Isabelle Fabry – ESOMAR’s newest Representative for France discusses her career path, motivations and values, vision of her priorities in this new role and, beyond that, the evolution of market studies.

Interview with Isabelle Fabry, the new ESOMAR co-representative for France

Q: A few weeks ago, you were nominated as the new ESOMAR co-representative for France, in tandem with Anne Dionisi-Fung (Michelin). In a few words, what are the main lines of your career?

Isabelle Fabry: In three words, I would certainly say marketing, marketing…and marketing!  (laughs). It’s THE major constant of my career path, regarding both my training – a master degree at Essec- and my professional history, from my very first job at CSA – TMO to the creation of Actfuture, my own company. But the overall universe of psychology is also prevalent; I hold a master’s degree in semiotics and was trained in behavioral psychology, Master in Practice and coach in Neuro-linguistic Programming. This strongly influences my way of seeing things and my

practice as a consultant, which has been mine for nearly twenty years now, and still brings me a lot of satisfaction.

Why did you choose the career path of marketing studies? Which was the triggering factor?

It was sort of a thunderbolt. I was doing an internship at Crédit Lyonnais to conclude my Marketing Master at the ESSEC and I happened to have to read a study project, then written by TMO (now CSA). This study was a revelation to me; I could see it was possible to have real questions, which really made sense, but also to find intelligent, operational answers. The mission of my professional future seemed obvious to me.

One can imagine your working days are strenuous enough with your activity as a consultant… What motivated you to become an ESOMAR co-representative?

Just like any human being, the source of my motivation and energy lies in what is best related to my identity, and also in what links me to the others. Deep inside, I have always felt I was a “citizen” belonging to the different communities in which I happened to be involved in, and more widely, a citizen of the world. ESOMAR is an international community which allows each individual –entity or country- to meet with the others, voice their feelings, listen and learn from others, and thus, to improve. To me it’s an example of success which it would be profitable to model in other fields, such as politics for example. This role of co-representative of ESOMAR, in collaboration with Anne Dionisi-Fung to carry on Elisabeth-Martine Cosnefroy’s action, which I acknowledge, also appeared to be self-evident.

How do you consider the position of ESOMAR in France today? What surprises you the most concerning its influence, its actions?

ESOMAR is well known in the field of Market Studies (with 290 members and 40 corporate entities in France), but significantly less in the overall world of marketing. There’s a lot of work left to be done on the notoriousness and image of the organization, including maybe a priority on the clarity of the proposition. As it is often the case with acronyms, the question of the meaning remains open… What is ESOMAR? Above all what does ESOMAR offer each of its members, and more widely the community of studies and marketing? If we manage to re-establish this equivalence within the meaning between name, contents, and benefits (both operational and strategic), we’ll be winners.

It seems to me that it is one of the major keys to expand the influence of ESOMAR in France. The desire to be a member and participate goes through an immediate understanding of the raison d’être and of the tangible benefits of ESOMAR, for the individuals as well as for the organizations to which they belong.

Do the benefits of membership have to be made more obvious?

Yes, there are never enough of these. But there are more than “cold” utilitarian components. Being a member of ESOMAR is also about meeting human beings in the flesh who speak the same language as you. It’s also feeling you belong to a group and support it. It is “keeping warm” within the group, which I think is a strong motivation.

Which projects do you wish to carry out together with ESOMAR?

First of all we have to carry out the actions undertaken by Elisabeth, Pascale (Zobec) and Anne (Dionisi-Fung) from the last few years. This covers lots of different things… We have to capitalize on the June Meet Up event, which is very successful thanks to its sponsored, short formula. We must also keep developing the partnership with le Printemps des Études and key interlocutors such as Market Research News, and network even more closely with other organizations such as Adetem, IREP, UDA, as well as with the world of students… It seems equally important to extend the aggregation of French speaking countries to the French driving force so as to help this community thrive efficiently and positively.

Which future projects are going to be implemented?

Lots of them! Anne and I wish to create a fast communication platform between all French speaking ESOMAR members, as an extension of what we have just developed through our Facebook page.  Russia is currently carrying out a pilot programme on this subject; we are going to watch this closely. We would also like to offer systematic counselling for our members, first on registration, then after a few months for the newcomers, and more widely for all of the members according to their seniority within ESOMAR. And, why not, make each one of them an ambassador of the organization, through a programme of sponsoring. We also want to facilitate access to French speakers in conferences in ESOMAR events: too few of them are selected today.  Finally we want to promote further women within ESOMAR, in particular through the Women Be European Board Ready training course by ESSEC, which I am joining in 2018, as well as other volunteer partner networks.

Naturally, these projects must be carried out in an ever-more open, imaginative and creative spirit, never forgetting our role of broadcasters of excellence and of the Best Practices to be observed around the world, within ESOMAR or elsewhere.

Everybody agrees that marketing studies are evolving. In the next 5 or 10 years, what do you believe the main lines of this evolution will be?

I can clearly perceive 3 lines for the future. The first one is to keep on digitalizing the trade, thanks to the many tools offered by new technologies. Wide apart from the latter, we have to dive into the intimate understanding of the human, its motivations, processes, and yet unexploited capacities. Between both emerges a bridge, which is artificial intelligence. But there is obviously an immense potential for our profession, which is endlessly in search of stimuli for the mind and progress.

Beyond the projects you have mentioned, what state of mind is yours, which are the values that you wish to rely on to fulfil your role within ESOMAR?

I am really delighted and strongly motivated by this opportunity I was offered to play a role within ESOMAR, such a mission being in total agreement with my personal values, as I pointed out before. Being part of ESOMAR means working together while fully playing the card of interculturalism. This openness and this relationship to the others is something obvious to me, and marketing intelligence is a super booster for the progress arising from this connection and this sharing, and it is all the more exciting than it operates at an international level!


The original article was published on MRNews