“My job has always been to tell stories... about a brand or a product,” says Rémi Collioud as he goes off-topic. About the art of storytelling then... One day, the wife of an intrepid explorer, Mike Horn, calls in a panic. Her husband has just lost all of his equipment in a fire. He is alone, stranded somewhere in Siberia. “Get your sewing team to work and in three days, with a Russian helicopter, you'll deliver a full supply of clothing...” remembers the former head of international marketing and communication of the sport clothing brands Eider and Killy.
It's just another one of many anecdotes for this man who is as passionate about communications as he is about sport, and wanted to make a career or out of it too. “I didn't have the physical abilities, though.” Case closed on sports, instead he got his degree in science, a master's in economic sciences and a post graduate degree in sports marketing. When he was only 23 years old he started at Eider-Killy and quickly climbed the ladder. He did it all. “Hang on, let me continue...” Product launches, marketing speeches, sales strategies, internal communications, sales tools, communications maps, media plans, product placement, partnerships, sponsoring, window displays and distribution in 25 countries. “The advantage of smaller companies is that you can do anything,” says Rémi, who could never see himself working for a large company.
Heading a small team, including two full-time interns, he launched operations and campaigns to increase brand visibility. Another story... One day his press attaché contacts him. She wants him to meet someone who is launching a new concept for a television show. “Hi, I'm Frédéric Lopez.” The concept would become "Rendez-vous en terre inconnue” - Rendez-vous in the unknown world – and would run on France 2 Television during prime time. This was the key to millions of TV viewers, glued to their sets watching the adventures of French stars Adriana Karembeu, Gérard Jugnot and Virginie Effira. Everyone from the technical team, the presenter and the guest stars are all equipped from head to toe for adventure in Eider-Killy. The brand visibility was worth millions – a master stroke and the perfect networking opportunity.
Networking was also his strong point at Swiss watchmakers Frédérique Constant and Alpina while he was on a long-term replacement. He went from running 25 distribution countries to over one hundred. “It's the same recipe. Just the final product is different. If I feel it, it all works out,” he adds. Today Rémi Collioud is the adjunct director of IPAC Design Geneva, and the head of the Bachelor's in communication, media et strategy programme - a new adventure that gives him the opportunity to share his experience and knowledge. “Communications is above all human relations, common sense and intuition,” he states.
What does he expect from his students? Open minds, curiosity, and the ability to adapt and be nimble. Who wants a Bachelor's in the unkown world?