June 22, 2022

Inventive Marketing: A coalition in the South China innovation ecosystem, a rugby sponsorship mascot in Singapore, & much more (podcast episode #22)


Get inspiration for your next great idea by listening to episode #22 of the How I Made It In Marketing podcast. We had an intense conversation with Francois-Xavier Reodo, Chief Marketing Officer for North America, Capgemini Invent.

Hear Reodo discuss what he learned from sponsoring the World Rugby Sevens Series and RISE Asia World Expo, how he plans for transformational success with his new team after helping drive 4x growth in his previous role, and why sometimes you just need to stand in front of a mirror and yell “I am powerful!”

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

Inventive Marketing: A coalition in the South China innovation ecosystem, a rugby sponsorship mascot in Singapore, & much more (podcast episode #22)

This article was published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

“A value proposition focuses on a specific customer segment,” Flint McGlaughlin taught in Value Proposition Definition: Optimize your conversion rate with this powerful question.  

I thought of this lesson while our latest guest talked about how he learned to ruthlessly prioritize. When I asked what role customer segmentation plays, he replied, “Absolutely. You're spot on, because the way that we look at it is – who are the people that we want to talk to…”

You can hear the full conversation below with Francois-Xavier Reodo, Chief Marketing Officer for North America, Capgemini Invent. Capgemini Invent, and its recently acquired frog design studio, are the innovation brands within Capgemini, a technology services and consulting company with €18 billion in revenue, 340,000 employees, and operations in 50 countries.

Reodo, who goes by the nickname FX, recently came off a stint with the company in Singapore where he built a team of 25 that helped 4x the Asia-Pacific region, growing to several billion dollars of business. When we talked, he was managing a team of five and preparing to ramp his new group up for similar growth.

You can listen using the embedded player below or click through to your preferred audio streaming service.

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Stories (with lessons) about what he made in marketing

Some lessons from Reodo that emerged in our discussion:

Always have fun.

When Capgemini sponsored the World Rugby Sevens Series in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, and Dubai, Reodo was focused on three core elements of ROI – employee satisfaction, brand awareness, and client intimacy. But he also found energy in pausing for a bit and enjoying some awesome moments with the team. He even dressed up as the company mascot a few times.

Build communities and coalitions

Reodo decided to sponsor RISE, which claims to be the largest tech gathering in Asia. At this event, he met Chad Xu, founder of hardware manufacturing company Zowee. Xu is very connected in the South China innovation ecosystem, and this meeting ultimately led to a partnership with Shenzhen Valley Ventures to expose clients globally to some of the niche solutions that were innovative in South China. 

Ruthlessly prioritize

Craig McNeil, the new managing director of Capgemini Invent, shared an extremely ambitious growth plan with Reodo – he expects the tech consulting firm’s unit to multiply its size by 2025. To do this, Reodo and his team are simplifying from dozens of offers and global capabilities to four things they want the brand to be famous for and are simplifying analytics as well. 

Stories (with lessons) about the people he made it with

Reodo also shared lessons he learned from the people he collaborated with:

At no point in your career does anyone tell you “Now you can start making decisions.”

Alva Qian, Executive Vice President for Strategy in Asia Pacific, Capgemini

Quian taught Reodo to transform his role from “I need to deliver marketing campaigns and report on the numbers” to “I lead the way the organization builds market share, mind share, and engages talent.”

You are powerful.

Marite Metsla, Associate Director, Capgemini

Reodo is not comfortable as a public speaker but had step in at the last minute and emcee the opening of the Capgemini Innovation Center in Singapore in front of representatives from the government and journalists. Metsla helped him prepare by grabbing his hand and having him shout “I am powerful” three times. It seemed dumb to Reodo, but it made him laugh and the stress was lifted.

Related content mentioned in this episode

Customer-First Marketing Strategy: The highest of the five levels of marketing maturity

MarketingSherpa Customer Satisfaction Research Study

Creative Marketing: Does it all make sense? (Podcast Episode #19)

About this podcast

This podcast is not about marketing – it is about the marketer. It draws its inspiration from the Flint McGlaughlin quote, “The key to transformative marketing is a transformed marketer” from the Become a Marketer-Philosopher: Create and optimize high-converting webpages free digital marketing course.

Live event

Get more inventive marketing ideas. Join the MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute team on June 29th at 3 pm EDT for Buyer Psychology: Learn the 4 best ways to increase the power of your value proposition.


Not ready for a listen just yet? Interested in searching the content? No problem. Below is a rough transcript of our conversation.

Daniel Burstein: It was the weirdest feeling when I started as a copywriter. All of a sudden I was in the room fresh out of college and the team would turn to me and I realized, Oh, wait, I'm supposed to know the answer to this. This is my job now. So I had a similar feeling many times throughout my career. There was really no official knighting ceremony to let me know I should lead. I often just saw a void and stepped in to help, and the leadership title and position would come after I took on the responsibility of leadership.

So when I was reviewing a podcast guest application, I instantly resonated with this statement. At no point in your career does anyone tell you “now you can start making decisions”. That's just one of the lessons we'll learn from today's guest. Francois-Xavier Reodo, Chief Marketing Officer for North America at Cap Gemini Invent. Thanks for joining us.

Francois-Xavier Reodo: I'm very happy to be here. Thank you.

Daniel Burstein: And Francois-Xavier, I appreciate you go by FX. So I won't have to use my French accent as much. We could just call you FX. Let's look at your background. You've been at Cap Gemini for the past ten years. You were telling me you recently came back from Hong Kong where over about eight years you built a team of 25, grew the revenue, and now you're managing a team of five and you're about to start growing them. So tell us about your role at Cap Gemini.

Francois-Xavier Reodo: Yeah, well, actually I'm part of Cap Gemini Invent, which is the innovation and transformation powerhouse of the Cap Gemini Group. And what Cap Gemini Invent does really is to bring to life what's next in terms of business model, operating systems, organization of businesses. And we operate and play in, in three playing fields actually. The exciting domain of what we call customer first, which is really the way the organization interacts with their customers in terms of experience, in terms of campaigns, in terms of brand. And the second playing field will be at the Enterprise, what we call the enterprise transformation. Enterprise transformation is around the, of course, the way a company operates its business. Whether it is a chart based system procurement. And the new space and exciting space of the intelligence industry. From complex engineering solutions to, you know, digital manufacturing automation, supply chain. A lot of companies and organizations are looking at the moment on what's next for their business and how they can accelerate and bring innovation along the full lifecycle of their products or services. And this is really what we help them do.

Daniel Burstein: That's exciting. When you say the words customer first, my ears perk up because at MarketingSherpa a few, we did some research into customer first marketing were amazed at how effective it was. Let's take a look at some of the lessons you've learned in your career and the stories behind them first from the things you made.

You mentioned, this is a great lesson, always have fun. This is a great one to start with. So tell us, how did you learn this lesson, always have fun? You're talking about some serious stuff there that you just mentioned.

Francois-Xavier Reodo: Yeah, absolutely. This is really something that I learned very strongly in my career and actually this is really a value that I try always to lead with with my team and with the people that I work with. Cap Gemini, about three years ago, signed a global partnership with Rugby and Rugby Sevens particular. And Rugby Sevens is a really fast paced sport that happens during  a competition that lasts for a  few days.

The way that Cap Gemini engaged around Rugby Seven was around three elements of KPIs. Which are around the employee advocate engagement and mobilization, like motivated people on the values of Rugby, making them part of something that is cool. Around what we called client intimacy. So bringing our clients to the game, creating relationships with them on the values of Rugby, making them aware of what Rugby is particularly here in the USA or in Asia.

And the last piece is brand awareness. So basically placements around the stadium and placements inside and outside stadium activation actually. And it was a huge program for us. We had, Rugby competition everywhere around Asia Pacific and it was a huge takeover for myself and the team, and a lot of work. You know, it's very stressful, very busy and really, you know, as we as we were going into all of those things that we needed to do,  host 100 clients in the suite,  in the hospitality, bring all colleagues on board, communicate, kind of build messaging around the sponsorship. I realized that, you know, hey, let's take a break and also enjoy this a little. and what's happening. And I think we had that policy as a team to kind of making sure that everybody had time to also engage around the around the the sponsorship,  appreciate Rugby, meet with some of the players.

You know myself we had a huge spade, which is a logo costume that was going around the stadium and things like that. I did it myself, which was a super fun thing. So, you know, kind of taking a break and taking a step back and being able to kind of enjoy something that was super fun as well and find value and richness. And it is really something that was important and that I keep now throughout all of the projects and all of the campaigns that we run. I always told my team, you know, wait, you know, let's enjoy this yeah.

Daniel Burstein: Let me get this. You dressed up as the mascot and were going through the stadium?

Francois-Xavier Reodo: Yes, I did that. And actually in Singapore, I don't know if you're very aware of the weather in Singapore, but it gets super hot. So there was a very small fan inside the mascot not to become completely sweating and stuff. And that was really fun. There was a really cool experience that I've been able to tell to some of our execs, etc. I did not manage to convince my CEO at the time to do it, but I did try.

Daniel Burstein: Well that's way to lead from the front. And this is why I think that lesson is important. I mean, it sounds kind of like a cast off, but you know Marketing Sherpa, we used to have events for many years, big events, and I would run the content for it. And when you're working, it's so easy to forget that fun part because you're focused on a million different things, right?

You've got your KPIs going on, when is this person going to show up, what are we going to talk about here? All these different things. But then I would realize, and you talked about being customer first, the customer was having such a different experience, right? The attendees there were having such a different experience. They're just having fun.

And so if I come at it when I'm interacting with them with just this as all business mindset of operationalizing and getting all this stuff done, that's not the right experience for them. And then you also stop and like you said, for yourself on the ground, be like, it's kind of cool. This is kind of cool thing.

Francois-Xavier Reodo: Yeah, exactly. I mean, just this notion of experience is really strong in basically making sure that people have emotions and you know, the brand affinity will always comes with that emotion and your message will always be carry forward and impactful if you manage to create that emotion. And the best way to do it as a team when we are actually creating an event or sponsorship or a moment for our brand,is really to carry this emotion together as a team as well first and a culture in the team before kind of being able to share it with the customer.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah. And here's the other thing I've noticed. I used to work in software companies before, before working here, and I think that's especially true in the age of COVID. Maybe you have experienced this  too, so when I would work at software companies, even when you're working for a specific geo like EMEA or APAC or anything, that it's very distributed, right, very distributed.

And so a lot of times your interactions with customers and with your own team are I mean, back then it was even before video calls, it was just on, you know, audio calls, conference calls. And so when you have those experiences, I guess you could very efficiently conduct business, right? Like we could efficiently conduct this conversation. But what was missing was the side conversations and that enjoyment. And so it sounds like Cap Gemini Invent,  a very digitally focused company, working on it sounds like a lot of digital transformation. What is that fun component mean to when you're actually getting there, not only with your own team who might be distributor, but getting with the customers and getting that interaction that we as humans crave, right?

Francois-Xavier Reodo: Yeah, exactly. I mean, for us, i mean, the sponsorship has always been around, you know, being the innovation partner of Rugby Seven. So the way that we've been able to kind of start a business conversation on the back end of a cool experience was really to be able to show what it is that we can do to digitalize Rugby and to create more digital experiences around Rugby. So we've created, you know, VR sets where people could play. We've created some apps and digital services around the Rugby Federation that helped kind of showcase that capacity to innovate in something that is of sports. And really not be only, you know, a sponsor of the Rugby, but really doing our part in order to bring our capabilities and our story to that game. And I think that's something that made us very relevant and able to, you know, kind of promote our brand and show the messages around really strongly.

Daniel Burstein: This is actually the next question I was going to ask you because when it comes to sports sponsorships, actually I had earlier podcast interview with Carlo Cavalone, the Global Chief Creative Officer at 72 and Sunny, he was talking about a sports sponsorship I don't remember it was World Cup or Skiing I don’t remember exactly which one it was. But he said sometimes sports sponsorships are so difficult because the brand doesn't relate to that sport at all. And so the difficulty is how do you show the value proposition through that sports sponsorship?

And I remember earlier in my career, I worked with a software company. I was contracted with them called BEA Systems, which ended up getting bought by Oracle, but they sponsored the Indy Racing League and they were having trouble, the sponsorship wasn't working out so much with their customers because the customers didn't see a big connection. And then I was fortunate to be able to come in and help with the invitations. And there was actually a very obvious connection between the Indy Racing League and BEA systems because, you know, Indy Racing there’s a lot about engineering and, you know, BEA Systems, a lot about engineering and hardware and software. And so once you kind of made that connection for the customers, the company, the sponsor got a lot more value out of it and sounds like you were thinking the same way. So like, yes, let’s always have fun, Rugby it's a fun sport. But it sounds like you're saying how can we showcase our value proposition through this sponsorship.

Francois-Xavier Reodo: Absolutely, and beyond that, I think it's really important to also mention how you basically manage to mobilize employees and engage colleagues around those sponsorships. I would give you an example. I think Cap Gemini and Cap Gemini Invent have a strong history that is related to Rugby. Actually Capgimini founder Serge Kampf was a really, really big rugby fan and has always been sponsoring on his personal basis of clubs in France and has pushed Rugby as something that was really important for him. The seven values of the Cap Gemini Group are all related to Rugby, as a matter of fact they are values that I've taken from the Rugby world.

So we really from the beginning have that connection with that sports from when we were founded 52 years ago to today. So that sponsorship also from the story that we were telling our colleagues and the way that we were attached to Rugby, the values that were that are running Rugby as sports you know, team spirit, the fun, all of those values are also the values of our group. And it was also a good way to mobilize people around it.

Daniel Burstein: I think that was a great lesson for everyone. If you are looking for a sponsorship, don't just randomly slap your name on anything and say you can get some branding. Look for something that is relevant, ties into your value proposition, and ties into the company culture. Let's talk about the next lesson, which is somewhat relevant as well too, you said Build Communities and coalitions. So tell us the story behind how you learned this lesson.

Francois-Xavier Reodo: Yeah, I mean, that is something that I've learned more than once in my career and I think is really important for everyone. I think there is only one way that you manage to push your message across, that you manage to be successful is always to build a coalition with partners  that are bigger than yourself and to kind of outreach and create that circle of relevance beyond your organization.

For me, I’ll take one example, and you know Cap Gemini is very strongly attached to that idea of innovation. That's a very strong element for us and our value proposition and what we want to bring to our customers. And in Asia-Pacific, you know, innovation means to understand at best, the innovation ecosystem in South China. You know, China as a policymaking agenda in what they call the greater barrier in the South China in favor of innovation, where they're putting together, you know, a lot of venture capitalists, a lot of innovators with Tencent, Huawei and other players like this. And are creating a lot of startups in this area in South China.

And, you know, I think international businesses all want to understand what's there in terms of the fast adoption by customers of technology, you know, the full digitization of payment, all of the what's next in marketing as well to the Asian audience. And all of this is coming together in that greater barrier area in South China. And as an organization, of course, we wanted to understand that, how that was working and how to you know, bring some of the values and some of the learning to our clients globally.

And what we did is we sponsored a conference in South China that is run by Websummit, which is named RISE that is putting together basically Corporate and Venture Capitalists and startups in one big tech conference in the same way that, you know, you may have Viva Tech in Europe. Or you may have CES in Las Vegas here is the US. And the idea really was how do we kind of build those connections? Then at the occasion of this conference, we had the opportunity to meet with Chadwick Xu, the founder Zowee. Zowee is not really famous in the West, but Zowee is to Xiaomi is what Foxconn is to Apple. So a very large experts in manufacturing in South China.  And Chad is a very interesting guy because of course, IPO’d  a few weeks back, and now is thinking around ways to kind of give back and how he can innovate and how he can bring his knowledge and his know how to the next generation. So he's created a VC in South China that is focusing on hardware startups.

And so we have connecting with him. And we invited him to speak actually at one of our internal sales kickoff. And, you know, that advance, that connection, has allowed us to kind of create that connection. And that integration into that innovation ecosystem in South China. And at some point, Chad decided, we had several conversations back and forth and actually we decided to build an applied innovation exchange in South China with Shenzhen Valley Ventures, which is the venture capitalist firm to be able to kind of connect, you know, both our ecosystem and his. And be able to kind of cross leverage. And we've created in one place that giant manufacturing hub for startups in which from a product ideas in the West they can go to manufacturing test environments, 3D printing, you know, marketing capabilities really fast and even incubate and be invested.

Cap Gemini, of course, we brought, you know, the organizational no holds, the access to our global corporate clients, the innovation that we were able to put together. And he was bringing  the knowhow in manufacturing, and you know access to the ecosystem in in South China. So that has been a very great way for us to build our story in terms of how to interact and how to understand China innovation landscape. And I think that is a way that we bring value to it. We brought value to our customers and to our brand as well. In being able to tell that story.

Daniel Burstein: So that's great. So I'm kind of curious about the before, right? So, you're in an emerging area. So I think Shenzhen Valley was kind of where you're looking, you're originally from France. You're going to work at Singapore. So, yes, this is a beautiful story at the end where you found the right guy, you found the right company, you found the right partnership, you built it. But how do you get a sense of a new landscape and how do you understand who are the right folks to partner with right? Who are the right folks to sponsor.

And so I'll give you an example that we're dealing with right now, right? When we look at the world of Web3 and NFTS and all of these things, right? It's maybe not a specific geographic area, but it's a new technology area. And I think many marketers right now listening in many companies are facing the same thing you're going through. We probably feel like we need to find that right partner. We need to find the right group to network with to kind of bring us into this that knows it. But who really knows what they're doing and who's just faking, you know what I mean? So how did you get in there on the ground and identify Chad Xu and his company to begin with?

Francois-Xavier Reodo: Yeah, honestly, your question is spot on. You know, that's why I always think of that idea of coalition, it's really important to understand that you cannot do everything by yourself. And you cannot always kind of bring the full value on the spectrum, building those partnerships is really key. And identifying the right people is, and I think, you know, kind of having a third party that is allowing you to introduce yourself to those new markets, those new areas, those new ideas. In our case, that was, you know, rise with the global brand of Websummit kind of, you know, giving that authority and that credibility in terms of making that introduction. And I think that's what made it successful.  But, going at it by yourself and kind of building a story from scratch without building that coalition first, I think would be a mistake.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah. Let me ask you, too, you mentioned, I thought it was really interesting Chad, speaking at your internal sales kickoffs.  I mentioned I used to work in software and sales, and implement sales kickoff. And so, you know, when you're doing an internal sales kickoff, for sure, you're trying to get the sales team excited, but also focused. And hey, here's what we're selling this quarter. And here's you know, what the numbers are and here's how to hit them. So what were you hoping to get from Chad speaking to that group and what was he getting in return?

Francois-Xavier Reodo: Yeah, I mean, I think the only thing that he was getting in return, to be honest, was the ability to network with a new group. And actually was already probably seeing the value of that possible kind of collaboration or at least understanding from us what we were interested in. I think from our perspective at that time, what we really wanted was to understand better the ecosystem that he was a strong part of. And that's really what his presentation was about. You know, what is the creative area, the players, what is the dynamics on the VC and the startups. And he was giving a really kind of almost like, you know, kind of macroeconomic presentation of everything that was happening. I think then what happened, and that's a little bit of the magic of this kind of thing. And we go back a little bit to the idea of experience that was part of the first point. Is that he had the opportunity to network with you know, all salespeople, all leaders, myself. And to build the connection and the discussions that then resulted in us, you know, working together in that applied innovation extension center.

Daniel Burstein: That's great. You know, anytime you're moving into a new area, whether geographically like you're mentioning China, but really, like we say, technology wise for your sales team, for your marketing team, for everyone that's customer facing, even everyone internal. You're really venturing to a new land, even if it's a new technological. And getting that team comfortable with interacting around it, with speaking that language, with talking fluently about it. I think there's two levels. There's one level of where you just give like your sales team, the information, say here's information and now send them out in the world. But there's another level where you build that comfortability up. And I would think bringing in a guy like Chad where they can interact directly with him just kind of gives them more and more comfortability now when they're going out to customers, or going out to clients and they have to talk through this, they feel kind of a little more like natives or at least, you know, like people have gone there and have a sense of mapping out the territory. Right. I mean, is that a challenge when you're talking about this this emerging area?

Francois-Xavier Reodo: I mean, I think in any area that you expand from, from your story, from your trials. You're always going to be lacking at beginning at least, of the credibility and the authority. So that ability to build a coalition be, you know, referenced by third party. And that's particularly true in in our business, for instance, where we have a lot of analysts outreach and things like that is to basically be associated to somebody that is in an authority, somebody or a brand and has a story that is a credibility in this domain. So I think for me, in everything that we that that we do, there is always that element, an angle of, you know, who can help us carry that message and not just ourself kind of pushing it.

And well, of course, you know, there's always like how do we build a message together? But then there is also the association from the brand perspective, from the business perspective, and then bringing that to market.

Daniel Burstein: Great, now when you're talking about you're getting into new geographic area, getting into a new technological area, building a business, anything. I love this next lesson because it's really the challenge for marketers. There's so much available to us now. I remember early in my career, you know, we had newspaper ads, TV, radio, direct mail. You know, there is a few things, but now the tactics are endless. And so when you talk about building a business, you're building one right now. You say ruthlessly prioritize, I love that, not just prioritize, I love the idea ruthlessly prioritize. So tell us about the business you're building now and how you are ruthlessly prioritizing.

Francois-Xavier Reodo: Yeah, I mean, that's a message that I keep sharing and sharing and sharing both to, you know, the rest of the organization and to my team. It's always, you know, like what's the story? Etcetera. And I think because I mentioned it before, we are operating in three different playing fields. We're pushing a lot of capabilities and solutions to the market. We're packaging a business. And we have a giant, you know, organization. We are we are more than 300,000 people worldwide. So we do have a lot of stories and a lot of things that we want to push to the market.

And here at the moment in North America, you know, I think Cap Gemini Invent has a really strong story to tell. But because of that we decided to tell it through four areas of focus that we decided to kind of privilege over… and put together for the market. The first area of focus for us is really how do we bring innovation along the full product lifecycle. They could be digital products or physical product, but Cap Gemini Invent right now in North America is one of the only players that is able to, you know, bring that innovation at every step. From design, we acquired Frog, which is a major design firm, to complex engineering and IOT, we acquired a company that's called Synaps, to then, you know, the way that a company manufactures, etc. So that that idea of, you know, let's not kind of go to market with all of those different small capabilities and small package offers, but to very key stories that are very, very, very simple and understandable you know. Innovation along the products life cycle is a way that we can  impactful in the market.

The second big pillar is what we tomorrow advisory. So that's basically niche strategy skills for CEOs. The third one would be how do we operationalize digital transformation? So that's just our bread and butter as consultants. And the fourth one being around the smart use of data. So how do we collect and visualize data for business decision making? So telling those four stories in the market and kind of simplifying our messaging around those four stories to accelerate our growth is really what I'm focusing on at the moment.

You know, we are in a marketing organization for B2B organization and so this is not a place where marketing necessarily, you know, is the most valued, at least on paper at the beginning. And if you don't lead through the conversation and not ruthlessly prioritize, it's very easy as a marketing team to end up on the receiving end of the marketing plan. You know, where people will go to you and say, hey, by the way, we've put this together. Can you put it on the website? Ruthlessly prioritizing is really being able to drive all storytelling from the priorities and build to plan accordingly. So that's for me exactly what we are doing at the moment. My CEO, Craig MacNeill would kind of bring that focus and that vision and translating it into you know, not necessarily a lot of marketing tactics exactly as you said, but key moments during the year at which we go big. Because, you know, of course, we have limited means, but we want to grow fast. So rather than doing a lot of things small, you know, we do only a few things big. That was one of the big kind of arbitration that we take at the beginning of the year and that's also what I mean by ruthlessly prioritizing all activities.

Daniel Burstein: I love that, yeah I have heard that called tenpole marketing kind of borrowing from Hollywood. Well, you were mentioning customer first before. And we did some like I said, we did some research into customer first marketing. We found there's a huge difference in how well a company performs when the customer gets a feel like their needs are being put first. And kind of reminds me, we've got a free digital marketing course that's taught by Flint McGlaughlin, and he teaches in section 18, a value proposition focuses on a specific customer segment. Right customer first. That all begins with the customer. So when you're talking about this, when you're talking about those four key messages to communicate, I feel like essentially you're talking about that value proposition. So when you're prioritizing, you know, does it begin with identifying that ideal customer set and figuring out what services you can bring them  that no one else can or that you can do better than anyone else?

Francois-Xavier Reodo: Yeah, exactly. Absolutely. You're spot on actually, because the way that we look at it is really who are people that we want to talk to, right? Capgemini, from a historical perspective, is IT services firm? And we're really kind of that smaller entity within the organization that's looking after innovation and transformation. And really what we do for the rest of the company from a brand architecture perspective is really to be able to move from the CIO the CTO, where we talk very well and we speak the same language to different stakeholders in the organization. To be able to have you know, more strategy conversation as well around the way that their business is transforming. And all of those pillars, you know, if you look at it, they are very, very focused on you know, to more advisory.

Will we have we have built personas around the CEOs you know, and COO’s. The transformation piece is also around the CHRO’s because there is a huge piece of the momentum on the future of work. And people are trying to understand you know, basically how they can build operating models, a search space new KPIs and data to track in an organization that is more fluid.So the CHRO’s is one. Then I think because of the customer first kind of playing field, you know, we are slowly increasing our relevance to the CMO’s and the Chief Design Officers. That is also why we have decided to integrate FROG, you know, which is a brand focused on design, into a core value proposition. And you know Chief HR Officers and the last kind of persona that we are trying to tackle on.

So when we built our story and where we build our campaign, we really looking to, you know, what's our current relationship with them on our clients because in the organization, you know where can we extend that relationship,  where are they, what are they reading, what are they doing and how do we kind of integrate ourself into that conversation, what they read and what they consume for information. And how do we make ourselves relevant to this audience? So persona, kind of what do we want to be relevant to? How do we prioritize in our messaging to be relevant to those people? And then, of course, track and report on results.

Daniel Burstein: Okay, great. So the first half of the podcast, the first beginning of the podcast, we talked about some stories and lessons from the things you made. Right now let's talk about some lessons from the people you made them with. And this next one is from Alva Qian, the Executive Vice President for Strategy in Asia-Pacific at Capgemini. And you learned that at no point in your career does anyone tell you now you can start making decisions. So tell us a story. How did you learn that lesson?

Francois-Xavier Reodo: Yeah, I mean, actually Alva was I mean, is one of my mentors. She was the head of Strategy and Sales at Capgemini in Asia Pacific. And she has been my manager for quite some time. And she’s really the first person that made me understand that I can lead at whatever grade or level of hierarchy and responsibility I am in in the organization. And I think that sentence as you say is  just from her. And I think that's really something that we need to all understand, is that there's not a moment in your career where, you know, your boss comes to you and tells you, well, now, you know, you can take decisions. It's just that you kind of always kind of assess yourself a little bit on, you know, this decision I can take it right now and then I can try to influence the business and go in that direction.

And I think I think that completely transformed my mindset, you know, and my mindset moved from really kind of being able to do amazing campaigns and report on them in terms of data, etc.. Into basically lead the way that as a brand, you know, we built market share. We want mindshare and we mobilize our people. And I think considering myself as a lead in this domain, rather, that, you know, somebody we impacted. I think has completely changed my mindset and going back to the point that I did earlier. And I think, you know, a lot of people and marketers will probably, you know, kind of also relate to that, which is sometimes the business has a lot of expectations for you, and come to you and, you know, kind of with requests for campaigns, you know, they want to push on your offer, etc. and kind of reverse the table and think around, you know, no, I'm the one taking the decisions there. And I am the one driving the marketing communication strategy and you know, then kind of putting into reality and campaigns, etc., that's allowing me to completely position myself well in the organization and to grow fast.

So there's a little bit of a almost like a positioning element from us that as a marketing team in the organization, in the way that we interact with the rest of the organization, advise our CEO,  sometimes decide on some of the decisions that we want to take, and how then we kind of influence the business to move in that direction. And I think that has been a huge accelerator in my career to just consider this very differently.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, I love that. I mean, I've heard people talk about it before too, as a going from someone who works at the business to someone who owns a business that I kind of an entrepreneurial mindset. If I was, you know, one of the business owners, how would I act? But the other key thing to develop on what you said is you talk about customer first. I think the marketer in the organization is the one that owns the customer relationship and has to be that internal advocate for the customer. Right. When everyone's coming at you with all these ideas are you the one then that says, OK, let’s look at this from a customer perspective What does this mean for the customer?

Francois-Xavier Reodo: Yeah, absolutely. And you know it's really often that we kind of take that mindset and say, hey, what's the story? You know, that's just not a story about us doing something that's not very interesting. It's the story around, you know, what is it the problem that we are trying to solve for that audience and persona that we just mentioned before. And are they, you know, interested in this topic or not. How do we position our story as part of what they're interested in and how they experience our brand and how they engage with us?

And I think that is totally part of that piece. You know taking decisions, influencing the business, advising the business decision makers internally in the organization. So keeping that link with the customer and putting the customer first is absolutely key. Exactly as we said.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah. If anyone is listening and feels like an order taker marketer at their organization, hopefully this conversation inspires you. Here's one more lesson, I love it because it's something I've struggled with a ton of my career. So yeah, I learned from Marite Metsla, Associate Director at Capgemini, you are powerful, so how did you learn this lesson FX?

Francois-Xavier Reodo: Yeah, I mean, this one was a little bit more anecdotal, but because I'm not necessarily a native speaker in English and you know, a few years back, it was maybe still difficult for me to speak in public. I was having a lot of anxiety about it, etc. Actually that anecdote that I mention is about a few years back, we opened up a new innovation center in Singapore, and during the opening ceremony, I was asked to give it a little bit of a speech, etc. at the last minute, which gave me a lot of anxiety. And actually Marite was my colleague at the time and is a facilitation professional, so she understands this very well. She gave me a very good tip when she saw my stress and she was like, Okay, come with me. And in front of the mirror she told me, look at yourself and talk very loud and tell yourself you are powerful.

So this is something that is really a little bit dumb to some extent. A little bit silly, but it works a lot, you know, kind of tell yourself you are powerful, believe yourself for like one minute, be ridiculous in front of your mirror and then go into the public speaking. And I think that's something that I still do. And to be honest, sometimes when I saw, you know, people in my team or even my business leaders that were going like on TV or things like this and they were stressed. I told them, you just do that you know, or tell me you are powerful or something. And, you know, that kind of change your mindset. Also, it's so silly that it may make you laugh a little and kind of bring the stress down and it works quite well.

And then you can go on and do your speech. And I think that is a bit of a tips and trick, to be honest. Not really kind of something very strategic, but that works well. And that is something that has completely transformed my ability to speak in public. So I think I'm very grateful to Marite for that.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, I know. That's beautiful. I mean, you can have the best strategy in the world, but you can't present them it's not going to help.

Francois-Xavier Reodo: Exactly.

Daniel Burstein: I’m very naturally introverted. So I'll take that lesson too for when I need to speak. But, you know, one thing when I present I’ve being able to speak to kind of overcome some of that stuff. And the thing that worked for me was just kind of instead of focusing on myself, focus on the other people, when you're presenting and speaking, you're helping them.

But the one thing always in the back of my mind that I would worry about, too, you know, I started as a as a copywriter and, you know, working in advertising got to pitch a lot of ideas and marketing. You got to pitch a lot of ideas. And for example, I wrote an article recently, 30 headline tests and you know, that article is not about, oh, great creative pitches. It's about data. Hey, there was this there was this title, this title, this will work better. That's it. You know, this had better performance.

So when you're presenting your marketing ideas, your marketing concept that’s so core to our role. How do you bring the data in there to make sure, you know, it's not just the confidence of speaking, but the confidence in what you're presenting to your leaders and your organization.

Francois-Xavier Reodo: Yeah, well, so I mean, honestly, we have a marketing and communication campaign model in North America, which I think has allowed us to always kind of show the value of what we are doing. We consider and I don't want to talk too much into the details, but the way that I consider every campaign is from mindshare to market share. So how did you create a conversation you know, kind of open, open to discussion, create some interest. And then at every step of the process go into basically at the end leads to innovation and selling. So from content that is, you know, content and tactics that are, you know, broad outreach, targeting, etc. to first level engagement through social channels, etc., retargeting In North America. To basically kind of content that is more related to capabilities and values that we deliver, you know, as a business.

I think that's that's a little bit of the way that that we look at it. We have published research recently from the Government Research Institute actually to look into, you know, what's the limit between between creativity and data. And in marketing, it's very often that those two are considered the opponent. But it's very interesting to see that actually I think a Data-Driven marketer bringing more creative creativity to the table at the moment. We just to talk about customer first. But, you know, what we see is that Real-Time Marketing at the moment is able to bring and nurture creativity because actually the creativity, enhances agility and flexibility in the data focused areas of the business.

So, you know, marketers are able to have real time data in terms of how their customers interact with content or the audience interact with content and be able to serve content accordingly and to kind of very fast kind of, you know, produce new ways to engage and when you produce. So that's actually the data and the way that you track that, that you collected is able to actually influence better positively the creativity. And I think, you know, as marketers, this is really interesting as we move towards being more data driven not to lose that creativity element, but also not to consider them in opposition, but actually that I can feel creativity the other way around.

Daniel Burstein: I see that as another input, it’s another way to learn about the customer, right? Better serve the customer with your marketing messages. So, FX, we covered a whole wide world here from China to Singapore to Hong Kong to France to North America to all the different things about, you know, being a marketer. So if you had to sum it up, what would you say? What are the key qualities of an effective marketer?

Francois-Xavier Reodo: Yeah, I mean, I was in a workshop in Paris actually last weekend, and I think we worked around Greek mythology. And for me, Aristotle is the one that has the most you know, that has the perfect answer to your question. And he puts three elements to how to be persuasive. The first one is ethos, which is basically credibility.

The second one is pathos, which is emotion. And the last one is logos, which means logic. And I think those three are basically those three elements of, you know, basically being a marketer's mastermind or being able to kind of persuade and bring campaign that matters and campaigns that impacts basically the business. So I’ll defect to Aristotle to give a smarter answer than I could have given because I think that one was absolutely perfect.

Daniel Burstein: Very nice. Well, we always like taking a philosophical approach, so. Yeah. Well, thank you so much, FX, it's been a complete joy.

Francois-Xavier Reodo: Thank you. Thanks a lot, Daniel.

Daniel Burstein: And thank you to everyone for listening. Hope you learned a lot.

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