Michel et Augustin, Chief Executive Officer

Large-scale distribution can also be a source of inspiration on the communication side. Offbeat and stripping, the We Are COM team took an interest in Michel and Augustin's communication. Margaux Dauce, pastry chef and brand content manager, received us at Bananerais [transl: at the company headquarters] to share with us her experience and her convictions as a communicator. An interview that is 100% crazy and guaranteed to be free!

Hello Margaux! To begin with, a classic: what is your definition of corporate communication?

We don't use that jargon at all here. The objective is to share and bring to life in real time what is happening at the Bananeraie to all the gourmands and all the curious. We act as reporters who tell what is happening here on different channels. There is no border between external communication et internal communication for example. We are followed on social networks as much by troublemakers [editor's note: employees] as by our community of foodies. We love to show what happens in our daily life. This allows us internally not to miss any information. And that also plays on our team spirit.

How is the Michel et Augustin brand evolving?

We don't really have the notion of Brand. Our keyword is “Adventure”. The adventure evolves according to the troublemakers who join it and it evolves according to the people who animate it. Troublemakers or gourmands, everyone has their say and drives the adventure forward. Our desire is to share pastry know-how and our dream is to become the “brand” premium food unavoidable. Our dream: wherever an Evian bottle is sold, find a small Michel et Augustin square next to it.

We were the first to break the codes of mass distribution.

What are the links today with the founders Michel and Augustin?

Augustin and Michel are still at the Bananeraie. We meet them, see each other in a meeting, write each other on WhatsApp. We are really in the exchange because they are still contributors to a lot of new things in our adventure and are present on a daily basis. For example Augustin often takes control of Facebook and responds to the community. It is fairly representative of our day-to-day operations. There is spontaneity (Augustine's interventions for example) and there is also something organized. Of course, we establish a Communication roadmap with key highlights but we leave a lot of room for opportunities and spontaneous projects. For example, in March 2018, we wanted to write a book on chocolate cake. In June, the manuscript was with the publisher. In September, the book was in bookstores. If we want to do it, we go into project mode and let's go to continue the adventure!

Reporter, snapper, tribal feather… how do you become Michel and Augustin's super communicator? Should we be as passionate about cookies as we are about communication?

I got there thanks to the opportunities I took in flight. I arrived in 2015 on an end-of-study internship as a neighborhood baker [editor's note: customer relations manager]. There was an opportunity on this post to content. I gave myself the means to get there, to get out of my comfort zone. It was a real challenge and at the same time I knew that I was going to be able to find new challenges here. For example, it is true that I am quite exposed on videos, during events, with journalists, etc.
I find that one of our strengths here is that we have the opportunity to radically change jobs because there are some pretty crazy bridges. We are encouraged to be intrapreneur. We are all - even the interns - very empowered. Everyone contributes to the adventure and can contribute their ideas and desires.

What was your biggest challenge here?

I found myself as a project manager for the key event of the year: “ The 3 days to start a business »Where we invite 250 students to come and discover the taste of entrepreneurship, surpassing oneself, daring, passion. We present them our adventure, our operating methods and we take them to the field in contact with consumers. They are all in a team. It is a very intense immersion and paid. At the same time, they have challenges to overcome and can win a trip to New York with their team. For us, it's almost a team building We are so invested in this project (as team leader, mystery shopper, juror, etc.). We designed the project from A to Z, imagined the program, called on speakers such as pastry chef Philippe Conticcini or Thierry Cotillard - boss of Intermarché, set up the stage space and animated the event. A beautiful moment, to show these students that the impossible is possible and pass on our values ​​to them.

What are your next big key events?

Our desire is to develop “The 3 days for entrepreneurship” during the next edition in 2019. It is an event that must become an identity for Michel and Augustin. Students have always been our favorites. Besides, we spend a lot of time all year round with them. Our neighborhood baker holds a conference call every Wednesday evening to respond live to all student requests. We have lots of ideas in mind for the next edition. All this will perhaps give birth to another mega-inspiring event with pitches on daring, concerts ... with 10.000 participants 🙂

Voted 3rd preferred company by young business school graduates in the Universum ranking, is your proximity to students the ingredient of this success?

We are very proud of it. It is certain that our proximity to students plays a role in the ranking. Our desire for transparency on a daily basis as well, as well as the values ​​that we embody. I remember, we were so surprised last year to enter this classification and arrive directly in 5th place, that we wanted to celebrate. We had to mark the occasion: have a big party, thank our community, invite the Top 10 companies and offer a huge endowment. All the companies played the game with us!

By the way, have you become a pastry chef ?!

Yes ! I passed my CAP Pastry chef in 2016. And it serves me daily for the animation of social networks. We are regularly contacted on this topic. As we like to share everything we experience, we have created online course to summarize the concepts of pastry to master: how to make your lemon meringue pie? How to make croissant dough? At the same time, we compiled the recipes and that resulted in a book that allows us to reach even more people. We also created our After-sales service »: we help amateur pastry chefs in difficulty behind their stoves by answering them by email and telephone!

Two good pastry chefs, a well-mixed storytelling, a tablespoon of connivance and a hint of daring… Is that the secret of Michel and Augustin's communication?

Michel and Augustin I think it is a smiling, simple and spontaneous tone. We were the first to break the codes of mass distribution, to regive color to food shopping. In my opinion, our strength is that the overall promise is coherent. From our recipes, to our communication, to the experiences we offer, we remain true to ourselves: let down.
The recipes are delicious, with simple, quality ingredients. the the packaging is colorful, talkative. We are authentic on a daily basis: we are jovial and want to share. We don't cheat and the community has a say. They are frequently solicited on social networks or during open house at the Bananeraie, where all gourmets can come and test the new recipes we are working on to give their opinion. We are sometimes told that we are an inspiration to others, and that's good. It challenges us. It's when everything is going well that you have to reinvent yourself!

What are your relations with Danone communicators, who have become a shareholder?

We are supported by Danone Manifesto Venture whose objective is to grow the nuggets he spots. It does not change anything on the communication side and it does not change anything at all. Thereby we remain independent and in charge. On the other hand, we do sometimes take advantage of connections with other brands or entities (YouTube for example) and help us in our deployment in the USA.

How is the adaptation of your conniving communication going abroad?

Duplicating that doesn't work and we've seen it in the United States. We are in the process of adapting all of our communication. The discourse must be reviewed but the fundamentals are working. Open houses are as successful there as they are here. We duplicate the pastry courses. And we add a new ingredient: french touch.

And finally, tell us what are the qualities of a good Communication Manager in your opinion?

1⃣ Make before doing, be a real Swiss Army knife and want to share his passion. 2⃣ We also try to stir our imagination before our wallet. We are trying to make an impression without breaking the bank. We avoid taking the classic route, the easy solution. So you have to be smart, clever and a tester. Hence our significant use of social networks! And the icing on the cake: 3⃣ dare to do what others dare not do. Never give up your daring and your convictions.

3 things to know about Margaux:

  • > She is a fan of Intermarché advertising spots and cannot resist this young man ready to cook to be noticed by a young employee of the store.
  • > She walked on hot coals with Tony Robbins, personal development coach, and recommends that we read “ The business of happiness"...
  • > She hides Beaufort shortbread cookies in her drawer. Hush!
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