What is the daily life of press officers in the digital age? How are “Press Relations” going digital? In partnership with Wiztopic, innovative software designed for corporate and financial communication professionals, the We Are COM team met Anthime Caprioli - Press Relations and Public Relations manager of Schneider Electric. An interview full of energy 🙂
Hello Anthime! To begin with, a classic: what is your definition of corporate communication?
Oops, I didn't revise… In my opinion, this is a “core” activity for the company. It allows him to make his strategy understandable to everyone. In a changing world, we can no longer do without institutional communication: it transforms the business strategy into a communication message and re-contextualizes it at each epiphenomenon to keep the strategic course. This is the daily challenge for communicators in large organizations!
To be honest with you… we don't know Schneider Electric very well. Can you enlighten us?
Schneider Electric is not the most well-known French company to the general public. However, it is listed on the CAC 40, achieved 24,7 billion turnover in 2017, employs more than 140 people in a hundred countries to meet one of the great challenges of our time, how to do more while consuming less of energy.
Over the past ten years, our Group has radically transformed : it tripled its turnover and doubled the number of employees thanks to strong organic growth and more than 140 acquisitions around the world. Beyond this development and this internationalization of the fastest, our business model has also evolved in depth. Historically positioned in intermediated markets, we now also work directly with end customers.
Today a leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, our solutions respond to an environmental challenge: the energy transition. In short, we help our customers reduce their energy bills. We support them in the concrete implementation of a low-carbon strategy to control and reduce their energy consumption.
Public Relations takes on its full meaning: connecting stakeholders to each other.
And in this big picture, what are the major challenges for Schneider Electric communicators?
We must unite the Group's employees - coming from very different backgrounds - by writing with them a new chapter in our history, explaining our change in business model, showing our ability to support the energy transition and the shift to an economy that consumes less energy. 'energy.
Public opinion is increasingly aware of these issues and is seizing them. If we are more audible than before, our jobs remain complex because they come from engineering and industry. We must develop a simple discourse to make Schneider Electric's solutions visible; without falling into the obvious banalities or empty messages that will bring nothing new to our audiences such as journalists.
Schneider Electric's “Press Relations” community is made up of 6 employees at the Group Press Service in Paris at the Global level and at the Local level of approximately 50 correspondents spread over the different geographical areas. They have varied profiles and are not all devoted full-time to press relations – some 20% of their time and others 100%. This depends on the country context: press activity is significant in the United States and China, and much less in other countries.
What do you think are the challenges of Press Relations?
The sector of communication has taken the full brunt of digital : the advertising cards were quickly redistributed between the historical players and the new entrants, the customer relationship was transformed establishing a new relationship, internal communication completely turned upside down, etc. The only citadel unreachable by these upheavals has long been Press Relations. This is no longer the case because digital technology is exploding silos and imposing total decompartmentalization. The challenge for our profession is therefore to have a more integrated vision.
In this open world while interacting, the American term PR, Public Relations (relations with the public), takes on its full meaning. It is connect stakeholders to each other. We must therefore think with others, work with the businesses, anticipate the route of information dissemination from one channel to another - knowing that all channels do not belong to the advertiser - to arrive ultimately to the final target.
We are at a turning point in the history of our profession. Digital does not kill it, it accelerates it. The basics remain: fortunately there will always be journalists and influencers, there will always be interpersonal relationships, there will always be press releases to write in different formats. Digital is just a way to do more, better, differently. It is a tool at our service. And as the saying goes there are no bad tools, there are only bad craftsmen » ; it's up to us to invent the way we want to use digital intelligently.
Digital technology frees us from low added value tasks.
You are exemplary in the digitalization of PR. How did you do it?
To fully support the company's strategic challenges, our central question was: how to bring together and align the knowledge of Schneider Electric press correspondents in the simplest and most efficient way? Two solutions were available to us, either in a fairly classic way, by formalizing numerous processes and reports, often poorly understood and always complicated to use, or by asking ourselves what opportunities digital offered to rethink needs and experience. . Since 2015, we have made a firm commitment to the digital transformation of our business. We forced ourselves to re-imagine our role and how to play it. This is how by relying on Wiztopic, we have created a digital space for mediation, training and support for our internal community, with deeply transformed relationships. The pace of exchanges has accelerated, behavior has changed towards more collaborative. Our interactions are no longer just top-down but also bottom-up and transverse. Exemplary local initiatives are valued in the community and can be sources of inspiration or fully replicated in other geographic areas. These new collaborative practices appeared very quickly after the deployment of the Wiztopic solution.
We are now entering a new stage in our digitalization: like the transformation of internal relationships, we want to transform our relationships with our external audiences. Here too, we are working with Wiztopic to have an integrated management tool for our relationship with journalists, for the administration of our newsroom, a CRM for the management of relational aspects, a tool for analyzing press coverage and even their reuse on social networks. Concretely with Wiztopic, I can establish a selection of positive press reports that I propose to Schneider Electric ambassadors to share as part of ouremployee advocacy via LinkedIn's Elevate. Our ambition is to lead a real information dissemination process.
In a practical way, what are the big changes in your daily life?
We think differently! We are now producing themed information feeds, which are not just made up of press releases. The power of Wiztopic allows us to rank our content very well on search engines, including obviously Google, and thus to emerge in natural referencing on the themes that we want to preempt.
We focus on the essential: the relationship with our stakeholders, journalists or influencers. Digital technology enables our team to assist in the preparation of a communication sequence, suggesting a communication channel that we do not plan to use for information. Likewise, digital technology frees us from low value-added tasks, such as carrying out press reviews. Where we needed several weeks and a lot of small hands to gather the press coverage on one of our offers in each country; today we need 30 minutes to make a request under Wiztopic, organize the fallout and edit the press book. In short, we will speed up the information design cycle and become more efficient.
I don't know if there is a classic course for the Communication professions in general and Press Relations in particular. These are professions of passion. It takes a lot of personal appetite: to be curious, to be "papivore" in the sense of devouring the news, taking an interest in communication issues, etc. Then there are career opportunities.
For my part, I studied History then I started at Kantar where I worked on media monitoring and analysis in the energy, environment and construction sectors. Among my clients, I had the pleasure of following Schneider Electric, which I then joined.
3 things to know about Anthime:
- > He no longer uses Excel!
- > He is passionate about TV series. New forms of fiction inspire him to decipher news treatments such as “feuilletonnage” phenomena.
- > He chairs the association PADAM NEZI, a theater company whose ambition is to combine live performance and memory. History does not leave him.
Getting to know Wiztopic better
Wiztopic is the publisher of the new software platform for communication teams. Its business software has become a standard for the finance sector (AG2R, Allianz, Amundi, BNP Paribas, BPCE, Covéa, Crédit Agricole, Deloitte, Humanis, KPMG, La Française, Natixis, Saxo Banque) and listed companies (Adecco , Beneteau, Bic, Capgemini, Klépierre, Nexity, Schneider Electric). With Wiztopic, the communication teams of finance and listed companies manage, distribute and measure the performance of their content. With ease, security and compliance.