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18/12/2019

#INTERVIEWALUMNI - XAVIER GAUDEMET (BSB'2012): "IN PRINTEMPS, I'M ALREADY PREPARING FOR CHRISTMAS... NEXT YEAR!"

Brand Culture Project Manager - Printemps Group

#INTERVIEWALUMNI - XAVIER GAUDEMET (BSB'2012): "IN PRINTEMPS, I'M ALREADY PREPARING FOR CHRISTMAS... NEXT YEAR!"

Who are you, Apart from Brand Culture Project Manager at Printemps?

My name is Xavier, 33 years old, I am originally from the Paris region and live in Paris. I am someone who is passionate about my job, but also about marketing and history.

And what do you do for a living... professionally?

I'm in charge of the "Brand Culture" department at Printemps. My mission is to develop the brand identity of the company, along several lines. First of all, work on a brand platform that will define its vision, mission, strategy, values, personality, are all the elements and codes that must make Printemps unique for its customers, then deploy it in the company so that employees can appropriate it and make it real for our customers. There is also work on the brand's storytelling, and in particular on all major operations such as the one during the Christmas period, with the aim of emerging from the competition. Finally, a last element of my mission is about preserving the legacy of Printemps, with the idea of being inspired by it and being able to pass it on to future generations.

What do you like best about your job?

What's really interesting about what I do is telling stories. For example, we are currently preparing the Christmas story for next year! I find that being in the long term makes the relationship to what we do even stronger.

A word about your career between BSB and your current job?

This was done in a very linear fashion. When I was at BSB, I did my internships at Le Printemps on different jobs, as Assistant CRM Project Manager, i.e. the management of loyalty programs, and then in the Communication department. And then I was hired directly after my degree at the Marketing & Communication Department of Printemps, in Paris.

If you had to define Le Printemps to a child?

Le Printemps is a very large store, known and recognized all over the world. It is a monument but also a place of experience and emotions: when a customer enters one of our stores, we want them to feel as good as on a beautiful spring day in Paris.

A striking anecdote to tell?

We organize behind-the-scenes guided tours of the store on Boulevard Haussmann, in partnership with an agency specializing in unusual visits called Cultival. Sometimes the customers are very moved, remembering childhood memories, for example in front of the Christmas windows. It's something touching and shows the very deep attachment that clients can have and the degree of emotion that one is able to create.

The last great pride you should have celebrated more?

We have been working for more than a year on a new brand platform, which I mentioned earlier. This is an enormous task that we have just completed and that we are preparing to deploy to all our employees. I'm quite proud of it, but we haven't taken the time to celebrate it properly yet!

The biggest difficulty you've had so far with Le Printemps?

I haven't experienced any major difficulties as such, but Le Printemps is a very old company - it will be 155 years old in 2020 - so it's always a bit complicated to get this type of organization with its deep-rooted culture and history moving. But even if it's never easy with this kind of big ship, we always need to move forward, to question ourselves, to innovate... and I can say that we get there by dint of perseverance!

What’s a game changer, according to you?
He or she is someone who has a vision of the future, who knows where he/she wants to go, but who also knows how to listen to his/her environment, customers and teams, and who knows how to adapt and make his/her vision a reality by taking into account everyone's feelings.

Someone who inspires you?

I am thinking of the founder of Printemps, Jules Jaluzot, and his successor Gustave Laguionie. They were very strong personalities in the history of our company, who were able to drive an incredible dynamic, share their passion while adapting to the changing world, and who still strongly mark the culture of the company today.

Your morning routine to have the energy to change things every day?

The first thing I do every day is to look at world news, but also at fashion, trade, economics. I'm always on the lookout for new actors, new concepts. For this reason, reading the Fashion Network newsletter every day feeds me well.

An event that convinced you to take part in changing things?

Perhaps the celebration of 150 years of Le Printemps in 2015. It was a great moment of history and sharing that inspired us to do even better for the future. Plus, it was one of the first projects I contributed to, it gave me a real boost for the future.

What kind of student were you?

I was rather calm, probably more than average, quite studious and finally not much of a party person. On the other hand, I was very involved in group projects. For example, I remember working on a concept of business creation, around the theme of "what the world lacks", and it was particularly inspiring. This is one of the moments at BSB where I really felt the desire to be an actor of change.

If you could re-live your student days, what would you do differently?

To be honest, I'm pretty happy with my journey, I don't think I would change anything.

What is the course of study or action you took as a student that has served you the best?

What was super important was my semester abroad in Berlin, for the cultural openness it brought me, and working with very different people. And then of course there are my internships at Printemps, especially the gap year, which led me to what I'm doing today.

A meeting that inspired you during your career at BSB?

My marketing professor, Diana Bratu. She gave me marketing elements, especially around brand identity, which made a big impression on me!

What's your next big ambition?

It means deploying our famous new brand platform to all Printemps employees, more than 3,000 people, and bringing it to life to support the Printemps of tomorrow.

Any advice or message to give to a BSB student?

Be driven by your passion, don't choose a default route, follow your instincts, and go for it! To flourish, you have to turn your passions into a profession, that's how it works.

More info on Spring:

·       Website: printempsfrance.com

·       Instagram: @printempsofficial

·       Facebook: @Spring

·       Twitter: @Spring

To take part in a guided tour: Cultival



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