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Portrait of Fred Dumonal

by Victor Cianni

Chief Investment Officer at Alpian

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Dive into the enthralling dialogue between Alpian’s Chief Investment Officer, Victor Cianni, and Fred Dumonal, the esteemed Director of Continuing Education at CREA.  

This engaging conversation delves into the significant role of marketing and storytelling within the investment landscape, offering insight into how skillfully crafted narratives can shape perceptions, broaden audience engagement, and foster the ascent of digital assets

My name is Victor Cianni, Chief Investment Officer at Alpian, and I had the pleasure of speaking with Fred Dumonal. For those unfamiliar with him, Fred is the Director of Continuing Education at CREA. An expert in digital marketing and a real jack-of-all-trades, he is a recognized figure in the field. 

Hello Fred, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Through this interview, I would like to explore the connections between the world of investments and marketing with you. 

Thanks to you for the invitation. In the field of training, and more specifically in the world of tech, we often keep our noses to the grindstone. Expertise and performance evolve with innovation. It’s a pleasure to take the time to talk with you and reflect on things. 

As a young company, we understand how important marketing is to stand out, build our brand image, position our products, etc. But before getting where we are today, we started from scratch and had to convince investors to trust us. How can start-ups rely on marketing to raise funds? 

When raising funds, marketing is a plus. It comes to “finalize” something existing like the idea, concept, business model or vision. However, these elements must already be solid enough to convince.  

Marketing is then essential to define the question of positioning, target audience, distribution channels, etc. This will then ensure the link with communication and include everything in a strategic approach.  

Aerial view of computer and people around it

To inspire confidence, in my opinion, one must already represent a certain coherence. If the project is then defined, planned, and well “packaged”, of course, it can help. 

The shift to the digital world has opened up new opportunities. The number of possibilities and vectors a company has at its disposal to make itself known and communicate has also increased exponentially. Are there rules for choosing your battles wisely? 

Again, coherence. The right message, for the right target, in the right place. It may seem obvious, but it remains the holy grail.  

In some devices, there is also the question of the model, what we sell but especially what we offer. Freemium models, SaaS devices, where access to high-value-added free content allows you to win over your target or develop an audience. And capitalizing on an audience when you sell a product or service, this allows you to already have prospects. 

Marketing budgets fluctuate from quarter to quarter in companies. Is there a proportional relationship between the funds committed and the number of people we can reach through marketing actions? 

This will depend on the strategy. Today, in marketing, we have to aim for the best possible ROI.  

Reaching “everyone” is not necessarily profitable because your target audience is probably specific in many ways. As the old adage says, “aiming at everyone is touching no one”.  

Again, coherence. The right message, for the right target, in the right place. It may seem obvious, but it remains the holy grail. 

Fred Dumonal

The best is to have controlled but above all targeted expenses. Social networks allow this in particular with quite effective targeting tools. Email marketing is also a good lever, even if it is often considered outdated. 

In summary, I would say that just because you invest a lot does not mean the ROI is good. 

Alongside your activities at CREA school, you are an important player in the Swiss crypto, NFT, and Web3 landscape… These asset classes have experienced a tremendous rise in recent years. Technology has a lot to do with it, but do you think marketing has also played a key role? And are there any lessons we can learn from it? 

I’m involved in web3 for several reasons.  

First, for me, it’s a significant evolution of the Internet as we know it. Decentralization allows us to free ourselves from some advantages that had become constraints in Web 2.0. The trust that Web 3.0 brings allows for some very interesting innovations. 

Then, my interest in web3 is also a matter of encounters. The emulation around web3 is similar to what there was around the Internet at its birth. Same pioneering and community spirit, same conferences, same meetings, even though I was too young to see it at the stage of Web 1.0 (laughs)

marketing somewhat bridges the gap between the technological aspect and the user. This allows for an essential element for success that we call adoption.  

Fred Dumonal

Finally, the question of similarity is obvious for evolution. We have just witnessed the bursting of a bubble, violent but necessary, to sort out between serious projects, reliable cryptocurrencies, useful NFTs, etc.  

So yes, marketing has played a role, but not always the best one.  

In times of euphoria, some people could believe anything and the wake-up is sometimes difficult. For the projects that remain, the solid ones, marketing somewhat bridges the gap between the technological aspect and the user. This allows for an essential element for success that we call adoption.  

In this regard, for the second year in a row, we will bring together major players in web3 at the web3connect in Geneva on September 12

Our job is banking and investments are at the heart of the solutions we offer. Over time, I have learned that it is stories that push people to invest. They spur us to action and allow us to take certain steps. The flip side of the coin is that some stories sometimes crystallize investors’ attention and exacerbate emotional decisions. As a professional, do you have any advice to help us discern things? 

We are all human beings, with all the sensitivity, emotions, and biases that implies. We love stories because they provoke more emotions than information.  

Storytelling has become a real discipline, in all branches of communication (commercial, political, institutional…). But the power of this storytelling can turn against us if it is misused.  

The particularity of the human being is that they are unique. Their mind will be just as unique. It is very difficult then to tell a story that will have the same effect on people.  

People around a bonfire telling stories

For efficient storytelling, it seems important to me not to neglect your target audience, your authenticity, and your timing. 

Before we part, could you tell us about CREA in a few words? 

CREA is the largest school of creation in French-speaking Switzerland with a site in Geneva and another in Lausanne. We teach Artistic Direction, digital marketing, web development to Bachelors, Masters, and Continuing Education (Certifying Cycles and Federal Certificates). The school is part of the OMNES Education group, which also includes many other schools abroad. 

I started working for CREA in 2011, alongside a professional activity in the world of communication, with a strong focus on digital. Shortly after, I decided to make training my job, by following courses in pedagogy, but while still being invested in corporate projects.  

In 2017, with the support of René Engelmann, founder of CREA, we created the Continuing Education division. Since then, with Silvia, Delphine, and Henri, we are developing a complete training offer adapted to professionals as well as a real work of foresight and trend detection. 

Thank you, Fred, it was a pleasure to talk with you. 

Curious to learn more about digital assets? Then make sure to read our article “What are digital assets? Cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and CBDCs.

About the author

Victor has more than 13 years of experience in wealth management. He has assisted many individuals, families, and institutions in their financial journey throughout his career, either by providing tailored advice on their investments or by managing assets on their behalf. He occupied a number of key positions within the investment divisions of CA Indosuez, Lombard Odier, and Citi Private Bank. He holds an Engineer’s degree in Bioinformatics and Modeling from the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées of Lyon, and he is a certified FRM. In his free time, Victor loves scientific readings and collecting rare books.

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