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New marketing director, strategy for Renault

French touch: Felix Boulin has played a key role with the Peugeot and Citroen brands over the past five years as a PSA Group delegate, and now turns his attention to Renault.

Boulin shifts from PSA to Renault to steer fresh marketing focus for French brand

26 Nov 2019

RENAULT Australia has appointed former PSA Group executive Felix Boulin as its new marketing director, replacing Emma Pinwill who was in the position for almost two years.


Mr Boulin will report directly to Renault Australia managing director Anouk Poelmann, with whom he worked when Ms Poelmann relocated Down Under from Europe in 2017 to head up the newly formed Peugeot Citroen Australia as Inchcape took over distribution of PSA Group brands from Sime Darby Motors.


Ms Poelmann subsequently shifted to Renault earlier this year and also recently hired experienced former Inchcape executive David Rodda as sales and network director.


Mr Boulin came to Australia in 2014 as a PSA Group representative, working with the independent distributor – Sime Darby and then Inchcape – across both the Australian and New Zealand markets and playing a key role in product and volume planning.


Most recently, he served as commercial manager for both the Peugeot and Citroen brands, bridging product, marketing and sales functions.


At Renault Australia, which is a factory operation, Mr Boulin will oversee full marketing responsibility including product planning, volume planning and distribution, as well as digital marketing and brand advertising.


In a statement, Ms Poelmann said: “Felix’s drive and commercial acumen is the perfect fit for our dynamic team and his French touch and unique experience will be an asset for the Renault brand.


“With an all-new product line up on the way – starting with the launch of Kadjar last week, a renewed executive team and revitalised brand focus, the presence of the Renault lozenge is set for a resurgence on Australian roads.”


As well as the two most recent recruits, the Renault Australia executive team includes aftersales and quality director Matthew Wright, finance director Monia Robin and human resources director Jennifer Gale.


Speaking to GoAuto at the Kadjar launch, Ms Poelmann discussed the company’s marketing strategy going forward, which she said will focus heavily on the brand.


Asked whether there would be any changes to the strategy with the change in marketing leadership at the company, Ms Poelmann said: “I think in the marketing – and that has nothing to do with the person – it’s very important to be very consistent, very clear and not jump around and change the message, first it’s this price, then it’s this price … no, it’s a beautiful brand, it has a lot of value.


“The yellow is a very bold statement, it just says a lot about the inner (spirit) of the brand, we need to show that to people, and we need to proudly show that to people.


“We need to continue to repeat that same message, and I think this is the path that we have chosen now, I think we lost it a little bit over time. We sort of forgot about getting that brand message across.


“And then (we will) have a very clear place for each and every product, so that for the customer no matter what your lifestyle is, your family situation, your budget, and your personal choice, there is a car for that customer.


“And I’m not talking about appealing to the whole of Australia – of course not – but to the customer group that feels associated with what the brand stands for.”


Ms Poelmann said the core tenets of Renault’s marketing efforts were “very consistent and very simple communication” based around two key messages.


“We will be talking about the two strategic pillars of the Renault brand, and what is the Renault brand. It is basically two things: French design and easy life. And that’s what we will talk about,” she said.


“With Renault, our slogan is ‘Make the Move’, and this is what we will consistently repeat and explain in all channels and all opportunities that are there.”


Renault has built up a strong following with light-commercial vehicles and its sporty RS hatchbacks, but has struggled with cementing its mainstream passenger car and SUV lines in the marketplace.


Asked what the company can do to raise the profile of its mainstream model lines, Ms Poelmann said: “It’s so interesting, I’ve been reading the last couple of weeks comments in the press that Koleos is underestimated. It really stands out from the crowd. So it’s clear that this car has so much potential, but for some reason we have not been able to reach enough people to realise, ‘Have a look at it, put it on your shopping list, don’t forget about it.’


“And that’s the nature of volume brands, they always appear on everybody’s shopping lists.


“We need to move up that ladder and that takes time, it takes effort, it also takes consistent communication, and being very clear and focused on the things that are important to the brand and to the end customer.


“So what do I want you to know about this product? I can’t throw 20 things at you because you will forget, so I need to throw one or two things at you, then it sticks.


“And then I need to say it a couple of times or I need to reach you when you are on the internet and you are outdoors and you are talking to your friends, and then it starts to stay,” she said.


Ms Pinwill joined Renault as head of marketing in March 2018 after many years of service with Holden and General Motors, including two years as Holden’s general manager of brand, media and sponsorships and almost three years as marketing manager for GM International’s South-East Asia region, based in Singapore.


Over a further 13 years she also served in various positions at Holden including general manager of marketing (small and medium vehicles), district sales manager (Victoria), export manager, senior product planner, and brand manager for small/medium cars and retail.

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