“The agility and creativity of the teams open up new possibilities for us”
Caroline Roullet, CMO of VivaTech
1/ What do your days as a confined Com Director, still, in confinement, look like?
Despite the postponement - announced on March 19 - of our event, the days are dense and well-paced. Between family organization, the child's homework, and the professional mission, the balance is not simple. But you end up finding your rhythm, especially thanks to the collaborative tools that we were already using, like Google Drive or Slack. Maintaining a permanent link with my entire team that is being tested for containment, is fundamental to me. I regularly organize a “good morning marketing”, a virtual breakfast on a voluntary basis, it helps boost the morale of the troops! They are more than ever showing creativity, commitment, and energy. I’m very proud of the team.
2 / In terms of communication, what were your priorities while announcing the postponement of the event?
Indeed, we had to manage a completely new context. It was obviously an extremely difficult decision to make and a very disappointing situation for the whole team because all the signals were green and we had all the cards in hand to make an exceptional edition to celebrate our 5 years. The Covid-19 agenda decided otherwise, postponing this 5th edition to spring 2021. We wanted to be as transparent as possible in our communication via all our levers: press, social networks, newsletters, website ... and we took the time to inform all our partners. VivaTech benefited from great solidarity on their part which I would like to salute. Journalists in France and abroad and media partners have also been very kind and comforting. They support us and want to participate in the 5th edition in 2021.
3 / What are your communication challenges and actions for the coming months?
Our challenge, now and in the coming months, is more than ever to foster a positive vision of Tech, carried by plural actors, and to help shape a more sustainable and inclusive world. VivaTech, therefore, remains active despite the postponement. In particular, we continue to support the development of startups in this difficult period. In concrete terms, thanks to the organization of open innovation challenges with our major partners, VivaTech allows several hundred startups to get in touch, at a good level, with potential customers and partners to innovate together. VivaTech is for them a huge business "accelerator", it's 3 to 6 months of prospecting! We have also launched a “Recovery challenge”, which consists of sourcing the numerous initiatives of the ecosystem: solutions and services to preserve health, to contribute to the recovery of the economy, and to help people take care of themselves and others. The first results are very promising.
4 / Do you have a precise idea of the next PR actions aimed at the media?
Our mission is to mobilize and inspire our communities despite this extraordinary context. In April, we launched a series of papers on disruptive innovations, in partnership with McKinsey, and several media. We, therefore, contact newsrooms in France and abroad to draw their attention to particularly inventive start-ups with solutions and offer them angles of subjects related to the COVID-19 and post-crisis context. Media coverage / PR is a key element for startups. Their highlighting facilitates their development and the conclusion of deals.
5 / What will you be doing during the confinement?
This tempo is obviously unusual and we will take the opportunity to review some of our processes and tools. In particular, we will be overhauling our CRM system and building up the editorial content of our digital channels. We will also and above all take advantage of it to reinvent ourselves, capitalize both on the new uses that we observe, and our know-how from the 4 previous editions. For the past few weeks, we have also had a newsroom for the press and influencers. This is the first brick and we are looking carefully at the new features offered by our partner Epresspack.
6 / What are the lessons that you draw from this extraordinary crisis?
What struck me was the capacity and the speed with which the tech ecosystem mobilized to contribute with innovations and concrete solutions at the service our economies and our societies. It is also the strength of the collective and the mutual aid that I have seen in all the VivaTech teams. We have been very agile and creative, opening news fields of possibilities! Finally, there is the importance of the human bond, of keeping in touch with the communities. I admit that despite my current ultra-connected lifestyle, I look forward to seeing my loved ones and my team and talking with them first-hand. A-Zoom aperitif will never replace an aperitif with friends or colleagues at the local bar.