TW Steel (The Watch In Steel) Global Marketing Director Auke Possel loves basketball and follows the National Basketball Association (NBA) enthusiastically, just like the millions of international fans of the game.
Possel used to be a fan of the Utah Jazz during the heydays of John Stockton and Karl Malone. These days, his allegiance is with the offensive juggernaut-that is the Los Angeles Clippers, led by Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
Possel claims that he is not a bandwagon fan. He has stuck it out with the Clippers even during the years when it was losing games lopsidedly on a regular basis.
One thing common with both NBA teams is the pick-and-roll play of its starting point guard and power forward, and how it is being executed with precision and grace.
Standing at 6’5Â³ and having the body to bang with the big boys inside the paint, Possel said he plays power forward during basketball pickup games.
Precision, grace and toughness-outside of being stylishly oversized, those are the three character traits that can possibly best describe TW Steel’s design and build.
Possel’s imprint is all over them and in the way the TW Steel brand has grown into the collective consciousness of the public.
Driven to succeed
Having a successful nine-year international career, Possel returned to his native country the Netherlands in 2012.
I wanted to do something for my country and, at the same time, I wanted to work for a strong brand, Possel said. After landing the job in TW Steel, Possel discussed with the company’s founders, Jordy and Ton Cobelens, his vision for the brand.
Being one of the top graduates from Bournemouth University, Possel developed during his stay in the university what he termed as the Possel Pyramid, a model for brand communication from a cultural perspective.
It was the model which gave Possel the Barclay Award for Best Marketing Communications Dissertation, and the same model he has applied and continues to use in conveying the TW Steel message to the public.
He set up a brand guideline that takes into consideration the different cultures in the countries where they are present or are planning to expand.
We wanted to be positioned globally, but with local execution. The regions have the freedom in explaining but, at the same time, our brand philosophy should not be touched, Possel said.
During his current three-year stint with TW Steel, Possel has seen their presence expand to 120 countries, including eight countries in Asia. He said they are not even close to stopping their expansion.
Possel said the Philippines is one of their biggest market, along with Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.
We also see a lot of potential in Japan and South Korea, and we have yet to establish operations in Russia, Possel added.
Toward all the success he has achieved, Possel said the key to it all is learning not to micromanage and the ability to say no.
I give freedom to the people we work with. I want to empower them. A good example is the Philippines, where they are doing everything there properly, Possel said.
Undeniably, Possel has strengthened the TW Steel brand on the global stage as a big, bold, lifestyle brand.
TW Steel recently celebrated its 10th anniversary of developing and leading the oversized watch market.
The Asia and Middle East adventure
After leaving college with a degree in communication management, Possel was dead set on landing a job in Asia.
It was a decision borne out of his visit to the region as a student. Possel was a tourist in Asia multiple times, including trips to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.
I went to Thailand with a job waiting for me, Possel said. He, however, added that he sent more than 100 application letters to companies in the region.
His first work was with a company that exported bicycles to Burma, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam.
The weather, food and the people are what I liked in Thailand. I also learned the language when I was there, Possel said.
After three years in Thailand, Possel decided that he wanted to go home to the Netherlands. But with a flight stopover in Dubai, Possel opted to stay in the city to find a job even without a work visa.
He immediately found a job as the sales and marketing head of a company that provided high-end transportation, including private jets, limousines and an assortment of bulletproof vehicles.
I liked the work there. The salary was good. But on the social level, something was missing, Possel said.
It was the time he grew fonder of Filipinos, whom he described as the most sociable among the many nationalities living in the Middle East.
His love of the Philippines
Possel first visited the Philippines in 2000, when he was just 20 years old. Since then, he has returned to the country on multiple occasions.
I first came to the Philippines with friends. We were backpackers and visited Manila, Pangasinan, Baguio, Bohol, Tagaytay and Cebu, Possel said.
Some of his most memorable experiences in the country during his initial visits were the trip to the Hundred Islands and watching a Philippine Basketball Association game at the Araneta Coliseum.
Possel also said he has vivid memories of Ermita and the San Miguel area in Manila near the MalacaAan Palace.
But one of the adventures he will always remember was the time he and his friends picked a random building along Ayala Avenue, sneaked inside, went to the helipad and got locked inside.
I do not even remember which building it was, but we had to call the building’s security to get us out, Possel said.
Possel claims that he has tasted a wide range of Filipino food and drinks, from balut to dinuguan, and all the way to lambanog.
Today, Possel travels to the Philippines at least twice a year to oversee the TW Steel brand in the country. Possel is the global marketing director for the brand and, judging by the results, he has been performing beyond and above expectations.