Vivendi Stories


One of the world’s largest global communications groups, Havas is committed to creating a meaningful difference to brands, businesses, and people.

Vivendi Brand Marketing was created to provide expertise and compelling content to brands worldwide. The ability to combine Havas’ knowledge of audiences, media and industries with the creativity, production, entertainment and distribution resources of the larger Vivendi family makes our organization a unique player in the content space. Vivendi Brand Marketing brings together these skill sets and provides unique insights, services and content strategy consultancy for major companies and brands looking to meet today’s growing consumer expectations for powerful and meaningful content.

The team is led by Chief Insights Officer of Havas, Maria Garrido, who takes on the role of Senior Vice President Vivendi Brand Marketing, bringing two decades of international brand strategy and marketing experience. We sat down with Garrido to discuss what separates Vivendi Brand Marketing from the competition in paving the way for the future of content marketing.

Describe in your own words, what you think the power of Vivendi is for Havas.

I think as an organization we have an opportunity to be leaders in the content marketing space, thanks to the synergies we create across the Vivendi Business units (BUs).

What is the mission of Vivendi Brand Marketing?

We are pioneering new spaces for brand expression. Today, brands are struggling more and more to reach their audience in a meaningful way and need to start looking beyond traditional advertising. Vivendi Brand Marketing’s role is to guide them through this process, creating content that connects with consumers in a meaningful way.

Tell us about your experience in brand marketing. How would you describe what you do to someone new to the industry?

Our role is to help clients develop meaningful ways to connect with their customers through content marketing. The starting point is always the brand’s challenges: who they’re trying to reach, and what their business objectives are. Then, using the client’s information, our market intelligence and consumer and brand insights, we design a content strategy framework suited to this goal. We then identify who within the Vivendi ecosystem is best suited to deliver the winning content, and work closely with them to generate content ideas and activations that will drive the brand’s business.

The global content marketing business is worth $52 billion (USD). It’s the only part of the marketing budget that’s grown in double digits in recent years and we truly believe that with Vivendi—with our assets in creative, music, gaming, merchandise, media, ticketing, venues, talent, film, publishing, series, etc.—we are perfectly positioned to lead in this space.

What is the greatest strength of Vivendi Brand marketing?

Coming at it from the brand’s point of view and beginning the discussions as a “content agnostic” partner lends tremendous credibility to our approach. We aren’t trying to sell them our latest, greatest artist or looking for a brand to hang their banner at our next festival or video game. We speak brand language and want to find the best match between the brand’s business and the goals of our Vivendi BUs. Our strength lies in developing win-win solutions for both sides of the equation. We aren’t just about entertainment. Our group is in the business of emotionally engaging people and we can do this through content that is inspirational, educational, informative, rewarding, helpful, and yes, entertaining.

What is the greatest challenge of Vivendi Brand marketing?

There are two challenges: internal and external. The internal one is getting our own teams to speak brand language and transform their proposals into solutions that drive the client’s business. The external challenge is having big dispersed budgets and tiny client teams. According to a recent report, most CMOs say they are going to continue increasing content marketing efforts, but over half of them have put tiny teams in charge of these exploding budgets! This isn’t sustainable. What we see happening is that these companies are in test mode, throwing money at content activations with little rhyme or reason. Not surprisingly, our Meaningful Brand study shows that 58% of the content provided by brands is meaningless. Our challenge is to convince them they need an overarching content strategy aligned to the rest of their marketing, and that Vivendi is perfectly suited to this task.

What is the future for brand marketing? More specifically, how is the way customers interact with and relate to brands changing and vice versa?

I think the future of brand marketing is content. You have 420 million people who have ad blockers on their phones. Young generations have grown up in a nearly ad-free world with models like Netflix. They don’t want to look at 30-second ads anymore so you have to find new ways to engage them. That could be music videos, but it could also be VIP experiences, more interesting loyalty programs, educational platforms. There are so many different versions of content out there that are better ways to engage with your customers.

What gets you out of bed in the morning? What do you love about your job?

I love that the opportunities to help clients across our entire ecosystem are endless! I consider myself a global citizen and I don’t know many places that require me to work in English, French, and Spanish every day. It’s also really interesting to learn about the different capabilities within our group and to find ways to drive their brand partnership businesses and their collaborations with other parts of the group. I will say this, it never gets boring!

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