Profile: Stephan Croix, global marketing director, Sony Ericsson

Stephan Croix, global marketing director for Sony Ericsson (SE), is half-French, half-German and now a London resident, all of which easily gives him enough international perspective for his business role. Croix may have spent his student years as a DJ on local radio, but his marketing CV is solid. He is specialised in the entertainment and mobile phone industries, which he sees as a crucial synergy as the two increasingly overlap.

This convergence figures prominently in the latest campaign Croix has masterminded with agency Iris. By sponsoring US popstar Anastacia's first European tour, SE is taking its first videophone, the F500i, to 14 different countries in what it believes is the biggest event launch for a mobile operator. The "Born to Entertain" campaign, takes in press, TV, radio and outdoor advertising. Added to that is exclusive Anastacia content on the Vodafone live! package, in-store POP, and competition prizes such as concert tickets and meet-and-greet sessions with the singer.

Croix, 30, sees it as the best example of how marketers can crack the competitive mobile phone market. "It's an industry that's always at the edge. If you look at the competition, everybody's going in the same direction in terms of technology, so for marketing, it's a challenging environment to differentiate."

Being "at the edge" is something that Croix relishes. To relax, he enjoys extreme sports such as snowboarding and surfing. And he says he takes that attitude with his work, enjoying the large scale of the tasks involved and the element of anticipation they create.

Iris, which has worked with Croix for four years, think he's "brave and trusting" for signing off deals six to 12 months in advance in such a fast moving industry. But Croix is in no doubt that entertainment is the way the industry is going and has a laid back confidence that he can influence how the market moves forward. He says he has built strong relationships with local markets, meaning he can convince operators to go with his ideas.

Driven by commercial success and a sense of fun, Croix pitches the "Born to Entertain" campaign as his promotional career favourite. "It's a great launch, a great partnership with Anastacia and there's great feedback from our operator customers," he says.

He insists that a personal liking of Anastacia was not the criteria for the campaign. He has all her albums, including the last, self-titled Anastacia, which the star gave him personally. But her widespread appeal is ideal - Croix says the tour attracts SE's target audience and matches its geographical objective, too.

So if this is his favourite, where does Croix go from here? He is a self-confessed gadget man and believes mobiles are at the forefront of technology, with their ability to integrate other gadgetry. The days of the iPod are numbered, he suggests. "Mobiles are the future for gadget-led consumers. And the development of 3G will make a lot more possible from a marketing point of view." While the excitement is still there, and while the challenges are present, it's an industry he's happy to stay in.

Croix's children, aged two and four, have already picked up on his enthusiasm.

"They play around with old phones and pretend to imitate my wife and I. It's quite funny," he says.

His children also ensure that he maintains a good balance between work and play. From his days as a DJ he learnt that work could, and should, be fun. And for all the challenges thrown at him, he still says: "I'm having a pretty easy life."

QUESTIONNAIRE

Describe yourself in three words: Fun-loving, hardworking, family man

If I won the lottery: I'd travel around the world in a VW campervan,

then start my own business

Favourite brands: Porsche, Quicksilver

Most embarrassing moment: Attending a very serious meeting in Japan, to

be laughed at by everyone when, according to etiquette, "-san" was added

to my name, making it Croix-san (Croissant)

CURRICULUM VITAE

2003-2004: Marketing director, global accounts, Sony Ericsson

2001-2003: Digital marketing director, global marketing, Sony Ericsson

(London)

2000-2001: Direct marketing manager, Sony (Munich)

1998-2000: Direct marketing manager, O2 (Munich)

1996-1998: Marketing department, Radio NRJ (Munich)

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