Hervé Monier

Hervé Monier

Hervé Monier and I have something in common in that, almost twenty years apart, we both visited Myanmar – or Burma to those behind the times. I therefore chose the Irrawaddy river, not far from the famous Bagan temples and their breath-taking sunsets to frame the profile of this inveterate traveller, who navigates the murky waters of French marketing as easily as he ventures across the seas of our beloved earth.

At sunrise, there was…

…a tranquil river with its source in northern Myanmar, flowing into the Bay of Bengal, more than 2,000 kilometres away. Stretching out on a little boat, Hervé Monier surveys the fiery horizon and thinks back to his youth… Nevers, then, several years later, the high school Victor Duruy and its cosy Parisian 7th arrondissement. It is through literature that the world opens up to him and he decides to devote himself to it through a highly successful intensive foundation degree in literature (“hypokhâgne”); as an aspiring journalist, the university Sciences Po’ rejects him for a matter of just a few marks… Then the CELSA school of communication and journalism presents him with its course in “Communication”. The first year “feels a bit bogus”, then blossoms through several internships in companies. Internal communication as a major, agencies as new playgrounds.

…breakfast, and then…

… the small boat which glides through calm waters in absolute silence, disturbed now and then by the flutter of wings as a heron takes flight. Guillaume Tell, an agency of the Publicis Group specialised in the employer brand and its Director, Didier Pitelet, welcome him with the maxim, “You’ll work like a warrior monk and leave us after three years”. Three years in which he manages a portfolio of more than thirty clients, worn out but now enthralled by this crash course. Three years which lead him to acknowledge that, “When you are capable of working fifteen hours a day for thirty clients, what follows seems much easier!”. So, it is on the threshold of the new millennium that he flies the nest, poached by what is already known as a “startup”, looking for its next “Marketing/ Communications Director”. The exaltation of a 360-degree activity gives way to the rigorous industry sector.

…a morning break as well deserved…

…just enough time to take a closer look at these skylines of stupas and temples, one after the other, far away, above the dry grasses of Bagan. Nexans now becomes his daily life for several years ordered by the discovery of very different political and organisational contexts. The budgets are as big as the projects and he continues to learn a trade in which he flourishes. Alas, he has to board his boat once again and leave the shore, moving away to the provinces. Bourges, its Garden of the Archdiocese, his partner and Sofaxis: he now looks back at the capital in his rear-view mirror. How to stay in contact with his network? He throws himself into social networks and falls in love with Twitter, this marvellous monitoring and conversational tool and then, quickly, after buying a brand-new Mac, he no longer has a choice: he has to give birth!

…as a lunch break to exchange experiences…

…with the driver of this little boat who has resumed his slow journey to the estuary and who tells him about the splendid Buddhist traditions of a country which is still closed in on itself. Hervé responds by coming up with the “BrandNewsBlog”; “We are in listening professions,” he whispers to the young skipper with weather-beaten skin, who no doubt returns a quizzical look. Inspired by the digital media of Olivier Cimelière, Frédéric Fougerat and Christophe Lachnitt, this promising creation enables him to express himself and to set up another contact point with marketing specialists. Maybe his digital offspring will see the addition of a new format during the evening, video? Who knows…? The sun is at its highest when he observes that, “Spending some time in communication is always useful, especially if you then take up a post in another department because, from then on, you have a concern for others”.

…before an afternoon of hard graft…

…under the blazing sun which beats down on the top of his skull as the mountains appear and the horizon blurs. Sipping a local tea, he thinks over the management skills of a Communications Director; set an example, take the right decisions, produce optimum content, listen and disseminate, encourage the team, train them and get them used to performance. The digital transformation of his colleagues and the company is achieved by teatime; there is comprehensive awareness but the level of maturity of companies is much paler than his cheeks reddened by the powerful sunlight. Where is social selling up to in French companies ? Why do gaps in discourse about data still create so many strategic failings? Why are most IS made up of “patches” ? He is bordering on sunstroke…

…and a caffeine charged tea…

…the dark liquid flows down his throat; the craft continues its journey down a stretch of river which suddenly opens out as the current strengthens its assaults. As if in a mirage, he glimpses the “gilets jaunes” united by the all-powerful digital revolutions which have three-point-zeroed the modern citizen. Viewpoints level out as surely as his sight becomes blurred: fake news dances before his eyes and the 2.0 echo chamber becomes the rule ! Digital communities form and take the lead on subjects in the face of experts who are sometimes reduced to the role of puppets… As surely as the boat tilts dangerously, manipulation of public opinion increases. Will it capsize democracy? Nothing today makes us certain, but it is a real concern!

…when suddenly liberation…

…The boat races towards the sea, guided by the expert steering of the helmsman, sheltered under a bamboo hat; he hands Hervé a bottle of cool water. That’s it, the vessel reaches its goal and progresses through the calm, turquoise water while Hervé finishes his day, free of stress. It’s time for family reunion and board games at home, quickly giving way to a moment of live entertainment. Finally, while the tub navigates through the dark night towards other horizons, he works on an article, “450 marketing and communication twitterers to follow in 2019”. A tough job which he has been doing for six years now and which he makes available for free to the digital community, everyone, the experienced and the newcomers, with fully accepted subjectivity!

…from a slick and efficient day!

Now he takes his turn while the captain sleeps in front, sitting cross-legged, his legs covered by his longyi. Standing in front of the shimmering expanse, he begins his long-distance race, his libertarian marathon, leaving Sofaxis after almost ten years and taking the time to reflect on this full and stimulating life. His active search has only just begun but Hervé is in no hurry: he knows that a marathon is won with consistency, not in the last kilometre. Have a good run Hervé, may your boat or your stride take you even further, on other adventures to the outer limits of the world and communication!