"The mistake in COM is to have fun", Virginie de Barnier

Virginia Barnier
Virginie de Barnier, Marketing and Advertising Creation

Virginie de Barnier agreed to answer We Are COM's questions and we thank her. Why ?

Because, a psychologist by training and current director of theIAE Aix-Marseille, she gives us an original point of view on communication. Ready ?
We embark!

Hello Virginie and welcome to We Are COM! Before starting what is corporate communication?

For me the corporate communication focuses on the company as the object of communication. It is very important because it anchors the product in the values ​​of the company. There is real pride in “belonging” to a company or buying its products, hence the importance of corporate communication.

Today, how is it evolving in advertising creation?

It takes up more and more space, brands do not exist without companies. Before the advent of the internet, consumers may have had less knowledge of brands and companies. But today for the most part this is no longer the case. Corporate communication is closely linked to product communication.

In your opinion, does a brand have a personality?

Man naturally tends to anthropomorphize his world, to give life to objects that do not have any. Some talk to their car or their computer, they are even frequently insulted! This happens because they are given a personality and therefore a life. This phenomenon applies perfectly to brands, consumers see brands as people even if they are not fully aware of it.

If the brand has all the attributes of a Cannes star (a story, a character, expressions, etc.), what about the public (that famous “persona”)? Everything would be fictitious in COM?

I don't really agree with the term “fictitious”. I do not differentiate between what is real and what is perceived, for me the truth is only that of the consumer. The latter is convinced of specific facts about a brand and to change his mind, you have to hang on! I think a persona created from scratch can't work. It is essential to anchor oneself in the brand's DNA, in its history and its values. In the automobile industry, for example, German cars are regarded as reliable. It is a very strong belief among consumers. The Volkswagen affair shook customers because they had confidence in this brand. It was a real tidal wave because it shook their beliefs. We didn't expect that from them.

Can we have an affinity, even emotional relationship, with a brand / a sponsor?

100% agree. Some are in a romantic relationship with the brand, with feelings and disappointments. The point is that the brand has a very strong benchmark function with the consumer. We are in a world that no longer has meaning and the new gods for some are Coca-Cola or Chanel. The notion of benchmark allows me to say "where I am" but also "who I am". Through my brand choices I express the “ideal me”, the way I would like to be perceived. My mother always tells me “I don't buy any brand” but anti-brands make me laugh because they are also a target in marketing. Brands like "no name" or those with a sleek packaging are aimed at these people ...

Does communication have to be loved to be effective? Or only “the art of repetition” is enough for memorization?

There are 3 ways to be effective: repetition, affection and cognitive. Which is the most effective? It depends on the objectives! For example Carglass runs repeat campaigns which are working very well. They seek to be "Top of mind", that is to say that the moment I have an impact on my windshield, my reflex is to call them. In a somewhat stressful moment when we have to find a quick solution, we are in the reflex. With a bank, for example, we are not in this emergency situation… so repetition does not work.

It also depends on the objectives for the affective and cognitive pathways. The former is very effective and produces results quickly, but does not resist counter-persuasion. The cognitive path comes down to creating strong beliefs, I take longer to convince but I resist counter-persuasion. The ideal is to combine the two, an affective part with strong cognitive arguments that the target will retain.

We repeat over and over again that communication creates value. But what value are we talking about?

For me, we are talking above all about an attachment value. That is to say, we are ready to make efforts for a brand. The first effort is related to the money, I am prepared to pay more for this product. Then it is an effort of time, I will look for it in particular places, wait, etc. It is therefore a very strong attachment that generates efforts that the consumer will make without even realizing it.

When you say “attachment”, we mean “commitment”. So you who are a psychologist, what is engagement in the age of social networks?

Commitment goes hand in hand with value, except that it goes even further: you become a brand ambassador. We are ready to defend it without remuneration because it is part of us and characterizes us. All brand issues are linked to identity, what “who I am”, the search for the “ideal me” and what will help me achieve it. It could be a Hermès scarf, a Michael Kors watch or, on the contrary, a backpacker bag. In any case, the brand helps you to create that personality.

Before leaving us, what advice would you give to young communicators who read us and that we are at We Are COM? One or two pitfalls to avoid?

I would say that the trap that I see frequently and which should be avoided ... is to have fun! I'm not saying Carglass is good, but it works. And yes, so it is good communication! Their communications team doesn't necessarily have a blast, I can imagine. But if we are in a logic of having fun with a communication operation, we risk missing the point: changing the perception we have of a brand or a product by meeting the needs of its target. Although we are passionate (and fortunately!), We must get into the understanding of the advertiser and the target, even if it is very different from you, from us.

I also advise you to always stay curious. What makes a great campaign is link building that no one has done before. As soon as we create a link between two very different worlds, we create surprise. Isn't emotion the best medium for a communicator?

3 things to know about Virginie de Barnier

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