guilhem charneau

5 Questions With...Guilhem Charneau

Céline Sabbagh

The Launchmetrics 5 Questions With… interview series provides a way to connect industry leaders from the fashion, luxury, and beauty industries, and gives a platform for them to share their best advice and expertise. 

For this episode of the series, we spoke with Guilhem Charneau, the PR and influence director at Sandro

Guilhem Charneau has nearly twenty years of experience in marketing in fashion, luxury and the arts industries. After a master’s degree in communication and cultural mediation at the Sorbonne, this native Parisian has worked at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Isabel Marant and Jean Paul Gaultier. Wishing to specialize himself in fashion marketing, he studied at the IFM. Then, he continued his career at Yves Saint Laurent, as Europe PR Manager, and at Lacoste, as global head of PR. For more than 5 five years, he has been working at Sandro Paris, as International PR & Influence director while following his passion to make the brands and designers he works for shine.

What do you love most about your job?

Working in the PR field is very diverse, rich and stimulating.One of the things I like is that PR is at the crossroads of many places, like the creative studio, the retail team, the atelier, and the merchandising teams. We really work hand in hand with all the departments of the company, and not to mention the stylists, editors and influencers that we meet daily. It’s extremely rewarding and thanks to our really great team at Sandro we are able to leverage values, perspective and bounce ideas. This diversity of human exchanges keeps me very positive about my job. What I also like very much about PR is that you really have to put yourself in perspective all the time and be aware of every single thing in your industry. It forces you to really reinvent yourself constantly and be creative.

How has the industry changed since you started your career?

I believe it’s in the nature of fashion to reinvent itself and to make things obsolete that were not obsolete a few months ago. The most obvious change is of course digital transformation and from social networks to the switch of communication channels, from traditional print to digital influencers, online events, and the metaverse. The fashion world is nothing like it was 10 years ago, and I think for PR it means much more options to work with but also much more fun. The most fundamental change is that brands now understand that they must now engage a deeper conversation with their audience. They need to adapt to new consumer priorities and that sustainability, inclusivity, diversity are not an option anymore. Some people would say it opens a door to green washing and all kinds of opportunism but I believe it also helps to make our industry better and healthier.

What lessons have you learned from this new virtual world we have had to adapt to?

A lot of lessons have been learned because of the lockdown. It taught us to be much more flexible. We understood there is not only one way to do things but a lot of different ways to work. We also learned to work in more creative ways, for example we made online events and virtual press days. I think the lockdown has re-exhilarated the digital transformation of the entire system. The new virtual world offers so much more possibilities, like if you look at NFTs, gaming, virtual reality, virtual influencers, and virtual stores. The online world has become as important as the offline world. On a human level it’s great because we can learn from the new generation and we also support their growth by providing our experience so it’s a win-win.

If you had a magic wand & could create one tool that would help your company operate better, what would it be?

Sandro was created on a beautiful family adventure and this spirit is still at the core of the company. Like every family, it saw plenty of thoughts and ideas, different personalities and perspectives. It’s a little bit like if you imagine a big family dinner where people bring issues to the table, and this is what it’s like at Sandro. We can bring our opinions and ideas and work in unity as well. This helped to create a safe and inclusive work environment. I wish just to be able to continue to support each other to bring ourselves to the Sandro family and if I had a magic wand, I would just use it to make the Sandro spirit never ending and keep going this way.

What’s one tip you would give your younger self?

That’s a tough question. It makes me think that for the Pride month Sandro partnered with “It Gets Better”, which is a non profit organisation connecting LGBTQIA+ youths to education and storytelling around the world. The statement “It Gets Better” has a great echo for me. Growing up I was the shortest, thinnest and most fragile kid in the class. The one with big glasses. So in order for me to be heard I really needed to push myself and work harder than others. So that brought many obstacles and challenges with the feeling that sometimes I didn’t belong and back then I looked at them as struggles or difficulties. So if I had to give a tip to my younger self back then, it would be simple, it would be to look at difficulties as challenges, learn how to grow as a person from them and that your differences are a source of pride and strength and remember there is nothing you can not succeed or conquer and at the end it will get better.

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