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Across national borders in search of identity for North Sea port area

In a complex international multistakeholder context, we found shared agreement on a clear and forward-looking face for North Sea Port District.


North Sea Port District (Ghent, Evergem, Zelzate, Terneuzen, Borsele and Vlissingen and the provinces of East Flanders and Zeeland)

Multi-stakeholder management
Strategic positioning
Communication strategy

Putting the port district on the map

The North Sea Port District (NSPD) is an ambitious partnership between Belgian and Dutch municipalities and provinces around the North Sea Port. Together, they aim to join forces around climate neutrality and liveability. But how can this area be put on the map better so that it achieves its goals faster?

To the heart of the matter

Spatial challenges are always complex multi-stakeholder projects. Shaved Monkey, together with its project partner Architecture Workroom Brussels, therefore first went to the heart of the matter. In an in-depth session with the client, we looked for what mattered to the people involved and the concrete impact we wanted to achieve together. Sharing this clearly with each other, created an anchor point throughout the entire process.

Clear brand and story

The elements defined in the first phase formed the raw material for the next. In this stage, over several sessions, we grew towards agreement on the identity of NSPD. That was no mean feat, given the large number of stakeholders (more than 20 officials and administrators from six municipalities) and the not inconsiderable cultural differences between Belgium and the Netherlands. Nevertheless, together we arrived at a clear definition of the partnership that did justice to the region’s past and its complementarity. Moreover, we succeeded in developing a clear brand with an inspiring story for the outside world, to be implemented by a wide range of partners.

Accessible and effective communication

The final phase was implementation. How could we communicate effectively and coherently with the many residents and other stakeholders inside and outside the region? We applied the story to press releases, campaign concepts and a high-level communication strategy. These are all concrete expressions that communicate the story simply and effectively and can be easily handled by diverse partners.

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