Anne-Gabrielle Dauba-Pantanacce was Director of Communication and spokesperson for Google in France. What are the challenges when managing a brand that has become obvious? Do we necessarily have to do the “com corpo” or let our products speak for themselves? Anne-Gabrielle shared with the We Are COM team her career and the challenges of the N ° 1 of search engines.
Editor's note: Anne-Gabrielle Dauba-Pantanacce left Google France in July 2019.
Hello Anne-Gabrielle, thank you for playing the interview game with We Are COM! To start, we would like to know more about you… How did you become Dircom at Google?
I have always been passionate about journalism and communication, especially public communication. I aspired to communicate on subjects which have a real impact on the life of the City. After studying Law, then at IFP (Institut Français de Presse) and CELSA, this taste for “general interest” communication naturally led me to the public sector, notably with experience at the European Commission and then at Atomic Energy Commission and finally to the cabinet of the Ministry of Industry. Exciting experiences to discover innovations, expertise and industrial changes in our country. These jobs had two points in common: teaching on fairly technical subjects and managing crisis communications. Two areas of expertise that are of great use to me today!
In any path there are bends. Since I didn't want to be labeled an exclusively “public communicator”, I looked for experience in the “private sector”. Quite simply after responding to an offer on the CELSA site, I joined the Google teams in January 2007. At the time, Google was still a UFO for the French.
For those who are passionate about the life of the City, it's a bit like the “big gap”, isn't it?
Quite the contrary! I immediately realized that it was possible to work for a private American company while having a positive impact on the life of the City. It is exciting to participate in this new industrial revolution that is the Internet. It is the emergence of new economic opportunities, of changes in society and even in civilization. The Internet changes everything. Because it upsets the balance, it generates political issues such as the management of personal data, freedom of expression, changes in the relationship at work, access to culture, etc. So many debates which are at the heart of the City.
And on a daily basis, what is the role of the communications department at Google?
This is to take up Google's fascinating challenge: to support France in its digital revolution. The role of communication is to explain what role Google plays in France in this transformation. At the same time, we must explain to our American parent company what Europe is, what France is in order to best adapt our solutions and our communications.
On a daily basis, we work on 3 pillars that illustrate Google's contribution: the economic pillar, the societal pillar, and finally the cultural pillar. Our Twitter account " Google in France »Is thus both the relay of the formidable innovations linked to digital technology which are born in France and the reflection of Google's initiatives in France on its 3 pillars.
As such, for the 10th anniversary of Google in France, you launched the campaign " Engine of success Which explains the usefulness of your "mega start-up". But we ask ourselves: when you are an arch-leader, do you really still need to prove your usefulness? Isn't the obvious enough for you?
A brand can be known and misunderstood. We started from the following observation: Google had been present in France for 10 years, its service was no longer to present but its mission was not understood.
- The 4th Google office around the world with 700 employees
- A cutting-edge Research & Development center (this is where research trends on Youtube and Cardboard have been developed)
- A Cultural Institute unique in the world
- Premises reinvented in Paris, in what was the former headquarters of the "Compagnie du chemin de fer de Paris à Orléans" (symbol of a completely different economic revolution in the past century)
At the same time, we observed that a certain number of decision-makers and influencers had / have a contrasting relationship with the digital revolution in France. A mixture of anxiety, mistrust and at the same time they finally convinced themselves that they had to go! At Google, we are convinced that this revolution is an extraordinary opportunity for France in which we have 1 role to play among so many other players.
Thus "Engine of success", it is a multichannel campaign which aims to share our optimism - yes, the web is an opportunity for France! - and to prove - via a proof speech - the role of Google in supporting the French.
While this campaign is Google's very first foray into corporate communication, it is not self-centered media coverage. It celebrates the successes of French entrepreneurs thanks to the internet in general, and to the use of solutions made available by Google in particular. Beyond a campaign already "360" visible in print (PQR, PQN, magazine press), web and poster, "Engine of success" is a "movement" carried by a platform for a national call for projects and events everywhere in France.
Everywhere in France… and even in the Petit Robert! “Googliser” entered the famous dictionary in 2014. Once a brand becomes a verb, does it not escape its company, “its” communicators?
For a brand, it is proof of a good integration into the daily life of the French. However, in this case, the communicator must ensure the right balance and carry a “unified” brand message. Google is one of the favorite brands of the French. Our brand carries the attributes of simplicity and innovation. This contributes to our notoriety, and to our influence. But we are on functional attributes, absolutely not emotional. This can generate a form of distance, an imbalance. So we make sure to reaffirm Google's commitments in France, to display the values and commitments of the company (CSR, corporate culture, etc.) in order to reconcile these two facets which constitute the “Google” brand. .
On the emotional side, there is a great “employer brand”. In attractiveness studies, Google is also always in the top. One hollywood movie even drive the point home! How do you manage this “HR” communication?
I am going to surprise you: at Google there is no specific communication program linked to the “employer brand”. Our best asset for attracting talent is our corporate culture, which we carefully preserve. While we are no longer a start-up, we do not want to lose "this startup spirit" to remain agile, keep our freshness, innovate, dare, meet ... Concretely, it is to animate the "internal debate" and manage differently. The essential is ultimately our trademark!
Created in 2015, the Alphabet holding company - now Google's parent company - helps clarify the activities of each branch of the Group and maintain the spirit of innovation.
Alphabet thus hosts structures working on the “bets” of tomorrow such as the driverless car, the Internet of Things, medical research, etc. without disturbing the understanding of the mission of its search engine: Google makes information accessible to everyone easily and quickly.
Overall, what is the place of the “Communication” function in the Google organization?
Communication is a highly valued function at Google. Thus, I do not report to the CEO of Google France but directly to the VP Communication and Public Affairs EMEA. Thanks to this very tight decision line, we can be faster and prioritize the points of view - sometimes opposing - of the different departments to favor the company as a whole. Here, communication has an expert role that I would say “above the parties but always at the service of the company”. We are real business partners. All speeches go through us with the central idea of the consistency of our positions and their expressions. In short, we are the " chief consistency officer »With a unifying role to connect all of the company's units around a coherent message, which works both globally and locally.
You know us… we are curious at We Are COM! What does the Google COM team look like?
It's a small team, but a team made up of fighter planes! We are 5 multi-faceted communicators: BtoB, BtoC, corporate communication, crisis communication… As in an editorial office, we are organized by theme in order to best respond to the various requests of influencers (journalists and bloggers). Rest assured, we are not alone since we are working with TBWA on corporate communication and Ogilvy for BtoB and BtoC campaigns. You know everything !
3 things to know about Anne-Gabrielle Dauba-Pantanacce
> She was elected Communicating Personality of the Year 2015 by the professional association "Communication & Entreprise"
> His secret to becoming DirCom at Google: "Having a state of mind, curiosity, tenacity, a strong ability to adapt AND conversely, especially not having too much ego!" "