Passionate about media and a savvy technophile, Julien Landfried is Executive Director of Communications, Public Affairs & Brand at Gecina. After a media career, he moved to the agency side in PR where he worked for 3 years with Méka Brunel, CEO of Gecina. He finally joined the Ile-de-France property company at the end of 2017. Julien gives us his editorial approach and his very pragmatic vision of communication. His goal ? Establish an ongoing conversation with all of the company's stakeholders, creating a strong narrative and taking advantage of all the opportunities that digital offers. We push the doors of this large real estate company and set off to discover its new YouFirst brand.
Hello Julien! Thank you for welcoming us to Gecina's YouFirst Café. What is your vision of communication?
A company's communication is first and foremost very much in line with the vision of its manager, in this case the general manager of Gecina, Méka Brunel. Then, I don't think there is a unique communicator profile and only one way of communicating. For my part, I have a very editorial prism. I like to produce content and I try above all to distribute it to the right audiences. My goal is to shed light on the company's strategy and support its deployment, while removing reputational constraints.
Communication is a means of activating levers, of creating relationships with the entire ecosystem of stakeholders in the company. Our readers are clients, employees, investors, politicians, journalists… The time spent by our stakeholders reading or listening to us must be useful, enjoyable and even fascinating at the same time! We are in direct competition with other content producers (influencers, NGOs, journalists, other companies and brands, etc.). So it is essential to adopt an approach medium, respecting the current state of the art. The content must be qualitative, easily accessible in form, interesting in substance and resilient over time. Ultimately, it is up to him to adapt to the uses of people and not the other way around.
What challenges will communicators face tomorrow?
The constraints of our profession are more and more numerous. With the development of Social networks, communicators must learn to treat all their audiences with equal consideration. From the simply curious Internet user to the specialist press journalist. The quality of the reputation derives from this principle. I am convinced that we must continually forge relationships with new partners, intellectuals, journalists, influencers… We have to give people time to give us time. It is by working on our different targets and by building an interesting and integrated narrative that we create a dialectic over time.
The second challenge is to succeed in emerging in a saturated universe (and without doing com for com!). This requires working very finely on your narrative, telling a story that is sincere, authentic and, for all that, aligned with the reality of the business. No need to do corporate pro home : we owe it to ourselves to deliver an expert vision and share it with independent experts, architects, climatologists, investors, etc. It is up to us to integrate the history of our company into the great history.
Can you tell us more about Gecina and its relationship brand YouFirst?
Gecina is the 1st office property company in Europe. Our activity - mainly based in Île-de-France - does not only concern office property, but also residential property. These spaces are ultimately all shared living spaces: family housing, student residences, co-working spaces, offices, etc. We are growing with metropolitanization and want to meet the needs linked to urban centrality: today employees want to live next to their work and students near major training centers.
In this very competitive sector, we will differentiate ourselves by being a partner in the daily life of the users of our spaces, thanks to fluid, pleasant and very secure routes. This is the meaning of our relational brand YouFirst, which will allow us to reach our 100 customers today. This brand is based on 000 fundamentals: people to manage daily demands, and the quality of services in our buildings and online. In short, we want to give more value to the experiences of users in our spaces. We are thus operating a strategic rotation towards BtoBtoC.
How is this new brand expressed in the daily life of your users?
With YouFirst, we are digitizing our services by developing our CRM. YouFirst also translates into a more service-oriented culture and through employee training. It is a profound transformation of the company! Externally, we are working to deploy communication with higher-end tones while remaining general public : very polished, very deep, very integrated, and always very accessible in terms of both semantics and technology. Our audiences must have the same quality of experience when they consult the Gecina site as that of Le Monde. We are constantly innovating and I recommend our The Urban podcast.
La internal communication is also undergoing a transformation. On an editorial level, we always consider employees as readers, always betting on intelligence. It is a discipline that requires humility and transparency. Let's not be afraid to tell about our successes as well as our failures! Gecina is a company on a human scale, with 500 employees. This represents a real leverage effect: the novelty is quickly noticed and the feedbacks are numerous. We do not get lost in internal politics. On the contrary, agility and test & learn are at the heart of our rotation.
For example, we recently overhauled our press review now business oriented. We have an integrated approach : it is not automated, but designed and sent by our press relations manager. This operation allows us to quickly produce our press review and also to offer it an editorial tint. This is how we forge a real relationship with our internal readers. Moreover, this is the great strength of journalists compared to simple content aggregators!
What are your next challenges?
We are now going to concentrate our efforts on internal communication, in particular with the redesign of our intranet. The goal is not to create a new classic intranet or a corporate social network. We are looking for the right compromise between information top down, features to promote collaborative internal work andemployee advocacy outwardly. It is certain that the transformation of Gecina with YouFirst cannot be done without such a tool. We need to popularize information, to make it collaborative to the point of sharing it outside our walls, and to have the appropriate technological brick available for this.
What advice would you give to communicators?
Be versatile and curious with an unquenchable thirst for learning. Read the press, especially economics when you work in a company. Financial communication is fundamentally interesting when you get down to it.
Take an interest in technology and emerging new formats. Prioritize, verticalize information; but don't compartmentalize anything. Distinguish a fashion from a societal trend. Focus on the things that are valuable (and often it's the details that make the difference…). Don't be afraid to be a communication maker.
Finally, I would add that communication is not a support function. On the contrary, it carries the strategic vision of the company watered from the inside and the outside. So love your business, your business and your products. Stay passionate!
3 things to know about Julien
- ● His favorite media? The press! He is also a keen reader of political essays and a lover of podcasts. He invites you to listen Parisian Source Code.
- ● He supports AS Monaco and experiences great moments of football uncertainty which he considers very formative.
- ● Echoing his taste for storytelling, Julien is passionate about cinema. He is notably a fan of Korean cinema and its soundtracks.