How do you imagine yourself in 10 years from now?
This is one of the questions young and hopeful candidates are often asked during interviews.
The woman, the professional I had the pleasure to meet last week is an elegant representation of my “ideal me” in 10 years.
Through these six months of class, day after day, I realized that my strengths, my attitude and personality, my background and work experiences put together would be incredibly valuable for a job in communication in a luxury company.
Therefore the person of Barbara Gianuzzi really impressed me as an example of professional and woman at the same time.
Elegant, beautiful, smart, always kind and patient she is the owner of Barbara Gianuzzi Comunicazione, an independent communication agency for fashion companies that she established after many years of expertise and work in communication, starting from the music sector then for the travel one, luxury real estate, art and cosmetics and, finally, for Jewels, watches and accessories with a long experience in Cartier.
She was a lecturer for our Master course last week and she’s been so nice to accept an interview for our blog.
Q. Barbara, you told us you started working in communication with musicians and singers, have you always wanted to do this kind of job?
A. I had a very “linear” path, I did a school of graphic, then I graduated in public relation at IULM (Università di Lingue e Scienze della Comunicazione) and from then on I continued to work in the field of communication for the most various sectors : music, hotellerie, pet food, accessories, I worked for Centromarca (association of more than 200 consumer brands like Barilla, Nestlè, Auricchio etc.) and then I went to Cartier where I stayed the longest and had my imprinting. From then onwards watches and jewelry have always been my reference sectors. With my agency I have the chance to work for both luxury and commercial brands.
Q. Can you tell me the story of Barbara Gianuzzi Comunicazione? How was the agency born? How is it organized?
A. My agency was born a bit by chance. In 2008, after 8 years of amazing work in Cartier as the head of press office, I felt limited, I wanted to grow professionally and take new challenges, therefore I decided to leave the job. I worked for 2 years as head of communication for a luxury real estate company but it was hit by the economic crisis and I had to leave it. I felt I wanted to do something different from a company contest, then I started to work as a freelance for a communication agency. Day after day I had more and more brand clients and work: at that point (it was 2010) I decided to set my own agency. At the beginning I worked at home, then I rented a small space and now we are in five.
Q. Which is the difference between a communication agency and a press office of a company?
A. First of all the agency is physically outside the contest you work for, while inside a company you daily live and breathe the atmosphere of the company. Twenty years ago my dream was to work for a company because it gives you a certain structure to your professionalism and indeed I had the chance to treasure my experience in Cartier and make it an asset for my agency, something that makes it different from other agencies, knowing the modus operand of companies, my agency’s approach is very businesslike.
Q. I have two degrees in Chinese language, law and economics and some commercial and marketing experiences both in Italy and abroad, for different sectors: for a girl like me, who wants to work in communication for a luxury company, which is in your opinion the best educational and professional path?
A. An initial job in a communication agency for sure is very formative. But in a very general sense I suggest you to keep the best from everything and pay attention to all details and every small aspects of the activities you will have to face. This is my creed and the advice I give to all my young collaborators/interns.
Q. Which personal characteristics are required to do this job?
A. You have to choose this work first of all if you have a certain personal attitude. All technicalities could be learnt but the base is motivation, availability, the willingness to always be attentive, keeping your eyes always opened. And relational attitude are required, this is a work of relations, you cannot be shy and you have to be diplomatic and balanced.
Q. When you have to select colleagues, interns, etc., what do you usually look for? Academic background, professional experiences, personal attitude?
A. It depends on the figure I have to select whether it’s for a senior or a junior position. When I select girls for internship positions I try to investigate their motivation and humility, the characteristic that allows them to appreciate all the activities they will do. Just for example I always tell to my girls to pay attention to the labels they put on letters: if they look them carefully they can learn the names of the editors of various newspapers and magazines, otherwise it is reduced to a mere manual labor and after 3 months of work they ask me: “is Vanity Fair a Mondadori title?” and I get crazy! Humility is fundamental.
Q. I know that when you work in a communication agency working time doesn’t exist, pace is super fast. How much time is left for personal life, interests, family?
A. This is an aspect that is deeply linked to the responsibly and professional conscience of a person.
Clearly this is a job which often requires to work overtime and during week end but I have never told to someone “here we work until 9 pm, if don’t like it, just look for another place to work”. But for example if the following day we have an event and we haven’t finished the press release yet, I expect that a person has enough responsibility to stay in the office until we finish them. It’s not a rule, it’s a mentality. It’s not true that you don’t have time for your life, of course there are periods full of events or press days or before fairs but it’s not always like this, very rarely we stay in the office at the week end.
Q. Communication for luxury brands and for consumer brands: are there differences in content, channel or method?
A. As a studio we work for high range brands such as Roger Dubuis, Vacheron Constantin, but also for Festina Group which is an international and beautiful company and the attention we put to press activities is absolutely the same.
Needs are different. It’s not a substantial difference, it’s a matter of target and positioning of the differents brands. The “quality” of communication, the attention and shape are the same.
Q. Luxury brands like Cartier or Roger Dubuis, you’ve worked for, are very demanding?
A. When you represents a luxury brand you have to respect all the codes related to that brand. A luxury brand is demanding according to the objectives it has. In this crowded market, at the end, every brand is demanding because every company needs to be visible, needs to get results.
Q.The worst and the best thing of your job
A. I have to say that I am extremely passionate about my work and I would never change it.
What we do is very “manifested” I can say, from the result point of view, in the sense that all of our activities come out on newspapers and magazines. It’s unpleasant when occur bad reactions if something hasn’t appear, or not in expected time, causing tension which is difficult to explain.
The most difficult thing is to make a customer understand how our activity works and tell him that we cannot satisfy him because it’s objectively not possible.
The customers sometimes doesn’t understand and it’s very difficult to find a proper balance between the will to satisfy him and the need to say “NO” because we know that by saying “yes” it would be a damage and not a service. This is why you have to be able to manage and to be diplomatic.
The beautiful part is that with a job like this you have the chance to manage and see things and meet people that you couldn’t face in a “normal life”.
Thank you Barbara!
from Barbara Gianuzzi Comunicazione facebook page;