• Loïc Piedevache feels Exhibitions are Key to MBDA’s Interactive Customer Engagement

Kuala Lumpur/New Delhi. 22 May 2024.  As supporters of partnerships and an open innovation approach, MBDA is constantly seeking out the most creative and effective ways to provide for our clients. This entails collaborating with a diverse range of startups and small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), in addition to encouraging internal innovation. Among other things, it assists a number of internal start-ups that develop cutting-edge methods for assisting the French missile major’s clients throughout the life-cycle of their systems, informed Loïc Piedevache, Corporate Marketing Group Director at MBDA in an exclusive interview with Aviation & Defence Universe(ADU).

ADU. MBDA’s presence in exhibitions and shows has been observably enhanced. Has this been an effective marketing strategy?

Loïc Piedevache. Innovation is a core value of MBDA, because our customers rely on our systems to give them a decisive advantage, and this means we never stand still. We are always looking to enhance every aspect of our business through the latest innovations, and that includes our presence at exhibitions. Here we blend the latest physical and digital technologies to ensure our customers can interact with our capabilities in the best way possible.

ADU. Which are MBDA’s high growth regions for expansion of its international business and creating this showcase?

Loïc Piedevache. MBDA is a truly global company, supporting over 90 different armed forces customers around the world. Today we are facing an increasingly unstable world, and this is felt through increased customer demand everywhere. Our number one challenge is to ensure we are always ready to support our customers with agility and pace as they respond to changing events.

ADU. Has the changed branding and design of the stand at shows, attracted more footprint?

Loïc Piedevache. Thanks to the close and trusted relationships with our customers, and our reputation for innovation and excellence, we have always found our exhibition stands to be well attended. What is key for us is that we continue to advance the way we then share and present information to our customers. Modern digital technologies give us the ability to clearly demonstrate how our highly complex systems perform in today’s increasingly complex world.

ADU. For the audience’s benefit, how is corporate marketing different from product marketing in case of national security products like missiles?

Loïc Piedevache. We operate strictly in a business-to-government (B2G) mode and in a tightly regulated and entirely government-controlled environment, and our product marketing approach is based on this. That said, we do have a need to always recruit the very best people, and this means we do also have to market ourselves as an employer in a B2C manner as well. What underpins either approach though is the identity of MBDA – that of a truly international company which has cross-border co-operation in its DNA – and our company values: innovation, team spirit, commitment, passion and team spirit.

Editor ADU with Loïc Piedevache at DSA 2024

ADU. Since we are meeting at DSA 2024, is South East Asia an established MBDA market and is Malaysia in particular a customer to be converted?

Loïc Piedevache. MBDA is a long-standing and trusted supplier to the Malaysian Armed Forces going back many decades. We have supplied, continue to supply, and are offering to supply missile systems to the Malaysia Navy, Malaysian Air Force and Malaysian Army across the full set of capabilities, including maritime supremacy, such as our Exocet anti-ship missile family, air defence systems like our Jernas, EMADS, Mistral and VL MICA systems, or airborne and battlefield systems.

ADU. MBDA always has a strong presence at European defence shows, why is that?

Loïc Piedevache. The European market is MBDA’s domestic market, thanks to our origin as a five nation European company. As we cross the borders of France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Spain, the major exhibitions in all these countries will always be major events for us a company and for the marketing of our products and capabilities. In addition many other European countries are major partners of us, such as Greece and Poland, where again we have a major presence at their exhibitions – generally working closely in partnership with their own domestic industries.

ADU. Does MBDA have a plan in place to include startups in the production and life cycle maintenance phases of the business? Is this also a marketing strategy which is successful?

Loïc Piedevache. MBDA is a champion of an open innovation approach, and of partnerships, so we are always looking to utilise the best and most innovative ways to deliver for our customers. That includes working with a very wide array of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups, as well as the fostering of internal innovation – where among other measures we support a range of internal start-ups that pioneer innovative approaches to supporting our customers throughout the life-cycle of their systems.

  Editor ADU with Team MBDA at DSA Kuala Lumpur