Reconciling past and future to build the Technip Energies brand: interview with Christophe Bélorgeot
Interview with Christophe Bélorgeot, Senior Vice President Communications
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‘True to our roots, charged with ambition.’ This sums up the Technip Energies brand, born on February 16, 2021. Behind this name lies 60 years of history and a strong vision to accelerate the energy transition to make a better tomorrow. Christophe Bélorgeot, our Senior Vice President Communications, led the efforts to create our new brand and identity when the company was formed. Here, he reveals key lessons learned and takeaways from the challenging yet exciting journey.
What was the rebranding exercise?
Christophe Bélorgeot (CB): In August 2019, less than three years after the merger between Technip and FMC Technologies to form TechnipFMC, our Communications team was faced with another challenge: support the spin-off of almost half of the Group's activities to create a new company.
Rebranding involves coming up with a new company name, a logo, a tailor-made messaging platform, and a visual identity to be consistently applied across all company tools and channels.
Every branding project has its challenges and surprises – good and bad. It entails a wide array of work and deliverables. But, above all, it’s a company-wide project and a unique collective adventure for any communications team.
What were your ambitions?
CB: Our overall aim was to give the new company a unique identity within a dynamic and evolving energy market, and put our history and culture at the heart of the new brand.
This had to be done in a context where our employees, who are fully at ease in an international industrial environment, had recently taken a cultural ‘round trip’ between French and American influence.
We wanted to bring a sense of freshness and modernity expected by our clients and employees, especially our young talents. We had to unite past and future, drawing on our roots to better deploy our ambition.
Can you tell us about the process to create the Technip Energies brand?
CB: The name Technip Energies emerged naturally. Technip embodies 60 years of experience and exceptional know-how in project management, and the pioneering spirit and passion of our teams.
Energies expresses our ambition to play a leading role in the energy transition and the contributions of our 15,000 employees, who are essential in writing this new page in our history.
Translating the name into a logo with the stylized Earth and the three letters T.EN – which can mean both Technip ENergies and ENergy Transition – was natural too. T.EN’s powerful symbol and strong name was quickly adopted by employees, customers and other stakeholders.
Our Communications team then set out to integrate our company’s history within its industrial, economic and social environments. The tasks? To establish the messaging platform which had to be authentic, differentiating and a source of engagement ; and design a strong, unique and easy-to-apply visual identity.
How did you engage people in this exercise?
CB: This new beginning was a significant opportunity to enhance our employees’ pride and take our external stakeholders into account.
Developing engagement and dialogue was our top priority internally: many employees who had been through the Technip and TechnipFMC eras needed to refocus on a new strategic vision and a long-term perspective. This engagement has been essential, as our employees are the ones who carry the message and represent our company in everyone’s eyes.
Our people have been involved in every step of the brand's development through regular updates, surveys and targeted workshops, as well as interviews with company leaders. This approach, combining quantitative and qualitative data, helped us build the brand from elements deeply ingrained in our reality.
As well as engaging to innovate, we were determined to avoid overly sanitized corporate language.
As Olivier Sère writes in his latest book, Ces entreprises qui vous racontent des histoires / Those companies that tell you stories: “More than ever we need great collective stories to spread an authentic, singular word that carries meaning and usefulness – a story that reconciles the past, the present and the future, and that allows a company to rediscover the thread of its history."
What challenges did the Communications team face?
CB: From start to end, our team has shown incredible enthusiasm, professionalism and adaptability. They have :
- Defined the new brand and associated tools, under tight legal and financial deadlines;
- Continued to communicate about the life of the company, without damaging existing brand capital, should the project not go ahead;
- Kept employees and external stakeholders informed about the ongoing project.
As if this wasn’t challenging enough, the COVID-19 crisis postponed the spin-off to an uncertain date and shifted our focus to supporting employees through the pandemic.
Unforeseen events added greater complexity: the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer; the need to maintain confidentiality (logo, messaging platform, visual identity, and so on) until spin-off; accelerated transformation of the energy industry; and competitors venturing into our new brand territory.
When the spin-off was relaunched in January 2021, we needed renewed momentum, perfect coordination with our agency (Carré Noir, which I take the opportunity to warmly thank) and full engagement from our Communications team to deploy everything in only a few weeks. I am extremely grateful to my team, who took up their challenge with passion and gave new meaning to the phrase ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’.
How would you sum up the experience?
CB: A brand is constantly adapting and evolving to be in tune with its context, objectives and priorities. At Technip Energies, our ‘roots/ambition’ approach will continually enrich the culture that drives our teams around the world. I have led three brand changes over the last few years: the rebranding of Technip; the merger between Technip and FMC Technologies; and the spin-off of Technip Energies.
Every time, the deployment has been a moment of rare intensity; a collective story that combines engagement, rigor, creativity and confidentiality, as well as tension and occasional doubt. It has been a moment that brings people together despite the challenges encountered, or perhaps because of them. A unique moment that makes you grow. In short, a professional adventure I will always treasure.
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