Mini-fairs for Communication professions We Are COM X ISCOM, present the daily life of communicators. This time, let's explore the worlds of press relations and events. 🤓 Episode #19, let's go!
Hello everyone, what is your current job?
Perrine Landry: A former ISCOM student, I work in the press department of the La Poste group. This mini-show is therefore a nostalgia sequence for me. 😊 Diploma in hand, I had the opportunity to work withinadvertising agencies, including Publicis. Today I joined theadvertiser.
Brice Giacone: I am Project Director at GameWard, a professional club specializing ineSports, that is to say on video game competitions.
#1 – Why did you choose the field of press relations and events? What was your course ?
PL: I would say that it was press relations that chose me, rather than the other way around. 😊 After joining the La Poste group and holding various positions in communication and marketing, I was finally offered to join the Press service. At first, that scared me a bit, because working with journalists is quite special. But I took the plunge, and I have absolutely no regrets.
As for my journey, it started at ISCOM, a school that trains in the concrete. Far from purely theoretical lessons, the courses are very interactive and allow a real immersion in the world of communication.
BG: 10 years ago, I chose the event industry for one simple reason. Truly passionate about sport, I wanted to integrate this environment that inspires me and makes me vibrate, which I did after a fairly traditional university course. In a course, it is in my opinion the experiences that are formative: internships, work-study programs and even projects on the sidelines of your training. It's the investment and energy you show that will allow you to stand out skillfully.
So I worked for several years in the world of cycling, running and ultra trails. During the health crisis, I experienced a long period of unemployment. And I had an opportunity in esports, a field very similar to sports, both in its structure and in its functioning.
Having branched out into esports, my work is not purely operational today. However, the event remains at the heart of all the activations that I oversee.
#2 – What is your own definition of events and press relations?
BG: This question is not obvious. The event is the production of contents, our mission is to create an event to instil a message. Indeed, behind each event hides a desire to communicate. In other words, we need to develop memorable moments that benefit both those who experience it and those who produce it.
PL: Press relations are the interface between a company and the media. Working in PR means having two main missions: you have to promote the company and defend its image. L'Press officer must be both proactive and reactive. On the one hand, it offers content to journalists, news and information relating to the life of the company. On the other hand, he responds to requests from the press, when the latter wishes to produce an article, a report or any other form of media content.
#3 – Why and for whom would you advise PR and events? What excites you the most?
PL: What is absolutely certain is that press relations are not made for shy, discreet and routine people! More broadly, this sector does not correspond to those who like regularity. To flourish in press relations, you have to like to speak, write and know how to argue. The relationship is essential, the press officer must be a real Swiss army knife, be at ease with business leaders, journalists and various technical or operational experts. Short, since we work according to current events, you have to like action and above all show adaptation.
It is important to emphasize that in our profession, there is a strange paradox. Dn the one hand, the press attaché is a fairly exposed communication professional, since he engages the image of the company when he speaks to the press or prepares a spokesperson. On the other hand, we are communicators from the shadows, far from the light. If an article or a report is a success, it values the company and its spokesperson. On the other hand, if the rendering harms the image of the company, it is the press officer who toasts.
In general, our profession is exciting. On a daily basis, I am extremely stimulated by change. You never know what a day will be made of. The missions, subjects and meetings vary constantly and confront us with different challenges every day. Press relations is also a lot of teamwork. And what a joy to take up challenges together!
BG: I totally agree with Perrin. Just like in press relations, a communicator specializing in events must absolutely love movement and diversity, because change is permanent. You have to adapt to fundamentally different projects, know how to argue in favor of an outlandish idea, but also know how to do more classic things.
In events, projects are carried out by several people, in teams of course, but also by surrounding themselves with different trades: creative people, technicians, production teams, large companies... Also the human aspect is essential, you have to demonstrate social intelligence. Our discourse must constantly adapt and readjust, depending on the issues and the recipients.
In terms of skills, I would say that you have to be organized, coherent and thoughtful. In events, setbacks are commonplace, you have to know how to deal with them quickly and as a strategist. Behind every eventual action, there is the back of the decor, made of complications, hassles, delays...
Obviously, in this sector we go through phases of fatigue, but the real stimulation is to see a project come to fruition. In events, the work accomplished provides incomparable sensations.
#4 – On a daily basis, what are your missions and challenges? Do you have a typical day?
BG: The typical day does not exist in events and even less in the esports sector. On a daily basis, I mainly do team management and planning the Club's partner activations. Even though the missions may seem recurring, the way they fit into my schedule is completely modifiable. Overall, when advertisers invest in GameWard, there are many activations in return. Each project must be carried out, in a qualitative way, in the allotted time and by responding to its own problems. Finally, to increase the visibility of this activation, we must take into consideration as many media requests as possible.
PL: Working in press relations is by definition working with the news. This is why there cannot be a typical day. The La Poste group has more than 250.000 employees and multiple sectors of activity, the press service is dependent on what is happening every day in the country and even in the world. Indeed, in addition to the distribution of mail and parcels, La Poste also offers banking, digital services and even services in the health sector. Each area of expertise generates journalistic demands, which must be met.
In general, a day begins with keeping watch. In the morning, we read the press, listen to the radio, consult the social networks… We must list all the media mentions relating to our sectors of activity and our group. Thereafter, our schedule is organized according to this dissected news: drafting of press releases, organization of press conferences to convey this or that message to the various media…
For example, in the same day, I can welcome a team from TF1, which produces a report on parcel sorting factories, answer the Parisian on a letterbox question, send visuals of stamps for a magazine female, prepare a spokesperson before his intervention on BFM Business and even respond to Astrapi, who wishes to explain to the youngest the routing of a letter. So, no typical day, a wide variety of subjects and interlocutors.
#5 – Can you tell us about your pride? Do you have any projects to share with us?
PL: Have you ever heard of Santa's office? For 60 years, this free La Poste service has been collecting and responding to letters from children around the world to Santa Claus. Each year, this operation gives rise to numerous press actions, managed with my colleagues. If I am particularly proud of this service, it is because it revives the imagination of dreams and childhood in everyone, while promoting closeness and writing.
You should know that the secretariat of Father Christmas is more than a million letters that arrive each year. This incredible logistics enjoys many media spin-offs. In 2023, more than 300 articles and reports have appeared on the subject.
As for the project, we currently have a very stimulating challenge to face. La Poste is a group present in more than 60 countries, almost half of whose activities are carried out abroad. It is therefore essential to develop and accelerate our press relations actions on an international scale. To achieve this, we must adapt to the different journalistic codes, cultures and customs of other countries. Indeed, one does not work in the same way with a Japanese journalist as with an Italian journalist, for example. This exercise in reflection and acclimatization promises to be exciting.
BG: For my part, I participated a few years ago in the organization of ultra trails including the Marathon des Sables, which takes place in the Moroccan desert. The idea was to transpose this race to different deserts around the world, notably the Peruvian desert of Ica. This large-scale operation was not easy to develop, not only is Ica most of the time closed to the public, but we also had to organize this event from A to Z in just 1 year: media activation, medical care, food, water management, satellite coverage, etc. After encountering all possible and imaginable complications, the project saw the light of day. We finally managed to meet the challenge by bringing together more than 300 runners!
Regarding the project, GameWard has developed an exceptional activation for Crédit Agricole d'Ile-de-France. The bank wanted to promote its Globe Trotter offer, an offer that offers young people many advantages related to possible overdrafts, transactions abroad or even financing for driving licenses. And how to appeal to this young audience? By taking up its codes, especially on social networks! That's why we invited a streamer and a GameWard pro player to spend a few days in the Czech Republic. The latter highlighted the advantages of the Globe Trotter offer, in a concrete way, in a country that does not have the euro as its currency. Withdrawals, expenses, activities, meetings with esports clubs on site… everything was relayed through lives and aftermovies on social networks.
It is therefore by echoing the younger generation, with outstanding personalities, that Operation Let's go to Prague succeeded in organizing and illustrating the offer of Crédit Agricole d'Ile-de-France.
#6 – In your opinion, how will communication evolve in the years to come?
BG: A few years ago, web 1.0 made its big appearance. At the time, websites were simple showcases for brands, they shared information. Since 2005, the 2.0 web has revolutionized the Internet with the arrival of sharing platforms and social networks. We are now entering the era of web 3.0. We are at the dawn of a whole new way of communicating, with these notions of decentralization and community involvement. In my opinion, the 3.0 web, which is still in its infancy, will revolutionize the way we communicate in the years to come.
PL: The certainty is that communication will always exist, we have it and we will need it. However, jobs in the sector will evolve, as has been the case in recent years. Yesterday's press relations, for example, are no longer those of today. In the future, I would say that there will be more social media and above all more bridges between the social media teams and the press relations teams. This is already the case within Le Groupe La Poste, since the press service shares its offices with the teams in charge of Social networks. This merger guarantees the consistency of all of our communications.
I would add that, more and more, communication will have to be meaningful. We don't do communication simply to make a brand or a product known, we do communication to convey the values of a company. In a rather anxiety-provoking climatic, economic and geopolitical environment, communication will be essential and skills in crisis communication will be sought.
#7 – Do you have any last advice for future communicators?
PL: In a word, dare! If you want to do COM, get started. You will discover a very rich world and a multitude of professions. Communication is stimulating and varied, there is something for everyone.
I would also advise starting with an experience in an agency, it's very formative. This will allow you to work on different projects, with advertisers belonging to several sectors of activity. Moreover, the communicators who have passed through the agency have profiles that often appeal more to advertisers.
BG: I have always heard that COM, journalism or events were clogged sectors. Which, I grant you, is not very engaging. 😊 But when you want, you can, you must not let go. Stay motivated, interested in all kinds of things, keep an open eye on the world and an inquisitive mind. Stand out!
Head of the media department, press service of the La Poste Group
Project Director at GameWard
And to go further in our overview of press relations and events professions, let's take a look back at some communications that marked the We Are COM team. 🙌