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I N F O the magazine for anglo-french business french chamber of commerce in great britain


march / april 2013


the chamber’s position on the prospect of a uk withdrawal from the eu

is the city of london under threat from a european banking union?

is e-commerce the death of the high street and the future of retail?

minutes with... robin southwell, ceo of eads uk

maxime holder, chairman of paul uk, on the family business

launch of the chamber’s legal forum


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Arnaud Vaissié President, French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain, and Chairman & CEO, International SOS



his issue of INFO focuses on e-commerce and digital marketing. For all the Group of 20 nations, the web economy is a significant growth area and its value is expected to double by 2016, according to a study by Boston Consulting Group, supported by Google. The UK is an acknowledged leader in e-commerce, not only in Europe, but in the world, with the Internet contributing over 8% to its GDP, a larger share than any of the other G20 nations. In fact, UK consumers spent an estimated £78 billion online in 2012, making the Internet economy bigger than the healthcare, construction and education sectors, and the market is forecast to grow 12% this year. It goes without saying that e-commerce cannot be ignored, and as the world turns increasingly digital, it is commercially essential for businesses not only to be online, but also to do it well. The articles in the Focus section of this magazine are written from a wide range of expert and business perspectives, looking at the various issues and trends, success stories – and pitfalls – of e-commerce and digital advertising, which continue to evolve at a rapid pace. With regard to the Chamber’s activities, the first event of the year was a CEO Breakfast attended by just over 100 guests. All were captivated by Chairman of PAUL UK, Maxime Holder’s fascinating and frank account of his family business and how it is managing international expansion while staying true to its French roots and family values. The Chamber has also recently launched a Legal Forum, which promises to be a dynamic addition to the existing stable of forums and clubs. We have just published the bilingual version of our Cross-Cultural booklet, entitled Light at the End of the Tunnel / La Piège de la Ressemblance, which is an extremely practical tool for gaining insights into the cultural differences between the French and British in business. The English version was very well received – purchased by numerous corporates working internationally as well as by various official and government bodies – and we hope that this bilingual edition will further enhance our work at the Chamber of helping to build successful business relations and partnerships between French and British companies. I

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 - info - march / april

Contents issue 205 / March - April 2013


Ambassador’s brief

Statement of the CCFGB President

9 Let’s not enlarge the Channel

Portland Perspective

10 Is the City of London under threat from a European banking union?

5 Minutes with...

12 Robin Southwell, CEO of EADS UK

News in the City

15 Taxing issues 16 City Profile: Mark Bomer, BDO


18 Financial Times celebrates 125th anniversary 19 Alstom developing smarter energy grid


Financial Times celebrates 125th anniversary



Mobile take off


Spotlight on SMEs and Startups

business online

Success Story


and the future of retail?

40 7 insights for an e-commerce strategy 41 The how and why of moving from effectiveness to efficiency

42 Getting to grips with Big Data

and how to extract value from it systems with Aston University and building a 44 New trends in digital advertising: new substation in Scotland personalisation, retargeting and real-time bidding 20 Capgemini leads UK IT in environmental leadership, audit shows 46 Delivering on promises PSA Peugeot Citroën recognised for its 48 The digital revolution is gathering environmental performance speed – but can the law keep up? 21 Beefeater Gin gets green light for London’s 50 Mobile take off first ever gin distillery visitor centre 51 The art of selling ‘experiences’ online 24 Hello, goodbye... 53 Journey of discovery: an SME experience of 25 Hats off to... building an online presence 27 Site secured for new French school in London Managing Director: Florence Gomez Editor-in-Chief: Keri Fuller Communications Co-ordinator: Hannah Medioni Graphic Designer: Prima Hevawitharane Advertising & Sales: Lorraine Germaix Publications Assistant: Melonie Gault Subscription: INFO is published every 2 months Printed by: Headley Brothers Ltd

Contributors: Eric Abensur, Bruno Allard, Stéphanie Betts, Oliver Bray, Eric Charriaux, Matt Cheevers, Mark Field, Dinis Guarda, Thibault Lavergne, Jean-Pierre Le Borgne, Elliott Mallows, James Millett, Thibaut Munier, Helen McTiffen, Marie Soudré-Richard, Marie Taillard, Arnaud Vaissié, Francois-Xavier Watine & Anthony Webster Cover: © CCFGB / Prima Hevawitharane

55 Digital vision: a new way of engaging with a new customer



58 What’s on 60 Book reviews 61 Wine press

34 Nathalie Gaveau on


Maxime Holder: The life of P

54 Next generation: putting a traditional family

30 opens world’s largest data centre 31 1000mercis wins e-marketing award 32 Little Fashion Gallery launches its own label

37 E-commerce timeline 38 Is e-commerce the death of the high street

Arnaud Vaissié: Let’s not enlarge the Channel

News @ the Chamber 63 64 New members 66 CEO Breakfast: The life of P 68 Ambassador’s brief: The outlook for Europe and the challenges for France and the UK

69 SME & Entrepreneurs Club: Pitch perfect 70 The launch of the Legal Forum 71 HR Forum: Resourcing and retention strategies

72 Climate Change Forum: Strategies for

sustainability: alignment with core business

73 Climate Change Forum: Making the UK electricity market reforms a success

74 Finance Forum: Financial regulations: review and perspectives

75 Forthcoming events 76 Forthcoming Patron events 76 Forthcoming forums & clubs

Distribution: French Chamber members, FrancoBritish decision makers, Business Class lounges of Eurostar, Eurotunnel and Air France in London, Paris and Manchester Editorial and Publishing Office: French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain Lincoln House, 300 High Holborn London WC1V 7JH Tel: (020) 7092 6600; Fax: (020) 7092 6601

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Patron Members of the French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain

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Arnaud Vaissié President, French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain

Let’s not enlarge the Channel Prime Minister David Cameron has proposed that a referendum be held before the end of 2017, if the Conservatives win the 2015 election. The outcome is seemingly straightforward: either the ratification of a new, looser agreement, or an EU withdrawal


e, at the French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain, are concerned about the potential damage to British and French businesses if the UK were to leave the European Union (EU). Benefiting from clear strengths such as the efficiency of its labour market, the UK remains at the top of European Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rankings with 679 FDI projects in 2011 which resulted in 29,888 new jobs. Britain is followed by Germany (597 / 17,276) and France (540 / 13,164).1 In this context, let’s bear in mind the benefits that derive from EU membership. First, the single market of 500 million people provides a common set of rules so that business does not have to comply with 27 different sets of regulations. Second, British exports to other EU countries account for 47.5% of the UK’s exports of goods and services.2 Trade with the US, by contrast, constitutes 13% of UK exports. Admittedly, the history of relations between Europe and the UK has been rather complicated. Britain refused to join the European Economic Community in 1958, the Economic and Monetary Union in 1990 and the single currency in 2001. They negotiated massive opt-out clauses in areas as diverse as the Common Agricultural Policy, the legal system and taxation. Everyone remembers Margaret Thatcher’s words ‘I want my money back!’ and the 1984 rebate on the UK’s contribution to the EU budget. For almost 30 years, however, successive governments have adopted a pragmatic attitude towards the EU. They agreed to deepen the internal market, to launch the European Security and Defence Policy with France, and to get involved in energy and climate change programmes. Notwithstanding its national specificities, the UK is now an EU member in its own right. Why then reopen a discussion which has already been settled in favour of the European project? The French Chamber of Commerce promotes economic activity on both sides of the Channel, by helping French companies settle in the UK and encouraging British investment in France. With over 1,500 French subsidiaries and branches now established in the UK

Pulling out of Europe would mean that Britain would no longer be a leader, but a follower. That would lead to the nation automatically losing influence and relevance. employing 330,000 people, France is the third largest source of FDI in Britain with a stock of £67.8 billion in 2011, behind the United States (£200 billion) and the Netherlands (£114.7 billion). It is worth noting that the EU accounts for nearly 50% of the FDI in the UK.3 While trade between France and the UK has never been as flourishing, a new wave of europhobia would worry our members as it may have a negative impact on our business. First, because companies long for a stable environment to make investment, growth or employment decisions on investment. Uncertainty can only prove detrimental to our activities. Second, because the UK, which is experiencing a difficult economic recovery, needs to stay an attractive location for investors. The French Chamber of Commerce is an active supporter of the UK in the EU. Britain’s influence is needed in the EU. It brings understanding of the global competition, a consideration for the advantages of the market place and a strong interest in keeping European red tape in check. Let’s not forget that Europe is also a political power. If the UK opts out, actually, it will be enlarging the Channel. Pulling out of Europe would mean that Britain would no longer be a leader, but a follower. That would lead to the nation automatically losing influence and relevance. Those who believe in Europe need to start speaking out. I 1 Ernst & Young 2012 European attractiveness survey 2 UK-EU economic relations – key statistics, House of Commons Library 3 Office of National Statistics, MA4: Business monitor, FDI 2011

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p o rt l a n d p e r s p e c t i v e

Mark Field Member of Parliament for the Cities of London and Westminster

Is the City of London under threat from a European banking union? As Europe moves closer to a banking union, the dominance of the UK’s financial centre seems less assured, but it is Britain’s continued uncertainty over its relationship with Europe that poses greater risks for its long-term economic interests


for half of all investment banking on the European piralling borrowing costs in Spain and Italy; continent, with the UK trading twice as many euros as protests in Greece; questions over French finances; growing German unease about its liability for eurozone all the eurozone countries combined. In 2011 the UK’s debts: all these ingredients contributed to a poisonous financial services trade surplus with the EU totalled £17.6 cocktail in 2012 of deepening financial uncertainty. billion. But it is not at all clear whether this dominance can continue should the eurozone successfully complete As the UK economy limped through the last 12 its march towards fully fledged banking union. months, dire trade figures and weak confidence were blamed largely on that continental uncertainty. It has In December, European member states agreed the been of no surprise that the official line in London shape of the future Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) that will pave the way from 2014 for the European has been to welcome any moves that might precipitate the end of the eurozone crisis. The break-up of the Central Bank to oversee systemically important euro – which would undoubtedly inflict significant eurozone credit institutions. The UK, along with the short-term pain on the City of London, the UK’s famous Czech Republic and Sweden, has chosen to opt out of the SSM and has been given firm assurances over the financial district – remains the British government’s greatest immediate fear. Forget triumphalism about preservation both of the single market and non-euro the UK staying out of the single currency. Britain’s key member states’ voices over European regulation. Yet trading partners remain European. If they suffer, so the sustainability of this position remains unclear. too does the UK’s forlorn hope of These first, tentative steps towards banking union do not export-led growth. London’s position as Europe’s Nevertheless, the greater currently pose an unmanageable leading international existential threat to the UK comes threat to the UK’s lead in financial services. Nor is the single market from a successful banking and financial and business centre in immediate danger. Nevertheless, fiscal union amongst eurozone is crucial to sustaining jobs members. Before the 2008 financial and growth not just in the UK these opening stages represent the crisis, the City of London drew start of a process that poses longer but across the Continent. envious glances from Frankfurt term risks to the City of London, the UK economy and Britain’s ongoing and Paris and was the great success story of the British economy. In spite of all the upheaval membership of the Union. that followed the global credit crunch, the financial Since the single market is the biggest pull factor of and associated professional services sector by 2010 was the EU for Britain, the threat of it being undermined by still contributing 14% to the UK’s GDP, comprised 7% of a multi-speed Europe has triggered momentous debate total UK employment and contributed £63 billion in tax within the UK about whether ever-closer union between revenue. To give some idea of the extent of its domination our partners pushes Britain inevitably towards the exit door. That debate went up a gear in January when of European financial services, the City is responsible

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p o rt l a n d p e r s p e c t i v e

Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he statesmen seeking to impose a wider political would hold an in/out referendum on UK membership agenda. Talk of a transaction tax to be applied of the EU within five years. The case in favour in the throughout the EU would likely represent only the run up to such a referendum will hold so long as the UK first such salvo. We have already seen too a land grab electorate perceives its economic interests to be served by the Paris-based European Securities and Markets by EU membership. The moment that economic case Authority, which may start sabre-rattling when it diminishes, we should not be surprised if a clamour for comes to the question of which financial entities Britain’s exit from the EU quickly follows. and products pose systemic risk. To hope that the In the meantime, British domestic grandstanding UK would have any real clout in an EU with fiscally integrated eurozone members would be hopelessly risks having a significant impact on diplomatic relations with our fellow member states, potentially spurring a naïve. The City of London is only too aware of the self-fulfilling prophecy as Britain’s ability to influence risk of losing business from regulatory arbitrage, in its favour the outcome of the eurozone crisis and having benefited so handsomely in the past from US the future direction of the Union declines as a result. regulatory clampdowns on Wall Street. The Prime Minister’s position has already undermined London’s position as Europe’s leading international confidence that the UK is committed to shaping financial and business centre is crucial to sustaining Europe’s direction and has a strategy when it comes to jobs and growth not just in the UK but across the maintaining British influence. Continent. Uncertainty over The City of London boasts many this relationship with Europe, powerful competitive advantages If Britain does not act now to intensified by the prospect of over its continental counterparts ensure it has an integral role in banking union, risks making that include a skilled workforce, the UK less attractive as an European decision-making, the sophisticated legal system, deeply international centre across many risk that the single market will liquid markets and an international industries – not just financial and outlook. Many believe as a result fragment is very real indeed. professional services. that the City has the critical mass As nations in the eurozone to ensure that the UK will play a push towards closer fiscal and leading role in global finance for decades to come, no political integration, the need for the UK to have a coherent strategy towards the European Union will matter what happens on the Continent. Nevertheless, since the 2008 crash, the eurozone has understandably only intensify. If Britain does not act now to ensure it demanded greater oversight of its financial infrastructure. has an integral role in European decision-making, the Awkward questions have been raised about the ability of risk that the single market will fragment (and with it London and UK financial services regulators to prevent Britain’s incentive to remain a signed-up member of the the system silting up and whether it is sustainable club) is very real indeed. I (or desirable) for euro-denominated risk to be cleared offshore in the British capital. In turn, the City has Mark Field was elected as the MP for the Cities of questioned how long it might feasibly avoid being London and Westminster constituency in 2001, infected by the numerous directives being churned and has since been re-elected twice. He takes a out by the EU to create common financial standards special interest in economic matters, foreign trade without its global competitiveness being fundamentally and international development, and is currently Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups damaged. Those question marks only multiply with each on Venture Capital and Private Equity. Mark is the step closer to eurozone banking union, putting at risk youngest MP appointed by the Prime Minister to the the City’s global status. Intelligence and Security Committee, chaired by Sir History also teaches Britain that economic Malcolm Rifkind, which oversees and scrutinises the upheavals are often regarded as too good an work of Britain’s intelligence services. opportunity to waste for ambitious European ABOUT PORTLAND Portland is a leading communications consultancy, trusted by some of the world’s most successful organisations and high-profile individuals to advise on communications, engagement, and public affairs. With an 80-strong team recruited from the highest levels of the media, politics and government; offices in London, New York and Nairobi; and a global partner network; we have a track record of helping our clients achieve their goals in the UK and internationally. For more information about Portland’s services please visit, email, or telephone +44 (0)20 7842 0123.

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5 m i n u te s w ith ...

Robin Southwell As CEO of EADS UK, a Patron member of the French Chamber, Robin Southwell, heads the UK office of the European aerospace and defence giant, comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter

Your career has mainly been in the aerospace industry. What was it that sent you into aerospace?

I read history and economics at university, neither of which you would think would equip you to join this industry, but my first job was actually negotiating aircraft and equipment contracts for BAE Systems and so the twin skills I got from those subjects stood me in good stead as a contract negotiator. I am extremely comfortable that I am not an engineer in EADS because it is really important that you have a breadth of expertise within a company and I can provide a different input – think things in a different way – in what is ostensibly an engineering-based generic company. But it was the job itself, not the industry that first attracted me. The idea of travelling around the world, negotiating contracts from the age of 22 was a challenge that I relished and I had a great five years doing that. You joined EADS as CEO of Airtanker, and were responsible for securing the largest military PFI in UK history. What was that?

Airtanker was a new company that was formed to bid for the UK’s largest private finance initiative (PFI) to provide the Royal Air Force with large aircraft logistic support, be it freighting, passenger, or perhaps more specialist air-to-air refuelling, over a period of 25 years. It was important for the company because it created data with a flagship customer from which we have won just about every subsequent contract that we bid for. What are EADS UK’s operations and its role within the Group?

We build the wings for every Airbus, including those of the A400M, and many of the complex sub-systems as well. In addition to that, we are at the heart of the UK’s cyber secure communications industry; we support many helicopters that work over the North Sea, and supply most of the helicopters used for police and ambulance services; we are also the UK’s space industry, 12 - info - march / april

supporting both military and civil applications; and we have a number of joint ventures: Atlas (underwater warfare) and MBDA, which is the UK and France’s missile industry. We probably have the broadest spectrum of activities of any defence-aerospace company in the UK. How important is the UK to EADS?

EADS is first and foremost a commercial company with four home strategic markets of which the UK is one (the others being France, Germany and Spain). EADS is one of the great examples of what does work in Europe. Is the UK’s position within the EU important for the future of EADS UK?

When it comes to trade, the UK is quite simply at the heart of Europe and hence we need to be very careful in considering any great change to that status. Europe can work together and EADS is a practical, proven example of that. Will the failure of the merger between EADS and BAE Systems last year mean that the UK will start losing out on work on the next generation Airbus aircraft and other aerospace and defence projects?

I see absolutely no linkage to the failed merger and our strategic ambitions in the UK. EADS is quite simply good for the UK. The UK has represented real growth in all the key determinants, be it turnover, employees or exports. EADS’ approach to the UK is driven purely by the expertise here, the support of governments and customers, and I see no issue in that area. EADS UK is one of Britain’s biggest manufacturing employers, generating 140,000 jobs directly and indirectly. Is this a peak or is there scope for growth?

Across the breadth of our operations there will always be variations in how the business develops. In cyber we have an exciting opportunity to develop some real knowledge and expertise. Space continues to grow and there has been terrific government support

5 m i n u t e s w i t h r obi n s ou t h w e l l

requirements and building to cost as well as capability. Life is going to be difficult for some time into the future and we need to get the right balance between cost effectiveness and capability. You have said that the UK plays a leading role in terms of innovation and R&D for EADS – what projects in particular has it lead?

Robin Southwell

for that. Our commercial helicopter business was affected by the credit crunch but is now recovering and we will shortly start delivering upgraded Pumas to the Army. And of course, our jewel in the crown, Airbus continues to grow as production rates are either maintained or increased. Why is it that Airbus wings are made in the UK?

The UK has a depth of expertise in this area of aerospace engineering technology – an understanding of aerodynamics and airflow and the ability to engineer this into world-leading wings and associated systems. It is core to our business in the UK. Defence budgets have been subject to spending cuts, but defence needs, if anything, are increasing. How can EADS meet the needs of a military market with less money to spend?

We have to ensure that our products are both affordable and what the customer needs so the focus will be on really understanding the customer’s

The UK’s wing technology is regarded as the best in the world and we look to remain at the very leading edge of aerodynamics, flow and all the technologies associated with the next generation of air frames. In Eurocopter, our helicopter command & control and sensor systems are very well regarded. In Cassidian we’ve invested a lot of money in being foremost in cyber security and secure communications. Our space satellites are very successful and we’ve recently launched a number of military satellites – we deliver a through-life support of them in our paradigm of activities. The technology of our MBDA missile system is developed jointly with France to serve the needs of both countries. More generically, we’re looking at developing additive layer manufacturing processes to make this country a world leader at agile manufacturing. What is your role as President of ADS?

ADS is the industry lobby group and I aim to provide effective strategic leadership for the sector as a whole. The job of ADS is to present to stakeholders, particularly government, a coherent unified approach to allow a dialogue and partnership to sustain what is the world’s second largest aerospace sector. You have been appointed UK Business Ambassador by Prime Minister David Cameron. What do you do in this capacity?

This is to support the UK and its international trade and export activities. To this end I am sometimes asked for my opinion and go on various trade missions. I went to the Middle East on a cyber export drive last year and accompanied the Prime Minister on the trade delegation to India in February. I KF info - march / april - 13

Still guiding the way for global business.

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n e ws i n t h e ci t y

Taxing issues At a time of economic austerity, when the public purse is empty and both businesses and citizens are feeling the pinch, tax is a sore point. Who is paying what is coming under intense scrutiny, as is a global tax system that needs to be brought into the 21st century

any salvos have been fired against corporate ‘tax avoiders’ in the debate about how much (or little) corporation tax is paid by some international companies with operations in the UK and whether they are complying with the letter but not necessarily the spirit of the law. Three US multinationals – Starbucks, Amazon and Google – have been hauled in front of the House of Common’s Public Accounts Committee and accused of aggressive tax avoidance schemes whereby they place brands and intellectual property in low-tax shelters and export profits to minimise tax payments in the UK. ‘We’re not accusing you of being illegal, we are accusing you of being immoral,’ Chair of the Committee Margaret Hodge told the senior executives of these companies. Fuelling the flames are calls from UK companies, high street retailers in particular, for the government to deliver a level playing field on tax, so that UK businesses are not shouldering a disproportionately heavy tax burden, especially at a time when they are struggling to keep their heads above water. It is seen as a question of fairness. David Cameron even found traction for the topic at the World Economic Forum in Davos, calling for taxavoiding corporates to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’, a thinly veiled allusion to Starbucks. He has pledged that Britain will use its presidency of the G8 this year to push for a co-ordinated international approach to the problem. The multinationals subject to this intense scrutiny insist they are complying with laws that governments could change if they wished, and are exercising their free market right to maximise profits for shareholders within the legal framework that exists, paying applicable taxes, but weaving creative circuitry through any available loopholes. Turning the tables on their accusers they point out that governments are responsible for creating incoherent tax policies and tax systems that provide incentives for base erosion

© flcikr/odetothebigsea (Paul Sturgess)


and profit shifting. Nevertheless, tax avoidance in this day and age is increasingly perceived as being bad for business. Starbucks agreed voluntarily to pay £20 million in ‘extra tax’ over the next two years, amid reports of customer boycotts. And Barclays has closed its highly profitable but controversial tax restructuring unit, now seen as one of the main reasons for the damage done to its reputation. Actually changing the law is a much harder task than berating companies for lacking morality, but heightened pressure on governments means that the issue is gaining momentum. UK Chancellor George Osborne has promised to lead an international effort to bring global tax rules into the 21st century, and is taking co-ordinated action with the French and German finance ministers. Cogs have started moving – the UK will be looking at possible reforms of ‘transfer pricing’ rules on allocating taxable profits between countries, France has taken on the task of determining tax jurisdiction, particularly in the context of e-commerce, and Germany is working on preventing erosion of the corporate tax base, honing in on the gaps between national tax laws and preferential tax regimes. Recommendations for reform have been outlined by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and with its detailed action plan being drawn up over the next six months, change is in the air. I KF info - march / april - 15

news in the cit y


Mark Bomer Mark Bomer is the senior partner at audit, accounting and business services firm BDO in the UK, which is part of the world’s leading mid-market accountancy network and a patron member of the French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain


here is no obvious progression from a degree in Zoology to a career in accountancy, but Mark Bomer made that leap, and shrugs it off as not being unusual in the British context. ‘We are lucky in the UK: you can read almost any subject at university and a very wide range of career options remains open,’ says Mark. ‘I would advise anyone considering university to read exactly what he or she wants. Just make sure you do it well. On this occasion I did follow my own advice. I am fascinated by nature and it was a privilege to be able to spend three years at Oxford pursuing that interest. After that I needed to think about a career. Accountancy offers a fabulous introduction to business, with excellent formal training alongside a great variety of hands-on experience.’ Mark got that formal training and hands-on experience at BDO, which he joined in 1986 as a trainee in audit. His subsequent involvement in international M&A and a desire to learn a language precipitated a move to BDO Paris in 1991. ‘I think that the only way you can learn a language properly is by living in a country where that language is spoken. France was a natural choice for a simple reason: I like it,’ he says. During his 10 years in Paris, Mark not only became fluent in French, but also co-founded the French corporate finance team and became a Partner of the French firm. This experience has continued to play an important part in what he does: ‘I still advise international buyers of French assets, and I work closely with our French offices. Speaking French and being familiar with French culture and business practice is key. In my experience most difficulties that arise between British and French businesses and management teams boil down to communication, and I am lucky enough to be well-placed to bridge the gaps here.’ Returning to the UK in 2001, Mark became a Partner

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with BDO’s London corporate finance team, concentrating on providing financial due diligence services to clients, particularly on international transactions. ‘I have tended to focus on French assets,’ he says, ‘but I do think that once you learn to work between the UK and France you acquire skills which are capable of serving in many international situations. It all boils down to understanding that the way one is used to doing things is not the only way: indeed there may be quite different approaches that work better. That, in my view, is the key to working successfully across nationalities.’ Despite the market trend for increasing specialisation, particularly in specific sectors, Mark has tried to resist becoming too specialist. ‘Clients believe that they need advisors who specialise in their sector. That is an error in my view. Advisors bring value to the table through their technical expertise and commercial experience – so corporate finance in my case. I think I can bring greater value if I have experience across lots of sectors and have seen a diverse range of situations.’ In 2011, Mark became BDO’s Senior Partner, and now inevitably takes on fewer projects. What has been keeping him busy is the imminent merger of BDO, which is the UK’s sixth-largest audit and consulting firm by sales, with PKF, the ninth biggest. The merger will create a company with sales of close to £400 million and a workforce of 3,500. Mark explains: ‘We will consolidate our position as the leading accountancy firm focused on the mid-market – increasingly true for the UK, but, importantly, even stronger across the world, where we have comparable market standing across over 135 countries. No one else can match that. It sets us apart in an otherwise grey market, and gives us the initiative and momentum that will help us to grow in an environment which we expect to remain challenging.’ I KF

news in the cit y

||| The head of the Bank of England’s new financial regulator has been named as Andrew Bailey, who also becomes the central bank’s deputy governor for prudential regulation. As chief executive of the Prudential Regulation Authority, which comes into existence on 1 April, he has been given the task of maintaining the ‘safety and soundness’ of Britain’s banks, building societies and insurance companies. An unprecedented amount of muscle has been given to the central bank under Britain’s new regulatory regime with this new arm and a near doubling in the size of its staff. Andrew Bailey has worked at the Bank of England since 1985 and is currently seconded to the Financial Services Authority, where he heads prudential supervision.‘His leadership will be instrumental in shaping a much-needed cultural change at the regulator, moving away from the failed box-ticking exercises of the Financial Services Authority towards more judgment-led

© flcikr/Howzey

Andrew Bailey takes charge of new UK regulatory arm

regulation,’ said Andrew Tyrie, Chair of the House of Commons’ Treasury Committee, which will hold an appointment hearing for him in March. I KF

AAA downgrade for the UK ||| For the first time since 1978, the UK has lost its triple A rating, as credit-rating agency Moody’s reduced it to an Aa1 amidst expectations of sluggish growth, leaving Canada and Germany as the only major economies to hold AAA ratings. Although a credit downgrade can make it more expensive for a government to borrow money, this has not been the case for the US and France, which lost their top ratings

in August 2011 and November 2012, respectively, and the impact on the UK economy is expected to be negligible – Business Secretary Vince Cable dismissed it as ‘largely symbolic’. However, there are fears it will intensify downward pressure on sterling, and Chancellor George Osborne is being called upon to supplement his deficit reduction plan with supplyside reforms to stimulate the economy. I KF

Starting ‘em young ||| Financial education looks set to become part of the national curriculum in England from 2014. The Department for Education has released draft proposals to teach pupils aged 11-14 ‘the functions and uses of money, the importance of personal budgeting, money management and a range of financial products and services’ as part of citizenship lessons, while older

children will be taught about ‘wages, taxes, credit, debt, financial risk and a range of more sophisticated financial products and services’ as part of maths. Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of financial education charity pfeg, has applauded the move, describing financial education as essential for equipping young people with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need. I KF

‘Pay-by-tweet’ service launched ||| A new shopping channel has opened up on Twitter with the introduction of a ‘pay-by-tweet’ service that allows American Express cardholders to buy products by sending a short message, literally turning a tweet into an actual transaction. Twitter users now will be able to respond to an offer from a merchant and make a purchase without leaving the Twitter site. This integration of a leading payment mechanism into Twitter is one of the most

ambitious attempts yet to build e-commerce directly into a social media site. So far retailers’ attempts to stimulate transactions through a Facebook presence have proved disappointing, but companies still view social media as a potential source of new revenue in the long term. While Twitter itself will not share in revenue from the transactions, it is expected to benefit from increased advertising surrounding the e-commerce activity. I KF info - march / april - 17

news Compiled by Hannah Medioni


© David Parry / FT

Financial Times celebrates 125th anniversary

One of the FT’s commemorative hot air balloons is launched near Tower Bridge in London

||| The Financial Times (FT) is celebrating 125 years as one of the world’s leading business news organisations. ‘Since 1888, the FT has grown to become the world’s most authoritative source of global business and political news, providing a trusted guide to international affairs, and we are now read by more people than ever before,’ said FT CEO John Ridding. ‘During our 125year history, much has changed, especially with the digital disruption of recent years. But there are some crucial constants – the quality of our journalism and the innovation we have brought to bear in adapting to the changing demands of our readers and in creating a dynamic multi-channel business.’ FT editor Lionel Barber said, ‘The Financial Times has been the gold standard in business and financial journalism for 125 years and we intend to do the same for the next 125.’ Over the course of the year, FT 125 and FT tablet app18 - info - march / april

shaped hot air balloons will fly over global financial hubs and the FT’s headquarters in London will be lit pink to commemorate the milestone. John Ridding and Lionel Barber will host anniversary receptions in London and New York, and will ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on 30 April. The Empire State Building will be lit FT pink on 1 May. The FT was founded in 1888 and the first edition of the newspaper was printed on 13 February. Since turning the newspaper pages pink in 1893 the FT has continued to innovate and evolve, becoming global and pioneering new business models, products and services. The FT now serves more readers across the world than ever before and is recognised internationally for its authoritative news, commentary and analysis. The Financial Times is a Patron member and partner of the French Chamber, which is also celebrating an anniversary this year – its 13oth. I


Air France consolidates regional carriers into HOP! ||| Air France is consolidating its regional subsidiaries Brit Air, Regional and Airlinair into one carrier called HOP!. From 31 March onwards the new brand will be used on all regional domestic flights currently served by the three airlines excluding flights from and to Paris Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly.

This restructuring of the Air France Group’s short and medium-haul operations is being undertaken within the framework of Transform 2015, which will create equilibrium and complementarity between the Group’s three areas of activity: Air France, HOP! and Transavia France. I

Alstom developing smarter energy grid systems with Aston University and building a new substation in Scotland ||| Joint scientific research into power grid efficiency Alstom has joined forces with Aston University scientists to further its research into power grid efficiency in the UK and worldwide. Aston University is developing complex data theory for Alstom’s UK Grid business to help the company design and build smarter, more stable and environmentally friendly energy grid networks in the future. Alstom will work with Aston’s Non-Linearity and Complexity Research Group (NCRG), which has a longestablished successful reputation in the analysis of complex data and systems using various techniques including methods adopted from statistical physics. The project was awarded via the Industrial Mathematics Knowledge Transfer Network and is part funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Contract for new substation in Scotland Alstom’s Grid business in Stafford has been awarded a £21m contract to design and build a new substation as part of the Beauly-Denny project, in Scotland. The company employs around 6,500 people across the UK, including 2,000 at its Grid business in Stafford, where it is the town’s largest employer. ‘This is a major substation build for Alstom as part of an important national project and we are pleased to have responsibility for the entire substation development process, including manufacturing,’ said Kevin Marriott, Commercial Vice President for Alstom. The company will supply air-insulated switchgear (AIS) to the substation, which is located north of Denny. Alstom engineers will also carry out associated work at a number of related substations. North Denny substation is an integral part of a new 400kV transmission line between Beauly and Denny, where it will be connected to the existing transmission network. This 220-kilometre line is designed to reinforce the power network across a

large part of Scotland. For the project, Alstom has partnered with Enterprise Utility Services. The project is due for commissioning in late 2015. I


Denny Glasgow



Map of Scotland showing the location of Beauly and Denny. The new substation just north of Denny will be part of the new Beauly-Denny transmission line being built to reinforce Scotland’s power network info - march / april - 19


Capgemini leads UK IT in environmental leadership, audit shows ||| An independent audit of its progress in meeting tough environmental objectives has resulted in Capgemini UK being awarded certification for excellence in environmental management under the European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) that is promoted by the European Commission and the UK Government and is regarded as a European ‘gold standard’. Capgemini UK is the only UK company in the IT and consulting sector to currently hold EMAS certification. Highlights of Capgemini’s latest annual environmental performance compared with the base year of 2008 include: an increase in data centre efficiency of over 20%, achieved three years ahead

of plan; a reduction in carbon emissions of 17.5%, excluding data centres, putting the company on track to achieve its target (20% reduction by end-2014) by end-2012, two years ahead of plan; a 25% reduction in office energy emissions; a 34% reduction in tonnage of waste generated; and a 61% reduction in tonnage of waste sent to landfill. Christine Hodgson, Chairman of Capgemini UK, said: ‘Our future growth will depend in part upon our ability to recognise the limits of the environment in which we operate. I am therefore pleased to note that our strong progress towards meeting our ambitious environmental objectives has once again been verified by independent external audit.’ I

PSA Peugeot Citroën recognised for its environmental performance ||| PSA Peugeot Citroën has received the Ecobest 2012 award for marketing a wide range of technologies designed to improve its vehicles’ environmental performance. The Group is once again European leader in low carbon vehicles in 2012 with average CO2 emissions of 122.5 grams per kilometre. In particular, the jury saluted the Group’s world premiere launch of HYbrid4 diesel hybrid technology as well as its marketing of micro-hybrid solutions.

Each year, the Group allocates substantial sums to reducing the CO2 emissions of the vehicles its sells with the goal of offering a clean car for every type of use. Advances in powertrain technology, combined with work to reduce vehicle weight and improve aerodynamic performance, have made it possible for the Group to lower its corporate average CO2 emissions to 122.5 grams per kilometre and meet the European Commission’s 2015 target in 2011. I

Danone brand evian® transforms London into giant playground ||| Forget about dark days and drizzly weather – Danone brand evian® helped Londoners come back swinging after the Christmas break when it installed giant snowproducing playground installations in two of the capital’s commuter hotspots. Bright pink adult-sized swings were set up in Canary Wharf and a giant see-saw was placed in Finsbury Avenue Square. Both installations featured kinetically triggered

20 - info - march / april

snow machines which rewarded playful behaviour with Alpine snow showers – the more participants played on the giant playground equipment, the more snow was generated. The installations were part of evian®’s campaign called ‘31 ways to Live young’, which aims to get the British public smiling by helping them rediscover their forgotten youth. I


Beefeater Gin gets green light for London’s first ever gin distillery visitor centre

Artist’s impression of the new gin distillery visitor centre

||| Beefeater Gin is to open London’s first ever gin distillery visitor centre. The development at the historic Beefeater gin distillery in Kennington will open later in 2013 and, for the first time, will offer visitors to the capital a unique opportunity to see a world famous gin brand being made and learn about the esteemed history of London gin. Beefeater is the only historic London Dry Gin to still be distilled in London, and capitalising on the

recent renaissance for gin in the UK capital, the new experience, named ‘Beefeater London – The Home of Gin’, will offer guests the opportunity to learn about the history of gin through a series of interactive showcases and see, touch and smell the botanicals used within the production process. The experience will culminate in the opportunity to watch the live gin production process in the distillery’s cathedral-like still house. Work will begin later this year to create the 600 square metre, two-level journey that also marks a significant milestone in the career of Desmond Payne, Master Distiller for Beefeater Gin, renowned as the world’s leading expert in gin with over 45 years experience. Desmond comments: ‘We have decided to push open the doors for the very first time and share some of those secrets with visitors to London, and locals, who are interested in seeing just how much expertise goes into making one of London’s most successful and famous brands.’ I

International SOS and EU-OSHA partner on Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2012-13 ||| International SOS has partnered with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) on its Healthy Workplaces Campaign for 2013, ‘Working together for risk prevention.’ The campaign leverages management leadership and employee participation to improve workplace health and safety. EU-OSHA states that whilst EU workplaces are safer than they have ever been, every year more than 5,500 people lose their lives as a result of workplace accidents and over 159,000 die from occupational disease. In addition to causing human suffering, these incidents cost the EU €490 billion annually. Arnaud Vaissié, Co-founder, Chairman and CEO

of International SOS explains: ‘A key focus for International SOS is to help employers fulfil their Duty of Care responsibilities, both in the home office and abroad. The Healthy Workplaces campaign underscores our mutual vision to help organisations understand and mitigate potential risks to their global workforce. It is the right thing to do from multiple standpoints; the campaign demonstrates good ethics, sustainability, corporate responsibility and fiscal efficiencies.’ Through the campaign, International SOS seeks to increase awareness and engage employers at a management-level providing information and education, training, technology, health checks and vaccination to mitigate risk. I

info - march / april - 21



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SPIE WHS lights up the Conway Tunnel in Wales ||| Over the course of a month in early 2013, SPIE engineers have been upgrading the lighting system in the westbound carriageway of Conway Tunnel. It is the first highspeed road tunnel in the UK to be equipped with new LED lights. The work has included the installation of 400 environmentally friendly and maintenance free LED lamps to replace the 1,300 existing lights. Project managers said drivers will notice the new lighting concentrates its strength on the roadway rather than lighting up the walls and roof as the present system does. Engineers have also installed 4km of new cabling and 3km of steelwork. Further work will take place in coming months but will not necessitate a lengthy closure. ‘Old lights will be taken out during routine maintenance. The eastbound tunnel will be upgraded

in the same way,’ said Colin Jones, Welsh Government technical manager. A mandatory speed restriction of 40mph through the 1,080m tunnel, opened in 1991, will be lifted when the work is finished. I

Ernst & Young launches Entrepreneur of The Year 2013 ||| The launch of the UK Entrepreneur of the Year programme, now in its 27th year globally, will recognise those who are providing growth and optimism in the economy despite the economic challenges. Last year’s award was won by Lance Uggla of global financial information services company Markit. Finalists will be announced in April, and regional finals will take place in June covering London and

Merger creates HowardKennedyFsi ||| London law firm, Howard Kennedy LLP has joined forces with Finers Stephens Innocent LLP (FSI) to create HowardKennedyFsi, positioning itself to be a pre-eminent legal adviser to businesses, entrepreneurs, their funders, wealthy individuals and families, with 25% of revenues sourced outside of the UK. The new firm employs over 350 staff including 87 Partners. Chief Executive Mark Dembovsky commented, ‘This is an exciting time for all at HowardKennedyFsi. It is fantastic that the merger is now live; we have been working very closely together over the past few months with many integration processes already under way.’ The firm plans to continue working across its three offices in London until a suitable space has been found. I

the South, the Midlands, the North and Scotland, culminating in the final in October. To enter the competition, entrepreneurs must have demonstrated risk through investing a personal financial stake in their business, either directly or through share options. The business must be based, or have its chief operations in the UK and be incorporated for two years. I Delahaye_Ad_82_62



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hello, goodbye... Rob Davies appointed CEO of Areva UK, taking over from Alain-Pierre Raynaud Robert Davies spent some 25 years in the Royal Navy, commanding three warships, followed by Budgetary and Planning appointments in the Ministry of Defence. After completing an MBA, he joined Framatome ANP (Advanced Nuclear Power) in 1995 where he lead on Services, Dismantling and Waste Management in the UK. This was followed by a period as UK Country Director for Areva NP. In 2009, he became Vice President for Areva UK where he was responsible for the development and exploitation of UK’s nuclear reactor market. Robert was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Areva UK in December 2012. I Rob Davies

Helena Kavanagh

Helena Kavanagh replaces Pierre Jeanjean as Managing Director of JCDecaux Helena has worked in out-of-home advertising for over 25 years and she has developed a broad range of expertise in various environments including Rail, Retail and Roadside. She has a wealth of experience, latterly as Commercial Director for CBS Outdoor responsible for managing all London rail advertising contracts including the London Underground. Helena was also responsible for the launch and management of CBS Outdoor’s retail presence in the UK. Prior to this she was the Development Director at Titan Outdoor (formerly Maiden Group). Helena Kavanagh joined the Executive Board at JCDecaux as Managing Director in August 2012. She is responsible for overseeing and running JCDecaux’s street furniture business across roadside and retail environments. Helena’s appointment follows the departure of Pierre Jeanjean. I

Kenneth Ramirez appointed Managing Director of Renault UK, taking over from Thierry Sybord Ken Ramirez joins Renault UK from Alliance partner Nissan where he was Managing Director of Nissan Latin America and the Caribbean, responsible for all of the Nissan and Infiniti brands’ operations in the region, covering 37 countries. Ken joined Nissan in 2002 following more than 10 years at Motorola’s Automotive Electronics and Telematics Communications groups. He has held various roles at Nissan Technical Centre North America, Nissan Technical Centre Japan, Nissan North America, Nissan Mexicana and Nissan Latin America and the Caribbean. He has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute Kenneth Ramirez of Technology and has more than 21 years of experience in the automotive industry in US, Japan, Mexico and Latin America. He has held leadership roles in Research & Development, Program Management, Corporate Planning and Marketing & Sales. Ken was born in Puerto Rico. I

Matt Cheevers becomes UK Managing Director of Voyage Privé, taking over from John Bevan Matt Cheevers has been working in the UK travel sector for the past 15 years and has been focused on the online sector for the last 10 years. He has held senior roles at Eurostar,, Teletext Holidays, He was appointed the UK Managing Director for Voyage Privé, the world’s largest members-only luxury travel club, in January 2013. I Matt Cheevers

24 - info - march / april


Hats off to... Arnaud Vaissié is made an Officier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite Arnaud Vaissié has been awarded the insignia of Officier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite for his distinguished contribution to French education abroad and in recognition of his entrepreneurship achievement as cofounder Chairman and CEO of International SOS, the world’s leading medical and travel security risk services company. He received the award from the French Ambassador to Great Britain, Mr Bernard Emié, at his Residence on 5 February 2013. As Chairman of the Collège Français Bilingue de Londres, Mr Vaissié was instrumental in setting up the new French school in Kentish town (CFBL). This is the first French secondary school to open in London since the creation of the Lycée français Charles de Gaulle in 1915. For more than 25 years, International SOS has helped organisations manage the health and security risks facing their international travellers, expatriates and local employees. The group is the worldwide leader in its field and operates with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians and 200 security specialists. I

Michele Jackson

Michele Jackson is made a Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite For the last 40 years, Michele Jackson has served her country by actively promoting and developing relations between France and the United Kingdom, working for French organisations such as the Brittany Chamber of Commerce and Promosalons. In 1987 she was appointed Deputy Manager of Promosalons UK and became General Manager of the company three years later. ‘I have always enjoyed my work and to receive the prestigious Insignes de Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite and have my life’s work recognised in such a formal manner by my country, is an absolute privilege. I feel very honoured,’ Michele said. I

Christopher Viehbacher, CEO of Sanofi, new President-elect of EFPIA Sanofi’s CEO, Christopher Viehbacher, has been selected by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) as its new president elect, replacing Sir Andrew Witty in June 2013 for a two-year term. Richard Bergström, Director General of EFPIA said: ‘Chris Viehbacher is well placed to take over the leadership of EFPIA. Chris was involved in the high-level group G10 Medicines and has shown his ability to engage with policy makers worldwide.’ Christopher Viehbacher was made a knight of the French Legion of Honour in 2003 and in 2012 received the prestigious Pasteur Foundation Award, recognising his leadership role within the pharmaceutical industry’s support of research & development. I Christopher Viehbacher

Steve Oldfield

Sanofi’s Steve Oldfield to co-chair UK Medicines Access Group Steve Oldfield, Managing Director at Sanofi UK, will work alongside the Department of Health’s Giles Denham to lead the Medicines Access Group (MAG). MAG meets four times a year to discuss high-level medicines access issues, and includes stakeholders from NICE, the National Commissioning Board and patients groups, in addition to industry and government members. Oldfield has previous experience in UK medicines access at a national level, helping to develop the National Metrics Report, which evaluated NICE-approved medicines, and their uptake within the NHS. CEO of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) Stephen Whitehead said Oldfield will do an ‘outstanding job at representing our industry’. I info - march / april - 25

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Site secured for a new French school in London A big step was taken towards making the vision for a new French school in London a reality on 1 February when the French education property trust exchanged contracts with the London Borough of Brent for the purchase of Brent Town Hall ||| An ever-burgeoning French population in the capital has meant there has long been an undersupply of secondary school places for French pupils, so four years ago, under the auspices of the French Embassy, a Plan Ecole was implemented with the objective of providing a further 1,700 places. To spearhead the project, the French Education Property Trust (FEPT) charity was formed in 2009 and three trustees appointed – Arnaud Vaissié, President of the French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain and the business brains behind it, Jean-Pierre Mustier, a banker with the essential financial acumen and Richard Fairbairn, a lawyer/solicitor with a deep understanding of the French community through his work for the Embassy and as a trustee of the French Lycée. Together they formed a formidable team with complementary talents, a great working accord and an ability to make rapid decisions. As a result of their efforts in tandem with the French Embassy, a first milestone was reached when in 2011, the 700-place Collège Français Bilingue de Londres (CFBL) opened in Kentish Town, Camden. The focus then shifted to finding a site for another school. ‘The reality of finding a location that could be used as a school with proper zoning as well as cater for more than 1,000 students in a large enough area has proven to be an extraordinarily complex task to achieve,’ says Arnaud Vaissié. This meant that Southwest London, where the French population has tended to concentrate, was not an option, so other inner London boroughs with sizeable French communities were explored. Brent was found to rank fifth, had good transport links to South Kensington and Camden, and also had a potentially ideal site in the form of Brent Town Hall, which the local authority was selling to move elsewhere.

FEPT entered a competitive bidding process with Southstudio, the same architects used for the Kentish Town school, submitting a convincing proposition of turning the existing town hall into a school while preserving the character of the magnificent Grade IIlisted, late-1930s modernist building. ‘One of the factors in the success of the bid is that the school in Kentish Town is also Grade II listed and we were able to demonstrate to Brent that we were comfortable dealing with a building of that quality and had done it before,’ says Richard Fairbairn. Indeed, many of the existing spaces lend themselves to school functions with little alteration, such as the library or even the council chamber, which would work well as a school assembly hall. In addition to refurbishment and updating, new buildings will be erected to accommodate classrooms, laboratories and other facilities. Finance for the project will be raised through corporate donations and a £40 million loan from Banque Transatlantique with a French State guarantee. A formal planning application and building tender process are now under way and FEPT expects to be in a position to begin building works before year-end to achieve the target of opening the school in September 2015. ‘This project is the fruit of a remarkable publicprivate partnership between the French Chamber, the Franco-British business community, the French Embassy and the State,’ says Arnaud Vaissié. Through a combination of good will and co-operation we have achieved something that was considered impossible just a few years ago.’ ‘It will be a huge relief to London’s French and Francophile community who want assured access to French education, and as a Collège Français Bilingue de Londres with a bilingual curriculum and critical input of British values, it will offer the best of both French and British educational models.’ I KF

From left to right: Brent Town Hall; Southstudio’s concept designs for the new school; inside the Kentish Town school

info - march / april - 27


ESCP Europe, the world’s first business school, celebrates 40 years of pan-European growth ||| ESCP Europe Business School is marking 40 years since it opened campuses in the UK and Germany, pioneering the innovative concept of cross-border business education. The opening of the new campuses coincided with the expansion of the European Economic Community to include the UK in 1973. The School led the way in building a pan-European higher education offering well before the Bologna Process created the European Higher Education Area. Thousands of students were able to split their business

education between France, Germany and the UK, and later Spain (1988) and Italy (2004). In 2013, ESCP Europe is continuing to lead the way with innovative cross-border programmes, such as the Master in Energy Management and Master in Marketing and Creativity. The business school has also developed its Executive Education offer with the Executive MBA, specialised masters degrees and tailormade programmes for companies, all of which benefit from the international locations and faculties. I

Reims Management School launches International Master in Luxury Management ||| Reims Management School and the Politecnico di Milano have combined their expertise to create a new Master in Luxury Management programme, which launches at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. The 12-month full-time programme will be taught entirely in English, in both France and Italy. The objective of the programme is to prepare managers for the challenges in the fashion and luxury markets, and has been designed in close collaboration with professionals from leading luxury brands such as Chanel, L’Oréal, Taittinger, Rémy Martin, Kempinski and Le Printemps. Split into three terms, the first part

(held in Reims) will offer a general overview of the competitive structure and business models of the luxury sector, while the second part (based both in Reims and Milan) will explore luxury value management in detail. The final part is devoted to project work that will give students a hands-on approach to relevant issues in managing luxury companies. Students will be in touch with key players from the luxury industry throughout the programme. Students will ultimately gain a double degree: an MSc from Reims Management School and a specialised master degree from the Politecnico di Milano. I

Grenoble Ecole de Management in race for the Vendée Globe… virtually! ||| As part of their final management project, a team of students at Grenoble Ecole de Management raced in the Virtual Vendée Globe – the Virtual Regatta, the world’s largest online sailing community. The students will analyse their results using ‘netnography’, a branch of ethnography which analyses the free behaviour of individuals on the Internet using online marketing research techniques to provide valuable insights. From this, managerial applications for marketing and strategy will be developed and examined. Embarking on the virtual race in November 2012, 28 - info - march / april

the students have navigated their boat around the world, devising their strategy in relation to their competitors and real-time weather reports, and logging the impact on their behaviour and that of the other players. Professor Hélène Michel, an expert in serious games, explained: ‘This experience will help them understand why 400,000 players log on several times a day to take part in a virtual race without any financial incentives, and whether it is possible to apply the same mechanisms to motivate teams and develop innovation in businesses. I


London School of Business & Finance offers executive programmes in digital marketing, e-commerce and online media ||| London is becoming a popular destination for professionals working or aiming to specialise in nontraditional, fast-growing industries such as digital marketing, e-commerce and online media. Those who can blend traditional skills with newly developed technologies are able to climb the career ladder faster. Aiming to provide professionals from traditional industries with in-depth expertise in fast-growing areas, London School of Business & Finance (LSBF) is a popular choice amongst those looking to specialise in the digital marketing industry.

To meet the needs of professionals coming from emerging technology and media hubs, LSBF has recently expanded its division of executive programmes. Covering subjects such as Internet Marketing Management and Social Media, the programmes are offered in modules which can be taken individually or as part of a broader qualification. ‘Our programmes can be taken at LSBF’s London campus as well as online – an approach that helps education fit around the life of professionals who cannot commit to a long-term, full-time programme’, says Managing Director Anton Baboglo. I

New master in Quantitative Finance and Risk Management at EISTI ||| EISTI has launched a new Master’s Degree in Quantitative Finance and Risk Management, accredited by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research. It will be taught in English and will primarily appeal to international students, ‘free movers’ or those from partner universities. The programme is divided into three parts: ‘Applied Finance’, ‘Theoretical Finance and Risk Management’ and ‘Mathematics, Numerical

London & Paris


Master in Marketing & Creativity

Analysis, Simulation and Calibration’. This Master draws on the recognised excellence of the school in quantitative finance, and makes great use of the collaboration with the Universities of ParisDauphine and Cergy-Pontoise. In this, EISTI is one of the very few engineering schools able to provide such an educational service in its own name, as a ‘Master’s’ degree is traditionally reserved for universities. I

With marketing becoming increasingly competitive and companies focusing on ever more innovative ways to capture attention, reaching the top of the game with your marketing career requires more than a business mind: creativity rules. That’s where ESCP Europe’s Marketing & Creativity programmes come into play. Our full-time, postgraduate Master in Marketing & Creativity (MMK) is taught in London and Paris, integrating a professional internship and consultancy project. Our brand new part-time Executive Master in Marketing & Creativity (EMMK) is designed for current marketing professionals wishing to stay ahead of the curve, as well as those planning to enter the sector. Both programmes feature creative industry seminars from some of the most exciting professionals in the business. ESCP Europe is the world’s first business school (est. 1819) and is currently ranked 10th in Europe by the Financial Times. The School has five campuses in Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid and Torino.

Executive Master in Marketing & Creativity London, Paris & Torino

What are you waiting for? MMK Attend our next open Day Date: 8th March Website:

EMMK Attend our next Taster Session Date: 17th April Website:

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spotlight on s m e s & s ta r t u p s


||| Alliance Française de Londres has been active in London since 1884, teaching the French language from its base in one of the capital’s historic buildings. This year, the Alliance has joined forces with Marseille-Provence 2013 to celebrate the region being made European Capital of Culture. This year-long megafestival highlights the beauty and creativity of Marseille and much of the surrounding region with a programme of over 400 events and 60 exhibitions. The Alliance is taking its students on a journey of discovery to learn more about the important cultural and linguistic features of this picturesque and distinctive region. It has created a themed Marseille-Provence classroom and a special section in its médiathèque on the region’s literature, artwork and cinema. A limited-edition booklet has been produced, celebrating all things Provençal, as well as a translation of a true wartime story by Marseille author Jean Contrucci. Themed activities are available for all levels of proficiency: from ordering a bouillabaisse, to finding your way around the Vieux Port, to studying works by local authors. London’s Francophiles are invited to brush up their French or learn some key basics before jetting off to the sunny south of France. I Visit or call 020 723 6439

© wikipedia/Thomas Steiner

Alliance Française de Londres celebrates Marseille-Provence 2013 European Capital of Culture

Marseille Vieux Port opens world’s largest data centre |||, a leading Internet hosting provider in Europe, has opened the largest data centre in the world near Montreal in Canada. Codenamed ‘BHS’

BHS data centre

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(for Beauharnois, where it is situated), the data centre extends OVH’s service reach into North America, and allows it to offer competitive hosting services to its European clients with transatlantic businesses. Despite a record capacity of 360,000 physical servers, BHS operates without air conditioning and is powered by the renewable energy provided by a hydroelectric dam located 300 metres from the site. OVH has a total of 11 data centres, nine of which are in Europe. The company deploys its own fibre optic network, giving it total control of the hosting supply chain. Built-in redundancy ensures high security and a total absence of service interruptions, and OVH undertakes its own in-house server production, infrastructure maintenance and client support to maintain high standards of quality. I

spotlight on s m e s & s ta r t u p s

Petit Bateau celebrates its 120th anniversary

1000mercis wins e-marketing award

||| Petit Bateau has developed a timeless, unique style over the 120 years of its existence as a French apparel company. It is marking this milestone anniversary with a limited edition capsule collection designed in collaboration with Masaya Kuroki and Gildas Loaëc, the French music duo behind Kitsuné. Featuring a nautical knot logo, the iconic marinière tops and Tshirts for men, women, children and babies come in the very French colours of blue, white and red. I

||| In January, 1000mercis won the Innovation Emailing Award at the E-Marketing Awards in Paris for its email retargeting campaign with a responsive design and product recommendation algorithm. The company launched a massive emailing campaign for to reach the brand’s goal of acquisition and retention of 8 million visitors per month. Each responsive email displayed products personalised to their behaviour thanks to a recommendation algorithm. ‘E-mail retargeting is far more efficient than display retargeting. We capture more than 8% of our turnover from 1 to 2% retargeted internet users,’ says Dorothée Lacroix, Managing Director of 1000mercis. ‘It is a very efficient and profitable way of retargeting “lapsed users”, i.e. visitors who were not converted or registered on the site.’ I Info mag Mars 13 Page int.:Layout 1

GLACIA helps small food companies get funds for development ||| GLACIA (Global Logistics and Corporate Infrastructure Advisors) has helped several food cottage industries to secure supply contracts with supermarket chains. GLACIA assisted these SMEs in getting Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) grants worth up to 50% of funding for their projects (up to £3,000). It is also part of the Government’s ‘Growth Accelerator’ scheme to help ambitious businesses achieve rapid and sustainable growth. This scheme provides grant funding to eligible individuals (key decision makers, executive directors or members who contribute to the overall direction of the business) to co-fund training that supports the business’s growth objectives. Working with MAS, which was set up by the government to help SMEs, GLACIA will be organising various workshops over the coming year. I


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spotlight on s m e s & s ta r t u p s


Little Fashion Gallery launches its own label ||| Launched six years ago as to having its own label has meant a an online retailer of a carefully change in business model. ‘We’ve curated collection of fashion labels, had to build a completely new team accessories and products for children, as this is a new specialisation for us Little Fashion Gallery has established – having our own label, designing the a name for itself, a loyal customer collection, having it manufactured, base and even a celebrity following and marketing it,’ says Marie. ‘Up to in both Europe and the US. From 70% of our business will still be retail, the very beginning, founder and CEO but our own brand will become more Marie Soudré-Richard saw the Little and more important – this is the right Fashion Gallery name as a potential way to respond to the market which brand, and enhanced this through its is clearly changing.’ very high-end quality of service, clever Little Fashion Gallery has also marketing and attention to detail. put itself ahead of the curve. ‘This is Now the time has come to bring something that neither our French that to fruition, with the launch of nor English competitors are doing,’ Little Fashion Gallery’s first own Marie points out. ‘The press is excited label collection. ‘We found that there because there is not much happening has been a shift in the market,’ says in the children’s market this year.’ T-shirts from Little Fashion Gallery’s own label collection Marie. ‘People are less interested in The Little Fashion Gallery label famous labels and more interested in is aimed at fashion lovers with a comfy, practical products at a good price. Little Fashion taste for the eclectic and an eye for good value. The new Gallery has an identity and a personality – we are very collection features a line of every-day clothes for babies different from other retailers in that respect. We have aged 3 to 24 months and one for older children from 2 always had a particular look and feel with our cloud logo, to 10 years. ‘Fashion has become more accessible and we the silly animals of the Little Denim Gallery and Marina have witnessed a real democratisation of styles. Above Vandal’s illustrations – and that’s something that will be all, people are looking for lovely products at a fair price,’ brought into the brand, on the T-shirts and in the prints, Marie says. The collection will be sold exclusively at for example. Little Fashion Gallery is already a website, a magazine, a line of candles, so it feels natural to take this to ensure the high level and step of launching our own clothing label.’ quality of service that Little Fashion Gallery’s customers have come to expect. I KF The move from being a pure retailer of other brands

Options: bringing l’art de la table to London ||| Options, a company specialising in the hire of furniture and catering equipment for receptions, has been in London since 2009, but has nearly 30 years’ experience in the French events industry. With its acknowledged expertise in ‘l’art de la table’, Options has laid tables for royal weddings, government banquets and receptions for thousands, but it also caters for smaller events, family gatherings right down to private dinners for two. Based near Hampton Court, Options has steadily expanded its clientele across a number of markets with a focus on premium products and brands as well as offering that ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the more 32 - info - march / april

discerning customer. Limoges, Villeroy & Boch, Christofle and Starck are just some of the brands of crockery, cutlery and furniture it offers customers, and the company recreates table designs of renowned French designers such as Jean-Luc Blais and Philippe Model. As a member of the French Chamber of Commerce, Options is looking to promote its services to fellow Chamber member companies that ‘depend upon creating the right image and legacy within their events calendars,’ says the UK Managing Director Francisco Serrano. The French Chamber used the services of Options for its Christmas Party at the French Institute last December. I

spotlight on s m e s & s ta r t u p s

French Radio London looks to the future

© F r a n k Eu l r y 20 13

||| ‘French Radio London (FRL) is just two years old, and for such a young enterprise our achievements are considerable,’ says CEO Pascal Grierson. ‘In this relatively short period of time we have established ourselves as a key reference media for the French and Francophile population in London, and our audience is growing at a rate of 7% a month as it continues to attract more and more of this growing universe.’ Recognition from the Franco-British business community came in the form of the Intercultural Trophy: FRL was voted the 2012 winner by members of the French Chamber, who deemed it an exemplar of Laurent Voulzy performs at the French Radio London concert in February cross-cultural relations. As a radio station it maintains its distinctive, eclectic flavour while offering. But FRL is looking to those who understand its continuing to develop its profile with highly successful raison d’être – like the Franco-British community that live concerts, innovative programming and imminent awarded it the trophy – to give it the wings it needs on new website functionality. London’s air waves. I ‘Despite this good wind – a proven product, audience and model – FRL is not getting enough of the commercial support it needs to ensure its future,’ says Pascal. ‘The vocal and moral support of obvious potential advertisers has not always converted into the on-air advertising that is the lifeblood of a private radio station like this. As a result, we are faced with some difficult choices. Paid subscription is one option we are researching, an e-commerce offering is another, but both are risky and uncertain, contributing to an increasingly challenging outlook for 2013.’ FRL has some exciting plans in the pipeline – more live concerts following the resounding success of the Laurent Voulzy London concert in February, groundbreaking shows ‘for young adults by young adults’ as well as development of its unique and engaging music

Key facts » 90,000 listeners a week » Discerning ABC1 audience » 5% market share of the 2 million French/ Francophile universe » 13,500 social media followers and database » 10,600 smartphone app » 100,000+ monthly pageviews

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s u cc e s s s to ry

The problem is simple: when you can buy anything online, what should you buy online?

Nathalie Gaveau on Founder of, the first ever social e-commerce site, Nathalie Gaveau has harnessed the power of social media to make the isolating experience of online shopping extremely personal, highly sociable and fun for consumers, while simultaneously giving brands an engaged and targeted consumer network. She told INFO how it works and where it goes from here


athalie Gaveau was no e-commerce novice when she founded social e-commerce site Shopcade. com in 2011, and she certainly wasn’t a first time entrepreneur. Before Shopcade, was PriceMinister. com, the French e-commerce site she co-founded with Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet, which rose to become the country’s top e-commerce marketplace before being sold to Rakuten in June 2010 for €200 million. ‘I had met Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet during my third year at HEC Paris, where we both majored in entrepreneurship,’ Nathalie says. ‘He had had the idea for Priceminister while in the US and asked me to join him to start the company in 2000. At that time, e-commerce was just emerging and we saw a fantastic perspective.’ It was Nathalie’s perspective on e-commerce that gave her the idea for Shopcade 10 years later when looking for the next thing to do: ‘The problem is simple: when you can buy anything online, what should you buy online?’ Thinking of a solution to this perennial problem gave her the ingenious idea of personalising and socialising online shopping through sharing choices and connections: ‘One of the reasons I started Shopcade is because online shopping can be both overwhelming and lonely, and on Shopcade, you shop for the products you really want, connect with similar shoppers and always get the best deals. The entire Shopcade experience – from what you see in your stream, to what deals and products are ranked highest for you in searches – is based on your social and interest graph.’ The name Shopcade is a contraction of ‘shopping arcade’, and it is essentially a personal shopping application that allows users to discover new products,

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list the things they want and get exclusive rewards. As Nathalie explains, ‘Graph technologies and natural language processing are at the heart of this online shopping breakthrough. It uses a personalised recommendation engine delivering a stream of the latest deals and products handpicked by your friends and shoppers you trust, unlike other online shopping marketplaces which can only base recommendations on previous shopping activity. You can select what you want from a catalogue of 90 million products and deals from over 1,500 retailers – all in one place – or add any product you want from around the web to your wishlists.’ Being able to add products from anywhere on the web is a recent innovation which came about because Shopcaders asked for it. ‘This was the No. 1 request from Shopcaders, and it means we have become a truly global marketplace. It hugely benefits Shopcade to accept any merchant and make the shopping experience extremely personal.’ Launched using the Facebook graph initially, and now using Twitter and email too, Shopcade has been able to harness the power of social media that is evidently changing the balance of power in favour of consumers in the e-commerce marketplace. However, it also gives brands unprecedented publicity for their products which are promoted, relatively cheaply (performance-based system), through an influential and far-reaching consumer network. Nathalie sees it as a win-win: ‘consumers get rewards for being loyal brand fans, listing or sharing products and making a purchase, while brands benefit from laser-targeted placements as well as a snowball effect on exposure and sales.’ It may be called ‘Pinterest for shoppers’ but what

s u cc e s s s to ry

Natalie Gaveau, founder of Shopcade

really sets Shopcade apart is its innovative ‘social reward system’. Users earn various points by doing different tasks – such as logging in, following a person, wanting products, being followed, or getting a friend to join Shopcade – which can then be used to customise the user’s own Shopcade page or redeem rewards. Some rewards can only be redeemed by users with a specific ‘Trendsetter Score’, which is a number from 0 to 100 that reflects the user’s influence and activity on Shopcade. To redeem an Amazon Kindle in one particular week, for example, a user would need a score of 80, whereas no particular score is needed

to redeem a discount voucher for Virgin Wines. Rewards change weekly, encouraging frequent use and interaction. From the start, Shopcade was backed by some prominent private investors from the retail, game and media sectors, among them Carrefour’s Daniel Bernard, Eidos’ Ian Livingstone and the BBC’s Lord Birt. Some had invested in and therefore had confidence in Nathalie’s new venture. Nathalie chose London as a base for her start-up ‘primarily because I wanted to build Shopcade in English with a global focus, and my family and I truly love the city.’ She liked London’s pro-start-up environment and the access it offered to a pool of great international talent. As a business concept Shopcade is based on an affiliate and data business model. Revenues come from sales and brand partnerships, while its main costs are technology development, as well as a bit of marketing and PR. Amongst the talent Shopcade employs are highly skilled developers, who use the latest technologies in web and mobile, and its dedicated team works towards a variety of targets including userbase growth, engagement and sales. ‘We are seeing a quick increase in viral acquisition,’ Nathalie observes, ‘which means that growth comes very fast. The best is to get a “network effect”.’ Having developed a robust technology over the first year of its launch, and proven itself to be responsive and innovative for its users, Shopcade is now moving to the next stage, which is mobile. ‘There is massive potential in both mobile and big data for e-commerce, for which we are ready thanks to our API model and data structure,’ says Nathalie. If she had to start again, is there anything she would have done differently? ‘No’ is the answer, and Nathalie intends to stay focused on Shopcade for some time to come – ‘it has enough potential to keep me busy for the coming years!’ I KF info - march / april - 35


e-commerce and digital marketing


-commerce – and its adjunct digital marketing – is possibly the biggest thing in business today: a 21st century revolution in the way trade and commerce is transacted. In fact, UK consumers spent £79 billion online in 2012, making the Internet economy bigger than the healthcare, construction and education sectors, and the market is forecast to grow 12% this year, according to IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) and Capgemini, which track online sales through the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. Traditional business models have been traumatised by technology as the old ways of doing things are swept aside and the tables have turned in favour of consumers. Indeed, what became clear as we spoke to retailers, developers, businesses, lawyers and academics in the course of putting together this issue of INFO is that it is all about the consumer – consumers who have undergone a cultural shift in the way they shop, whose spending is no longer concentrated in high street stores, who are increasingly sophisticated in their use of technology, who are more knowledgeable about the choices they make and consequently more demanding. E-commerce is finding ways of meeting those consumers and their expectations at every point, from offering them what they want or might desire, through the process of purchase to delivery, and beyond through return and follow up. But what has also emerged is that the future is not going to be pure e-commerce. Rather, it will be an increasingly integrated confluence of channels, with the focus on giving the consumer opportunity to shop where they want to, when they want to – whether

on a home computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone, or even in a store on the high street. The most successful businesses are those which are getting to know their consumers through ecommerce channels, and are managing that knowledge and information in a targeted and efficient way – allowing unprecedented personalisation in advertising and offerings. They are finding new profiles of customer, new revenue streams and new ways of selling their products and services, as some of our member companies attest to in the following pages. Too much knowledge is not necessarily a good thing, however. Big Data – the masses of electronic information collated by cookies from consumer behaviour and actions – is getting more and more unwieldy. There is also the danger that it is the wrong sort and businesses will make assumptions about their consumers that are completely off-target. How you determine that or even manage the morass of information is one of the big questions that ecommerce is having to come to terms with. With data come questions of privacy and ownership, as yet unanswered. The law is having to play catch-up as the rampant pace of technological change and innovation turns some areas of ecommerce into the Wild West – apps, for example. In all revolutions, there are victors and victims, and the e-commerce revolution is no exception. Even as high profile casualties continue to pile up on the high street, we are seeing the emergence of leaner, cleverer, more agile and responsive businesses that are in tune with their consumers and creating the business models of the future. I

focus contents 38 Is e-commerce the death of the high street and the future of retail?

48 The digital revolution is gathering speed – but can the law keep up?

40 7 insights for an e-commerce strategy

50 Mobile take off

41 The how and why of moving from effectiveness to efficiency

51 The art of selling ‘experiences’ online

42 Getting to grips with Big Data and how to extract value from it

53 Journey of discovery: an SME experience of building

44 New trends in digital advertising: personalisation, retargeting and real-time bidding

46 Delivering on promises

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an online presence

54 Next generation: putting a traditional family business online 55 Digital vision: a new way of engaging with a new customer


e - Commerce Timeline



Development of the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), replacing traditional mailing and faxing documents with a digital transfer from one computer to another

Michael Aldrich (English inventor and entrepreneur) connects a television set to a transaction processing computer with a telephone line, thereby creating ‘teleshopping’

1982 France Telecom invents Minitel, the most successful pre-World Wide Web online service

198 4 Mrs Snowball makes first online purchase of groceries from Tesco via the Shopping and Information System (SIS) on her television

1981 Thomson Holidays submits the first ever B2B electronic transaction using online technology

1990 Tim Berners-Lee creates the first World Wide Web server and browser, using a NeXT computer. He then develops URL, HTML and HTTP




Development of a security protocol – the Secure Socket Layers (SSL) - encryption certificate by Netscape provides a safe means to transmit data over the Internet

Amazon is launched as an online bookstore

PayPal launches pay service for online vendors, auction sites, and other commercial users, allowing customers to send, receive and hold funds in 24 currencies worldwide

20 01

20 0 4 launches its first mobile commerce site

20 02 PayPal is acquired by eBay

Launch of eBay

The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI) is formed to ensure businesses comply with security requirements. Credit card companies create PCI data security standards

20 0 8


First contactless cards issued by Barclaycard

First-generation iPad unveiled - a tablet computer designed and marketed by Apple Inc

QR-Codes (Quick Response Codes) start to hit the UK

20 05 YouTube is created by three former PayPal employees

20 07 Apple launches the iPhone with full web browsing and downloadable apps

2013 Predicted to be the year of the ‘Phablet’ – larger screen smart phones

2011 Adoption of IBM SmartCloud solutions

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Is e-commerce the death of the high street and the future of retail? INFO gets a verdict from Eric Abensur, Group CEO of Venda, an e-commerce pioneer and provider of end-to-end multi-channel e-commerce platforms for global brands and retailers such as Tesco, The British Museum, Laura Ashley, Wonderbra, Fat Face, Jimmy Choo and Orange


e are experiencing an amazing revolution in the retail industry, and when you go through such extraordinary times, there are consequences. Some don’t make it, but e-commerce is not about to become the one channel against all channels. The reality is that people are not spending more, but they are spending in a more fragmented way. Retailers therefore have to be able to reach their customers wherever they are and whenever they are able to buy. The key to survival for bricks and mortar shops is to become part of an integrated experience. This is how such a shopping journey might play out: two girls are chatting on Facebook. One tells her friend about a yellow dress she had worn to a party. The other asks her where she bought it and is told Laura Ashley. The girl then goes onto the Laura Ashley Facebook page and clicks on the website link. She registers with her Facebook login and starts browsing. She decides to buy the yellow dress but in the middle of the check-out process she realises she’s late for work and abandons the transaction, switching off her desktop. On the bus she logs in from her mobile phone, and continues the check-out from where she left off. However, she realises she’s unsure about her size. She browses to see if there is a Laura Ashley store on her way home, and finds one which has the dress in the two different sizes she wants to try. She forwards the information on Facebook to her friend and asks her to meet her at the store for a second opinion. Her friend, who is a loyal Laura Ashley customer, has the Laura Ashley App, which means as soon as she gets close to the Laura Ashley store, she is recognised and gets a text message/notification offering her and a friend she refers, a 5% discount in store. They meet at the shop and the girl buys the yellow dress with the discount, while her friend buys something for herself because she has a discount too. This touches on all the aspects of the multi-channel future of retail. 1. Social media: Facebook is now only second 38 - info - march / april

Eric Abensur

to Google as a source of traffic to e-commerce websites. A recent study showed that about 50% of British and French woman look at product reviews on Facebook before buying online. 2. Mobile platforms: smart phones have very high traffic but a low conversion rate as they are primarily used for store location, browsing and price comparison. They should be differentiated from tablets, which have an extremely high conversion rate. People seem to be even more comfortable buying things on their tablets than on desktops. 3. Bricks and mortar stores: still have a role to play, and can leverage off e-commerce platforms too. Even pure players (online only retailers) are recognising the importance of having a physical presence and will start opening experience stores in key, select locations with lots of room for customers to browse, and low levels of stock. 4. Integrated platforms: single e-commerce platforms provide tried-and-tested infrastructure and applications for retail clients, making it cost effective and allowing them to focus on brand, marketing, products, and the delivery of promises.


5. Technological innovation: the next big thing is GeoFencing, which triggers an action when a device enters or leaves a specific geographical area, targeting a particular person, at a particular time and in a particular location. A store app can thus notify the user of a sale on their favourite shirts when they are walking past a branch, or offer them a discount voucher to spend within a time frame. It could even target an individual

entering the store of a competitor. The high street is not going to die, but it is going to change. The way people shop has been revolutionised and fragmented. Physical shops are now just one of the ways people purchase products, and their continued survival depends on how well they are integrated into the multi-channel retail system that is the shopping of the future. I

Themes in e-Commerce A few years ago a website’s main purpose was to raise brand awareness rather than contribute to sales. Now they are expected to outperform all offline stores. Times may be tough for retailers, but creativity is thriving in e-commerce. Anthony Webster, Head of Functional Development at Venda, outlines some key themes Hire experts? When it comes to setting up or expanding online, how much of it should you do yourself? Many companies are comfortable buying basic services such as email. Leveraging ‘Software as a Service’ for ecommerce is a bigger decision though, so there’s even more reason to consider a specialised partner with a good reputation to help you navigate the pitfalls. Going this route offers a number of advantages. Many providers offer cloud infrastructure so capacity scales as needed, and you won’t need to maintain excess headroom for sales that only happen twice a year. Pricing is usually on a pay-as-you go basis, meaning it is cheaper upfront, and aspects like security and upgrades are handled for you, freeing you up from maintaining technology to concentrate on what you do best – selling. Some online only businesses are understandably nervous about outages, but what’s more important than the decision to outsource or not is that you trust your provider, whether they are an in-house team or an external partner.

Multi-channel and mobile Many brands are adding sales channels and the lines between these are blurring. Now there are sites that literally ‘respond’ to the size of the screen to provide a tailored experience for mobiles, tablets and desktops. Some retailers are providing in-store kiosks, often via ipads or touch screens, so that if a product is out of stock in store the sale is not lost. It’s not just offline pushing sales to the website though, the reverse is also happening with functionality such as ‘click

and collect’. For the retailer this not only saves on delivery costs, but also drives store visits providing another opportunity to cross sell. It’s no accident that the collection counter is usually located at the back of the store. But doesn’t all this cannibalise sales? In fact overall sales increases suggest the opposite - all these channels are complimentary. But even if that wasn’t the case, customers expect convenient ways to shop.

Growing sales internationally If you run a successful online store you already have some of the knowledge to be able to export your website to Europe or further afield. Assuming your technology handles multiple languages, currencies and processes local payment types, why not investigate this? A common first step is to start fulfilling orders from your home country. Of course, new markets don’t have to be international ones. If your products translate to a cut down range that naturally target a niche market you may have a ready-made strategy on your hands launching microsites. I

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7 insights for an e-commerce strategy Dinis Guarda is the founder and CEO of, a digital social media publisher and consultancy, as well as founder of Having worked on digital strategies for the UN, governments, financial companies, Reuters, MasterCard, P&G, Philips, Vodafone and Nike among others, he shares key insights for formulating a strong e-commerce strategy


he world of e-commerce and digital marketing is both innovative and disruptive. Innovative because it is fast-moving and ever-changing, disruptive because it keeps on shifting, evolving in different directions, out of the box. E-commerce businesses require an allencompassing digital strategy that finds synergy between different platforms.

1. Define clear objectives, focus and guidelines E-commerce can only succeed as part of an overall marketing, business and communication strategy with a clear role and objectives. Its various components – such as landing pages, settings, tracking, social mediaassociated campaigns, SEO and PPC (Pay per Click) – need a set of guidelines for different but aligned approaches, resources and efforts. 2. Understand that mobile and social media are critical for a successful e-commerce execution Mobile and social media should be part of a holistic approach that recognises that mobile should work alongside – and may surpass – the conventional web experience. This requires continuous innovation. It’s no longer enough for a website to function properly on mobile devices, or have an app. Increasingly mobile and sophisticated consumers expect optimised and UX platform-specific offerings with a better shopping experience, geo-specific rich media, video content and other elements that enhance the e-commerce life cycle. 3. Create strong synergies between strategies, campaigns and budgets Different e-commerce platforms within a company need to share budgets, data, strategy and objectives, rather than having to compete for budgets and resources. PPC is easy to track and gets results faster so tends to get most of the budget, whereas SEO is less expensive but needs resources, technical development and continuous work. Budget decisions need to be analysed in terms of short, medium and long-term strategies – and should include ROI (return on investment) and ROA (return on attention). Synergies and joint efforts should encompass lead generation, referral traffic, branding, PR and social 40 - info - march / april

media, especially as Google and Bing now include in their algorithms social media sentiment from Twitter, Google+ and Facebook as critical factors for rankings.

4. It is all about data, big data, but relevant data Make sure you manage the e-commerce data from your various research and analytics sources, draw it together and take action on it based on shared knowledge and common goals. 5. Focus on personalisation and real time The message and the product need to be aligned with the right degree of personalisation and in real time to match customer expectations. Amazon is now focusing on personal history as are eBay and Google. 6.Design campaigns together Work on a holistic e-commerce experience driven by information, data and implementation. Is each landing page structured on the correct data and site architecture? Do the campaigns communicate and are they consistent in look and aim? Do they align with SEO and convey the right message through the URL structure? How will it affect the general PPC quality score? 7. Loyalty will be rewarded if you think ‘customer’ Loyalty is the ultimate goal of e-commerce. Marketing, media buying and word- of-mouth campaigns need to bear in mind that it is all about creating a bond with the customer. All strategies, innovation and product development should work in unison towards creating trust, loyalty and engagement with the customer. I


The how and why of moving from effectiveness to efficiency In an increasingly competitive e-commerce world, customer knowledge is power, but it must be the right sort, writes Jean-Pierre Le Borgne, Associate Director of Digital User Specialist Yuseo


pressure of daily routine as well as technical constraints, reaching this goal is far from easy.

Where customer experience matters… Every company knows that each touch-point with its customer is an opportunity to convert or miss. Therefore, every detail matters to optimise these contact opportunities whatever the context. With the digitalisation of the customer relationship, every organisation faces the challenge of Big Data and has to address it accordingly. The answer is not in collecting additional data – there is already more than enough to deal with. ‘Customer experience and knowledge’ is the new holy grail for any marketer to optimise their strategy and customise their offer. © Fotolia

or companies today the question is not about going digital, it’s more about ‘How..?’: How far do I adapt my organisation to be digitally orientated? How do I measure the contribution and return on my digital investments? Until recently, digital achievement was measured by effectiveness: SEO or SEA (to increase traffic and maximise visibility), technical platform (server response time, page download), conversion rate or customer satisfaction. Such metrics, used at every level of an organisation up to the board, did the job pretty well. Digital business expansion was heavily driven by a ‘natural’ growth of web users and the novelty phenomenon. Now with tougher, broader competition, and the arrival of new, game-changing players, many business models are under pressure to reach and/or preserve margins. How many e-tailers from the early stages have actually reached profitability on their core operation without any additional side revenues (advertising mostly)? Even Amazon gets the most significant chunk of its profits from its Cloud Services operations. Everyone agrees that digital has brought a new breed of customers with a completely new way of buying. The ‘digital age’ customer is more aware, more demanding, but also more frivolous, partly as a consequence of this new empowerment that allows her/him to freely choose, get information, complain or praise. No website can afford to leave a customer on the roadside. Even if a customer completes a purchase, a poor online experience may damage loyalty. Clearly the digital customer experience has to be as intuitive and satisfying as possible. This is where efficiency matters: of course, the customer must find the product/information in store (effectiveness) but she/ he will not spend more time and effort than necessary to achieve this goal when there are a growing number of alternatives. Efficiency often equates to simplicity, although for any digital project manager, under the

… but customer data qualification even more so In the past, marketing surveys made an impact on traditional media thanks to their ability to deliver relevant meaningful customer data. In the digital age, analysis needs to take into account the specifics of the media in order to understand how customers behave. Piling up data that has no relation to the customer’s goal is almost pointless because it does not answer the question ‘Why?’. Most existing data is a direct consequence of usage but does not help to build up genuine knowledge to understand the leverage for a good customer experience. So-called ‘behavioural marketing’ solutions often rely on usage instead of anticipation and understanding. Data relevancy and qualification is key to gathering actionable insight that will not only have a short term impact but also help understand what really matters from a customer perspective in the long run. Digital behavioural analysis (and measurement of customer experience) contributes to this equation, introducing new reliable metrics and helping to find the needle in the Big Data haystack. I info - march / april - 41


Getting to grips with Big Data and how to extract value from it The Behemoth of big data presents considerable challenges to businesses, but unleashing its power is critical and can be accomplished with the right organisational focus as Professor Marie Taillard, Academic Director, MSc in Marketing and Creativity and Director, Creativity Marketing Centre at ESCP Europe Business School, explains


n the morning-after analyses following the 2012 The scope and scale of Big Data US Presidential elections, most pundits agreed This example illustrates the power of Big Data and on one particular point that had gone very right for how critical it can be to an organisation’s performance. the Obama campaign and terribly wrong for the A study of the compound annual growth rates of Romney campaign: their respective ability to gain companies that employ Big Data for fine-grained real competitive advantage from the masses of voter insights into their customers’ behaviour suggests that they are growing anywhere between twice to 50 data available to them. Both of the campaigns had times faster than their competitors that don’t follow bet heavily on being able to extract value from the thousands of available databases containing voters’ this practice. What makes Big Data so different and so powerful? First, its scale: not only is the sheer number leanings on political and social issues, previous of clicks, transactions, comments, mobile connections endorsements and donations, from sources ranging from social media to registration records to door-toand other data points unprecedented, but the ability door canvassing reports. For the Democrats as well as to store them is a new development. Timeliness of the data is also key – large e-commerce the Republicans, data management was a key strategic sites such as Amazon and Expedia are collecting and focus, albeit a daunting one, as the potential of soacting upon real time data around the clock to forecast, called Big Data as a game changer in gaining valuable insights into voter intentions and behaviour was well update, test, optimise and, in general, extract greater known to both candidates. IT relevance and value every step of the way. Beyond the scale of the professionals and analysts on both data, the diversity of its sources sides had been working for more Big Data has, in many than 18 months on ramping up and the ability to ‘mash it up’ is also ways, become so big as to their projects, which ironically new – social media is crossed with test the limits of human geo-location, search and other data shared one feature: they both intelligence bore the names of large cetaceans, to produce clearer, richer insights. Obama’s Narwhal and Romney’s Thanks to cloud solutions, Big Data Orca (the orca is the only predator is also now easily distributed and shared with partners around the world, again in real that goes after narwhals). While interviews with time. Finally, beyond the storage capacities, analytical Obama campaign staff and volunteers suggest how much they benefited from the Narwhal data in the capacities have also grown exponentially, and make months leading to the elections, the Orca team had to it possible to crunch more and more data, faster and faster. Therein, however, lies one of the main issues. admit defeat early on election day when the system Big Data has, in many ways, become so big as to test went bust and failed to deliver. The rest is ... history.

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© fotol i a


the limits of human intelligence. How to get our heads around the magnitude, the richness, the potential, the structure, the implications of Big Data has become the billion dollar question, one that requires creativity and sure-footed leadership to answer.

Initiatives to tackle Big Data Some call it ‘analysis paralysis’, this ‘caught in the headlights’ reaction to too much input – the main hurdle in unleashing the power of Big Data in an organisation is a very human one that revolves around a dislike and distrust of numbers, fear of what is new and unknown, and a certain tendency by data ‘geeks’ to keep things opaque. Getting around this requires several key initiatives: 1. Transforming the organisation to adopt a data-ready culture 2. Integrating data into the decision-making process 3. Making the data itself usable and approachable. The first step is one of cultural transformation and requires both education so as to understand the nature and value of the data, and a real shift in mindset to accept its impact on the organisation. The second step is about integrating data analysts into functions such as marketing, sales and customer service in order to create an effective interface between the data itself and the valuable insights it reveals. Step three

transforms data into human facts, stories and pictures that can speak to people. Starting with a highly visible, but easily controlled project may help to create proof of concept and generate interest and buy-in once clear results have been shown. We’ve seen such ‘easy wins’ in sales organisations where Big Data allowed insights into micro-markets that were just waiting to be serviced. Once the numbers were in, internal resistance broke down very quickly.

Privacy, ownership and transparency Questions around privacy and ownership and the ethical uses of data must be addressed both internally and with key stakeholders. As usual, transparency must be the name of the game. As a matter of fact, transparency will itself become a competitive advantage as pressure increases on organisations to share data with consumers so they too can use it to their own advantage. Mobile operators, for instance, can compete on allowing customers to better customise their calling plans and control their usage. Supermarkets can offer financial and nutritional data and analyses. As firms embrace the full potential of Big Data, we may well do away with some of the vestiges of information asymmetry which consumers have endured for years. I info - march / april - 43


New trends in digital advertising: personalisation, retargeting and real-time bidding Chief Operating Officer Thibaut Munier and Vice-President Marketing UK Francois-Xavier Watine from pioneering interactive marketing company 1000mercis reveal what’s new in the digital marketing universe


n an era of advertising overload, website visitors are bombarded by all kinds of messages, but consumers’ time and attention spans are limited and they have started to filter things out. This, in turn, reduces the impact of mass marketing messages. Therefore, sending fewer yet more personalised messages is an absolute priority for advertisers. This means adopting a conversion-driven approach, where relevant messages help optimise marketing budgets.

Personalisation Advertisers need to differentiate themselves through highly targeted and personalised campaigns. They must strive for relevance and avoid advertising saturation. In order to attain an efficient click-through rate, they need to pay extreme attention to what is sent, to whom and when. Thus, delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right moment and through the right channel is now key more than ever. Each message needs to bring relevant information and value. This can only be attained by knowing the customer you’re talking to. The good news for advertisers is that technology and the massive amount of data discharged every second by each Internet user allows them to do this. For customers, the experience could be compared to what they might have in a local shop, where the salesman knows their children’s favourite colour and asks about their last holiday in Spain. There are many possible applications of this customer knowledge, but two of the most popular trends in online marketing are email retargeting and real time bidding. 44 - info - march / april

Retargeting Retargeting is a subset of behavioral targeting, which consists of addressing individual consumers with relevant advertising, based on their previous online behaviour. Retargeting by email relies on a three step process: (1) tagging websites and loyalty emails; (2) matching browsing behaviour with individuals; and (3) sending personalised emails to those individuals. It can be used either as a retention tool or as an acquisition tool. It is possible to target visitors who are already part of the advertiser’s database, usually subscribers to a newsletter or existing customers. If tracked, stored and used properly, individual browsing behaviour can be considered a proxy for purchase intentions. The results are improved customer conversion rates thanks to more focused campaigns. When visitors are not opt-ins to an advertiser’s brand, they might be to someone else’s. To take advantage of it, third party opt-in email databases, help target

How retargeting by email works


these potential customers. Using calls to an advertiser’s website, such programs can match visitors with their own opt-in database thanks to cookies. Matches can then be contacted by the third party database on the advertiser’s behalf, with the specific offer of the product they saw but didn’t buy yet.

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Real-time bidding Real-time bidding (RTB) allows you to implement the same kind of strategies, and much more, with display advertising. RTB is a method of buying online display advertising by auctioning at the best price and in real time on a large and growing network, as Real-time bidding allows you to implement the same kind of strategies as email retargeting with display advertising on a stock-exchange market. It optimises media buying. Any impression of a banner with RTB is based on criteria for advertisers that want to display a personalised associated with a cookie. While traditional media message to their customers, anywhere on the web buys impressions en-masse on a website-by-website as RTB already represents more than 50 billion basis, RTB automatically buys impressions based on impressions per month in the UK. the profile of the user visiting a website, thanks to the Let’s take an example: a user arrives on a publisher’s user’s cookie. In other words, you are not targeting website, creating an opportunity to display a banner the audience on a specific website anymore, but you ad to this user, the cookies tell us that he’s a 35-yearare targeting a specific individual, thanks to a cookie, old man, surfing regularly from London on travel on any website in the RTB network. Thus, data and websites. At the same time, the publisher tells cookies become a crucial element for the advertiser. thousands of advertisers via an ad exchange that When they can link this cookie to their CRM database, this banner impression is on sale for this user. One it’s not only a powerful tool to acquire new targeted advertiser recognises through ‘cookie matching’ that this user is his customer, Mr Smith, who bought a customers, but also a new relationship channel flight yesterday to Berlin. He makes the highest bid to win the auction for that banner and he displays it to Mr Smith, offering him a nice hotel in Berlin. Of course, one critical point beyond the huge possibilities offered by the technology and the amount of data available is the need for advertisers to learn how to make the best use out of it, and to adapt the message and their own limits to the sensitivity of each customer on the use of their personal Real-time bidding data. I info - march / april - 45


Delivering on promises how does an online retailer ensure it stands out from its competition? Elliott Mallows, Marketing Director of Asendia UK, puts it down to being able to deliver on your promises to customers


esearch indicates that a large proportion of the complaints made by e-commerce customers relate to fulfilment and delivery issues. So companies that offer the best customer experience from point-of-sale to delivery are often those that will maintain customer loyalty. ‘We provide response handling, fulfilment and distribution for many online businesses,’ says Rebecca Owen, Value Added Services Director at Asendia UK, ‘And it still surprises me how often people leave this area as a final thought as they get excited by perhaps the more glamorous areas like website development and marketing, but all research shows that a poor fulfilment experience can cause significant damage to a company’s reputation.’ Research by IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) shows that more than 12% of deliveries do not arrive in accordance with shoppers’ expectations, and this does not include orders that are not dispatched on time and in full. Furthermore, 22% of orders were returned by UK consumers in 2011, so the importance of reverse logistics cannot be overlooked either. So what advice does Rebecca give?

Think about your fulfilment and delivery strategy Late and incorrect delivery of products is a frequently cited complaint, so e-commerce providers must be realistic about the delivery promises they make to customers, especially when demand is high. There are pros and cons to handling fulfilment in-house or outsourcing it. It really depends on the size, scalability, and flexibility of the business, but it’s a decision that requires a lot of thought. The importance attached to on-time delivery by customers means that you must select your distribution partner service very carefully. Research shows that customers want their retailers to fulfil their promises rather than necessarily be the cheapest. Depending upon the nature of the product you are supplying, you also need to think carefully about packaging to ensure it is robust enough to ensure safe delivery. Keep the customer updated Customers are entitled to written confirmation of their 46 - info - march / april

order under the Distance Selling Regulations, but customers demand much more than just what they are entitled to. Successful e-commerce sites make a point of confirming orders immediately by email and provide the customer with a way to track down the progress and availability of their order. Many carriers now use email and SMS messages to notify a customer that an order has been dispatched, and an online tracking system that allows the customer to log on to their website in order to check on progress. These are now a ‘must-have’ rather than an ‘added extra’.

Have an acceptable returns policy With almost a quarter of orders being returned, online retailers must put in place an acceptable means of handling customer returns and ensuring that any customer dissatisfaction is professionally resolved. In fact customers will often identify a returns policy as a key reason for placing an order with a particular retailer.

International orders Expanding your market across borders can provide significant opportunities for sales growth, and with the power of Google it is often not that difficult. The barriers that retailers often face are related to delivery and returns. It is easy to pay a lot of money for international delivery if you are not careful and this can make you uncompetitive, and if you don’t have a robust returns policy what happens to those 20% of people that struggle to get their money back? Will they buy again, or will they post about their negative experience on social media sites? Many national postal operators like Royal Mail, La Poste and Swiss Post (Asendia is a joint venture between La Poste and Swiss Post) provide a growing number of international mail distribution services specifically aimed at the e-commerce market as well as advice on international cross border trade. Rebecca Owen concludes: ‘At Asendia we’ve worked with big brands like Boden, Paul’s Boutique, and Tesco, as well as mediumsized businesses and start-ups. No matter the size of the business they all have to consider these issues as a priority.’ I


Logistics case study: Little Fashion Gallery Little Fashion Gallery is an international online children’s fashion boutique that retails over 200 brands of clothing, accessories and even furniture. Although it is a French company, and 40% of its business is in France, the company sells its products internationally in 100 countries through its French and UK websites, and it is due to launch a US website soon, offering duty free shopping and the ability to pay in dollars. While the UK is Little Fashion Gallery’s second biggest market, its US customers tend to have high value shopping baskets and order volumes on a par with those from Spain. Pricing is adjusted to the local market, in line with competitors. Initially the company managed its logistics inhouse under the umbrella of the head office with CEO Marie Soudré-Richard directly managing the pickers and packers. However, three years ago the decision was taken to contract out this side of the business to a logistics company based near Paris and now all the products are warehoused and shipped from there, with the exception of some large items of furniture that are shipped directly from the manufacturer. ‘We have no interest in having different platforms in different countries because this is where you multiply all the problems,’ comments Marie. ‘For a start you would need much more stock. For a small business like us, having a centralised stock makes sense and it is very important for our business to have control of this. Even Net-a-Porter which turns over hundreds of millions of pounds has centralised stock in the UK and the US.’ Little Fashion Gallery still keeps close tabs on the logistics operations, nevertheless, as Marie explains: ‘We have a managing director in charge of the logistics and supply team. They go to the warehouse at least once a week to make sure the stock has been received, sorted and warehoused. This is especially important in the transition period between the end of the sale and the start of the new season when we have a large volume of products going out at the same time as receiving all the new collections. We need to make sure everything is sorted as soon as possible because it is really crucial for the business to minimise the lead time between the moment the products arrive in the warehouse and when they are actually put online. This is something we are really working

Bespoke packaging

on because it affects margins.’ Although some ecommerce companies put products online and pre-sell them before they get the merchandise, Little Fashion Gallery avoids this practice because of the potential problems it may cause. ‘There are always discrepancies between your order and what you actually receive,’ says Marie. ‘If you sell before you have the guarantee that you have the stock, you will have huge issues with customer service and at the end of the day it will cost you more money because you will have to deal with partial orders, issues with clients and loss of reputation if you cannot deliver.’ International shipments are dispatched with UPS, and postage costs are additional. However, the company offers free delivery for orders over £150 for UK and European customers. Returns are free: ‘We have always done that because it is very important for the customer experience, and customer service is a priority us,’ says Marie. ‘We’ve always positioned ourselves as quite high end in terms of the quality of our service. We’ve always had lovely packaging, the facility of being able to return your products very easily, and a person who speaks your own language when you pick up the phone. For a small company like us, it has been quite difficult to build all this into the structure, but it is integral to our brand and reputation.’ I KF

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The digital revolution is gathering speed – but can the law keep up? Laws drafted long before the internet age cannot hope to keep pace with fast-changing technology and applications, so is it time for a radical rethink asks Oliver Bray, Commercial/ IP Tech Partner at RPC


logging, streaming, surfing, posting, How else to explain the global pinning, poking – it seems that the phenomenon that is Pinterest, which online world is spinning faster than ever has now attracted 17 million users at before, and increasingly from devices almost twice the pace of Facebook held in the palm of a hand. This all (Comscore data, as reported in Fortune drives the development of streamlined Magazine/CNN Money)? The appeal technology, which can be accessed by of Pinterest (in its own words) is that as few touches of a button as possible. it ‘lets you organise and share all Nowhere is this more prevalent than the beautiful things you find on the Law & Tech the app market, which aims to provide web’, by letting you add them to your us with instant gratification for our ‘pinboard’. Allegations of copyright social, entertainment or organisational infringement have inevitably circled needs with a simple tap of the ‘install now’ button. around Pinterest since its launch in March 2010, and Inevitably, this new technology is creating tensions while Pinterest has been looking at its service to try with the law, in particular with legislation drafted and reduce the risk (for example by incorporating new years ago (some of it even before the Internet came tools to report abuse), one suspects that the average into existence). And while lawyers user is happily ‘pinning’ away have become accustomed to the without really giving a thought to static world of the website (where the legal implications. only has to scratch the there is ample room for lengthy Data protection is another area surface of the ‘new’ online, terms and conditions, privacy where the reality of consumer and increasingly mobile, policies, cookie pop-ups and the interaction conflicts with the world to see just how far like), one only has to scratch the aims of data protection regulation, the law is falling behind surface of the ‘new’ online, and which in large part is designed to increasingly mobile, world to give people control over how and see just how far the law is falling where their data is used. Tablets behind. and mobiles are far more personal Consider, for example, the concept of permissiondevices than PCs, and yet we happily let them collect based controls (as favoured by the law) compared vast amounts of private information about us, including with the reality of app-land where everyone wants the ability to let them track our every move through ‘free’ and instant content and where personal data geo-functionality. The recent scrutiny of the WhatsApp is often offered up without a real understanding of messaging service (which accessed users’ address books where it will end up. and then retained that data from even those who had 48 - info - march / april


not signed up to the service) has only added to the growing concerns over just how effectively the law is being used to protect our private information. But perhaps the biggest elephant in the room is the fact that hardly anyone reads terms and conditions anymore, especially when they are downloading, say, an app on a mobile. In large part, this is because terms and conditions vary so wildly in terms of style and format that it is simply too arduous and timeconsuming a task for anyone to take on, especially when in ‘purchase’ or ‘consumer’ mode. A recent survey by Which? Magazine picked up on this when it worked out that PayPal has a total of 36,725 words for its terms and conditions, which is longer than Shakespeare’s Hamlet! This all begs the question, is it not time for business and lawyers alike to drop lengthy terms and conditions and move to a much more fluid, and effective, way of engaging with users? In other words, by consigning over-complicated terms and conditions to the bin and adopting a wholly fresh approach? There are many ways this could be done – be it through ‘just in time’ information (i.e. presenting terms to consumers only at the time it’s actually needed) or by breaking sets of

PayPal has a total of 36,725 words for its terms and conditions, which is longer than Shakespeare’s Hamlet!

terms and conditions into properly digestible bitesize chunks (whether through simple layering or onetouch click boxes). But of all the steps we can take, it’s arguably in the field of collaboration (between the business, developers, and the lawyers) where the real solution lies. In this way, online platforms could ensure that at each stage of the development process the risks (both legal and commercial) are addressed, so that there is nothing left to surprise or disappoint the person who really counts, namely the much-valued consumer. If this means we end up losing 36,000word terms and conditions, or that there’s simply more transparency over what it means to engage with an online platform, then the world will surely be a better (and safer) place. I

Top tips for avoiding legal landmines online 1. Beware of infringing someone else’s intellectual property (IP) in images, photos, trade marks, etc. 2. Remember the online market is a global market – check you have the rights to operate in foreign jurisdictions, and that you’re complying with local consumer laws 3. Think about how you present your user licence terms – consider tailoring them to highlight the key terms that users really need to know about 4. Make sure that you own the relevant IP in your website/app – i.e. ensure the IP is properly assigned to you, or that you’re fully licensed to use any third party rights 5. Be careful when collecting personal data, and make sure you obtain appropriate consents 6. Work alongside the website/app developers from the start of the project – ensure your IT team fully understands the functionality being included 7. Negotiate the development agreement before work begins, and use this to record the specification/ service (in particular any data/geo-location functions, use of open source, on-going support obligations, etc.) 8. Consider your liability for user-generated content – if necessary, include easy-to-use ‘take down’ policies 9. If you’re building an app, be familiar with the rules of the online platform (iOS, Android, Blackberry, etc.) 10. Above all, be consumer friendly (both in language and presentation) so that your users know what they’re signing up to

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Mobile take off James Millett, easyJet Head of Digital, shares how the airline has incorporated mobile technology into its overall strategy of ‘making travel easy’ and developed it into a complementary channel for a seamless customer experience


asyJet was at the forefront of the Internet travel revolution after launching online booking in 1998. Just eight years later it became the first major low-cost airline to offer Internet check-in for its UK passengers – both great examples of innovation and a culture of thinking differently that have changed the face of travel. Fourteen years on, the face of the Internet has also changed. It wasn’t long ago that Internet cafés were commonplace and households had one desktop PC on a dial-up connection... remember that sound! In 2013, society boasts about superfast broadband, 4G, Wi-Fi boosters and an ‘always on’ Internet culture. Smartphone and tablet penetration has exploded, and you can even connect your light bulbs and fridges to the Internet if you so wish! Brands have had to adapt their activity and behaviour quickly to reflect how customers want to interact with them. In 2011 easyJet introduced iPhone and Android applications, shortly followed by a mobile website, and has since seen usage and adoption explode. With over 4.2 million app downloads and £60 million in revenue across Europe, this isn’t just a gizmo with a short shelf life but a customer tool to be taken seriously. Customer behaviour itself has fundamentally changed as a result. easyJet had a record ‘mobile’ day when our summer routes went on sale, as customers reached for their smartphones to secure the best prices, and earlier this month we saw 850,000 updates to our new app with allocated seating in the first 12 hours.

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At easyJet we are focused on introducing developments that drive incremental revenue and take cost out of our operation, in line with our commercial priorities. In addition, we see mobile playing a pivotal role in supporting our ‘making travel easy’ cause, particularly at airports. Flying over 600 routes and 1,300 flights a day to more than 130 European business and leisure destinations, things don’t quite always go according to plan. Our new mobile flight tracker gives up-to-the-minute information and we’re currently working on improvements including giving reasons for a delay and even ‘live progress updates’ direct from our Operation Control Centre. It’s important that mobile is seen by customers as a complementary, not separate channel. Bookings made on can immediately be viewed on the app with a countdown to departure. And it doesn’t stop there. From the booking, in one click, the most popular hotels in the specific destination can be viewed, flight details can be shared or products easily added - for example, bags the night before travel for those last-minute packing emergencies! Looking ahead, mobile penetration will continue to increase and as technology moves forward customers will understandably be more demanding in their expectations of brands. At easyJet, we have a small yet passionate team always challenging itself and ready to exploit new opportunities across all digital channels, in order to help drive our cause of making travel easy and affordable for all. I


The art of selling ‘experiences’ online Selling luxury holidays online is a very different proposition to selling products, but the age-old principles of quality, customer service and product differentiation still apply says Matt Cheevers, UK Managing Director of Voyage Privé, an online members-only travel club


ur members come to us to book an ‘experience’ not just a holiday. It is our job to inspire them and gently convince them that our ‘experience’ is the right one for them. The convincing is the tricky part given the amount of choice afforded to consumers in this Internet driven world! For the majority of the last decade the big changes to the UK travel industry have been focused on technology developments that allow the customer to choose holiday combinations that they require from millions of options. Unfortunately this has in many cases commoditised travel products and destroyed much of the innovation that once existed in our industry. The good news is that companies like Voyage Privé are driving a change in the way UK consumers choose and buy their holidays. Our principles are built on inspiring our members with our luxury products and we focus all of our efforts on creating a handful of carefully selected deals that we believe our members will want to engage with. So in reality we are guessing what they want based on their past behaviour, trends in the marketplace and the good old-fashioned principles of a ‘wow’ deal. Then we are faced with the difficult bit, how do we get them to book online when the whole Internet is based on choice, speed and consumer promiscuity? We have a choice to make, in terms of our online offering, and it’s a complex one. Do we set out to ‘kidnap’ the customer by trying to give them everything they need in one website? Or do we accept that they will visit other websites to research and compare the products we offer?

Simple and inspirational products littered with added value are always the answer. In short, make it impossible for them to compare your product with others even though you know they will try! Let them go onto your competitors’ websites, let them visit review sites and let them make up their own minds if your deal is good enough. Couple this with a very simple booking experience, inspirational content and strong communication and they will come back. You have to have confidence in your brand, product and people that they are delivering value to customers. Get this right and everything else becomes a lot simpler. We shouldn’t get hung up on selling online or offline, the principles are the same and as they have always been. If you have a special product that nobody else has then you will be successful! Booking a holiday is an amazingly complex act at times. There are so many factors to consider and you rarely find two customers who have the same overall requirements. Compare buying a holiday to say buying a CD or a pair of shoes online, it’s a completely different challenge. I have read much research during the decade I have spent in the online world but I am always left with more questions than answers. When I read that the average customer visits 23 different websites before they decide which holiday to book I wanted to cry! When I read that consumers spend eight times longer choosing a holiday than they do their mortgage I did cry! For now I will focus on finding amazing and inspirational deals and trust in product differentiation. I

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Asendia – Your global partner for high quality printing, fulfilment and postal solutions

Frédéric Petton Chief Executive Officer

Asendia is a partnership between La Poste and Swiss Post that brings together the expertise and global networks of two leading mail service providers.

Lloyd Webber Marketing and Sales Director

Asendia is your full-service provider: from market entry, printing, fulfilment to domestic and worldwide distribution. Ask for more information about our services!

Paul Taylor Chief Financial Officer & IT

Creating synergy and innovation, Asendia brings cost-efficiency to you, the customer. Contact us to make savings along your company’s whole value chain.

on Call us6 070

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Asendia is an international partnership between two leading postal operators, La Poste and Swiss Post. We offer innovative solutions along the value chain, from data and printing services to fulfilment and postal solutions. Whether you need to send direct mail, magazines, parcels, or business post we can help you. Visit for more information


Journey of discovery: an SME experience of building an online presence Creating an online presence for Josephine Home, a fine linens and homeware business, has been a valuable – and ongoing – learning experience for entrepreneur Stéphanie Betts


e launched Josephine Home bespoke service initially, and built up our brand for a few years before launching the website. We wanted to ensure that the design of the website reflected the positioning and personality of the business to avoid brand confusion and reinforce brand loyalty. For the build of the site, however, we aspired to Amazon as the ultimate ‘easy model’ and tried to get as close as possible to the magical ‘3-clicks-to-buy’. From the beginning, we viewed as a standalone store in itself and put together a plan to invest in online marketing. There is no point having an ecommerce site hidden on the worldwide web that nobody knows about or is ever going to find. As an SME you are expected to have a fully functional e-commerce site (it has replaced business cards in a way). You are judged on its looks and functionality, as well as the after-sales service. Providing great service was a key driver – we thought of our website as a friendly and knowledgeable sales assistant – efficient, not too pushy, yet business minded: all the features had to create that experience for the user. Resources are usually tight for SMEs so finding the right online marketing agency is key. Many will not even consider working with a small budget, but there are some who do work with SMEs in particular – it’s in their interest to help you grow. For us, it has been better to outsource this rather than trying to do it all in-house where staff cross over a number of different roles and don’t have the time to dedicate to the task. Having a good relationship with your agency also means that they will pass on ideas for new strategy as well as general advice. However we have learnt through the process of launching our website that no one knows your products and your customers the way you do, so you (as manager, founder, creative director, etc.) have to drive the development of the outer aspect whilst leaving the technicalities to the web designers. The dialogue (often fraught!) between the web agency

and the business team is crucial. Although the web business model seems simple enough, it takes time to find out what works online for your brand, how your brand will come across online and how people will want to shop your products. It has taken us more than a few iterations and you have to be prepared to embark on a journey of discovery. Some businesses (like Cath Kidston) have discovered unexpected opportunities in Japan for instance, thanks to their web presence. The strength of people’s connection to your brand will take you by surprise on occasion, in unexpected regions, or for unexpected products! There is a ‘black box’ element that you have to be aware of: it is hard to understand why some products clients love in store do not raise interest online and vice versa. Building a presence online does not happen overnight and you won’t see a return immediately. Most online marketing strategies need to be implemented for at least a year before you see them having an effect. We have also learnt that your online customer will not necessarily have the same profile as your bricks and mortar customer so it is very important to have the correct tracking in place to analyse where they’ve come from, how they use the site, what they buy and how much they spend. From there you can adjust your strategy to make sure you are always targeting the people who are most likely to buy from you. Today’s customers expect to be able to engage with brands across all channels – web, mobile, social media – so you have to have a constant presence overall and when customers connect with you, respond as soon as possible. Online customers are increasingly savvy and demand a constantly changing and fresh range of products, competitive prices, good quality products, easy website browsing and a streamlined delivery and returns process. For a business like ours, it is an on-going learning process and certainly feels like an adventure, every day. I info - march / april - 53


Next generation: putting a traditional family business online Bruno Allard, Director of Ligne Roset UK, became an e-commerce pioneer for his company when he set up a UK-only e-store. INFO asked him how he had proved this model could work for a product traditionally sold in a very different way

Ligne Roset is an independent family company that has quite a conservative mindset when it comes to selling its products. How did you come to set up an online shop for Ligne Roset UK?

There were three main objections to setting up an online shop for the brand. First was the conviction that furniture, especially an upmarket brand like Ligne Roset, does not lend itself to being sold online. Customers need to take part in a physical process that cannot be replicated on a computer – go to the shop, be served by professionals who can advise them, take their time to try the furniture, touch it, sit on it, feel the fabrics, see the colours and then wait eight weeks for a piece to be made to order. An online shop did not fit into this rationale. Second was the belief that online sales are associated with discounts, and that this would damage the brand and its exclusivity, make it middle market, and work against the strategic marketing as a luxury product. Third, Ligne Roset is a brand that is sold through independent retailers and franchises – a network that has been carefully constructed over many years, and an online shop would have been seen as introducing competition from the brand itself.

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However, the UK is different from other countries in that the brand is more powerful than the retailers. The market was changing very fast and because of the financial crisis independent retailers were collapsing (especially outside London) so I had to find an alternative way to distribute the products. Online specialists had advised me that furniture and luxury were the next big areas of online development. It was an opportunity to test it for the group. A year on from launching your online shop in the UK, what have you discovered?

There was no model for me to follow as no other luxury furniture brands were selling online, but I looked at online stores selling a specific product in a specific market. The indications were that an online shop would provide around 10% additional turnover, which would come from new business with customers who had never bought the brand before and this would create a new profile of clientele. After a year, I am convinced of this. Online is not a magical formula to replace distribution; it is a marketing tool in addition to ‘classic’ distribution. It brings turnover and recognition


to all the distributors. I have been able to show retailers that it is not a threat to them. In fact, they are getting new clients who have browsed online, asked questions online and yet end up buying in store. So the online store actually brings retailers new business that they would not have reached otherwise. We know from comparing online client data with our customer database that there is no cross over between people who shop online and in store. They are different profiles of customer. For Ligne Roset in the UK, the online shop has accounted for almost 10% of turnover within a year. We expect that to grow but peak at about 15%, like the fashion sector. It has proved to be an alternative way of selling our furniture, brought a new type of customer and provided additional turnover without destabilising the traditional distribution channels. So are online shops going to be rolled out in other Ligne Roset markets?

It is not going to happen overnight. The US market is convinced and is working on something, but in European markets like France and Germany there is a sense that it is not the right time to launch a completely new strategy, especially one that is risky for the independent retailers with which the company has worked closely for decades. However, I am launching a Northern Ireland site imminently, and thereafter once I get the green light I want to launch online stores in Scandinavia, Poland, and eventually Benelux, Spain and Portugal where the distribution is weak. Do you have any developments in the pipeline?

We are launching a new UK website, which will be much more advanced than the global one, as well as more pleasant to use and informative. It will be optimised for smart phones and iPads although I believe that people prefer to order from their home computers as they need a big screen and time to choose. For a company that previously only made furniture on demand we have also brought about a mini revolution by stocking our bestsellers in each category so that they are available for immediate delivery. We have enabled the impulse buy. Half our online customers buy online as they would in a traditional store, but the other 50% buy online because it’s fast and a new way to get a product they can afford. They don’t want to choose from 600 combinations, they know the brand’s quality, and they want it delivered to their door next week. The US has decided to start stocking their bestsellers too. The group is changing little by little and our online pioneering is helping to change mentalities too. I KF

Digital vision: a new way of engaging with a new customer In 2012, Guerlain took an unconventional marketing approach for a new fragrance, as Helen McTiffen, Guerlain’s PR Manager explains


espite having many loyal fans, Guerlain recognised the need to target a wider audience with the aim of recruiting new, younger customers. In recent years, the Internet and rise of social media have led to the development of a consumer that is more aware and more demanding. There was a clear need to build a strong brand identity and engage further with this audience. Guerlain decided on a differentiating and artistic preconception, giving free rein to artists Kuntzel+Deygas to create a character to represent the fragrance La Petite Robe Noire, an illustrated silhouette depicted in a variety of charming scenes and poses. The duo’s stylish animations expressed the brand in an amusing, younger manner and Guerlain became the first luxury perfume house to introduce an animated character to front an online advertising campaign, brought to life via Flash imagery. To really make a statement with this bold new campaign, digital advertising was favoured over print. With visibility across You Tube, retailers’ websites, online magazines and blogs, the campaign video became a viral hit and Guerlain’s ambition to increase engagement was achieved. In support of the digital vision, PR activities were also focused on building strong, ongoing relationships with influential bloggers to generate reviews and coverage, building desire and creating buzz. In terms of e-CRM, the desire was to create long-term loyalty via tools such as a unique in-pack code which allows the customer to log in to an exclusive La Petite Robe Noire universe and be kept up to date with news, events and activities, such as how to achieve their perfect La Petite Robe Noire party look. The beauty of working digitally is that Guerlain can continue to evolve the character and her story. I

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LEARN FRENCH with the experts

SCHEDULED COURSES 020 7723 6439 C O R P O R AT E O R P R I VAT E T U I T I O N 0 2 0 7 2 5 8 0 8 5 1 Alliance House, 1 Dorset Square, London NW1 6PU w w w. a l l i a n c e f r a n c a i s e . o r g . u k


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Compiled & written by Melonie Gault

Dancing around Duchamp driving force of the artistic movement in the early twentieth century. The event will include 25 works by Duchamp and 30 by Rauschenberg and Johns. Bringing the show to life with her music, pianist Eliza McCarthy will play Cage compositions. A series of Merce Cunningham dance events by London Contemporary Dance School students will take place on Thursdays and weekends. The renowned Rambert Dance Company will also perform on stage. A host of other live events are planned for the course of the exhibition, varying from a one-off Cabaret Duchamp in March to chess sets popping up in the foyers and the cafe in Beech Street. A series of films, which will also be on display, intend to explore themes associated with Duchamp and Dadaism, such as sexual identity, absurdity, anarchy and subversion. In homage to Marcel Duchamp and his followers/ clique, The Barbican is introducing a highly theatrical installation and flowing interplay of movement, sight and sound, spread out over two levels of the gallery. A must-see this spring. I Until 28 June. For times, dates and details of exhibitions and performances, or to book, visit the website

© Succession Marcel Duchamp, 2013, ADAGP/Paris, DACS/London

© The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. DACS, London/VAGA, New York 2013

||| It all started with a urinal causing a scandal. In 1917, the famous French artist Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) revolutionised modern art by describing a gentlemen’s urinal as art, and naming it ‘Fountain’. This man is one of the century’s most important and influential figures who moved through Dadaism and Surrealism before giving it all up to devote his life to chess. The Barbican is going Duchamp crazy between February and June. The arts organisation has unveiled a new season called ‘Dancing around Duchamp’, which brings to light an explosive interlace of exhibitions, dance, theatre, film and music events devoted to the legendary figure as well as those who were directly inspired by him. A the heart of this event is a major exhibition ‘The Bride and the Bachelors’, which will be the first ever to examine Duchamp’s influence on four great modern artists – the composer John Cage, dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham and the visual artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. The show not only aims to demonstrate how profoundly the life and work of each of these four is steeped in his thinking, but also expresses the general

Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1950

(replica of 1917 original), Philadelphia Museum of Art, 125th, Anniversary Acquisition. Gift (by exchange) of Mrs Herbert Cameron Morris

Robert Rauschenberg. Express, 1963

Philadelphia Museum of Art, 125th, Anniversary. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain

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w h at ’ s o n c o u r ta u l d g a l l e ry

Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901 ‘Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901’ exhibition tells the story of the year Pablo Picasso found his own artistic voice, when, as an ambitious young man, he first launched his career in Paris and began to establish his reputation. The works on show demonstrate how he took on and transformed the styles and subjects of major modern artists of the age (such as Van Gogh and Degas), and also illustrate a change in the direction of his art, heralding the beginning of his famous Blue Period. Strongly influenced by the tragedy of a close friend’s suicide and visits to the SaintLazare women’s prison, these themes preoccupied young Picasso and led him to produce profoundly moving paintings of melancholic figures that are considered to be among his first masterpieces.They are also among the earliest paintings to bear the famously assertive and singular Picasso signature, which he adopted in 1901. I 14 February – 26 May. Open daily 10.00 – 18.00. Full price: £6

k e m i s t ry g a l l e ry

Light Show

Jean Jullien – ‘Allo?’

Light Show is a sparkly, shiny, glittery show that investigates the use of artificial lighting in the last 50 years, exposing works by more than Carlos Cruz-Diez. 20 international Chromosaturation (1965-2013) artists, which explore different aspects of light such as colour, duration, intensity and projection – and its involvement in architecture, film and science. From small works experimenting with mirrors and domestic light bulbs to large-scale immersive installations that distort your perception of space and time, at every turn there is another spectacle. Viewers will become aware of their own eyes through dilation, contraction, scintillating after-images and other radiant illusions and effects. I 30 January – 28 April 2013 Open daily (book one hour slots online at Full price: £11

Jean Jullien is a French artist, living and working in London. After graduating from Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art, Jean has gone on to become one of the finest young illustrators working today, producing a coherent body of work full of bold graphics and clever wordplay. Intrigued by everyday life and human interaction, Jean Jullien has chosen his first solo show in London, ‘Allo?’, to explore our social and asocial behaviours, the relationship between people and how we communicate with one another. Looking at every-day life, smart phones, social behaviour and funny incidents, the exhibition is full of wit and humour. I 7 February – 16 March. Open Monday to Saturday 10.00 – 18.00. Free admission

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© the artist/DACS. Cruz-Diez Foundation. Photo: Linda Nylind

h ay wa r d g a l l e ry

w h at ’ s o n r oya l a c a d e m y o f a r t s

tat e m o d e r n

Blue Firth – Same Old, Same Old Artist Blue Firth is transforming the Architecture Space in the Royal Academy of Arts with her thoughtprovoking exhibition ‘Same Old, Same Old’ over a period of four months. Through the manipulation of materials and textures, interactive elements, audio installations and distortions, she seeks to explore the ways architecture and art inform and distort our understanding of space, myth and history, and challenges the audience to reinterpret the ways architecture and art affect the functions of space. I 2 February – 26 May. Open daily 10.00 – 18.00 except Fridays. Free admission

The Tate Modern is staging the first major fullscale Lichtenstein retrospective for 20 years, bringing together 125 of the American pop artist’s most definitive paintings and sculptures. His rich and expansive Tate Modern: Roy Lichtenstein ‘Oh practice will be Jeff…I Love You, Too..But… 1964’: represented by a wide range of materials, including paintings using Rowlux and steel, as well sculptures in ceramic and brass and a selection of previously unseen drawings, collages and works on paper. I 21 February – 27 May 10.00 – 20.00 Sunday to Thursday; 10.00 – 22.00 Friday and Saturday Full price: £14

r oya l o p e r a h o u s e

The Firework Maker’s Daughter Lila desperately wants to be a fire-maker like her father. But he claims this is no job for a girl. With the help of a talking elephant, she sets out to discover the secret of her ambitions and desires meeting pirates, tigers and the terrifying Fire-Fiend along the way. Award-winning composer David Bruce puts on an extensive theatrical display based on a short children’s novel by Philip Pullman, which depicts valuable and significant themes such as the creation of art, selfexpression, courage, friendship and growing up. This fairy tale which is characterised by a transmittable energy, humour, magic and fantasy is entertaining and ideal for the whole family. The Eastern setting of the story (with intermingling elements of China, India and Indonesia) creates a vivid and rich re-telling of Pullman’s story, and turns the stage into extraordinary musical and visual fireworks. I Linbury Studio Theatre 3 – 13 April. Tickets from £10 For times, dates and details of performances or to book visit info - march / april - 59

© Collection Simonyi © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/DACS 2012

Lichtenstein: A Retrospective

book reviews

The Barbary Figs

The Library of Unrequited Love

by Rachid Boudjedra Published by Haus Publishing

by Sophie Divry Published by MacLehose Press

||| Two old friends find themselves side by side on the flight from Algiers to Constantine. There is a lot of history between them, as well as bad blood. They have lived very different lives, even though they are bound by shared experiences from their youth, chief among them the Algerian War of Independence. The flight will last only an hour – an hour during which both their stories will be told, interspersed and peppered by anecdotes about Algeria’s struggle to release itself from the French colonial grip. Rashid, the narrator, has always both admired and resented Omar, his cousin, who has become an architect, studied in Chicago, and led a successful life. Despite his success, Omar has always been on the run from the ghosts of his earlier life, ghosts that Rashid has set himself the task of exorcising. The title, The Barbary Figs, is a symbol of the ‘old’ Algeria since their landowner grandfather once grew them on his estate. The ‘new’ Algeria is less straightforward, and has produced far more bitter fruit. I Book Buyer

||| One morning, the librarian responsible for the Geography section in the basement of the library of a provincial town finds a reader who was locked in overnight. As the library is not open yet, she invites him to sit down and drink a cup of the coffee she brought to work. While he does so, she starts a monologue that contains observations on the library, glimpses of the life she has lived, and an outpouring of frustrations and suggestions about the state of the library, reading, and the world outside. But there is more to The Library of Unrequited Love than just that. There is the picture of an introverted woman who wants to talk to people and yet does not know how to, there is a frustration over hierarchies and the politics of class and gender (she exclaims at one point that we might as well not have had a revolution 200 years ago), there are short diversions into what makes history, and why some subjects are ranked higher than others, and if classification is ever really justified. I Iris on Books

The President’s Hat by Antoine Laurain Published by Gallic

||| Daniel’s thrill at being in such close proximity to the most powerful man in the land persists even after the presidential party has gone, which is when he discovers that Mitterand’s black felt hat has been left behind. After a few moments’ soulsearching, Daniel decides to keep the hat as a souvenir of an extraordinary evening. It’s a perfect fit, and as he leaves the restaurant Daniel begins to feel somehow – different. I Book Hugger

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In the gold of time by Claudie Gallay, translated by Alison Anderson Published by MacLehose Press

||| A world-weary young father holidays by the sea near Dieppe with his reproachfully perfect wife and their twin daughters. A chance meeting with an eccentric old lady leads to intense encounters in her mysterious home, full of old photographs and strange objects – sacred ceremonial masks once belonging to the Hopi Indians of Arizona. The old woman takes comfort in her new companion, and he, in turn, is drawn by her secrets. As he begins to push his family into the background, her stirring tales of the Hopi become the only salve to his despondent soul. I Quercus Catalogue - Spring 2013

w i n e p r ess

Cheese of the month by La Cave à Fromage: Le Munster ||| If there were ever a cheese that could give a lesson in European history, it would be Le Munster, as this mighty, pungent cheese has associations with Ireland, Germany, France and the Netherlands. The recipe for this rich, creamy, soft and buttery cheese was brought to the Continent in the seventh century by a group of Irish Benedictine monks who were travelling to Germany and stopped en route at Saint Grégoire convent in the Vosges mountains of eastern France. Made with the milk of the local Vosgienne breed of cows and matured for between eight and 10 weeks, Munster has a very specific charasteristic: smell. It does not leave any nose indifferent to its aroma! In its plain form the cheese has a splendid buttery taste, but is also made with cumin seeds, which were originally brought to the area by the Dutch who used the Rhine corridor to ship spices throughout Europe, using Strasbourg as a main distribution port on the river. To this day, Alsace cuisine is renowned for its use of spices. Start by trying a Baeckeoffe au Munster. Not lean, but delicious. I by Eric Charriaux

Your wine with Le Munster by Wine Story ||| The ideal wine to drink with a Munster has to be from the beautiful Alsace region, and in particular from the less well known wine area of the Bas Rhin county, a few miles from Strasbourg in the town of Molsheim. This industrial and agricultural village is well known for its local car manufacturer – Bugatti – founded there in 1909 by the Italian-born Ettore Bugatti. Although the brand was acquired by Volkswagen AG in 1998, the next generation of the legendary cars are still produced exclusively in Molsheim. The avenue Ettore Bugatti also boasts Molsheim’s other jewel – a vineyard called Domaine Gérard Neumeyer, which is renowned for a rare Grand Cru Bruderthal (Alsatian for ‘Brothers Valley’) that produces a fantastic Pinot Gris. However, its Gewurztraminer Les Deux M is a better match for the powerful Munster. The strong scents and fruity palate of this wine are ideal with the Munster, particularly if it is encrusted with cumin seeds. This Cuvée is called ‘Les Deux M’ because the vines are planted in two parcels, one in Molsheim and the other in the nearby village of Mutzig, where Arsène Wenger’s childhood football club is located. I by Thibault Lavergne

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cross cultural advert



£6 SOME OF THE KEY AREAS COVERED: • the Boss • Negotiations • Meetings • Contracts • Business Methodology









News @ the Chamber J

anuary’s cold, dark days were punctuated by the Chamber’s first event of the year – a thoroughly enjoyable CEO Breakfast, where the guest speaker, Maxime Holder told the story of his family’s bakery, PAUL, which 120 years and five generations later is still in Holder hands, despite having evolved into an international business. His eloquence, humour and honesty about PAUL’s triumphs and challenges were warmly received by the audience, which numbered over 100 – a record turnout for this ever-popular Chamber event. In the season of new beginnings it was apt that the Chamber’s first Legal Forum should be launched with Olivier Morel and Michael Butcher as co-chairs. Members who attended the brainstorming meeting and the first session were unanimously enthusiastic about its advent, and convinced of the value it would bring in providing an opportunity to air and discuss the particular legal issues that arise in Franco-British environments. Well-attended sessions of the Climate Change, Human Resources and Finance forums also took place with a line-up of impressive speakers and some in-depth discussions on topical issues. The SME and Entrepreneur Club also met, welcoming Sébastien Delecour as its new co-chair and holding its first workshop session on how to make a winning pitch.

This practical and interactive style of meeting is the way forward for the Club. In the same practical vein, the Chamber has recently published the bilingual edition of the highly successful cross-cultural booklet that provides insights and tips for the French and British on doing business with each other : Light at the End of the Tunnel / La Piège de la Ressemblance is for sale online at Bilateral relations were indeed part of the focus of the Ambassador’s Brief, held at the Ambassador’s Residence in midDecember, where H.E. Bernard Emié spoke about the progress made in the top-level strategic partnership between France and the UK as well as the state of the European Union. With the UK throwing down its referendum gauntlet, its position in Europe is under increasing scrutiny in the realms of politics, business and the media, and Arnaud Vaissié put across the French Chamber’s views on the issue in an interview by Channel 4 news online for an article about British identity. His statement in this issue of INFO elaborates on that stance with the key message – the French Chamber of Commerce is an active supporter of the UK in the EU, and not only business but also its influence and relevance would be damaged if it were to leave. I info - march / april - 63

new members 2 New patron members

Quintessentially Lifestyle Global luxury members-only concierge club represented by Aaron Simpson, Executive Chairman and Founder | Luxury members-only concierge club, Quintessentially has been providing Members with its award-winning lifestyle management and concierge services for more than a decade, offering specialist advice, insider access and exclusive benefits. In addition to our concierge service, 32 luxury sister businesses compose the wider Quintessentially Group, covering every facet of the luxury lifestyle market, including Travel, Real Estate, Wine, Art, Luxury Retail, Events, Public Relations, Publishing and more. With more than 60 offices around the world, speaking over 35 languages, Quintessentially is a multinational and multilingual brand, providing a global yet local service.

Covea UK Insurance represented by Gilles Normand, CEO of MMA Holdings UK PLC | Covéa UK, whose office headquarters are based in Manchester, is the British arm of the French insurance group Covéa. With nearly 20% of the market share in property and liability insurance in France, Covéa, has the critical mass allowing its member companies to remain competitive in the long term. One out of four French households is insured by one of the Covéa brands. Covéa UK’s main subsidiaries are Swinton Insurance and Covéa Insurance (the business created from the merger of MMA Insurance, Provident Insurance and Gateway on 1 October 2012). With 500 branches across the country, the organisation has a total of 5,300 staff providing services for 4.6 million customers across all channels in the United Kingdom. Covéa UK’s mission is to continue to deliver a range of insurance services to individuals and commercial clients using the best quality-price ratio.

9 new Active members Butler Safe Technologies UK LTD Innovative applied technology for corporate security Represented by Vincent Mathieu, Managing Director

John Collis Solicitors French and English qualified lawyers specialised in International Business Represented by Yovani Tapia, Solicitor

Kos Lighting Lighting solution manufacturer Represented by Thierry Hamelin, Managing Director

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Marechal Electric Industrial plugs manufacturer Represented by Christophe Janin, Sales Manager

Pramex International Ltd Financial services Represented by André Luiz Borghoff General Manager

Price Bailey Business advisers, accountant, tax and financial services Represented by Matthew Coward, Tax Consulting Manager

ShareWizMe Collaborative solutions for change management (employees’ engagement software) Represented by Florent Ducos Brêteau, Cofounder and UK Country Manager Service in translation and conference interpreting Represented by Marie-Pierre Gesta, Founder and Managing Director

SMTC Composite sandwich panels designers & manufacturers Represented by Jean-Emmanuel Wattier, Sales Engineer

chamber shorties Follow the French Chamber on Twitter

Partnership signed with the Royal Opera House The French Chamber is very pleased to announce a new partnership with the Royal Opera House, which now becomes a Patron member of the Chamber. An exclusive Patron event will be organised at the beautiful Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden later this year, and the ROH is offering Patron members priority booking for select performances. ‘We are delighted to be forming a partnership with the French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain. We look forward to working together for the benefit of all of our members,’ said Jane Storie, Head of Corporate Sponsorship. I

The French Chamber has taken to Twitter! We now regularly tweet about the Chamber’s activities and events, INFO articles, member’s and general Franco-British business news, and even send live tweets during events, forums and clubs. I Follow us @FrenchChamber

Members can now access the online version of the Franco-British Trade Directory in the Membership section of the website, but have to be registered on the website and logged in to do so. Those who have not yet registered simply have to click on Member Login on and create an account. I

© José Farinho

© Peter Mackertich

Access the 2013 Franco-British Trade Directory online

Carla Coutinho (centre) and the Chamber’s team

A decade at the Chamber for Carla Coutinho Hers is the voice you’ll recognise the most, the great organiser and communicator of the French Chamber, and personal assistant to the MD: Carla Coutinho. Carla is now celebrating her 10th anniversary at the Chamber. ‘She is a true asset to the Chamber and a fantastic PA,’ says Florence Gomez, Managing Director. ‘Over the years Carla has become essential to the Chamber’s smooth operation and it is a real pleasure to work with her.’ Carla not only deals with the MD’s agenda but also with the Board and Advisory Council meetings as well as the AGM. We wish her well for the next decade! I

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The life of P

sponsored by PAUL UK

At the Chamber’s first event of the year, aptly a ceo breakfast, PAUL UK chairman Maxime Holder recounted how his family bakery, established in northern France in 1913, has become a French success story beyond national borders ||| PAUL is that rare phenomenon in a world of megacorporates, conglomerates, mergers and acquisitions: a 100%-owned family business that has remained so for 120 years, while becoming a successful global business with 500 shops in over 30 countries and 10,000 employees worldwide. Over a French breakfast – PAUL’s pastries naturally – Maxime Holder, Chairman of PAUL UK, told a gathering of over 100 guests at the Andaz Hotel, Liverpool Street, how the company has managed to do this while remaining true to its values. While evidently proud of PAUL’s achievements, Maxime Holder was refreshingly frank about the challenges it has encountered along the way, and still faces. So how does a company that is opening up to 65 new shops and increasing its sales by 25% every year stay grounded? For PAUL it boils down to having an integrity consistent with four core values: family values, the French ‘art de vivre’, the bread and quality without compromise. Family values, Maxime admitted, ‘are hard to defend and hard to protect’ but the importance of the family brand remains paramount. This is underpinned by legitimacy – a first-hand understanding of the business through being able to do the job itself: Maxime recounted how he had spent 10 years as a baker and pastry-maker before working his way up through the ranks, and noted that every time PAUL opens a bakery abroad, he goes not to give a speech, but to give bread-making lessons to

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the VIPs. ‘In a family business we have the time,’ he said, ‘We don’t have six months to train up a CEO, but we can think about the long-term vision.’ Developing a company that you want to keep in the family is no easy task, but Maxime felt it important to move into other countries and is driving its overseas expansion, while ensuring it does not go too far too fast. ‘The major risk for a family business is the family itself,’ said Maxime. ‘It is hard to accept your children are not the right people to manage the company, and that you do need someone else. But I am trained to protect the family brand because PAUL not owned by the family would not be the same thing.’ Maxime strongly believes that you can’t be a company defending a French tradition if you are not based in France, so PAUL’s legal, strategic and financial base is in the home country. However, few French employees are willing to work abroad, and this, he says, is a major issue for many French companies trying to expand internationally. PAUL seeks to embody French tradition by bringing a little corner of France to wherever it sets up shop. However, Maxime admitted to learning the hard way about the cultural problems of adaptation, particularly when they first set up shop in London’s Covent Garden. ‘It took us two years to understand the UK market,’ he said. While there is no compromise on recipes and ingredients for PAUL’s signature products, namely bread

Guests networking over coffee and croissants

recent event c e o b r e a k f a s t 31 j a n u a ry 2 012

Maxime Holder

and patisserie, changes have been made to sandwich throughout the world from London to New Delhi. ranges, for example, to suit local tastes. Selling bags Quality also means freshness and PAUL differentiates of crisps alongside, however, remains a no-no for a itself from other coffee shops by baking its own bread company that prides itself on having very few external on the premises. But installing bakery ovens has caused suppliers. PAUL even has its own team of architects its fair share of problems, particularly in central London, and builders to design and construct all its shops in where it took eight months to convince the planning keeping with the French brand and authorities. It has even meant saying no with all the specialist bakery apparatus to Heathrow Airport. ‘Sometimes you that is required. have to choose between making money PAUL’s four core PAUL is a bakery at heart – in France and maintaining quality,’ said Maxime, values: family values, ‘but the fact that we are a family business 30% of its sales are bread. But how do the French ‘art de you stay a baker in countries where it makes it easier.’ is not the culture to buy bread from For the UK, PAUL has plans to expand vivre’, the bread and one? Maxime’s solution is to become outside of London and is looking to quality without ‘le restaurant du boulanger’ in some find licensees. Its main challenges are compromise countries or a bakery café as it is in finding the right locations at the right London. ‘The idea is to feed people,’ he price, understanding the service culture said, ‘not only to feed them with bread and recruiting the right people. Maxime but with a certain idea of the French art de vivre. Staying ended with a story about how he and his wife had been a baker is important but so is being able to adapt the invited to a Buckingham Palace garden party after Her business model to the country.’ Majesty the Queen had seen his shop in Covent Garden Quality is another essential for PAUL, and it and asked questions about it. ‘In the UK after opening comes down to ingredients, provenance and method. two shops you receive an invitation from Buckingham To make the best bread it uses the best French Palace, yet in France you don’t even get invited to the flour made from Camp Remy wheat. This flour is Elysée after opening 300 – that is the big difference in sent – sometimes at great cost – to all its shops the image of the entrepreneur in each country.’ I KF info - march / april - 67

a m b a s s a d o r’s b r i e f 17 d e c e m b e r 2 012

The outlook for Europe and the challenges for France and the UK On 17 December, H.E. Bernard Emié, French Ambassador to the United Kingdom, welcomed Arnaud Vaissié, the Chamber’s President, and the Patron and Corporate Members of the Chamber at the French Residence. Ambassador Emié focused on European affairs and the state of bilateral relations between the UK and France


irst, Ambassador Emié pointed out that 2012 had been a remarkable year of celebrations and great achievements with the ‘unparalleled success’ of the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee and ‘the resoundingly successful’ Olympic and Paralympic Games. ‘We were very much involved not only in the security field but also, and above all, through the stunning achievements of our athletes. Who will forget the evenings at Club France, London’s finest foreign hospitality house for the Olympics?’ he said. Ambassador Emié then detailed the progress made by the French government to strengthen its bilateral cooperation with the UK, ‘a top-level strategic partner’. Hence, decisive actions have been taken to consolidate a series of industrial and institutional partnerships, notably in the nuclear energy and defence sectors. The three visits of the French President since being elected, as well as the visits of the French Prime Minister and key members of his Cabinet reveal the vitality of the Franco-British relationship and the density of the synergies between the two administrations. Following the European summit that took place on 13 and 14 December and the current UK debate on EU Membership, the state of the European Union was a central element of the Ambassador’s speech as well as the subject of many questions asked during a very extensive and rich Q&A session. Ambassador Emié noted that ‘slowly but surely, the essential mechanism of economic, banking, budgetary and fiscal integration – the logical consequence of our single currency – is being put in place. Europe has made progress this year – as always, amid a crisis, namely that of the Euro Area’. I Karim Mijal 68 - info - march / april

forums recent sme




entrepreneurs club


2 3 j a n u a ry 2 013

Pitch perfect The SME & Entrepreneurs Club began the New Year with a new co-chair and a new format. Sébastien Delecour, Managing Director of Doublet UK took up the chair alongside Frédéric Larquetoux, and the session launched with an interactive style workshop on ‘How to win your next pitch’


acilitated by Jeanne Monchovet, Founder of consultancy Olystix, the workshop focused on pitching techniques using real-life pitches given by two volunteers, which were then constructively critiqued by the group. Jeanne simultaneously gave pointers on areas for improvement, as well as advice and tips for making pitches effective, memorable and ultimately successful, such as how to prepare, gather information, build the pitch so that it is well constructed and remembered, and then deliver it with passion, sincerity and in a way that shows you have gone the extra mile. Both volunteers gave positive feedback on what they had learnt and how their pitches would be more effective as a result. ‘It was very constructive for volunteers to do real pitches, and then have people in the audience say, maybe you should do this, maybe you should say that. You actually take away ideas of what you could do in your next pitch as well,’ said Sébastien Delecour.

Top tips for a good pitch • It’s not about you. It’s about meeting needs and adding value • Make your presentation about them – 80% about them, 20% about you • Start by confirming their challenges and needs... • ...then provide insights, solutions and benefits. • Close with results statement and remind them about your Unique Selling Point (USP). • Connect and engage at all times. Ask clever questions. Tell stories to make your key messages easier to understand and remember.

Welcome to Sébastien Delecour as the new Co-chair What has been your involvement with the Club and what led to your becoming co-chair?

When I started Doublet UK four years ago, I joined the Chamber as it was the main networking place. I was involved in the Club initially but Sébastien Delecour Co-chair of the then my business grew and I got busier so I did not have time to come SME & Entrepreneurs Club as often. When the previous co-chair Nathalie Zimmerman left she asked if I would be interested in taking her place. I met with Florence Gomez, Karine Desplanches and Karim Mijal from the Chamber as well as Frédéric Larquetoux the existing co-chair, and we talked about changing the presentation and questions format to make it a bit more personal and interactive; sharing best practice between us. Is that your vision for the Club?

Yes, I would like every session to have two or three volunteers to talk about what they’ve done on a particular subject, and have an expert to support the people who are sharing. How do you think your experience as an entrepreneur will help the other Club members?

A lot of it is in the background – identifying relevant subjects and finding good people to back up and support the presentations. Over the last four years I have had to learn about cold-calling, pitching, human resources, accounting, everything to run a business. I made a lot of mistakes, but you need to learn from them, and by sharing maybe you could help others to avoid them. When you start a business you are very lonely, you have many doubts and you ask yourself a lot of questions – is this going to work, why is this not working, should I hire or not, should I spent money on this? So if this Club can help in sharing experiences and answering any of those questions we’ll be proving our worth. I KF info - march / april - 69




l aunch of the legal forum


7 f e b r u a ry 2 013

The launch of the Legal Forum The French Chamber of Commerce has launched its first Legal Forum with the aim of fostering exchange and cooperation between General Counsels/Heads of Legal Departments and Senior Representatives of law firms, encouraging debate on current legal issues and delivering a programme of activities that mobilise its members as well as key players of the legal community

n late 2012, at the instigation of Olivier Morel, duallyqualified in France and England, and partner and Head of International Corporate Investment at Cripps Harries Hall LLP, the decision was taken to launch the French Chamber’s first Legal Forum with the aim of fostering exchange, co-operation and better understanding of Franco-British legal practices and cultures of law as well as discussing important current issues. A core group, constituting an equal mix of lawyers from law firms and corporate General Counsels / heads of legal departments, was invited to an initial brainstorming session on 15 January, and then the inaugural session of the forum took place on 7 February, where the themes and activities of the year were set out. Olivier invited Michael Butcher to co-chair the forum. Before his retirement last April, Michael was General Counsel and Company Secretary of Veolia Environnement UK. Michael was a founder and past President of the Franco-British Lawyers Society and is a member of the Franco British Council. The Chairs spoke with one voice when articulating the objectives of the Forum, which are to foster understanding between people who are practising law between the UK and France, and to come up with collective guidance on topics and problems that are frequently encountered in a Franco-British legal dimension. But the intention is that it will be more than just a talking shop – there will be a practical side to what it does, namely the production of a useful guidebook along the lines of ‘Light at the End of the Tunnel’ – both Michael and Olivier were active members of the Cross-cultural Forum which produced that booklet, under the chairmanship of Peter Alfandary, Deputy President of the Chamber which, as a culmination of all the sessions and topics tackled through the year, will set out general guidance on legal issues in a Franco-British environment, and 70 - info - march / april

how members deal with them. Under the umbrella topic of ‘How to better understand the role of legal departments in the Franco-British context’, the Forum has decided to hone in on three specific areas, namely, Litigation; Director’s duties; and the Bribery Act. ‘We’ve identified these three by collective consensus,’ says Michael Butcher, ‘although there are others that are just as important. But we thought by biting off a manageable chunk we would learn how to approach the other topics in due course.’ For each of these, sub-committees have been formed with the task of drilling down into the issues and coming up with observations that will be brought back to the forum for general discussion. From this, something more substantial will be produced to contribute to the publication. The Legal Forum has also come up with a programme of activities for the year. In addition to the Forum working sessions every two months, a Legal Lunch, which follows the model of the Chamber’s successful Annual Financial Lunch, will be organised on 17 October. Additionally there may also be a series of Legal Forum Dinners, where an outside speaker will be invited for frank, off-the-record discussions on pertinent topics. Following the first session, both Olivier Morel and Michael Butcher expressed delight in how well it had gone. ‘Everyone was engaged and could immediately see the benefit of collective discussion on common issues confronting in particular General Counsel working in the UK with parent companies in Paris,’ says Olivier Morel. ‘And it is just as essential for a solicitor in private practice to understand the internal, practical and political difficulties that the General Counsel of a company has, which might otherwise lead to the misreading of a situation or company actions. This helps to build trust and better relationships.’ I KF © sxu/plex


forums recent hr forum




3 0 j a n u a ry 2 013

Resourcing and retention strategies After an overview by Professor Claudia Jonczyk, Associate Professor of Organisation Studies at ESCP Europe Business School, Matt Griffin, Recruitment Manager – Northern Europe, International SOS, shared his thoughts on the seismic shifts in recruitment practice and how to engage and retain a new generation of employees


tatistics on sourcing and retention reveal two puzzling trends. First, despite the slow market, employers are not finding the right talent. 60% of companies report difficulties in attracting ‘critical skill employees’. Second, employers are not retaining that talent – 33% do not work to their full potential and 25% believe they will be working for another employer in a year. As competition for talent intensifies through geographical mobility and demand, employers have to find new and more creative ways to source and retain employees.

Retention – what makes the difference? Money and benefits: these do the job, but are not everything. Money typically ranks in the top five, yet very rarely in the top two or three of motivation factors. Downsides to financial rewards include lower intrinsic motivation, temporary compliance that ignores underlying problems and counterproductive effects if the incentives are withheld. Company benefit portfolios often reveal a disconnect between employers and employees. Financial rewards should certainly be part of the package but they can only work in tandem with achievements and recognition. Challenges and achievements: most development challenges should be on-the-job assignments where employees see the link between their activities and challenges and the impact on the organisation, and the skills and expertise developed should be clearly linked to future corporate requirements. Recognition: the role (and emotional intelligence) of the immediate superior is crucial to retaining employees in terms of feedback, motivation and inclination to stay (or to leave) the company. Make sure you have career paths for people to move laterally and vertically through the organisation. Think in terms of total reward, of which compensation is only one factor. Focus career opportunities, benefits, work-life balance, performance and recognition.

Mobilisation and cultural readiness are ways of developing talent, but it is also crucial to ensure that right from the beginning the induction process is seamless and flawless.

The future of recruitment In the era where Generation X is giving way to generations Y and Z with higher learning orientation but lower levels of organisational commitment recruiters have to change the ways they engage with the workforce. Social media: the traditional recruitment agency is being replaced by new ways of proactively sourcing the employment market, and social media is one of the key ways of engaging with the new workforce. LinkedIn is a very powerful – and cost effective - recruitment tool with the capability to speak to people directly. How you engage with it is where you can control it. Gamification - the fusion of game design techniques into anything – is another way companies are seeking to engage with a younger population. Branding / being what it says on the tin: if you mis-sell your organisation from the beginning of a candidate experience that is potentially going to be a bad hire. Is the way you describe your organisation on your website, in person and through social media the best representation of it or a sugar-coated version? Getting this right ultimately reduces attrition, accelerates integration, increases productivity and profit. How to attack resourcing from a business perspective Have single points of contact: have a deep and technical understanding of your market, articulate that to the candidate, and make sure your message is consistent. Be a talent scout: constantly look at the market, your competitors and potential people. Maximise technology: have the best you can, as this is fundamental to engaging with a technologically savvy generation. Be mobile ready – it will account for 60% of applications in the next few years. I KF info - march / april - 71




r e c e n t c l i m at e c h a n g e f o r u m


11 d e c e m b e r 2 012

Strategies for sustainability: alignment with core business An agenda for sustainability can and should be aligned with corporate strategy when context and materiality are properly understood, and investment principles adhered to, says Simon Pringle, Head of Sustainability and Clean Technology at BDO, who spoke to the climate change forum, about funding the green economy Understanding context and materiality are critical A few years ago, the sustainability agenda hardly impacted the mid-market space. Since then, the issues have become more material as companies realise how sustainability impacts business performance. However, sustainability is meaningless without an understanding of the context in which a business operates, and what is material to it. Different drivers – focusing on what is material to the business The drivers for sustainability are both regulatory and non-regulatory. While the former sets boundaries, the latter is far more influential and effective in pushing the corporate agenda. A focus purely on compliance can produce a tendency to treat the symptom, not the cause. Until recently, many businesses took the view that compliance with environmental law was a sufficient investment in sustainability, and doing any more was not in the interests of the shareholder. The issue now is that the key risks and opportunities are likely to extend beyond what is legally required – they really sit within the supply chain. Many larger corporates now look to their supply chains to deliver on their own commitments. A Spanish lemon grower might be told by the UK supermarket he supplies that within six years it will be switching to another grower in a water-rich part of South Africa because the supermarket does not believe he has sustainable water resources to continue to deliver on the quality it requires; and a fit-out contractor for retailers who does not heed their procurement criteria will find himself struck off the list. Non-regulatory drivers take different forms: Consumption: The way that people receive products is becoming as important as the provenance of the product itself. Consumers are no longer taken in by ‘greenwash’, i.e. the marketing of products as green, which ignores the unsustainable ways they are 72 - info - march / april

produced, packaged and transported. Reputation and brand value: The relationship businesses have with their customers needs to be based on integrity and transparency. The influence of social networks, which share knowledge and information, mean that hidden agendas are exposed very quickly. The cost factor: Commodity prices are higher than they have been for 100 years. It is a matter of understanding where the risks and exposures are in the value chain for each sector, and to direct attention to things that are truly material. Many of the hot spots in the supply chain are associated with raw materials – commodities – and with that comes the risk of price fluctuations. Agendas thus depend on the sector - what is material to it, and the value subscribed to that. However, it is clear that sustainability and clean technology are two sides of the same coin: one being the agenda and the other the innovation to address that agenda.

Alignment and benefits of investable technology Proven performance and a sensible return on investment are key to successful innovation. For consumers, it is not enough that it is ‘green’. Expectations have moved forward - the most material issue is that the product works. While sourcing finance for renewable projects remains a challenge, it is achievable if the correct components are in place. The fundamentals of common sense apply. Barfoots is an example of this. A producer of sweet corn and other produce for supermarkets it had a waste problem – mountains of corn cobs that were expensive to dispose of. It also had an energy security issue being the end of the line from an electricity grid perspective. So Barfoots created an energy company, building a 1.1 MW facility to create energy out of the waste. Not only did it become energy self sufficient but also created a new business stream. Proof that aligning technological innovation with established challenges can drive funding, prove value and help reposition a business. I KF




r e c e n t c l i m at e c h a n g e f o r u m


5 f e b r u a ry 2 013

Making the UK electricity market reforms a success Giving a detailed analysis of highly complex state of play in the UK’s electricity market, Chris Anastasi, Head of Government Affairs. policy and regulation for GDF Suez in the UK, underlined how achieving policy certainty is key to the delivery of much needed new investment


ince the start of privatisation in 1990, the UK Among these, details of the Electricity Market Reform electricity market has undergone a complex ‘instruments’ and institutions need to be developed; evolution, successful emerging as a diverse sector the government has to set out how it will realise its Gas with a mix of vertically integrated suppliers and Generation Strategy and consider how to avoid tension independent generators, and encouraging considerable with the proposed carbon intensity target for the inward investment from a range of overseas companies. sector; the role envisaged for the UK’s existing thermal However, Government priorities have changed in fleet needs to be clarified; and some important aspects recent years with security of supply and affordability of the operation of Levy Control Framework have to be now genuinely sitting alongside the need to meet 2020 worked out. targets for carbon dioxide reduction, and renewables The UK is traditionally considered a low risk deployment. Crucially, the Government needs to merchant market when it comes to investment, but as encourage the sector to invest over £100 billion in new new investor opportunities open up in emerging markets electricity infrastructure by 2020 and to do this it has it is increasingly finding itself in strong competition for embarked on a significant reform of the market. limited capital. Investor confidence in the UK depends New policies are now being developed with the upon transparency in government decision-making, objective of providing long-term certainty to investors. a holistic approach to market evolution, and a strong These include the Carbon Price Floor,1 which will benefit evidence-based policy approach. These will all lead to renewables and nuclear (and provide a new revenue greater certainty, which is key to ensuring the success stream to Treasury); Contract for Difference Feed-in of the electricity market reforms. I KF The Carbon Price Floor will provide long-term certainty about the cost of carbon Tariffs,2 which will replace the existing Renewables in the UK electricity generation sector Obligation in time, aims to incentivise all new low Feed-in Tariff with Contracts for Difference will provide long-term revenue certainty and reduced revenue volatility carbon generation; and the Capacity Payments Mechanism it is hoped GDF SUEZ Energy UK-Europe investments in the UK will maintain system security. The framework for these initiatives, and the institutions involved, is outlined in the Energy Bill, currently progressing through Parliament, and is expected to become law by the end of 2013. These initiatives will result in a move away from a ‘liberalised’ to a more ‘managed’ electricity market, and the Government will need to convince the European Commission that they do not violate State Aid rules. On the whole, the new policies being developed should bring forward new investment. However, for investors, both policy and political risk remain, with some important issues yet to be resolved. 1


info - march / april - 73




recent finance forum


12 f e b r u a ry

Financial regulations: review and perspectives A year on from the Finance Forum’s launch at which the hot topic was the unintended consequences of financial regulations, the subject of regulation was revisited. Under discussion was the progress of its implementation and arising issues

welve months on the environment is very different: the process is under way. Change is taking place and day-to-day business is being affected. Banks are having to think about how they adjust their businesses and what business they want to do. Now it is all about understanding what the rules mean and how to interpret them, for example, compliance with Dodd Frank (the US Financial Regulatory Reform Bill) is now required in the UK, which means traders have to be aware of the rules and have the necessary training, and banks have to ensure that Europeans also understand the rules so that they don’t trip up. There is ongoing discussion about how to model risk-weighted assets. A lack of systemic support across the sector has been compounded by a challenging environment in which the same old issues are resurfacing, such as questions over Greece, Spain and Italy. There have been some delays under the Basel III framework – this possibly gives some breathing space to banks but in reality banks will be modelling themselves as if they are already in that framework and are reassessing which businesses are viable within it. Some significant restructuring is already taking place in the move towards a lean, efficient and cost-effective business model, driven by regulation. Ultimately three different types of banks will survive: global wholesale banks; focused household institutions; and local banks. However, globally the playing field is not even and the pace of regulation differs between markets. Cecilia Thorn, Head of European Affairs at the Financial Reporting Council, then gave a perspective on EU initiatives with regard to financial regulations. She noted that the Lisbon Treaty had changed the institutional dynamic, making the European Parliament more organised and powerful. Among the trends emerging in the EU legislative process 74 - info - march / april

© flickr/ Abhishek Chhetri


are a favouring of regulations over directives, the conclusion of more dossiers at first reading and the increasingly important role played by the Presidency in facilitating compromises. However, looming European Parliamentary elections and the end of term of the current Commission in 2014 mean that legislative proposals not adopted by the autumn of 2013 are not likely to be concluded within this term, and a new Parliament and Commission might have different imperatives. Current EU legislative and policy issues are corporate governance, including the disclosure of nonfinancial reporting, accounting, board diversity and a Green Paper on long-term financing. While some are making progress, all face a number of hurdles – both political and technical – that may ultimately result in them being watered down or completely blocked. In the discussion that ensued it was noted that this piecemeal approach, the confusion over definition, and the unevenness of playing field and pace between countries are contributing to an environment of regulatory uncertainty, and that efforts to get it correctly calibrated may take several years yet. I KF

f o rt h co m i n g e v e n t s

Business Club Cocktail

Sponsored by

13 March, 6.30 – 8.30pm at Sofitel London St James Theme: Jersey, Open for Business Guest Speaker: Senator Maclean, Jersey’s Economic Development Minister and Richard Corrigan, Head of Business Development for Jersey Finance Members: £35 + VAT Would you like to conduct your business in a thriving international centre at the heart of global commerce, but not suffer the burdens and costs of city life? Whatever the type of business or situation, establishing or growing a business in Jersey can offer many returns. Jersey is a pro-business island,

ideally positioned for you to invest, grow or prosper. Meet Senator Alan Maclean, Jersey’s Economic Development Minister, and Richard Corrigan, Global Head of Business Development for Jersey Finance, and discover more about the island of Jersey and its business opportunities.

For more information contact Kim Darragon on +44 (0) 2070926643 or at

Sponsored by

Luxury Wine Master Class with Saint Emilion 18 April, 6.30 – 9.00pm at Harrods Members: £40 + VAT

This exclusive wine master class, conducted by experts from Saint Emilion, is a unique opportunity to learn about the flavours and

characteristics of these great wines. Tuition will be followed by a networking session accompanied by delectable canapés and … more wine!

For more information contact Kim Darragon on +44 (0) 2070926643 or at

Member to Member Cocktail and Exhibition 24 April, 6.00 – 9.00pm at the Royal Garden Hotel Members: £40 + VAT per person Non-members: £80 + VAT per person

As the Chamber’s largest cocktail, held for the 14th year running, this event gives companies the opportunity to promote their products and/ or services in person to other members from

the Franco-British business community. It also provides extensive networking opportunities with representatives of very varied sectors, from SMEs to blue-chip companies.

To book a stand or for more information, contact Lorraine Germaix on +44 (0) 207092 6651 or at

info - march / april - 75

f o r t h c o m i n g pat r o n e v e n t s

f o rt h co m i n g f o ru m s & c lu b s

‘Business in Society’

SME & Entrepreneurs Club at the Pub

Co-organised by Mazars and the leading think-tank Tomorrow’s Company When: 20 March, 7.30 – 9.30pm Where: Tate Modern Free – open to Patron members’ main representatives only ‘Business in Society’ was first launched at the European Parliament on 23 January. This will be the second event in a series that will take place in a number of European capitals in 2013. The event will start with a networking reception followed by a panel of speakers including: Professor Stephen Haberman (Dean, CASS Business School, London), Richard Howitt (MEP and European Parliament Rapporteur on Corporate Social Responsibility), Lady Lynn de Rothschild (CEO, EL Rothschild), Dr Shubhro Sen (Director, Tata Management Training Centre, Tata Group), Fiona Woolf CBE, (Partner, CMS Cameron McKenna) and the incoming Lord Mayor of London. They will debate on a widely held conviction that a new relationship between business and society is needed, and ask the tough questions that boards, investors and policy-makers need to address if they are to create a global economy focused on, and capable of achieving, long-term sustainable growth.

VIP Mornings at the Royal Academy of Arts ‘Manet: Portraying Life’ When: 22 March from 8.00am Free – open to Patron members’ main representatives only This singularly important exhibition is the first ever retrospective devoted to the portraiture of Edouard Manet. Spanning the entire career of this enigmatic and at times controversial artist, it brings together works from across Europe, Asia and the USA.

‘George Bellows (1882-1925): Modern American Life’ When: 26 April from 8.30am and 24 May from 8.30am Free – open to Patron members’ main representatives only This is the first retrospective of works by American realist painter George Bellows to be held in the UK. Bellows’ fascination with New York’s gritty urban landscape, its technological marvels and the diversity of its inhabitants, made him both an artist of the modern city and an insightful observer of the dynamic and challenging decades of the early 20th century.

When: 19 March, 6.30 – 8.30pm Where: Baranis, 115 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PP The first of a series of free, relaxed after-work evenings, presenting the opportunity to network and exchange with fellow entrepreneurs and SME leaders. Open to all SMEs and Entrepreneurs

HR Forum

When: 20 March, 8.30 – 10.00am Where: The French Chamber of Commerce Chaired by Rose Gledhill, HR Director, Northern Europe, International SOS. Theme: ‘Corporate Volunteering’ Open to HR directors and HR professionals only

Finance Forum

When: 21 March, 8.30 – 10.30am Where: The French Chamber of Commerce Co-chaired by Patrick Gougeon, UK Director ESCP Europe and John Peachey, Managing Director – CFO Global Markets, HSBC Bank Plc Theme: ‘New currencies - export dimension and access to markets’. By application only

Climate Change Forum

When: 16 April, 10.00am – 12.00pm Where: The French Chamber of Commerce Chaired by Richard Brown, Chairman, Eurostar International Ltd. Theme: ‘Building Green’. By application only

SME & Entrepreneurs Club

When: 24 April, 8.30 – 10.00am Where: The French Chamber of Commerce Co-chaired by Sebastien Delecour, Managing Director at Doublet UK Ltd and Frédéric Larquetoux, Senior Manager, Financial Accounting Advisory Services, Ernst & Young LLP. Theme: ‘E-commerce and Social Media’ Open to all SMEs and Entrepreneurs

Legal Forum

When: 25 April, 9.00am – 10.30am Where: The French Chamber of Commerce Co-chaired by Michael Butcher and Olivier Morel, Partner & Head of International Corporate Investment, Cripps Harries Hall LLP. By invitation only

Luxury Club Dîner des Chefs at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

With the generous support of Pernod Ricard UK Save the date, more information coming soon When: 29 April, 7.00 – 9.30pm Where: L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, 13-15 West Street, London WC2H 9NE. By invitation only

For more information or to register contact Karim Mijal on +44 (0) 207 0926638 or at 76 - info - march / april





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II - info - march / april

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