills for marketing strategies and later online strategies; very concrete and with measurable results.

The core of my work is and remains the same throughout the years:

Setting goals and putting people into motion.

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