Can you introduce yourself, Nathalie? What’s your background? What are the most important tasks you have as the head of corporate communication?
My name is Nathalie Quéré and I have been of Head of Corporate Branding at AkzoNobel since March 2012. I am essentially responsible for all aspects of the AkzoNobel brand, which includes raising global awareness and ensuring that our businesses all over the world use and promote the brand in the right way.
Some time ago, AkzoNobel went through a rebranding process, what were the reasons for this transformation? How does it affect your corporate communication?
Following the sale of the company’s pharma activities and the subsequent acquisition of ICI, AkzoNobel wanted to express its new strategic direction by developing a new brand positioning and identity.
Scott White, VP Sales at Rackspace, RealCo Seed Fund Program Mentor, is a San Antonian who has spent the majority of his career at Rackspace. He grew up in different roles within the company including sales, marketing, and service delivery. His career has taken him to London where he ran international sales.
He spent a short time at a healthcare cloud startup but remained in touch with Rackspace and eventually decided to return. He is currently responsible for sales in the Americas as well as operations, marketing, customer care, and service delivery. Scott shares his deep content knowledge as a distinguished mentor for the RealCo Seed Fund Program.
What was your greatest life accomplishment and what did it teach you?
I played a significant role in the growth of Rackspace, taking the company from 10 million to several billion. I started there when I was 20 years old, and watched the company grow from a tiny company to a company of thousands of people. In hindsight, you can not remember all that you learned but you know that you are a much different person at the end.
Joost Augusteijn is a Brand Strategist at Rabobank, the Dutch bank that has the highest credit rating in the world of all privately owned banks, awarded by the rating agencies Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, Fitch and DMRS.
Moreover, the cooperative structure is an important asset and selling point for Rabobank.
I talked with Joost Augusteijn about the bank’s sponsoring strategy, creating of brand preference and internal branding.
In the Netherlands and abroad, Rabobank became the “official sponsor” of three-sport disciplines cycling, field hockey, and equestrianism and has created long-term partnerships with top sports teams.
Creating Shared Value (CSV) is a recently developed corporate strategy that encourages leading companies to identify new areas of growth and profitability while building sustainable, scalable solutions for challenges such as access to healthcare, education, and nutrition, alleviating poverty, while simultaneously promoting environmental sustainability.
This strategy was introduced by Harvard strategy guru Michael Porter in cooperation with Mark Kramer in January 2011. Since then, this concept was widely discussed and some leading businesses are already implementing it.
One of these leading companies is DSM who recently rebranded itself and put sustainability and Creating Shared Value at the heart of its business strategy. I asked Jos van Haastrecht, DSM Branding Director to join me in writing this post so we can hear firsthand what CSV is all about and, more importantly, how DSM communicates this strategy to stakeholders and shareholders.
Bea Stanford: Why does DSM believe that its continued success will be driven by creating shared value; what are the most important projects (products) and innovations? (more…)
Kasia Bialek works in a senior position for one of the most popular global brands and to get this job, she became an expat and relocated to Germany. Like many highly-skilled expats, she has a higher income as a result from that move and she definitely advanced her career. We talked with Kasia Bialek about challenges and rewards of moving abroad for a better career path.
Q. Kasia, 5 years ago you moved abroad to pursue your career. Since then you got promoted, increased your earnings, and improved your work-life balance.
Why did you decide to leave your country, Poland?
Well, I didn’t plan it; I was quite happy at my last position in Poland but realized that I had achieved everything that was possible in my last position within the company. I am the kind of person who needs and likes challenges and loves to learn new things. I was at the stage that I should start to look for a new job.
Then I got the possibility to move to our headquarters to Germany. It was a chance that life brought me. I could have chosen to start to look for a new job in Poland or use this opportunity, stay in touch with the people I knew, and start an international career. I chose the second option.
Q. People say, changing a job is stressful, and changing a job and a country seems like the most difficult challenge you can take in your work life. Is that so? (more…)
Jean-Marc Vogel is a well-known sales executive who carries quite a few years of experiences specifically in the Strategic Alliances domain. He exerted his expertise successfully during the past decades BMC Software, Oracle, Mercury Interactive, CAST, and HP Software.
Jean-Marc received several awards in the categories Best Sales Results and Best Alliance Manager. Currently, he holds the position of Director of Strategic Partnerships at eNovance. He simultaneously is one of the founders and treasurer-honorary president Adalec (the French Association for Alliances & Channel Directors.
Jean-Marc shared his extensive work experiences on building partnerships and strategic alliances. He is a skillful sales executive and I have learned quite a deal from him working on many accounts for quite a while. Our chat was long so I will publish this in two sections.
We conducted the following interview with Jean-Marc Vogel:
Q: What is Strategic Alliances all about? From your field experiences, how can we make a partnership successful?
We recently talked with Hans de Gier, a founder and director of SyncForce, SurveyWorld and Ranking Brands about challenges and best practices for managing visual identity of global brands.
Please tell me more about the SyncForce platform. How does it help brand owners manage the brand?
Hans de Gier: For companies with a strong brand, communicating in a consistent manner is important for their continuing existence. However, with geographically separated teams and external vendors, having a centralized brand asset management solution accessible to all can be a challenge. (more…)
Els Versluis is a Marketing Director of the Lely Group, an innovative agriculture company that supports dairy farmers with the best machinery that allows them to be more effective. Think about milking robots, feeding systems or harvesting machines. Check out this video about Lely Milking Robots:
I talked with Els about the upcoming agricultural innovation in relation to “How to feed the world in 2050”. The Lely Group is one of the 4 initiators.
The world population is expected to reach 9 to 10 billion people by 2050, and we understand that in order to organize the production and distribution of food supplies for all these people will be a challenge that needs to be addressed very soon. The agricultural sector is facing both challenges and opportunities, says Els Versluis.
Séverine Lemoine is an experienced HR manager. She had accumulated experiences working in a variety of companies either at HR departments or companies providing HR services. Working as an HR consultant today, she accompanies small and medium businesses to build and develop an HR culture and policy that corresponds to future stakes of the company: personnel and payroll administration, social environment, legal procedures, coaching and audit.
The Startup Atelier (TSA) had a pleasant time with Séverine discussing ABC’s of Human Resources for Start-ups. She answered my questions on various topics for HR in France and SMEs. Here is what I gathered.
The Startup Atelier (TSA): Could you say a few words about your activity?
Séverine Lemoine (SL): We help SMEs to develop HR expertise and to ensure social and administrative monitoring. Even though HR axis is sometimes forgotten in SMEs, it is, in fact, a true occupation. There are all kinds of subtle details especially with recent frequent changes in laws and regulations. Companies can be easily sanctioned if legal follow-ups and social fees are not applied properly leading to serious consequences which can be quite important for enterprise economics.
We assisted a relatively small start-up to develop an interactive solution for their educational programs in the US. Their HR implications were not significant but as their products will reach bigger audiences, their HR systems must be in correct order. And that’s where we come in.
TSA: There are multiple choices for hiring staff in France, from CDI (permanent contract) to CDD (limited time contract). CDI is not very popular when we have our heads in the sand trying to build the company with lots of ambiguities in near future. Therefore, many opt-in for more flexible choices such as CDD and freelances. What are the points to take into account when start-ups engage in such solutions?