When Audrey Serdjebi was hired by General Sales and Service agent ECS Group, some 11 years ago, she knew practically nothing about the air freight business. That quickly changed, mainly
thanks to the support of Adrien Thominet, who at that time was member of the top management of the GSA Group which he chairs meanwhile. In October 2019, she founded her own PR and marketing
agency named Lemon Queen.
We met Ms. Serdjebi in Miami on the sidelines of TIACA's Air Cargo Forum held there in cooperation with organizer Messe Muenchen.
CFG: Audrey, Lemon Queen's website displays the names of renowned clients of your agency. How did you and your team manage to be so successful in a relatively short period of
AS: Firstly, because when I was Head of Communications for ECS Group, Adrien Thominet trusted me and together we built a remarkable communication team for ECS Group. Secondly, it is thanks to a combination of factors, such as existing personal contacts, our open and transparent way of communicating, our agency's attractive and very diverse portfolio of services, and our passion for the air cargo business, which we exude in all conversations and on all occasions. Or maybe, but this is just a guess, because all but one of our 6 employees are women. So, it could be that this gives us a different perspective on some issues compared to male-dominated agencies, perhaps resulting in greater customer loyalty.
CFG: Why did you come up with the rather unusual name Lemon Queen, naming yourselves after a flower type?
AS: For several reasons.
I liked the ‘mon’ sound as in Monday. But I'm French, and in France, Monday doesn't have a good reputation [laughs]. There's some pep in the lemon; it's luminous and it stings a little.
Then, I wanted a trendy word. Did you know that the word ‘King’ is one of the most popular when it comes to brand names? I liked the idea... but it's not just the Kings who can do it... Queens can too!
But we also work with men, of course, and seriously, I don't choose to recruit women. I recruit talent that matches the expectations of my clients. Let's bet that soon Lemon Queen will find her Prince Charming! [laughs again]
CFG: Is your previous employer ECS a shareholder of Lemon Queen?
AS: No, we are independent of any investors - since the first day of our existence. I would like to stress this point. We are on friendly terms with them, thanks to long-standing contacts. Moreover, they are an important customer of ours. But that’s about it.
CFG: Based on your experience with the industry, how do you assess the reputation that air freight has among the general public?
AS: There is a pre and post Covid perception. Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, most people knew little about air cargo. But then came the avalanche of facemasks, and the many vaccines and hygiene products that were flown around the globe. That changed perceptions significantly, and for the better. Most people are now aware of the prominent role that air cargo played and, in some cases, still plays, as the pandemic is still there. Now it is our mutual task, and I’m addressing airlines, airports, media, and other members of the logistics industry, to reinforce this positive image. Campaigns such as the one by Qatar Airways Cargo on the rewilding of zoo animals held in captivity and airlines ending the transport of animal trophies, for example, also serve this purpose. Such campaigns, and above all not just talking, but acting in accordance with the announcements, trigger most people and promote the reputation of the industry.
CFG: Doesn't the cargo and sustainability pair also belong in this category?
AS: Absolutely. It is one of the most important topics, not only in air cargo, but for the entire planet. You only have to look at the young generations who no longer wish to work in certain sectors, particularly because of the sustainability issue. Companies can no longer do without sustainability. It is essential to consider this element in all their business processes. For some, this has even become a prerequisite for working with them, which for me, is a very good thing, by the way. Airlines must be aware of the enormous power of influence they have. By changing their attitude, a whole generation can follow them. We saw this with the launch of Rewild the Planet with Qatar Airways Cargo, or when ECS Group launched its NexGen Leaders and attracted many projects that put CSR at the heart of their work, and when other airlines implemented similar actions. This is also where we see the importance of good communication.
CFG: And finally, why did Lemon Queen decide to attend TIACA’s Air Cargo Forum in Miami?
AS: It’s a very significant event. After all, most of our customers run booths or meet their clients, here. Secondly, the face-to-face meeting with members of the cargo industry is extremely important for us. This was almost impossible during the pandemic.
CFG: Audrey, thank you very much for your reflections.
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