TOP MANAGEMENT France, is the 1st network of company managers. Created in 1985, it has become the reference for company directors and members of management committees. Top Management offers "a reference database dedicated exclusively to the business world with detailed information for contacts at the highest level". 15,000 biographies, i.e. 7,000 companies represented.

This month, they interview Hélène Le Goff, CEO and Director of Studio HLG, to share her vision and experience of design with their readers.

Consult the article online on TOP MANAGEMENT FRANCE

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"Global design, a real growth driver for companies"

Many business owners underestimate the role of design in developing their company's turnover. However, design is a real value multiplier for companies in all sectors of activity. Whether in industry, technology, luxury goods, fashion, hotels, food processing, business leaders who have been able to use design as a strategic tool have seen their company grow.

"In the minds of many, the word design is associated with aesthetics. This is not incorrect, but it is limiting. Its role goes far beyond these criteria. It is the disruptive tool capable of changing perception, increasing the value and profitability of a company and its products/services. This communication technique called global design allows the creation of a brand universe, composed of signs and forms that will spread a message transmitted by the brand.

It must be at the heart of business development and innovation processes."

Did you know that?

  • The effects of design have a direct impact on turnover and margin: companies that used design saw their turnover grow by 22% (Study "The economic effects of design", 2003). 
  • 1€ invested in design brings 2.25€ in turnover! (Design Council study, 2006).
  • According to a study by Adobe, companies that invest in design multiply their market share by 1.5.

Hélène Le Goff, CEO & Art Director of STUDIO HLG shares with us her vision and design experience in the implementation of global communication strategies.

What has been your career path and the experiences that led you to stand out in the world of global design?

HLG: "After my studies in design at the Higher Institute of Applied Arts, an experience in one of the most beautiful design and decoration workshops in Sweden and then in a famous advertising agency in Scotland, my entrepreneurial soul pushed me very young to found my own company. I seized the opportunity to start working immediately when I was only 21 years old, accepting what was at the time a very big project: the realisation of a 1,300 m2 concept.

From that time on, I was deeply convinced that design had to be considered in a global way: that is to say, integrating branding with architecture, digital, print and all the expression media of a brand, in order to design not visual identities, but real concepts and brand territory.

At the time, my vision of global design did not coincide with the binary training course of teaching which dissociated architecture from branding. Yet it was this vision that captured the interest and curiosity of those who were my first clients.

This mission was particularly formative: it allowed me to be confronted with the reality on the ground and to prove myself, but also to fit into a competitive professional environment by offering me a double opportunity: that of artistic creation and that of having a real responsibility in terms of management, both operational and strategic. Since then, my clients have been asking me to operate in this dual role because they see the value of having a single, trusted interlocutor capable of directing their projects".

Hélène Le Goff interviewed by Laurent Nocca, Managing Director Top Management France.

Why do the decision-makers call on you?

HLG: "My clients are companies that want to (re)position themselves in a market, develop their sales, improve their products, services or the image of their brand, company and/or employer brand to support their recruitment policy.

Their problem? An image that does not or no longer corresponds to what they wanted to communicate. If a first basis is good, it turns out that their image is rarely coordinated: i.e. they don't have a set of visual devices: brand / product / website / architecture / communication / coherent, and even less a real lever working in synergy.

From experience I have observed that business leaders are often fully occupied with the day-to-day management of their company and do not have advisers to whom they can delegate the management of their company's overall image. Thus, they successively call upon consultants, communication agencies, marketing managers, architecture agencies... There is then a gap between their ambitions, their desires and the realization because each participant brings an independent solution, without thinking of the complex network between the different fields of expression of a brand. The vision, the attention to detail and, above all, the possibilities for optimising the project are then lost".

What is your approach to creating a consistent brand image aligned with your clients' needs and values?

I am convinced that the image of a brand must be conceived and directed in a dual way: both global and specific. This means being able to analyse and think globally about the brand, to be able to advise the client on the direction that will meet his development objectives, finally, to ensure the steering and perfect coordination of each component up to implementation and finally, to evaluate the results. It is an agile approach, which is part of a long-term process of continuous improvement.

In this sense, successful branding is a complex ecosystem in motion. This approach, more than global design, I call it the Creation of Universe, with a method composed of three phases:
  • The first one is to listen and to know how to analyse finely my client's needs and the feasibility of the project. It is about being able to analyse the market and to propose a vision, supported by an adapted action plan, i.e. a solid bridge between my client's development ambitions and his entrepreneurial capacities. This involves an analysis of the needs of the companies, their objectives and the needs of my clients, with the aim of identifying the levers to enhance the value of their brand/product and the meaning to be given to the project.

  • The second phase: Design. This is the research and creation phase. It is here that my experience in the different sectors of design, together with its application in the particularly varied sectors of activity of my clients, allows me to have a vision that is at once innovative, creative and connected to the reality of the company. Indeed, the goal is not only to make a beautiful design and to stay on the work of the aesthetics of a product / service, but it is to position it, to make it distinctive, to sell it, to communicate it and to allow the company to benefit from it: to be able to capitalize on its image. 

  • The third: project management and management. A design project requires consultation with all the actors involved, a willingness and coherence specific to it. In this phase I work to facilitate the integration of the various collaborators who contribute to the project so that they are in line with my vision, which is to achieve the objective and satisfaction of my client.

It is this trio: artistic, business and management that allows me to use design as a lever for economic development and a force for innovation. Creativity alone cannot work if it is not accompanied by a pragmatic vision of the business in which it must operate. 

This approach is therefore a subtle link between notions of market economy and ... poetry. Poetry, dreams and seduction are fundamental in design. I deeply believe that the role of a designer must be to create and transmit an emotion, to bring a new vision. It's a beautiful profession that seeks to enhance the value of others: the know-how of clients, their products, their actors, but also their own clients. Design aims to make them live a unique human experience, which is all the more beautiful because it supports development and a real desire to succeed.

What is your working method?

When I am entrusted with a project, I take care of the artistic part, the design of the project but also of the steering: from my own collaborators, external contributors, staff, craftsmen, suppliers and all the parts inside and outside the project. 

My type of management aims to keep customer satisfaction at the heart of the process, by building a team that is tailor-made for the project. However, I also interact with people outside my team, who are sometimes imposed on me on the project and it is specifically here that it is essential to use one's ability to listen, analyse and understand the roles, issues and intellectual mechanisms of each person in order to know how to positively instil dynamism and successfully complete the project, on a strategic, technical, financial and human level".

What is your vision of management?

HLG: "I think there are as many management techniques as there are people to whom they have to adapt. The key lies in adaptability: a perpetual balance between acquiring new knowledge and being able to constantly question it in order to find the right fit for the context. Indeed, I do not believe in fixed solutions, but in movement and constant evolution of solutions. 

I believe in vivacity, an intellectual attitude of curiosity and a perpetual research approach. Researching, experimenting, taking an interest in eclectic fields and personalities in order to find innovation and solutions in difference, forces us to open our minds to see beauty and intelligence at the meeting point between two universes. It is this same approach that I use on a daily basis both in my management and in my job as a designer."

Learn more about Hélène Le Goff :

Hélène Le Goff has been working for eight years as a Designer and Artistic Director, specializing in branding for companies and institutions. She conceives and develops unique concepts (products, services) where design is the fundamental tool for the positioning of her clients on the national and international market. It operates in the following sectors of activity: Industry, Luxury, Hotels, Gastronomy, Services and Real Estate to create solutions at different levels such as :

  • Brand Audit and Benchmarking
  • Brand Image Design - Branding
  • Global Design: interior architecture and decoration, product design, packaging design, visual content design and the design of digital platforms such as websites.

Press Articles : 

Awards : 

  • Best Worldwide Architecture & Design Projects by RUBIO USA
  • Brand image and artistic product design for Nicolas Bernardé, meilleur ouvrier de France, published among the best French and international achievements by : TF1, France 2, Le Figaro Magazine, Luxe & Passions, Cosmopolitan, Avantages, Relais Desserts, Arts & Gastronomy Magasine, Dandelion Chandelier,