"In France, there is an absence of brand culture"

Béatrice Mandine is Executive Director of Orange, in charge of Communication and the Brand. She is also a director of Entreprises & Médias and of the Union des Annonceurs (UDA). Adventurous, she is the first DirCOM to answer questions from We Are COM.


Hello Béatrice, welcome to We Are COM! Ready to share your convictions as a communicator?

With great pleasure ! I share with you the wish to promote the role of corporate communication, a complete scope of intervention in the service of the company's strategy.
Humbly and modestly, we are aware of our ability to create value and influence the leaders of the company. This influence is not personal or reserved for the communications director. It is built by the expertise of the teams, the relevance of the recommendations, the agility to make the link between the directions and the training capacity.

What is your definition of corporate communication?

In business, corporate communication is already defined in relation to managers: do they believe in communication? Depending on their response, the organization and day-to-day of corporate communication will take shape (until the presence or absence of DIRCOM in the company's COMEX).
Corporate culture also plays a role: some companies are natively aware of the value of influencing professions, others discover it during a crisis, for example. The Anglo-Saxon world offers another definition of communication, more backed up by marketing, even advertising. In Europe, and especially in France, there is a strong cleavage between the professions of influence and information - including digital today - and those of advertising. Today, we are more interested in the former when the 90s were dominated by "pub culture".

And the brand in all of this?

In France, there is a very weak brand culture. It is difficult to stay in the concept without immediately being tempted to look for the deliverable. Moreover, the brand is often reduced to its design, to its charter, to its visual identity. Even the large French agency networks often rely on their Anglo-Saxon subsidiaries for their branding expertise.

In a rapidly changing environment, can you give us a sketch of today's communicator?

I advocate professions of influence which require a state of mind, experience and network. A good communicator must be curious. Without this ability, you cannot understand the whole of a situation. Influencing professions also require a premise: the desire to convince. And convincing doesn't mean selling (personally, I don't know how to sell anything, except ideas)! And we must link this desire to the method: to argue and write. Two key skills, even (and even more) in the digital age. Finally, I am convinced that to do our job, you have to like to take risks. We fight every day to defend concepts, find budgets, get everyone on board,… And once we get there, everything rests on our shoulders and it has to work because everyone will have an opinion! This is the peculiarity of our job: everyone thinks they could communicate as well as we do. It's up to us to show, with pedagogy and professionalism, that it is a “real professional job”!

On the organizational side, what does a good direction of communication look like?

When it comes to communication, there is no religion, only convictions, all the same broken by experience 😉 Of course, I lean towards integrated communication. The main objective of communication is consistency, over time and with different audiences. And in the age of digital and immediacy, consistency is even more essential. This is obviously true of internal and external communication, which must work together. The whole company must share the same orientations to create cohesion, adhesion and credibility.

And where is digital going?

All over ! We behaved with the digital as with the international 20 years ago, that is to say by talking about it a lot but by compartmentalizing the expertise in specific services or directions. This organization goes against the goal of transforming the company! Digital skills must be distilled throughout the communications department. This is theoretically very convincing, but it is still operationally difficult to achieve because it forces you to work transversally, which is not yet completely natural for everyone.

And finally, tell us… What is your secret to becoming Dircom?

You have to want to. Want to take risks, to put yourself in danger, to convince, to fight against the sometimes excessive caution, to play at being afraid during a big event, ... You have to have a taste for adrenaline!



3 things to know about Béatrice Mandine

  • > Her first job was a journalist: she keeps the information virus (which she refuses to treat) and a great affection for the media
  • > She tweets and knows the value of digital: follow her on @BeaMandine for proof!
  • > She advocates humility and is a follower of post-rationalization: " if an operation is missed, we learn from it and we always fall back on our feet! »


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