The professions of event communication and influence – episode #12

Mini-fairs for Communication professions We Are COM X ISCOM, present the daily life of communicators. This episode #12 is dedicated to events and influence. 🙌 Forward to discover these changing sectors.

A few words about the event

☝️ Event communication is a stimulating and creative environment that fundamentally strengthens the bond affinity between a customer and a brand, through the unique and memorable experience generated. 

More concretely, the organization of events contributes to developing the brand awareness or to accompany the launch of a product. However, the revolution digital and the advent of Social networks have upset the event professions, which now have to rethink their stratégies.

This sector is particularly made for communicators who have the relationship, theOrganisation and creativity

Did you know ?

  • About 1000 events are organized every day in France.
  • The events sector represents 34,5 billion euros in transactions each year in France. 

A few words about influence

✌️ THEinfluencee, or influencer marketing, represents the potential power of an individual, an organization or a media to initiate a change within its community. There are three pillars of influence: influencers, ambassadors and online reviews.

Did you know ?

  • On average, 90% of online shoppers read 2 customer reviews before making a purchase.
  • 68% of consumers trust a product more when they have access to both positive and negative reviews.
  • On average, in an influence campaign, 1 euro invested yields more than 6,75 euros in the long term.
  • 75% of people who follow an influencer have already made a purchase following a recommendation.

Expert opinion

🎙 On the side agency, we welcome Stéphane Bouillet, Founder of the agency Influence4You. From the side advertiser, we welcome Valentin Hamard, Communications Manager at Sodexo.

Hello everyone, what is your job?

Stephane Bouillet: In 2011, I founded the influence marketing agency, Influence4you. On a daily basis, we set up operations with the biggest influencers. And at the same time, we are developing a platform intended for less famous influencers, in order to support them in the industrialization of their work. Incidentally, among our 35 employees, many project managers come from ISCOM.

Valentin Hamard : I am communication manager at Sodexo France. More specifically, I am lucky to be attached to Le Nôtre, the luxury branch of the group, which manages major international events such as the Rider Cup and the Rugby World Cup. Sodexo has more than a hundred maintenance, communication and hospitality professions that strive to offer an ever-wider range of services. In other words, our mission is to meet customer needs during events on site (in dedicated enclosures) or off-site (on land arranged for a particular occasion).

Why and when did you decide to move towards COM?

SB : To tell the truth, I didn't decide to orient myself towards the COM, I would say that it is the result of chance. I was more focused on consulting and marketing, when in 2008 my brother asked me to set up a company. He told me " I saw Netflix in the USA, they exchange CDs by mail. What if we applied this principle to video games? » This is how we made the decision to launch ourselves. Everything was going relatively well, until the day when a renowned YouTuber praised our work via a tweet which unfortunately blew up our server. Then came the desire to collaborate with influencers for promotional purposes. Yet, at the time, we didn't really understand what these influencers were doing, or how influencer marketing worked.

It was therefore in 2011 that we created our agency. The latter was initially oriented gaming, then expanded to other sectors, including beauty. Originally, we had to carry out an educational action, explaining to influencers how to create a business with the extraordinary media power they had in their hands. Today, we are present on Switch, TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn...

HV: During my master's degree, after having followed a training course related to the world of sport (STAPS), I turned to sports events. Once graduated, I did a VIE in Albania, within the International Olympic Committee. The missions that I was able to carry out in consulting and in events confirmed my choices. It was therefore only natural that when I returned to France, I wanted to join the Sodexo group. In parallel, we founded with my brother the media We Are COM, a real laboratory of ideas for communication enthusiasts.

What does a typical day look like?

SB: This question is far from obvious. In truth, I don't have a typical day. As a business leader, I touch everything. On a daily basis, you have to think about the agency's communication: content, videos, natural referencing, levers... Most of my work consists of managing the teams, which will focus more on the client relationship aspect. 

HV: At Sodexo, I would say that the great particularity of a communicator is that he also wears the hat of a business manager. We have to manage a commercial part upstream of an event, in particular by carrying out calls for tenders which allocate hospitality lots for the brands and will be their guarantees of profitability. In addition, we are in charge of hospitality, the real on-site user experience, on D-Day. In other words, the typical day does not exist. An event schedule is divided between a substantial preparatory work and a highlight that gives us more opportunity to discuss with our customers.

In order to carry out all this organization, the teams sometimes have more than 1000 people. It is common to recruit temporary workers, especially for the food and entertainment parts. Therefore even if the days are never the same, the challenge is daily : varied processes and different customer needs.

What is the most stimulating part of your job?

SB: We are fortunate to practice a profession in a very new field which is growing by 50% per year. The actors of influence are more and more numerous, thus amplifying the competitiveness of the sector. As well, I would say that the most stimulating part of my job is that everything has yet to be invented. This is also why we regularly publish studies and books on the subject.

A few years ago influencers evolved without knowing the rules that govern advertising. We had to support them, by redefining the constraints linked to their content: advertising, sponsorship, etc. All this was done in close collaboration with the regulatory authority (ARPP). In parallel, it is becoming essential to also educate advertisers, to provide them with proof that influence marketing is an effective lever compared to traditional advertising.

Note that apart from a few “bad apples”, influencers are for the most part entrepreneurs with whom it is exciting to work.

HV: Each event is intrinsically different, and brings its dose of teaching and emotion. We are fortunate to learn from the multitudes of people we meet. Events also make it possible to discover other branches of communication, we touch on everything. For example, I learned about audiovisual during the RiderCup and its livestream. New technologies are very present and changing, you have to remain extremely curious, especially on digital. 

What influence operation/event are you most proud of?

SB: At Influence4you, we are very proud of this operation, the challenge of which is societal. Our actions are not limited to the promotion of consumer products, we work with, among others, Amnesty International and Sidaction. Influencer marketing can change things and impact the world, it's wonderful to be able to contribute to this. If this UN Women operation is so important to us, it is because 65% of the agency's employees are women. Moreover, our enthusiasm was rewarded, since this campaign won 12 communication prizes.

HV: The Rider Cup is one of the 10 biggest world events, it is the first in terms of golf. Sodexo was in charge of the hospitality and food part, a vast operation. To give you an idea of ​​our investment, the intense preparation work lasted 2 years.. Once on site, we worked tirelessly, 24 hours a day, with the 24 people solely dedicated to logistics and food maintenance. There were all the structures to erect and more than 2000 people to feed. A village section intended for the general public provided food trucks, while a premium section offered to welcome participants in starred chef lounges.

In 2024, we are going to organize another major event, the Paris2024 Olympic Village.

What are the major developments in events / influence?

VH : In the events sector, the Covid crisis and intensive digitalization have profoundly changed our ways of life and work. The customer experience had to be reinvented and reinterpreted remotely, with the use of digital platforms. How to welcome the participants? How to host a virtual event? How to transmit emotion without the human? With digital, new constraints are constantly emerging, it is up to us to manage to adapt to these new uses.

I think that tomorrow's events will be hybrid, between real and virtual. It is possible that at Sodexo we take the side of leaving this choice to the participants, with prices that vary. The virtual is a revolution in terms of access to culture, to that of sport as far as I'm concerned. In my opinion, the influence sector will also tend towards the hybrid, obeying an ever more sustainable and ever more efficient ecosystem.

In addition, we are witnessing a revolution in the customer experience with the personalization of messages. The optimization and targeting of content, possible thanks to data, has now become essential.

SB: Social networks have been at the origin of a profound upheaval in our professions. People used to spend a lot of time behind their TV screen, now it's behind their smartphone screen. We moved in a very short time from traditional media to digital media. However, it is important to understand that in the COM sector, advertisers' money follows the media. More and more budgets will therefore be devoted to influence marketing.

Also, the biggest challenge that influence marketing will have to meet will be to provide advertisers with proof of its results. It is becoming essential to set up appropriate measurement tools, efficiency tests, etc.

As far as social networks are concerned, their uses are constantly changing. And who says new use says new problems and new constraints. It is therefore essential to know how to constantly rethink and readjust your social media strategies..

Finally, the future will I think be more oriented towards the date. However, be careful, this should not be a brake on the creativity necessary for any communicator.

Finally, do you have any advice for future communicators?

SB: I have only one piece of advice for you, stay curious! The world is changing so fast that to be able to deliver value to your customers, you need to keep an eye on everything that's going on. Do not consider your studies as an outcome, in the communication sector training is daily. So, really be a curiosity PRO.

HV: Indeed, as Stéphane says, curiosity is the engine of any career. It will allow you to understand the changing trends to unearth the nuggets of tomorrow. I would add that it is also essential to keep activities in parallel. Each opening to the world constitutes a plus to your added value. Be nourished by what motivates you the most.

Stephane Bouillet,

Founder of the agency Influence4You

Valentin Hamard,

Communications manager at Sodexo

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