Interview with Sebastien Tondeur (MCI)

One of the great parts of our job is to work internationally and meet our clients and partners in different parts of the world. During a trip to Switzerland, we met with Sebastien Tondeur, CEO of MCI. Sebastien is the 2nd generation Tondeur within the company since his father Roger Tondeur. Today’s mission is to empower brands by activating people and their communities. MCI is doing this by offering companies (including associations and non-profit organisations) solutions including online & offline events and services based on analytics, content and creative design. MCI has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, however the company is present in 31 other countries with 61 offices. Throughout the 10 years of The Next Organization’s existence we have built a profound relationship with MCI and together we have been doing projects regarding the implementation of propositions and realized mutual goals all over the globe.

Value comes from the customer instead of the brand
It is fair to say that both MCI and TNXTO have seen each other grow throughout the last decade and when asking Sebastien about his vision for the next 10 years, we immediately find ourselves in a lively conversation about the definition of growth. “You cannot force growth, it is an outcome”, Sebastien says. He refers to the shift regarding the definition of growth in terms of quantity versus quality. When a brand is becoming more meaningful, it is growing qualitatively rather than in numbers. When envisioning the future and with that, this movement, one should keep in mind the concept of value in use; meaning the customer is the one creating a brand’s value nowadays rather than the other way around. When a company realizes this, it is able to respond adequately in a way that it can enforce and activate the role of the customer.

“We are still talking about millennials but the oldest of them are already 39 years old”

When talking about value creation, Sebastien mentions a few dynamic themes that are playing a big role when thinking about a company’s strategy:

From product focus to service focus
We are facing a movement from a world of products to a world of services. A brand can no longer ‘just’ offer a product but should mainly focus on the service package for the customer and that in fact a service should become, or already is, the new ‘product’.

Dynamic offering
With the shift to a world of services, the offered services need to be asymmetric, meaning that they have to be adapted as fast as the dynamics of the market is. Last year’s concept may have worked but that doesn’t mean it will work this year too.

Global vision, local market dynamics
In one country a strategy might have been a success, but the same strategy can completely fail in another country. Customization in leadership, business rules and human relationship is essential to keep up with the local market dynamics.

Essence of relationships
A mistake that Sebastien thinks we make when looking at this market, is that we still talk about millennials whereas we need to start looking at the generation after them; those who are born with an iPad in their hands. A brand should start building a relationship with those and understand that creativity that is needed not only to create the right pricing concepts but also to recruit good employees. Namely, this new generation has a different perspective on work and the importance of doing valuable work.

Human Touch
“Value of face-to-face is still important due to fake and mis- information that is found online”, Sebastien claims. The human touch is key in this digital area, where new communities are created everyday all over the planet. Relationships are the most important thing according to Sebastien and dynamic conversation with the skill to act agile, being able to react and adapt quickly is essential for brands. Direct consultation and dialogue is what customers need most. In order to do so, it is no longer necessary to plan content of an event far in advance, because trending topics change all the time. Therefore, one needs true understanding of the client and his situation and act as a partner. If that level of relationship between brand and client is achieved, pitches or RFPs are no longer relevant as the clients already knows whom they want to work with.

We as The Next Organization align with Sebastien’s perspective on value in use and the essence of functioning as a partner for communities by captivating the movements of trends and developing concepts in combination with cherishing the human and personal relationship to help one another grow. Some of these topics are published amongst other trends and concepts of potentially great impact in our yearly TNXTO Outlook. If you are curious and want to talk about what this could mean for your organization, contact us here.

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