I work at Labellians, which is a distributor and manufacturer of medical devices, materials, equipment and consumables for medical analysis laboratories and industrial or research laboratories. It is a company that is accelerating and plans to become an ETI but was not really marketing until recently. The company wants to embrace the opportunity caused by the current crisis and develop its markets. Before that, I worked for Velux, Akzo Nobel, and others mainly in the building industry. At Velux, I was under the direction of David Brakes, and I was in charge of marketing Europe. It was a great experience for a great brand. There is a very strong alignment between what happens inside the company and what it says outside, which is very impressive.
Let’s start with the lines of inspiration and therefore with Zen.
Zen: I don’t oppose Zen and speed, but I totally agree about the restlessness. The long time seems to me indispensable. There is also a notion of craftsmanship in marketing that I relate to Zen, in the precision of the gesture, because it must give others a sense of beauty. I hope that this form of craftsmanship still exists.
No doubt that digital technology has favored this form of agitation which is a bit detrimental to marketing.
Emotion: Of course! Even if I often heard: ah but in the building or in the industry, the emotion is not appropriate, right? But in fact, the emotion of being recognized for one’s profession, whether you are a painter or a laboratory technician, these people that no one talks about, it counts. A brand can convey these emotions. It exists in all markets, with nuances, but it is an emotion linked to a need for recognition, it is deeper. The emotion must be there if we want to build a relationship with our target audiences. You don’t necessarily have that much opportunity to do it in the industry, but you have to do it.
Reload: I am often called upon to do reloading. At Velux, I launched the Dakea brand (which is not on the French market but in England and in some Eastern European countries) which served as a laboratory. For me, it’s a great opportunity not to wipe the slate clean, but to free oneself from the cognitive assets linked to what one has done before and to rethink things with desire and with the idea that one could do things differently. So you have to question more what you were doing. And sometimes a change of angle is enough to reconsider the offer and the marketing. For example, in the world of windows, the products have an alphanumeric code for designation. For Dakea, we gave them names. In addition, we changed the color of the boxes, which were all in kraft and which made access to the product in a stock rather complex. By offering them in orange, we had an enormous visibility and we changed the relationship with the brand.
Open: I am developing it at Labellians. We allow me to try things. Bringing in young students from Centrale or the best school in artificial intelligence is exciting. But this also goes for the publication of business results, which is rather taboo in our business and where we think too much about what the competition might say. And even if we put ourselves in a bit of danger, that’s also how a lot of things happen in meetings, and not otherwise. As there are several of us who joined the company at the same time, we were also recruited on this aspect and on the passion for the job. Openness also brings pleasure. Have fun, make friends! That’s how it all comes about!
And now let’s talk about the 4 pillars of marketing:
Zoom: We are in the process of co-constructing the vision. Before, the management sent orders, but without any real vision. Then we used Porter’s or BCG’s matrices, with differentiation by price or product advantages. We are evolving all this, starting with the brand platform. And we’re doing it with the whole company, to make sure that everyone agrees. We’re also working on a “Blue Ocean” version, imagining what our customers are looking for that’s different. And then, we recently started thinking about our raison d’être. We have an obvious raison d’être to serve the health of populations, but we need to go further. I am piloting these projects with my HRD.
Experience: The whole company was involved in thinking about the crucial question of what my client experiences at each stage and as seen by each department. For example, when we discovered the usefulness of personas to address the different players in our market differently, suddenly everyone understood that we had to take two steps aside and ask ourselves questions about the experience. We are all real specialists in our field, but there is this desire to understand the experience in a global way.
Reframing: I’m really into frugal marketing. Which doesn’t mean stingy, we need fuel to feed the machine. We look at what we can do internally that motivates the teams, gives them a responsibility, an opportunity to grow. Whereas budgets are mostly made to be cut three months later. They may be supported by 150-slide strategy presentations that no one reads, but in the end they tell you to stop. Today it’s over. I’m not very comfortable with that. Spending budget just so you don’t lose it is a waste. That’s why I’m in favor of a certain frugality. Perfection is when you have nothing left to take away.
Opinion: We just installed a customer satisfaction survey. But I think it’s very important to be interested in what is not necessarily expressed. Opinion is not limited to what customers say. You also have to observe, go out into the field and take the time to listen. You have to be flexible too. Because what I say in January may not be what I say in May.
Patrice: The spirit of the book is this inspiration by the 4 lines we talked about, but then to apply these attitudes to the pillars of the business.
Beatrice: Why did you start from Zero?
Patrice : on the one hand, because we were tired of hearing that it’s marketing in a negative mode, and as passionate people as Philippe and I are, we want marketing to regain its aura, its essential place in companies. On the other hand, we believe that we must both inspire and propose a method based on the double helix with the matrices that we have mentioned.
Beatrice: thank you for this exchange. In any case, for me, it makes me want to challenge myself and make my marketing evolve.