"Communication is handling the intellect and the land"

Marc Drillech director ionis education group

After having chaired Publicis Dialog, Marc Drillech is the Managing Director of IONIS Education Group, 1st private higher education group in France with its 23 schools (ISEG Marketing & Communication, SUP'Internet, ISG, Epitech etc.). Why has this great com pro come back to school? A vision full of anecdotes that boosted the creativity and culture of the We Are COM team's brands!

Good morning Marc. After 25 years in advertising, 10 now in the management of IONIS Education Group, you have just published - with ISEG - Brand Success, a work which covers fifty recognized and deciphered campaigns. What is your definition of corporate communication today?

Everyone has an opinion on advertising because its mission is to challenge, to make us react, to bring about behavior. Conversely, the objective of corporate communication is to make unity. Everyone must agree. The problem is that theThe debate scares brands. So, the parade of corporate communication is to awaken the common denominator - and to silence the standard deviations. Result: we find ourselves in the softness of political correctness.
But we know very quickly what a company does, rarely what it is. In my opinion, the primary mission of corporate communication is to confirm the existence of the company : how is my brand useful? A human being does not need to justify his presence on Earth. The company must. To do this, communicators can go back to basics: the history of brands. Let's stop putting them in the present: we finish their past, we forget their successes, we erase their originality. Some have shown more than once their ability to revolutionize their times or to solve people's lives. Nutella is not only a jar of palm oil with a little chocolate to make children fat, it is above all a product designed to meet the challenges of post-war malnutrition. the Club Med It's not only " darladirladada», It is above all an idea of ​​the holidays when society becomes egalitarian again.
But how many brands realize that they owe part of their sales this year to their past? Companies should make more use of what they inherently are. Those which are only pale copies do not last over time. There is justice.

In this changing environment, what is the role of the advertiser?

Today, the vast majority of TV commercials have average (even mediocre!) Recognition scores. These costly investments are used more to occupy the land than to create a relationship between the Brand and its audiences. The more interesting phenomenon then is the capacity of the smallest players to make a difference. No one would have believed that theQueensland tourist office can generate 300 million dollars of press equivalent with its campaign " The best job in the world "!

The two lessons to be learned:

  1. There is no inevitability of means;
  2. There is probably more risk in not taking a risk than in taking it.

But taking risk is not a virtue in itself: it is only useful if it brings a gain. And the only one who can take a risk is theadvertiser. However, the advertiser is a human being, a professional who may be afraid of losing his job. So, he remains nicely in the middle. The problem is that thewe always forget those who are average! Let's take an example that goes against industry practices with a supplier of computer components who take the risk of making themselves known to the general public. This is the case withIntel which has achieved a unique positioning: to make us imagine that the presence of an electronic chip - which we never see - increases the performance of my computer much more than any other. This positioning of the surety was a real gamble. Do you doubt it? So, name a competitor? All have remained anonymous chips, interchangeable and sold cheaper ... In short, the competitors have remained average.

The conceptualization of a brand is an essential step that will guide the action of the company.

What is the biggest communication challenge: developing a “product” brand, a “service” brand, or even a corporate brand?

No mission is impossible on the condition that it is carried out to the end. look Darty and his " contract of trust "Or Leroy Merlin which helps " make your dreams come true ". The distributor goes beyond the products. He adds an ultra-conceptualized brand experience that encompasses pre-sales, in-store experience, product experience, after-sales services. We are in the magic triangle: service, experience, relationship (of the baseline going through the brand content up to sales training).
In pure corporate communication, there are also successes: the campaign " Don't mess with texas "Which explains to Texans that you should not throw your garbage out of the window on the highway ... The moralizing discourse did not work so it turned into" Bitch not your country! ". And it works: the American patriot wakes up and stops dumping his garbage. Public expenditure on cleaning has been divided by 10! It's here all the talent of the communicator: knowing your audience to deliver the right message. So beware of “desktop syndrome”: by remaining seated in front of your screen, you are where you should not be.

So is communication really learned on the school benches?

Communication is an approach in which certain steps should not be missed. It is a series of simple questions for which it is necessary to probe its brand and its audiences in depth. Apple is he just a product seller high-tech top of the line ? No, it is above all the obsession of a man wanting to put technology at the service of man. Is Lego just a stack of bits of plastic? No, it is the idea that in each child lies an incredible creativity. The conceptualization of a brand is an essential step that will guide the action of the company.
Beyond questioning themselves, the communicator needs a culture. You are never the first to ask yourself these questions. Since your predecessors did, it may be interesting to hear their answers. Are the recipes of yesterday's successes applicable today? How to inject solutions proven by other brands into your COM?
We can always renew, innovate, develop a brand. Coca-Cola had a problem with the seasonality of its sales: soda was not sold in winter. The brand is associated with the image of Santa Claus. But this was not enough to increase sales. So, she pre-empted the territory of the break by placing drinks machines all over the place and by communicating on the concept of " break ". And the break entered American culture. Ditto for the engagement ring: when does this tradition date? From the Middle Ages? False ! In 1947, the diamond merchant De Beers explains to young Americans that a diamond is forever and that it is unimaginable to get engaged without a diamond. What can we learn from these two examples? Going beyond the function of a product to position it as a lever for transforming society is an effective technique. You are part of a professional universe with its questions, codes and references. It can be learnt !

Communication is handling the intellect and the land

"Don't go into COM studies, it's blocked!" " hear communication students. What does the director of a communication school say?

Historically, the communication sector is experiencing constant growth in the number of jobs. These jobs are more and more qualified and are undergoing transformation: it is therefore important to ensure that you maintain your employability by training yourself throughout your career.
The first teaching that I give to my students is therefore tolearn to learn. And good news: obsolescence is not programmed for humans. Let's stay curious, let's take a look at everything that influences our audiences. A student asked me recently: " Ok sir, but are you looking at the Ch'tis against the Marseillais? ". My answer : " obviously! ". If I don't watch Cyril Hanouna, I cut myself off from more than 1 million French people who watch him every day. If it works, I have to figure out why. It takes time and courage to get out of your social environment and immerse yourself in that of our audiences.

You train communicators with both agency and advertiser profiles. How do you see these two worlds of the same profession?

The wall has fallen. Transfers are common between communication agencies and advertisers. Over time, we see a weakening of agencies with de more and more functions ofagency internalized by the advertiser (for reasons of cost, practicality, speed, knowledge of the company). It is thus more relevant than a community manager immersed in the culture of the advertiser to animate the latter's communities. COM decision-makers now often have initial training in COM and / or have also gone to an agency. I notice that the business models agencies are in transformation. Work in progress !

What are your questions as a recruiter?

I need to understand the personality that is in front of me. What is the last ad that you liked / disliked? What campaign would you have dreamed of doing? What newsletters do you receive? If I am told " I dunno »Is eliminatory: absence of curiosity, desire, interest. Ideas are nourished by knowledge, a body of culture and also… the zeitgeist.

What is a “good communicator” according to you?

Communication is handling the intellect and the earth, playing with emotions and speaking to reason. Concretely, this gives the case of Coca-Cola. The brand cultivates the marriage of oppositions: the global and the local, the timeless and the modern, the general public and the individual. It's complex because it believes in the intelligence of people.
If you are a simple technician, you will end up in the workshop cupboard. If you are a great theorist, you will end up in the laboratory cupboard. If you are both by being passionate, you will thrive in this profession!

3 things to know about Marc Drillech

> In 2013 he launched the site IONIS Brand Culture, he just published Brand Success in collaboration with ISEG (FYP Editions) which deciphers 50 remarkable case studies in communication and marketing, past and present. The 51st case would have been: Karl Lagerfeld and his yellow vest for road safety. "Let a fashion icon throw you" It's ugly but it can save lives"It's just brilliant."
> He graduated in sociology, "the breast of communication and not business schools".
> His LinkedIn account is a mess. To have !

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