Op-ed

“We have the projet to create a leading player in Europe in digital influence”, joint interview with Caroline Faillet (Opinion Act) and Edouard Fillias (JIN) 

Published on 18/10/2022

On October 20, 2022, JIN and Opinion Act announced the merger of their two agencies with the ambition to create the first European integrated digital influence consulting offer. Caroline Faillet, CEO of Opinion Act, and Edouard Fillias, CEO of JIN, detail their common ambitions for the coming years in a joint interview.

How will this merger serve your common ambitions?

Edouard Fillias (JIN): Together with Caroline Faillet, we plan to create a leading player in digital influence in Europe, capable of supporting the transformation of its clients in their relationship with communities. The community is indeed the most relevant form of social organization, in the physical as well as the digital world, to describe the complexity of society, to understand how the tastes and aspirations of the public are segmented. 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations and 88% of consumers read reviews before buying a product. Most markets have moved from a supply-side logic to a community-based recommendation logic.

We know that by interacting usefully with their communities, whether they are citizens, activists, consumers, employees, or enthusiasts, companies can become trusted referents. And from this base, work on the reputation of companies, their influence and also the deepening of their relationship with their customers and employees.

Caroline Faillet (Opinion Act): We have perfectly complementary offers with data analysis and community activation. Upstream, community intelligence allows to specify the relevant channels and to define the content expected by the user. Downstream, it allows us to evaluate the impact and quality of the experience. We believe that bringing together insight experts and activation specialists around an integrated offer is a profound expectation of the market.

This is the meaning of our joint collaboration on women's health with Organon Laboratories, where we work together to listen to and understand the expectations of patients, in order to better speak to them.

E.F.: It is indeed a matter of understanding what communities think thanks to the expertise of Opinion Act, Caroline's teams and then being able to listen to their feedback to build a relationship of trust and ensure that this conversation is sincere and useful. This is how we build a positive influence for our clients.

What is your vision of the internet?

C.F.: We are seeing a form of disenchantment with social platforms. On the one hand, there is the mistrust of communities with regard to their personal data and misinformation. On the other hand, more and more companies are skeptical about the sometimes toxic, dependent and increasingly opaque model that these platforms can have on their business. We need to reinvent the way these conversational tools are used to create lasting trust.

E.F.: It's very important for us, as long-time Internet and digital enthusiasts, to make this observation. Today we need to rebuild trust, to reconcile our clients and communities. Our different businesses: corporate reputation, social media, digital marketing, creation and public relations, will be put to work on this simple but demanding project: rebuilding trust that has been breached in the digital world, in a climate of generalized mistrust.

For the BOUYGUES group, communities have always been a valuable tool for connecting internally, but also with the talents of tomorrow. Long before digital, this principle of companionship was part of their culture. It is no longer simply a social media approach that is proposed, but a real shared vision

For example, for BEABA, we have been listening to and working with the parents' communities for years, to better talk to them and above all to meet their expectations.

C.F.: With SNCF, we have been developing close ties for years with the community of railway workers and enthusiasts, as allies in teaching the general public, customers and even journalists about preconceived ideas and deciphering operating incidents. The proportion of negative opinion about the company has been divided by 3 in the last 5 years.

With Saint-Gobain and in particular the Isover, Placo and Weber brands, we support communities that renovate their homes in spaces such as work forums that are more relevant to consumers than social networks in the name of brands. Through their usefulness and expertise, these formerly controversial brands have earned their stripes with communities.

What are your new joint projects?

E.F.: The first step we would like to take our clients is to admit this loss of trust and try to resolve it. We believe that an ethical leap is possible in the digital influence and digital communication sector, and more generally in strategic public relations communication. We will therefore propose a charter of trust on social networks for these communication operations. It is an essential act and one that we would like to work on with our clients.

One out of two French people say they are not familiar with digital tools and media, even though their use has exploded since the COVID. This paradoxical situation of increasing usage and mistrust must be resolved from above, and we have a role to play alongside our clients.

C.F.: The second project is technological, through tokenization, which has the dual interest of responding to this issue of trust and building digital "assets" for brands. Web3 wants to give power back to the user and restore transparency and trust, so we are also going to offer our clients the possibility of exploring web3 to reinvent the relationship with stakeholders.

This is the example of PSG, which is reinventing social links with its fans via the PSG fan token. It offers them the opportunity to own a little bit of the Club, by investing in these crypto assets. But it also opens up a new form of participation for them, as the token also brings voting rights to choose the fan music, the message in the locker room or even the goal of the year.

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