Rob Reynolds, director of external relations at Bedales Schools, asks: What will be the key skills you will be looking for in Eurosport high-flyers in the next few years, and how can they be developed?
Laurent-Eric Le Lay (LLL): In marketing we have to know the basics, of course, and then we have to add something more, to add something new, to add something unique. To keep your creative energy, I think you have to open your mind. For example, when the iPad was launched a year ago, I offered an iPad to all of my executive committee.
It was not a gift. It was not to make them happy. It was a sign that I gave to them. I said: “Take this. Look at it. For me, it is going to be the future, so try to understand it. We will be obliged to be on that kind of platform.” I think it is my job to push them to go onto these new tools because the new generation is going to be born with them.
So you need to consider all the media. You need to be very flexible, you need to be reactive, you need to understand many different things. To continue to have good marketing, your brand has to be in different places. If you want to have access to this generation of digital natives you have to meet them, and to meet them you cannot only use your TV station. You have to go online, you have to be on the new devices, you have to be on Facebook, you have to be on Twitter.
Then you have to be trained in that because if you are not good the first time, young people will go somewhere else. You can destroy your brand very easily but to build it is always a long process.
Jan Kirstein, group project director at Regal Hotels International, asks: With such a wide audience, how do you market Eurosport and appeal to different cultures with the same product?
LLL: There are a lot of common things in the European culture, and sport is one of them. I do not want to say it is easy, but it is easier, because when you want to market a football game, everybody knows what football is. When you want to have a European TV concept, sport is probably one of the best themes – it is easier than news and even easier than music. What is the common music all over Europe? American music, maybe; not French music. It is the same in cinema.
Of course, in our marketing strategy we try to focus country by country with different angles, different spins. When we market the WTA tennis tour in Denmark we try to use the fact that [Danish player] Caroline Wozniacki is the number one, and she is a great player. It is easier to use Wozniacki in Denmark than in Spain. When we want to market in Spain, maybe we will use the Giro cycling tour with Alberto Contador. When we want to market the Australian Open tennis in Britain, we will use Andy Murray.