branding, brand, agency, communication, sustainability, influencia

Interviewed : Guillaume de Vesvrotte, Sustainable Innovation Catalyst at Pixelis and Clémence Sanlis, Captain of the creative leap
Authors of the article : Héloïse Martin (strategic planning) and Margot Cadier (communication) 
Photo credits : Ruben Grande

The brand has become the source, the guiding thread, the value to nourish and preserve. Explanations with Clémence Sanlis, Captain of the creative leap, and Guillaume de Vesvrotte, Sustainable Innovation Catalyst at Pixelis.



Strong brands have the power to transform the world 

The brand that used to protect, solidify, and improve has become an actual experience that is lived both in-house and by consumers. It is incarnated by products and services, as well as by the company in its entirety. Everything a brand conceals is now part of its makeup. While previously, each brand- speaking opportunity was weighed and considered at length, brands must now work on intuition. They must move fast but move right, in a personal, original, and always consistent way.

How to switch from one logic to another when the entire company is structured on the former model? By copying the newcomers? By transferring media investment from advertising to content production like Red Bull did so successfully?  By multiplying creative activations or seeking humor everywhere? By emulating uninhibited businesspeople who make success stories out of drinkable yogurt, a cow’s head and test parties? Unfortunately, this is not enough. “The changes to be made are deep, imitation is artificial and often counter-productive. Consumers do not always know what they want, but they know what they don’t want and it is difficult when the brand is not consistent,” observe Clémence Sanlis and Guillaume De Vesvrotte from Pixelis.
Although change is slow, it is inescapable. It’s our job to support it.


Clémence & Guillaule give us the keys to succeed this transformation

The solution to a successful transformation is specific to each business. But there are some trends and beliefs that emerge:

* Switch to attack mode:  we too often see a market from a defensive position or one of weakness. A brand’s former strength is also what will help it recover quickly: teams need to return to the brand’s initial added value. Beyond the offer and charter, what makes a brand, and what we need to renew with, is the benefit, the relationship, the personality the brand offers its customers. How can we transpose this value to today’s market? To restore their place at the center of the game, brands must make their creative leap!

* Take the time to anticipate process change: in the operational phase, projects run on reflexes and timing. Entirely revising the resource strategy, seeing an activation tool as a strategic driver, altering brand language by target and by operation, thinking local, playing with the charter, using guerilla tactics, creating hybrid business models by incorporating start-ups… the wealth of available tools is exponential but prior to any project we must take the time to choose the ones that fit; an experimentation space should be created that is preserved from the operational pace.

* Stand out via Branding for Good:  the “for good” part should not be confined to just CSR as a dismal obligation. Being “for good” means seizing all opportunities to express a positive worldview, to contribute to the project of the society we live in, to be avant-garde. This is exciting and a source of business. When Patagonia asked its customers to stop buying its products and exchange them instead of going back to the store, they did not lose a single customer because that is what people expect of them.  Although change is slow, it is inescapable. It’s our job to support it.

* See change as a project: many businesses undertake numerous positive, useful measures but do not dare mention them out of fear of counter-communication. Imperfection is acceptable, opacity is not. Consumers are tolerant of brands that commit to progress. The company that is able to share a common project with its customers has already won the battle. Only a project in construction is sound and preserved from attack. When Lego is criticized for its relationship with Shell, the trust and affection of generations of parents and children force the brand to put an immediate end to the collaboration. And this trust is what ultimately saves it. Companies must make their brands committed!

* Do not remain stratospheric:  the situation in the field and consideration of all stakeholders are fundamental. Too often, the field does not keep up. A lovely platform is designed without any incarnation. The brand platform is not a result, but a means. It must be so strong that it still works if we remove the brand name. Change is not just an idea or wishful thinking, it is concrete, tangible. We must remain concrete with the brand.  


Creating and exploiting the brand-customer relationship: a winning venture for Michel & Augustin!

Among other actions, the brand publicized its negotiation with Starbucks through the Webseries, #AllezHowardUnCafé. Two of its employees had just 48 hours to hand-deliver the requested samples to the Starbucks CEO (Howard). The brand gave its fans a chance to experience the adventure live… without even informing Howard himself!


That’s right, they dared and took the risk of getting snubbed on their arrival, and all that to please their consumers. This action shows the power of dialogue, as well as the importance of sharing a common experience with customers and, especially, of accepting to not be in control if you want to become a strong brand.
More than just a mere product… That’s what Michelin offers via its “Fleet Solution” service! 

Redesigning your business to have a positive impact on society does not necessarily mean starting a foundation or becoming a patron of the arts. It also and mostly means innovating your offer and creating new sources of sustainable value for both the planet and the company!

That is how Michelin decided to market more than just a product, but a global service: rather than selling tires, it sells miles! Since maintenance has a major impact on a tire’s performance, Michelin looked for the best way to remain sustainable while ensuring its customers’ safety and savings. It adopted a bold, innovative model: the tires remain Michelin property and the customer is billed by the mile. With this, the Michelin brand stands out from its competitors because it contributes to a societal project and becomes a forward-thinking brand.

Clémence & Guillaume conclude...

The brand has become the pivotal point in a company’s transformation because it holds the company’s potential and future in its hands. This is not about brand values that are tacked on from the outside as a set of ideals to achieve. This is a mindset, a wealth, and even an inner strength that should be revealed and deployed. 

And it is, in any event, what PIXELIS proposes to do with your brand: start from what it is, from its strengths, to creatively incarnate them.

Guillaume de Vesvrotte

Clémence Sanlis