The New Communication Directors: How Is Their Role Transforming?

New York, NY, USA, December 19, 2018

The Social Media Club France together with Wiztopic decided to organize a roundtable with 12 French communication experts to discuss the current and future challenges that Communication Directors are facing with digitalization. Here is a report of the first meeting that took place in Paris, France.


Raphael Labbé, Co-founder and CEO of Wiztopic

Pierre-Olivier Cazenave, General Delegate

What do we learn?

  • Digitalization pushes Communication Directors to be more immediate. Thanks to their different skills, their role in the company is more strategic and analytical.
  • The fact of having a wide range of skills strengthens the strategical and analytical role of Communication Directors.
  • Employee Advocacy became an important way to control the coherence of the company’s messages, and it eliminates the borderlines between internal and external communication.

Several experts have been invited to participate to the roundtable organized by Social Media Club France (SMC) and Wiztopic:

  • Delphine Penalva, Communication Director of Solocal
  • Nathalie Lochet, Communication Director of Groupe AFNOR
  • Anne-Elisabeth Mourey, Europe’s Communication Director of Solvay
  • Marianne de Battisti, Communication Director of ICADE
  • Alexia Lefeuvre, Communication Director of Rakuten
  • Frédéric Fougerat, Communication Director of Foncia
  • Nathalie Dray, Communication Director of Walt Disney Company
  • Nathalie Lahmi, Communication Director of Allianz France
  • Olivier Dery, Communication Director of ArianeGroup
  • Jérôme Chambin, Digital and Communication Director of GRDF
  • Béatrice Mandine, Communication Director of Orange
  • Julien Goubault, Communication Director of Klepierre


Digitalization of companies, the influence of Social Media on the public opinion and online markets have completely transformed the communication field. Amidst all this chaos, the communication profession continues to exist and evolves without interruption. Since 2000 Communication Directors have started to oversee responsibilities that are much more different compared to the past: the management of the company’s image, referencing, crisis communication, advertisement campaigns, internal communication, employee advocacy and press relations. Communication Directors became important for all fields, they play the role of orchestra conductors that becomes everyday more complex, scalable and diverse.

A couple of tweets or a Facebook post can make an information viral in only few minutes, it seems that digital transformation has enormously accelerated communication modes.

“What has changed in my daily life it is the instantaneity that pushes us to work constantly in crisis mode, it has become our way of working and it should be reconsidered starting from today.”  Frédéric Fougerat (Foncia)

Before, our key audience were opinion formers, few years ago, our audience started including our users and clients as well. Social media have shuffled the decks by permitting them to interact with us 24/7. This is a radical change for what concerns our profession and for the reputation of our company.” Explains Delphine Penalva (Solocal).

What has changed is the pace of our communication and the increasing of the number of channels through which we express ourselves. This obliges us to be coherent and make more radical and disciplined choices” Explains Beatrice Mandine (Orange)

 Today, it is much easier and more important to have access to technologies, thanks to the latter, employees can actually have much more influence online “If we are not able to convince them with the importance of having a coherent communication we can lose them.” Says Jérôme Chambin (GRDF)

In a big company, we cannot communicate on everything we do, or we’ll become inaudible. Fortunately, there are filters and communication directors play that role of filter. It is important to have coherent messages”  Béatrice Mandine, Orange

With the acceleration of the communication rhythm, communication directors are obliged to intervene on different subjects. The transability of their activities becomes essential for the exercise of their profession. "During the last few years, our profession passed from a support role to strategic function” Explains Fréderic Fougerat (Foncia).

The concept of transversality is fundamental for our profession” says Nathali Lahmi (Allianz France). In order to apply transversality she has created groups of 10 persons that have each a different role in the company (Business, Marketing, Community Manager) so that they can work together on different communication projects. "Transversality allows us work in a coherent way and harmonize our communication actions in order to strengthen the company’s image.”




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