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Originally used as a name for Citroën’s high-end range, DS Automobiles has been a premium brand in its own right since 1 June 2014, inextricably associated with French luxury and managed as a start-up within Groupe PSA.
A conversation with Pénélope Yeatman-Eiffel (MEB 2000 and EMBA 2013), Head of Brand Content, who is enthusiastically leading the launch of the brand.

Introduce us to the DS Automobiles brand.

Created in Paris, the world’s luxury capital, DS Automobiles’ ambition is to embody French luxury know-how in the automotive industry.

Positioned in the fast-growing premium market, our strategy is based on exceptional products, omnichannel distribution and a unique, personalised customer experience, including innovative concierge services. With a strong commitment to new technologies, the DS brand has set itself the target of 35% of sales from electrified vehicles by 2025. Today, we are launching the DS 7 Crossback, used by President Macron during his inauguration, which fully embodies our vision.

What does your role as Head of Brand Content involve?

All photo, video and audio content for the brand is created by my team for all target audiences, including prospects, customers, the press, social media, distribution networks and in-house. All this content is consolidated under the same entity to ensure true consistency in our communication, a vital factor in brand launch success. We are working with La Maison, a Publicis company that supports many of the French luxury houses, using a centralised communications approach for an identical brand experience worldwide.

What are your strengths in terms of establishing the brand in the premium market?

Positioning yourself in the French luxury market requires meticulous attention to detail and materials. Our experts create unique parts based on traditional craftsmanship, such as the watch strap design of our seats and our dashboard coverings from our master saddlers or even ‘guillochage’, an attractive finishing technique used in luxury watchmaking. Inspired by the 1955 DS and its avant-garde spirit, our models are unique in their refinement and technology. The DS 7 Crossback features a lighting signature consisting of animated modules designed to resemble diamonds, providing very high-quality lighting.

How does Groupe PSA support the appointment of women to management positions?

Attitudes have changed a lot since I arrived in 2000. Many measures have been taken to make gender parity a reality, in particular in relation to equal starting pay, career development prospects in positions of responsibility and performance orientation. While many women adopt a masculine style to integrate, I have always leveraged my feminine strengths, whether my emotional intelligence, my versatility or the suits I wear during workshop visits to bring diversity to life in the workplace!

What did your dual programme at ESCP Europe bring you?

A biologist by training, I wanted to do the Master in European Business (MEB) to gain expertise in a second discipline. Passionate about cars, I chose to do a final internship at Peugeot UK, which was the start of my career at PSA where I have since flourished, so rewarding are the roles! While the MEB refocused my early career, the MBA provided me with the leadership skills required to lead my teams in this exciting challenge.

ESCP Europe Magazine issue 178  | MAY/JUNE 2018