Armelle Weber has been Brand Partnership Manager at Thalys International in Brussels since 2002 proving a strong record of success in devising and implementing joint projects together with pan European companies, cultural institutions and artists. Previously she worked as account manager at the promotional agency Simon Marketing (1998-2002) in London and Paris, and account executive at Giant Merchandising (1996-1998) in London – a licensing and merchandising agency for music bands and artists. At Thalys she is responsible for the entire partnerships and corporate philanthropy program having worked with renowned institutions such as Maison Jean Paul Gaultier and Kunsthal Rotterdam, BOZAR Brussels, Musée des Arts Décoratifs Paris and Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam. Armelle has a degree in English from Sorbonne University Paris as well as a marketing business degree from NEGOCIA (Centre international de Formation à la Vente et à la Négociation commerciale) in Paris.
Dear Armelle, you are in charge of cooperations with cultural institutions at Thalys. What can cultural institutions do to increase their chances to become one of your partners?
We look forward to working either with well-known institutions which are a point of interests for our clients who travel for leisure and go on city trips, but we also work with smaller institutions that can bring new ideas and themes, new ways of collaboration as well as more flexibility. It is important for us to be able to build ad’hoc partnerships that are really positive, different – e.g. specific for Thalys – and valuable on the long term.
At which place did you make your most amazing cultural experience which has influenced you strongly, and why did it influence you in such a way?
At the Kunsthal in Rotterdam: We had a great experience in 2013 for the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition. We were able to build and implement the cultural experience and the collaboration not only in the venue itself but also outside the walls. In this way we enriched the client experience, we worked around the brand: we simply thought broader than only the exhibition.
Cultural institutions are under considerable strain: they are measured by their attendance, public budgets are being cut more and more and at the same time they are expected to abandon their traditional structures and become competitive. What might be in your opinion the decisive factor for cultural institutions to survive within the next 50 years?
Be opened, be creative, work WITH the partner on new ways of collaboration and messages. It requires more time but it is worth on the mid-long run.
On which art work or cultural experience would you spend much money?
It is here a personal input: on “live” art as artists do need help in order to create. However I understand that the reality for companies is different and especially for a company like Thalys that has a small structure and budget: it is more risky to invest in live art than to invest in solid institutions.
If you were granted one single wish, what would you change in the cultural system?
Difficult question as the cultural system is so different from one country to another or even more from one city to another. I would see “less dependent on politics”.
Thank you, Armelle
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